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Yet more "Inspired by '64 Texan" questions....


dhanners623

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Hey folks -- I'm new here. I've been jonesing for a Texan and don't want to spring for one of the vintage ones, and the "Inspired by" Texan caught my eye. I know there's been some discussion about them and I've read through the threads, but I had some questions and I was hoping some of the IB'64 Texan owners might be able to provide some insights. Among my questions:

 

-- Overall, how would you rate the unplugged sound? I can't abide a "thin" sound (I'm spoiled by my current guitars, including a '98 J-45) and while I know this isn't a vintage instrument, does it sound ok unplugged? One of the reasons I'm asking this is that none of the Epiphone dealers near where I live (the Twin Cities) carries the thing so I'm going to have to order it from one of the big-box places like Musicians Friend, Sam Ash, etc.

 

-- How would you rate the pickup for gigging? I play out a lot, and so dependable plugged-in sound is important. For those of you who play out with the IB'64 Texan, has the pickup worked well for you? Good sound?

 

-- What's the saddle material? I've read some stuff here discussing the saddle; frankly, I have a hard time believing it is bone. Were it bone, I think that's something Epiphone would be crowing about. Does anyone have a definitive answer on this? And has anyone switched out the saddle with Tusq or some other material, and if so, what were the results?

 

-- How have the tuners held up? I was thinking of switching the tuners out anyway with some Golden Age Restoration tuners because those white buttons look, well, too white. Got a set of the GARs on my J-45 and they work great. Very smooth. Great vintage vibe, too.

 

-- How thick is the finish? I know it is a poly finish, but a thick poly finish just seems to impede the top, plus it looks kind of bad. But that's just me?

 

Thanks a bunch, and I hope I'll be a good contributing member here....

 

David

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Hi dhanners23,

 

I bought one yesterday, after playing several, and they do vary. I am in the process of setting mine up, so won`t give an opinion of the sound just yet, as it would be unfairly based on old cheap strings. However to answer a couple of your questions, yes the saddle & top nut are bone, although the bridgepins are plastic (I have already ordered some Ebony replacements). As for the tuners, they are made by Wilkinson, and I found them to be of a similar quality to some Tone Pro`s three on a plate that I have.

 

These guitars are very attractive, with a pretty good standard of workmanship, the inside of mine is pretty tidy, it is hard to tell how thick the finish is, but I did see one that had formed a lump at the bottom of the fretboard! The Sitka Spruce used for the top looks to be of a similar appearance to the type of Spruce used on the originals, which wasn`t of the highest quality, but did the job.

 

I will fill you in with the other info as soon as poss, but one thing I will say, is don`t order blind, try a good few out first, because they do vary.

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Thanks for the replies. I went ahead and pulled the trigger on buying one this morning. Had to order it online, as none of the Epiphone dealers anywhere near the Twin Cities carries the IB'64 Texan. If it arrives and I find I don't like it, I'll ship it back. But if it's good, I'll keep it. Probably will switch out the tuners, though. Like I said, those buttons are just too stark.

 

I'm still interested in the plugged-in sound of the thing. How is it?

 

And of course you're right about the breaking-in of the top. To that end, I was thinking of getting one of these anyway, and maybe this purchase will push me to finally get it: http://tonerite.com/guitar/vmchk

 

A fairly well-known guitar repairman and master luthier here in the Twin Cities told me that the thing really can make a difference in a guitar's sound, and he is one of those old-school guys who is rarely (if ever) impressed by new guitar toys or gadgets. It's not going to turn a brand-new, Asian-made IB'64 Texan into a vintage Texan, but it just might make a difference.

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And of course you're right about the breaking-in of the top. To that end' date=' I was thinking of getting one of these anyway, and maybe this purchase will push me to finally get it: http://tonerite.com/guitar/vmchk

 

 

http://www.davidhanners.com [/quote']

 

 

Or you could just ya know, play it?

 

I mean if you MUST spend $150 bucks then I'll play it in for you properly for that.

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Well, of course I intend to play it. That's why I'm getting it. But I've got a number of other guitars, so neither one gets played as often as it would were it a single-guitar household. And if something will help break in a new guitar -- and keep the other guitars I've got sounding great -- then it is worth investigating.

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The trick to keeping your guitars sounding great is proper maintenance and climate conditions. Keeping the guitar at a comfortable 70F and 45% humidity, staying on top of the frets, dressing them as necessary, setting the instrument up each season, keeping bare wood properly conditioned, and keep things clean. This will do more for keeping your guitars sounding great than that gimmick. Putting it in front of a loudspeaker playing pink noise at around 60db would do the same thing as that for free.

Plus that thingy does nothing to break in the neck and frets, that plays a bigger part in "playing in" a guitar than the questionable science behind that thing.

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With all due respect, I already do all that stuff. I depend on my guitars so I take pretty good care of them and they are certainly not neglected. That said, there's no substitute for frequent vibration of the woods, whether it comes from playing or this "gimmick," as you call it. If we got in the WayBack Machine and went to 1964 and took two brand new Texans off the rack, and kept both under identical ideal conditions -- but one was played regularly and the other wasn't -- I'm willing to bet that here in 2010, the one that was played (i.e., the one whose top was subject to frequent vibration) is going to sound better. At least every guitar I've ever owned worked that way.

 

I think we can all agree that Eric Schoenberg knows a thing or two about guitars, and he endorses the product. And as I mentioned, the master luthier and repairman I know -- who handles repairs in one of the Midwest's premier high-end acoustic guitar shops for Martin, Gibson, Collings, Bourgeois, Santa Cruz and others -- says he's heard it work on a new guitar. And a guitarist friend of mine who tours internationally just used it to break in a new guitar and said it improved the guitar's sound. These are people I believe.

 

Again, it's not going to take a plywood-topped Asian guitar (or even a solid-topped one, for that matter) and turn it into Clarence White's D-28. I'm not expecting it to. And I will be playing the guitar. I'll even report back to the forum on what the guitar sounds like before and after, if you guys want. Folks may scoff, and that's their right. Just as it is my right to buy the thing.

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I was just pointing out that even if you buy into it, you can accomplish the exact same result on the guitar with a loudspeaker playing pink noise at around 50db. That will cost you nothing, as I'm sure you have some sort of audio playback device at your home. It will save $150 you can apply to something else that can't be duplicated with common household items you already have.

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Hi dhanners23-

 

Congrats. on your new purchase - and for the info. about ToneRite. I'm an advocate of applying new technologies and after reading about the product, I find it to be interesting to say the least. Hope you let us know the results if you decide to use it on your new IB Texan.

 

You have been gracious in responding to Musikron, a person who seems to have a singular focus on himself, and his opinions.

 

Regards,

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to answer the question about the pickup and the 'plugged-in' sound. It's good. The thing is though, the 'bright' and 'bass' control are redundand. I've read that this pickup was originall designed for classical/spanish guitars and also picks up the vibration of the top as the strings are vibrating.

 

Anyways... Engaging the 'bass' control will give you a huge load of hum and engaging the 'treble' will make the guitar sound too bright (which might be good if you want it to sound like a classical guitar, hehe). The thing I do (and I play it through my trusty Fender Twin Reverb) is to crank the volume and have both the treble and bass rolled off.

 

The guitar itsself has a beautiful bass, which isn't too boomy, but isn't flat either. It has richly defined highs and just sings when you use a nice Fender Thin pick or anything that's good for strumming!

 

 

I hope that helped.

 

JM5000

 

PS: It's not only one of the best-looking guitars it's also wonderfully sounding. Forget about Blueridge, this is the real deal.

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Thanks for the replies. The insight about the pickup is helpful and good to know and will no doubt save me some time the first time I play out with it.

 

I suppose folks have strong opinions when it comes to guitars and gear. Some folks probably objected to electronic tuners when they first came out, and now everyone has them. Or virtually everyone. And I'm sure when the first breed of new and better capos came out it was the same story. Some people just didn't want to give up their less-expensive elastic ones, even though they nearly always threw the guitar out of tune.

 

I have heard of people sticking their guitars in front of stereo speakers and turning up the bass and leaving it for several hours. I really don't have any big speakers anymore; I spend more time making music than listening to it, frankly, so all I've got is a little boombox.

 

I'm looking forward to getting the guitar. Should be a fun instrument....

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You know when you try 2-3 of the same guitars out at a shop the one that sounds best might have a 100 hours played on it and the one with a couple hour might not sound as good' date='So how do you really know which really is the best sounding guitar.[/quote']

 

True Bill, but how are you gonna decide, which to buy otherwise. I certainly wouldn`t leave a guitar shop with a lesser sounding guitar, in the hope that with a bit of playing it may turn out excellent. As regards my experience with the Texan, these have only come into this country (And Dawson`s Chester) very recently, so I think just a few hours only, playing in time with these.

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The guitar itsself has a beautiful bass' date=' which isn't too boomy, but isn't flat either. It has richly defined highs and just sings when you use a nice Fender Thin pick or anything that's good for strumming!

 

 

I hope that helped.

 

JM5000

 

PS: It's not only one of the best-looking guitars it's also wonderfully sounding. Forget about Blueridge, this is the real deal.[/quote']

 

John, I don`t know about you, but the D`addario 11`s went on this morning, and I have played it solidly for about three hours now, compared it to my Wizz jones recordings, and have got to say I am staggered at how good this guitar sounds. It is very evenly balanced, with incredible sustain, a good strong bass, which isn`t overpowering, and sparkly trebles, which I would imagine will only get better over time. My Texan is very resonnant too, when I strum it, you can feel the Back and neck vibrating strongly. The tone to me is very similar to a proper 60`s Texan, based on my limited experience, but how can this be! I find myself constantly checking it over in disbelief, this guitar was £300 and to think, that if you just wanted to buy the Shadow Nanoflex pickup by itself, it would cost you £150!

 

Full review & pic`s to follow.

 

Steve.

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Hi dhanners23-

 

 

You have been gracious in responding to Musikron' date=' a person who seems to have a singular focus on himself, and his opinions.

 

Regards,[/quote']

 

Oh yea, your right. I'm the asshat who always comes on here to get MY questions answered by someone who knows what they are talking about. Please help me my abbyroadman, how do I set my intonations on my Casino?[rolleyes]

You sir are a Richard.

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Oh yea' date=' your right. I'm the asshat who always comes on here to get MY questions answered by someone who knows what they are talking about. Please help me my abbyroadman, how do I set my intonations on my Casino?[-(

You sir are a Richard.[/quote']

 

Ya know.... I just came here with some simple, genuine questions about a guitar I was thinking of buying. Those questions were informed by several years' experience gigging and recording and just plain ol' sittin' at home playing for pleasure. I also listen to what others have to say, hence my reason for coming here. That said, when someone I trust well enough to work on my guitars (and who Martin, Gibson, Collings et al trusts enough to work on their guitars) tells me a new device appears to work as advertised, I'm going to listen to him. It's as simple as that.

 

I didn't mean to start any fights, but I also don't think there's any need to ridicule anyone's prospective purchase as a "gimmick." I certainly would never do that to anyone else, even if I believed it. If someone asks me for my opinion, I'll give it. If the device is a waste of money, I guess I'll be the first to know.

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dhanners

 

I am not ridiculing you at all. Merely pointing out a much more economical way to accomplish the same results. You can spend $150 or $300 on that thing, it makes no difference to me either way. But I assumed that since you are buying Epiphone guitars that you do not have unlimited resources at your disposal and was merely trying to save you money that you could use (IMO) a little more smartly. If someone is planning on paying $100 for a "special monster cable" I would do the same thing, and inform them they are being swayed by the marketing hype and I would give them a little FACTS to go with the GLITZ they heard about in a magazine.

I am a luthier, it is how I earn a living, and part of my job is helping those less educated in the subject than myself make informed decisions. Part of it is saving my clients money, money they will then hopefully spend repairing and upgrading their guitars no doubt, but it irks me to see a manufacturer rip off people. I try to stand up for the little guy whenever I can, in this thread that was you.

 

BTW. factory authorized repair centers are in no way based on the knowledge of the luthiers inside it. There is no knowledge test, only an equipment list and sq footage to be considered. The building your luthier is in may be an authorized repair center, I was at my last LOCATION. My new LOCATION is not set up to spray nitro, therefor I no longer qualify as a service center for warranted work. I don't know about Collins, but Gibby , Fender and Martin could care less what you know or how good your work is. They only care about the equipment in your shop. Sadly, that means you can have a retarded paraplegic carry the sign on their door, just cause of what is under the roof. But would you want him working on your guitar?

This is in no way a dig at your luthier, just again, passing along a little FACT that most of us would prefer you not know.

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I'm really tired of talking about this; it doesn't seem to be going anywhere. Plus, by the time I buy a big stereo system with speakers to stick my guitar in front of, I'll be well past the money I spend on the device. I won't be paying retail.

 

I'll report back when the guitar arrives, but I'd also like to hear more from folks who have been playing the instrument.

 

And one need not assume that I'm of limited means. Trust me, I'm not. I just want a Texan....

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A boom box will accomplish the same thing, some headphones even if you configure it right. You don't need a 1k sub and audiophile monitoring to pull this off. But that's fine. If you don't want to learn about it that's your right, but seeing as this is a public forum, there are others reading this thread who wish to benefit from this knowledge. This is for their benefit. Not everyone has money to waste.

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Ya know.... I just came here with some simple' date=' genuine questions about a guitar I was thinking of buying. Those questions were informed by several years' experience gigging and recording and just plain ol' sittin' at home playing for pleasure. I also listen to what others have to say, hence my reason for coming here. That said, when someone I trust well enough to work on my guitars (and who Martin, Gibson, Collings et al trusts enough to work on [i']their[/i] guitars) tells me a new device appears to work as advertised, I'm going to listen to him. It's as simple as that.

 

I didn't mean to start any fights, but I also don't think there's any need to ridicule anyone's prospective purchase as a "gimmick." I certainly would never do that to anyone else, even if I believed it. If someone asks me for my opinion, I'll give it. If the device is a waste of money, I guess I'll be the first to know.

 

http://www.davidhanners.com

 

 

David

 

We appreciate your input..... Please get back to us on your personal findings.[biggrin]

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Well, my guitar arrived yesterday, so here are some quick top-of-the-head thoughts, in no particular order.

 

-- The guitar sounds really good, for the money. It definitely has that slope-shoulder sound. Things are still a bit "stiff" and I'm sure some hard strumming will open it up. (As well as a treatment with the Tone-Rite, which I intend to buy with the money from my good union job....) But the tone is very even, and it isn't thin. The notes have good definition. It has an alt.country feel to it, that's for sure.

 

-- The workmanship appears very good. I haven't noticed any blemishes or glue seepages or problems with the finish. The finish seems a bit thick for my tastes, but then it's all relative. All my other guitars have nitro finishes, so a poly finish is going to seem thick.

 

-- No idea about the electronics yet. I was thinking of heading out to a local open mic tonight to see how the pickup sounds. Otherwise, I was thinking of playing at a gig I've got Sunday night at the Turf Club in St. Paul. It's part of their "Old Stage" series so this guitar should fit right in....

 

-- I'm left-handed and play "upside down," i.e., I hold the guitar like McCartney (or Hendrix, or Staines, or Shake Russell, et al) but I don't change the strings around. It's just the way I learned. I say all that to say that sticking the control for the pickup on the left side of the soundhole makes sense for a lefty but not a righty. No idea why they do it that way, but I'm sure there's a reason. I removed the pickguard and replaced it with a lefty Epiphone pickguard.

 

-- Those tuners are peculiar. I had bought a set of Golden Age Restoration tuners to replace the Epi's tuners (I've always felt the tuners were one of the weak spots of Epiphone's Asian guitars) but, as others have noted, the three holes on each side of the headstock are not in line. I'm thinking that the folks at Epiphone just muscle the three-on-a-plate tuners into the holes, forcing the captstan on the middle tuner to have some play in it. The Golden Age Restoration tuners should have been simple drop-in replacements but they weren't. I may spring for some individual tuners somewhere down the road. Until then, I'll probably follow Dan Erlewine's advice and take some brown Kiwi shoe polish to those WHITE buttons and "age" them a bit.

 

-- I'm not sure about the saddle and nut. While the guitar plays in tune (so far) and the intonation seems good up and down the neck, I don't like the sharp-cut edges on the saddle. They look ready-made for breaking strings. I'm probably going to get a new saddle cut next week. At the same time, I'm switching out those garish plastic bridge pins for something in ebony or maybe Tusq.

 

-- What's up with the scalloping on the edges of the top of the headstock? Was that an original feature? I don't recall it.

 

-- I had to go out and get a new case. When I ordered the guitar, I didn't buy a case because I've got a couple of spare dreadnaught cases out in the garage. This guitar didn't fit either because the headstock goes on for miles.

 

-- I stuck a set of D'Addario EJ-17s on it and they sound pretty good.

 

All in all, I'm very pleased with the purchase. It's a good-sounding guitar and I have no doubt it will sound even better in time. No idea what it's potential is, but if it becomes a dependable stage guitar with some vintage vibe, I'll be happy.

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Well' date=' my guitar arrived yesterday, so here are some quick top-of-the-head thoughts, in no particular order.

 

-- What's up with the scalloping on the edges of the top of the headstock? Was that an original feature? I don't recall it.

 

[/quote']

 

Good review, dhanners23. The Texan sounds like a winner.

 

I was thinking maybe Frenchie's guitar was an abberation in regards to the tuner holes, but since they don't line up on yours, I guess not. I think you identified the cause: Epi must have set the CMC machines to drill holes for single tuners (as is standard on the majority of thier acoustics), and not strips. Hope their reading this!

 

That scalloped edge on both sides of the headstock was an original feature of vintage Texans and other guitars of that era. It appears off and on on other recent vintage Epiphones, too, depending on the model and factory that made them.

 

Post again after you play your Texan plugged in. I'm also interested in your experience with the Tone-Rite if you get it.

 

I have a friend who also plays "upside down." It amazes me to see it, but I guess it comes naturally to you having learned that way. I fool around on the mandolin from time to time, and think of that as playing upside down (the tuning of strings top to bottom is the the same as the guitar's from bottom to top), but that's only four strings. I guess I could learn to adjust to six, but I'm glad I don't have to, as I don't have the mental dexterity to juxtapose all those chord shapes and finger positions without a lot of serious thought : (

 

Red 333

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Glad you like it David, for the money it`s an absolute bargain. You are right in your comments about the tuners, the holes are not in a line, which does cause problems with the tuners, I had intended to use Tone Pros three on a plate for mine, but they don`t fit, so I have some individual Nickel Kluson`s on order, those with the Nickel buttons too.

 

The scalloping on either side of the H/stock is an original 60`s feature.

 

I too was going to replace the nut & saddle, but in the end I just reshaped the stock items. I also bought replacement Ebony bridgepins, only to find, that the Texan actually sounded better with the plastic ones! (That`s a first for me).

 

Which case did you get for yours, as I need one?

 

Oh and one thing more, to me there is just something plain wrong with a three screw Epiphone TRC, so I replaced mine with a two screw one, even though only one screw goes into wood!

 

Steve.

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