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AJ Supreme Madagascar, what to expect?


Lars68

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I'm in the process of buying a 2007 AJ Supreme with Madagascar rosewood back and sides and adirondack top. I have been intrigued by the AJ reissues for some time but have never had the opportunity to try one out. What can I expect of the AJ in general, and the Supreme in particular?

 

Here is an example of the guitar in question:

http://www.firstqualitymusic.com/p_FQM+AJ+SUPREME.aspx

 

Lars

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I'm in the process of buying a 2007 AJ Supreme with Madagascar rosewood back and sides and adirondack top. I have been intrigued by the AJ reissues for some time but have never had the opportunity to try one out. What can I expect of the AJ in general, and the Supreme in particular?

 

Here is an example of the guitar in question:

http://www.firstqualitymusic.com/p_FQM+AJ+SUPREME.aspx

 

Lars

That's one beautiful guitar! The rosewood back and sides are gonna make that thing ring out! You will definetly have an "acoustic cannon" with that beast! Congrats! Be sure to post some pics for us when you get it!

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Hi Lars, I have one and I think it's a great guitar - I also have a standard AJ.

The Supreme's Adi top gives a different tonal complexion altogether, one that you can luxuriate in.

I like the blackwood fingerboard a lot too.

The standard AJ is a great favourite of mine also, and only gets better with age.

 

Here is a utube of me playing the AJ Supreme.

 

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I understand why you'd want to have a go with the Advanced Jumbo. So would I this past summer. On my broader search into Gibson territory I needed to compare and try a handfull of different slopes, and ended up getting a J-45 from this year and an 08 AJ in house (the 45's from the 60'ties I tried didn't come near this one). Knowing that sooner or later one of them would have to pass, I decided to give both a fair chance - experiment a bit with stings and action - before making the final choice. The fact is, that the choice was made for me. The AJ just never managed to manifest itself as more than a good and valuable guitar as the J-45 lured and charmed me from day 1. It must be said that this 45 is better than another 2010 I tried in the period and could be a lucky #. It surely represented that certain sloped-flavour that lies so far from more ordinary dreadnoughts. Down right dreamish to play on the first 3 or 4 frets, warm and bassy - 'Workhorse', , , with the built in compressor effect*, NO - soft lyrical player, poets instrument, YES. The AJ might have had its specialities too, I just couldn't find out where to look. It had great volume, full lows, but to be honest, no other character than rustic (a fact that made a plus when the buyer drew his glass-tube and began sliding - now it sounded really good). I know we have a well-skilled AJ-guy (markwillplay) here on the board, who sometimes throws in a song or 2, and he really seems to be in symbioses with his Jumbo - they sound so right together. I hereby admit, I couldn't do it. Well, there is all sorts of all sorts and thats how it should be. Look forward to hear what comes your way. (And then again - The Supreme might be something else.)

 

Handling an acoustic canon may take an artillerist -

 

*to my big pleasure, this compressor thing is on retreat which sends the guitar in the direction of great times'n'promise.

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Here is a Gibson AJ "Concert".....has a thinner sound box. I played one at our local Gibson store that is on sale for $2500, and this exact on on CL used for $2250. Three piece Madi back, great grain. Sound is surprisingly good for such a thin body. AND very comfortable to play.

 

http://sfbay.craigslist.org/pen/msg/2102095568.html

 

Just FYI

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I don't want to sound like a total fanboy, but I have a 2006 Luthier's Choice in Madagasacar RW and Adirondack top. It has Mad RW fretboard/bridge, so it differs in that regard. ANYHOW, I've had 2 other standard AJs, both of which were pretty much cannons, but my madi/adi AJ is just absolutely over the top/phenomenal on the volume category. Really, like there is something the matter with it. Everyone who gets close to it comments on how strangely loud this axe is and I have to admit, I don't even really like playing it at home alone on a quiet day because it is sorta uncomfortably loud. Really, strangest darn thing I've ever seen in an acoustic and I've been at it for 3 decades.

 

That doesn't mean yours will be that way, but mine sure is.

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"What can I expect of the AJ in general, and the Supreme in particular?" A lot of the AJ rep comes from bluegrass(it's bassy! its loud! it don't break up!). If you do fingerstyle, old tyme country, or blues, those attributes become liabilites. Rock, folk, and folkie rock? Mileage may vary, but Id say its closer to an OM (smooth & balanced)than a D28 (thunderous, ringing).

 

The once supreme I tried didnt seem to have that much more going with it on than the std I once had, but who knows, it may have been old sttrings, not borken in or what have you.

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You'll just have to play the guitar to find out for sure. I played many examples of the standard issue AJ before finding one that appealed to me given my playing style (fingerpicking with a thumbpick in my case). The one I ended up with has quite a bite to it, yet is very balanced. It is not a subtle sounding guitar — it certainly doesn't compress with ample amounts of headroom. I found other examples that had a thinner sounding top-end and some with more bass. While most of them seemed to have plenty of volume, quite a few of them did indeed have their own character. Mines got a 1 3/4" neck that has a bit of a beefier profile which I like. The OM comparison makes sense in a lot of ways, an OM on steroids if you will.

 

Hope it works out for you.

Guth

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The one I ended up with has quite a bite to it, yet is very balanced. The OM comparison makes sense in a lot of ways, an OM on steroids if you will. Guth

 

Definitily on steroids. The big difference is that a lot of the OMs Ive experienced are responsive to a light touch. An AJ isnt going to be as vibrant (not stiff, just takes a little more to get the top moving) and will maintain its clarity longer (you can muddy up an OM if not careful).

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EM7, thanks for the kind words. In fairness, mine is an OJ reissue and is Hog back and sides with adi top...but is indeed short scale. I find this combo to be the perfect comp. for me... the adi does give it more power but it still has that short scale vibe to it. The good AJ's I have played with adi tops have probably had more power but not quite as much warmth. I am now addicted to the shorter scale too. They are more comfy to me now..especially on bigger guitars.

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  • 1 month later...

I wanted to post some quick feedback on my 2007 AJ Supreme, which I now have had since just before Christmas. The guitar is absolutely fabulous. I took a chance on this model and bought an AJ with a repaired headstock crack which kept the price down. The headstock repair turned out to be a very pleasant suprise. I couldn't find it at first! I can now see traces of the repair if I hold the guitar in the right light, but overall it's a non issue. Since I received it, I have done some work on the guitar myself. The neck needed to be tightened a bit, but once I got the releif right the three bass strings were buzzing like crazy on the first fret. The nut slots had been cut too deep, and I assume the problem had been corrected by loosening the truss rod. I filled the slots with som bone dust and superglue and cut them again. I also slotted the bridge and changed to unslotted bone pins. There was also a tiny, tiny hairline crack in the rosewood on the treble side, which I now have glued with some thin superglue and polished.

 

Overall, the risk of buying the guitar with the headstock repair and without playing it first has really paid off. I might still be in the honeymoon face, but this is the best guitar purchase I have ever made. I got an enormous amount of tone per dollar spent. The guitar is extremely loud, yet every string rings clear as a bell. The bass is heavy but not muddy in any way. I'm far from great at finger picking, but this guitar works for this as well.

 

Lars

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