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Little theory why Gibsons sound crap in guitar stores ..


EuroAussie

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SHORT VERSION

 

You shouldn't play a Gibson after playing a Taylor, or Goodall or H&D first because its a bit of a shock to the senses.

 

LONG VERSION ... but worth reading..

 

I was today at my local guitar shop with has some 13 Taylors and 5 Gibsons in their 'high' end section.

 

Since I had some time and Ive played all the Gibbys many times over I thought Id look deep into my hidden metrosexual inner self and give a few of the Taylors a good run.

 

Played about 8 of them, the all woods and found two which I thought sounded actually really good. An 812ce, which had a lovelly tight sound due to the smaller body size. Tried an 814ce that was next to it and thought the 812 overall had a much better tone. The most impressive was a 414ce Ovankol, could even imagine owning it, for a week or so.

 

Anyway, Im digressing.

 

After playing the Taylors I picked up a couple of the Gibsons which I knew sounded great from past experience, in particular the SWD Standard and a Hummingbird standard.

 

My first reacion was, ouch, both of them sound really dead and boxy ... why is that, especailly afer i raved about the SWD last week when I played it.

 

But i kept on playing and then after about 10 mins it all came together again and they sounded great.

 

So where am i heading with this ..?

 

My theory is that if you first play a Taylor you hear clarity, the long last Elixirs, the piano like bass and you ears adjust to this tone and appreciate those qualities.

 

When you then directly move to a Gibson, it is a bit of a shock to the old ear drum. As the clarity is not quite there, especially if the Masterbuild strings have lost their zing (as they do quickly) and that bell like repsonse is not present.

 

But then I contiued to play and realised that I had to completely adjust my playing style for Gibson compared to Taylor. With Taylor my metrosexual angelic side was playing delicately, strumming or picking with ease, basically carresing the guitar.

 

With Gibsons, you really have to dig into them for that golden rough n' ready dream tone to come out. And once it does my evil, dark side takes over and a big grin comes on my face.

 

Whats the point. A lof of people who dont instinctively get the Gibson tone can be really diappointed picking up a Gibson after playing a Taylor, or Goodall or H&D etc.. It just sounds arguably dull in comparisement.

 

So anyway, after all this rumbling, this is my theory.

 

Playing a Gibson after a Taylor can be a shock for the ear and unless one can adjust it will come across as a possibly inferior product.

 

Now ... of course all of us here already know the secret but across on the AGF Im guessing this could be a common experience with guys visiting their local guitar centre.

 

What are your thoughts, does it make some sense or should I go back to the drawing board ...? [blink]

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If I understand you, you equating the Taylors to maybe a Yamaha YZF-R6... a bike optimized for speed.... to a Harley....maybe a Sportster or Electroglide, (I'm not a biker in any sense of the word). The crotch rockets are much faster and much more trouble-free to own....but NO self-respecting "biker" would be caught dead on a Yamaha.

 

I say that because many years ago a biker type, (not a Hell's Angel...but close), said exactly that. His "Hog" was not running and I asked him why he didn't switch to a Japanese bike......

 

EA..... for me it's easy..... I have four Gibson acoustics..... never considered another brand, to me that would be "settling" for a guitar....and I'm of the age where I refuse to "settle" for the stuff I want.

 

Of course, my playing style is about as "down 'n dirty" as you can get, (maybe 'cause I've always played Gibsons).

 

Good observation!

 

(and I surely don't want to get into a discussion about motorcycles....something I know very little about).

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.

An interesting take on the experience.

 

I've noted similar experiences and posted about them. I'm sure you've read me talk about this before - I've got a Martin, and I've had a Taylor 6 peghead - I always handle and play them differently than my Gibson. I'm more careful, lighter with the pick and strum. With my Gibson and Guild guitars I don't think of them that way. I can dig in, get aggressive and explosive - no worries. They can handle the more aggressive touch and sound terrific. . . . . . . Just the way I see it.

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I think that is a logical explanation for many of the "dead' Gibsons that everyone claims to be playing.

 

I still think the high price tag and Gibson envy are big factors too though few will admit it.

 

I think the consistently dead strings on Gibsons hanging on the wall in shops is the reason many of them sound bad.

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I definitely agree dead or even non 'zingy' strings have a lot to do with it.

 

I wonder what the opinion would be if Gibson used say EXP's. They have a similar tone to the masterbuilts, but stay zingy much, much longer.

 

Gibson CS, are reading this, do you have an opinion?

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Little theory with a loud statement : Gibsons sound like crap in stores.

 

Well, Gibsons can sound vague in comparison with other guitars, Martins, Guilds, Taylors etc. In many cases they simply don't project as strong as the others. At first sight one can get the thought the majority of them are made for flatpicking. And I admit it sometimes is a bit disappointing to pick up a G. just after f.x a D-28 - but you gotta know what you're doin' : You have to tune into the Gibson thing – and play them that way. It can be vulnerable. They are different animals - almost as sat on the planet to deliver alternative pleasures. It's a challenge to learn to listen for and understand this. Not easy for the inexperienced ear/hand. Now, I don't count you as an inexperienced ear EuroA, , , though – with all due respect - a beginner-player, you in fact have posted many fine statements about sound here. Therefor your 'crap-statement' surprises me a little, no offence.

 

1½ year ago - before gliding into this Gibson typhoon - I went out of town to visit a shop that specializes in Taylors. They have a lot and I must have played between 8 and 10. Suddenly it dawned on me all of them had Elexir coated strings, and it turned me off the salesman didn't tell. To me Elexir strings are like giving a guitar steroids. It's somewhat artificial – not the real thing - and besides the coated steel tends to kinda overrule the wood. I bought a set there and put it on my Mart. D-35 to measure exactly what they do. And they made the terrific Dread explode like a symphony-orchestra (or a multi-colored airbrush billboard) - Way too much.

I believe all Taylors come with these larger than life strings and frankly think it's a cheap way to make them sound better or more. Especially with starters who are out looking for a good guitar, in mind.

 

Quite opposite with Gibsons. They are what they are, nowadays know what they represent and – as mentioned - 'expects' you to tune in. 'Meet your Gibson halfway' could be an incrowd slogan. That's the charm, the treasure and the riddle of these guitars.

In my view anyway.

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Would Gibsons have deader strings than other wall-hangers. . .

 

I would say so yes. Gibsons and Martins in my experience sound bad on the wall. Especially in humidified rooms (which they should be). Martin put Martin strings on their guitars (of course) which go to crud extremely fast IMO. The Gibson Masterbilts do the same thing for some reason. Other guitars (Larrivee, Taylor, Santa Cruz) seem to have better string life on the wall. Larrivee used to have Elixirs on them but now they are Cleartones I think.

 

I must take exception to your statements about Elixir strings being a cheap way of making a guitar sound better. If it sounds better what is the problem? I agree the Elixirs allow a guitar to have a greater brilliance, resonance and symphonic chime if you will... some people don't see that as a problem. I also know from experience that the Elixirs will settle into a well balanced less strident sound after a couple of days of playing. However, they keep that sound for weeks and weeks! Elixirs are not cheap by any stretch. I think putting long life strings on a guitar for sale is just smart business. A week in a humidified room with various people handling it and a Martin or a Gibson with the cheaper strings will sound like a carboard box. I don't think a Gibson SJ200 sounds like an SJ200 if it has old cruddy rusty pieces of crap strings on it. I bought my SWD when it had only been in the store for two days. The one on the wall at the same shop that has been there for months sounds like do-do in my opinion.

 

In short, I think Elixirs allow a lot of guitars show their true capacity. I think Martin SP's are even better at this.. but only for a couple of hours.

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1½ year ago - before gliding into this Gibson typhoon - I went out of town to visit a shop that specializes in Taylors. They have a lot and I must have played between 8 and 10. Suddenly it dawned on me all of them had Elexir coated strings, and it turned me off the salesman didn't tell. To me Elexir strings are like giving a guitar steroids. It's somewhat artificial – not the real thing - and besides the coated steel tends to kinda overrule the wood. I bought a set there and put it on my Mart. D-35 to measure what exactly they do. And they made the terrific Dread explode like a symphony-orchestra (or a multi-colored airbrush billboard) - Way too much.[/color][/size][/font]

 

That's an interesting observation. I have never used coated strings, although I am putting them (Elixir Nano's) on my ES 335-12 for longevity on a guitar that will seldom get played. There's nothing sacred about about uncoated strings, in my book. You go for the strings that give you the sound you want. Certainly for true A-B comparison, you want to eliminate as many variables as possible, and strings are a big variable. I note from the Taylor website that most models since 1999 come with light gauge Elixir Nano's, while a few models (dreads, grand symphony, and jumbos) come with mediums, presumably still Elixir Nano's.

 

Now you've got my interest piqued. I may just try a set of these on my old J-45 when she comes home from the hospital.

 

Ironically, I have absolutely no complaints about the sound of my old J-45. Certainly the bright edge of Masterbuilt Premiums comes off very quickly, but I don't mind that. I tend to flatpick at the back end of the soundhole most of the time, with a fairly sharp attack. This gives me all the brightness and edge I expect or want from the guitar. If I want a fuller, less-differentiated more "Gibson-like" sound, I move to the center of the soundhole.

 

The character of the sound changes quickly with these little movements, which is one thing I really enjoy about the guitar. It has many voices and many moods.

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I must take exception to your statements about Elixir strings being a cheap way of making a guitar sound better. If it sounds better what is the problem?

 

Respect – Yeah better is relative. In my world the guitar should sound good with ordinary, even worn strings. I want my steel to serve the wood, not the other way around. Bwt. I kept the Elexirs on until this weekend, believe it or not – that's 1 ½ year !

 

Did it for 3 reasons –

 

1/ I wanted to follow the proces as they got old, , , real old.

 

2/ I used the larger than life sound in the studio for a full-band rock track and kept them on in case of a changed arrangement or extra ideas.

 

3/ As said, I've been in this Gibson-craze since last summer. So old 35 has been a bit on the shelf – well deserved. Oh how I still love that guitar. . . I knew this weekend.

 

If you Drathbun or anyone else have a party with Elexirs, , , Great.

 

In fact I was recommended a coated brand with a spiral snail on the cover (can't remember the name). Slightly milder than the E's – I would go for those if I changed my mind. Will not happen soon.

 

Different strokes for different folks (as I learned to say on the Board)

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I've told this true story before..... I bought my J45 Maple Custom, took it home a couple days, and then returned it to the store. The next day I went back and re-bought it. Can't expalin but it got in my blood vessels and kept circulation. As Robbie Robertson wrote, 'you like it now but you'll learn to love it'. My SWD took a couple of years before it 'opened up' and turned into a cherry. My best line is 'the value's seen without being shown'. I've enjoyed the comments on this topic, yep.

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Actually i used the word 'crap' to reflect the point of view of a number of non Gibson playing folks when they try them out. Or in other words a lot of folks on the AGF.

 

And the whole point of this thread was to understand the mindset of the Gibson bashing bloke who tries them out, together with other brands side by side at same guitar shop.

 

I simply felt Em7, as you rightly pointed out that Gibsons are what they are, they need to be played and understood differently. And this can come as a bit of a shock to people when compared side by side to highly responsive guitars like Taylors and Goodalls, especially if they are strung with Elixirs.

 

However I firmly believe Gibson would do themselves a great favour if they had at least EXP's (cant stand Elxirs) on their showroom guitars so that at least after all the grubby fingers have touched them they retain their tone and dont automatically get dismissed by short sighted folks for sounding like tin boxex.

 

 

 

Little theory with a loud statement : Gibsons sound like crap in stores.

 

Well, Gibsons can sound vague in comparison with other guitars, Martins, Guilds, Taylors etc. In many cases they simply don't project as strong as the others. At first sight one can get the thought the majority of them are made for flatpicking. And I admit it sometimes is a bit disappointing to pick up a G. just after f.x a D-28 - but you gotta know what you're doin' : You have to tune into the Gibson thing – and play them that way. It can be vulnerable. They are different animals - almost as sat on the planet to deliver alternative pleasures. It's a challenge to learn to listen for and understand this. Not easy for the inexperienced ear/hand. Now, I don't count you as an inexperienced ear EuroA, , , though – with all due respect - a beginner-player, you in fact have posted many fine statements about sound here. Therefor your 'crap-statement' surprises me a little, no offence.

 

1½ year ago - before gliding into this Gibson typhoon - I went out of town to visit a shop that specializes in Taylors. They have a lot and I must have played between 8 and 10. Suddenly it dawned on me all of them had Elexir coated strings, and it turned me off the salesman didn't tell. To me Elexir strings are like giving a guitar steroids. It's somewhat artificial – not the real thing - and besides the coated steel tends to kinda overrule the wood. I bought a set there and put it on my Mart. D-35 to measure exactly what they do. And they made the terrific Dread explode like a symphony-orchestra (or a multi-colored airbrush billboard) - Way too much.

I believe all Taylors come with these larger than life strings and frankly think it's a cheap way to make them sound better or more. Especially with starters who are out looking for a good guitar, in mind.

 

Quite opposite with Gibsons. They are what they are, nowadays know what they represent and – as mentioned - 'expects' you to tune in. 'Meet your Gibson halfway' could be an incrowd slogan. That's the charm, the treasure and the riddle of these guitars.

In my view anyway.

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Actually i used the word 'crap' to reflect the point of view of a number of non Gibson playing folks when they try them out. Or in other words a lot of folks on the AGF.

 

 

Okay then.

Yes I hear they are quite rough on G's over there. Acoustic Guitar Forum – what's goin on, , , wasn't it supposed to be a place for people with 6-string insight. . . .

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Funny you should post this now. Just last week I had to run some errands that took me near a Guitar Center. While the kids went next door to Petsmart I headed in to GC to check out a few guitars. Actually even though I have a J45 ,I really don't have much experience with other Gibsons. I jangled around of a few Taylors first then made the big reach up to where the J45, HB and SWD were hanging....and ECCCCCH ! All had old flat , flat , flat strings that were just about at the un-tunable stage and with visible crust on them. If I were not familiar with what Gibsons can do I would have been seriously perplexed about what all of the fuss is over. I also picked up that expensive Martin Eric Clapton model and it was even worse. Then it occured to me that the higher end the guitar , the more it was neglected. It was as if they didn't even expect to sell them, didn't even try and had them stuffed in a corner out of reach, while the lower priced Taylors which probably move alot quicker were all easily reached, tuned up and ready to go. Anyway ,those were my observations on that particular GC, not to disparage them all. Anyone else found this? :unsure:

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Okay then.

Yes I hear they are quite rough on G's over there. Acoustic Guitar Forum – what's goin on, , , wasn't it supposed to be a place for people with 6-string insight. . . .

 

I had a (short) spell over on AGF about 2 years ago. It took a matter of days before someone started a thread entitled "which brand do you hate most" or something similar. Gibson, predictably, took most of the barrage. When I suggested the thread was some kind of joke, I was given short thrift by a couple of members about being the new kid in town and not being polite.

 

So, I don't go there anymore.

 

Sorry, nothing to be with EA's original and interesting question.

 

I don't try many guitars in shops any more. It's a shame that most will have dead strings. But I do believe that a good guitar will sound good, even with dead strings - just depends on what floats your boat.

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The acoustic dept of the 4 GCs in the ATL area vary from good to not. 'Money for nothing and the chicks for free' is the normal line for any retail store... we got to move them refrigerators. Their high volume business model is what it is, no different than Costco. It seems to me that Gibson's marketing budget is going to the new model elecs. Every company builds a plan and goes with it, costs a ton to put reps out there working the stores. I think it's impossible to shrink-wrap high end wood. Did you know that was Sting in the background singing 'I want my MTV' for Knopfler?

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I have been reading this thread with interest because I have never tried a Taylor guitar (yes i know - boidoing boidioingggg - siren sounds - throw him out, bang etc) and am not really sure what the fuss about metro boys and stuff is about, so without stealing the thread, could someone quickly sum up what all the AGF anti everything is about.

 

I usually go to a Gibson dealer as they are the only shop near me with Masterbilt strings, and they don't have a Taylor in sight, and if they did I would be too busy heading for their latest Gibson arrivals!

 

I go to another shop that has sheet music and electrical musical accessories and until recently, really cheap guitars. I walk past the guitars to get to the sheet music area, and I see a row of Taylors, but they are arranged so close together and hanging from the lowered ceiling racks that 'the Klutz' is NEVER going to enter a tricky, possibly expensive and disasterous space like that.

 

So, what gives?

 

 

Blues King777

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After reading and responding to this thread this morning (tip my hat to Em7 for his excellent response), I went out to pick up the 2011 Vintage Guitar Price Guide and dropped in to a guitar shop close by. They have Taylors, Martins, Gibsons and Larrivees there. I played an SJ-200 that just came in with new strings (maybe a couple days old). Very very flamed maple back and sides AND neck. I've played a LOT of SJ200s (I want one some day), but only found one that sounded decent. This one blew my socks off! What an amazing instrument! Very very Gibson with boomy Gibson bass and shimmering highs... big sound. Wow! Strings were new.

 

Then I played a Taylor 514ce (cedar top, mahogany sides & back); amazingly beautiful sounding and playing guitar! I don't give a rat's a** what other people think of Gibson or Taylor or Martin or Esteban... ok, well I have definite opinions about Esteban. But, what counts is what you like to hear and play. It is the height of immaturity to call other people names because of their brand allegiances. So all I can give is my personal experience and personal preferences with regard to sound and playability. I don`t hang around a lot over at the AGF even though I own a Taylor. I find the company here much more mature and thoughtful.

 

Oh and BTW... that same guitar shop had a Gretsch Harrison Tribute Duo Jet. It is one of 60 made... 20 went to the east and Australia, 20 to Europe and 20 to the North Americas and this one was hanging on the wall. Every scratch and detail was reproduced from George`s `57 Black DuoJet. It was interesting to see. Not interesting enough to own for a mere $19,000.

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I dont know about you all... I never try out a Guitar in a room full of other acoustics.. That is a sense of False hope when selecting a guitar..

 

Gibsons, Martins , Taylors.. all have there own Tone and Chime..

 

My Preferance

I wouldnt own a Taylor.. 1 because they dry out to fast..They feel fragile. I dont like electronics in a acoustic Guitar.. They sound nice when there new...

 

I dont Mind Martins... Hd28 and or a D18 would be the ticket for me.. .. Endorsed guitars mean nothing to me... The Person never owned it whos sig is on it. so it doesnt make it worth more in my opinion.. and Im not for Contributing to estates of the elite or Icons..

 

Gibsons.. well... Sj200, or a SJ, J45 or a AJ.... To me... those are the main stream Guitars that Gibson has made... each has there own Taste..

 

If you want a High end Killer Guitar with 100% quality behind each one...>>>> I would be good with a Walker, Kopp. or even a Roy Noble Acoustic

 

I dont even think there priced out of reach either.. ..

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I have been reading this thread with interest because I have never tried a Taylor guitar (yes i know - boidoing boidioingggg - siren sounds - throw him out, bang etc) and am not really sure what the fuss about metro boys and stuff is about, so without stealing the thread, could someone quickly sum up what all the AGF anti everything is about. ...... So, what gives?

 

The Taylor "metro boys" thing is a king of inside joke from a thread a while back that was discussing (among other things) what guitars and tonewoods sound best with certain types of music. It became clear in the thread that certain guitar brands are highly associated with certain types of music, but Taylor guitars, for whatever reasons are not. So this quote was a play on that and was never meant as a slam against Taylor guitars. I have owned Taylors in the past and I currently have one in my stable - they are fine, versatile guitars, but I also don't associate them with any particular type of music. I use quote in my sig because I still think it's funny.

 

Regarding the "AGF anti everything" - slamming Gibsons is bad habit over there - at times it's really bad and at other times it wanes a bit. It's been going on for a long time - years. I'll stay away from characterizing the AGF members by the instruments the choose to own - I'll just say a certain number of AGF members own boutique/"builder"/luthier guitars. Some of the trashing comes from "I feel better about the name on my headstock by slamming other brands", and some of it comes from bad experiences with Gibson. Whatever the source, it's became a bad habit long ago.

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:rolleyes:

 

There nothing wrong with bashing stores that dont treat the Guitars with care..

 

take it as it is,,,... they dont look after there instruments like they should... they all hang on there walls longer because of that.....

 

I look at all Guitars on the wall as Used... Every one has played those.. there scratched up and neglected by the person before you..

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Regarding the "AGF anti everything" - slamming Gibsons is bad habit over there - at times it's really bad and at other times it wanes a bit. It's been going on for a long time - years. I'll stay away from characterizing the AGF members by the instruments the choose to own - I'll just say a certain number of AGF members own boutique/"builder"/luthier guitars. Some of the trashing comes from "I feel better about the name on my headstock by slamming other brands", and some of it comes from bad experiences with Gibson. Whatever the source, it's became a bad habit long ago.

 

I used to post quite a lot on the AGF around 2001. It was quite a diverse group, and even included Chris Martin from time to time. Not much has changed over there in terms of Gibson bashing. Aside from the few who purchase from high quality independent builders, most people are imprinted with Martin or Taylor as their mental frame of reference. By comparison, Gibson does not crank out as many consistently even acoustics. But almost anyone who has sampled a killer jumbo or round-shoulder Gibson realizes there are characteristics to these instruments that are rarely found elsewhere.

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