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Gibsons in Groups


Rambler

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Here's one to chew on. Last week, I took my J50 out to play with another guit/octave mando and a bass player (fender, muted). I felt the J50 got lost in the wash, especially on breaks. Took my Martin 000 out to a song circle on Sunday, several guits (one a 12-string), had no trouble hearing myself in the mix. It would seem that what appeals to me about the J50 for playing solo (even tone, no sharp edges) might be a liability in an ensemble, where's the Martin, which I find edgey by itself, stepped right up to the plate in a group. What about you all? Similar experiences with your Gibsons? Or not?

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"some guitars are made to punch it out with the other instruments live and some were made to be recorded", that's probably the shortest answer I can find for you.

 

I know what you mean though, I play in a duo, the other guy has a fairly cheap heavy mid-tones laminate guitar, it really isn't the best, compared to my woody guthrie model which has rolling basses and singing (as opposed to screeching) highs, his guitar is quite a chest beater in volume when plugged in, but mine has the sound, the tone, the look, the feel and the growl.... I'm working on him getting something nicer to play with.

 

If your talking acoustically, it's something that not much can be done about, what type & gauge of strings do you use? Martin's can be cannon's in the volume department though.

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I've got a song circle that plays at our church. Depending on who shows up any particular night, we could have two or three guitars or it could be six guitars, a mandolin, two fiddles and a bunchor tanborine bangers. And a bunch of singers. When I go there I grab my Advanced Jumbo. Never had any problem being heard...

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I see why you raise the Q. and understand the first responses – The AJ of course is known as the 'roaring' cannon, but all in all most Gibsons aren't really powerplayers. They are about tone and feel – nose for nuance, fortunately. (Also when strummed or flatpicked).

 

And don't forget the J-50 mahogany is a mellower midtone-wood, which again means it won't be too present in the bass'n'treb areas opposed to the more full spectrum rose.

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I am lucky in that I got to take both of the Gibsons I now own home for a couple of weeks before I purchased to give them a good test drive so had at least an idea of what they were capable of. One of my criteria is they have to be loud. Neither my SJ or J-200 have any problem being heard at the back of the church as Rev. Davis would say, eand they can hold their own with pretty much anything.

 

Over the past weeks though I have working on bringing an old mahogany top, flat back Guild with a broken neck and other problems back to life. Getting it to the point where it was all holding together (although still cosmetically challenged) I decided to take the guitar out to a small gathering to see what it could do. While the Guild has a nice warm voice to it I like (and which is very different sounding than any guitar I own), it also ain't got alot of presence and after a few tunes it was pretty obvious that the guitar just could not cut through the mix. But then again, I was just happy that I did not hear the sound of splintering wood and snapping strings.

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My j45 is not a boomer by any stretch of the imagination, but its tone is superb. When playing in a duet (a violin, viola, or flute) it sounds great. It even does well in a trio. If you throw in a piano or a trombone played moderately the j45 is lost, but Oh, the sound it makes in a solo, duet, or trio of the previous sorts!! Gibson, IMO, makes the best hog around, others may have more projection but at best they will only sound almost like a Gibson. If one is wanting to make it in the mix, then a rosewood would may do better. I know Zombywoof and Larryp58 have SJs that evidently cut through the mix but my j45 is always in the background.

 

 

chasAK

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"some guitars are made to punch it out with the other instruments live and some were made to be recorded"

 

I know what you mean. My SongBird Deluxe is my "go to" guitar when I'm playing in the bluegrass band. I must admit that in a world consisting of mostly Martins, I have to back off of my Gibson so folks can hear those Martins! My Gibson blows them away! Now on the other hand, my SJ/TV holds its own against the Martins. But when it comes to recording a guitar part, nothing even comes close to my SJ/TV. That classic Gibson sound and rich tone just shines when being recorded. When I'm playing other venues besides bluegrass, my SJ/TV is only choice!

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With some instruments, those out front hear a lot more than the player does. Sometimes instruments that we don't think are cutting through are actually really loud for everyone but the player. I think this is the case with my SJ-200 TV. It doesn't sound especially loud to me but I think that may be somewhat misleading. In any event, I really don't need it to be a cannon; I just need its distinctive tone, which it has to spare.

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