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Gibson Hummingbird True Vintage build/finish issues.


Del Nilppeznaf

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Hi everyone,

 

I am new to this forum and i have some questions regarding a new 'Hummingbird Tv' Herritage Cherry burst' I purchased recently.

 

I have a number of issues with this guitar and before I raise them I would like to state that I have contacted the dealer from where i bought the guitar and they have agreed to replace this model with a new one, which they have on order from Gibson. So i am very happy with the after sales service.

 

This guitar was the only True Vintage model they had in the shop, I played it against a Hummingbird Icon 60's model in a Natural colour. This guitar had an adjustable bridge with two silver coloured metal screws. and was 250 euro's cheaper. The sales assistant stated that he thought the Icon was the better guitar, it had a lower action and a slightly thinner neck. It did feel a little 'easier' to play, but the True Vintage had a fuller/richer sound and in my mind is one of the most gorgeous 'looking' acoustics around; and that sound was way better than the Icon!!!

 

So i bought the True Vintage. I had the neck aligned and the action was lowered slightly. On getting the guitar home, I noticed a few knocks the guitar had taken which i had not noticed in the shop, not really much but one on the bottom side knee rest was not nice, dent and small crack in lacquer. But hey I could live with that.

 

In the shop i had noticed the truss rod cover with the Hummingbird name embossed on it was not completely straight. The top screw hole had been drilled slightly off center and the cover was therefor a little off. this is minor cosmetics I know, but it made me think maybe this had not been finished as good as it could have been.

 

Also in the shop I had noticed there was a darker coloured grain running up the full length of the rosewood finger board. I raised this issue with the sales assistant and he stated that it was a good thing and it was a " beautiful piece of rosewood ". The darker colour indicating a harder more dense grain in the wood. This seemed to make sense to me, and it actually looks nice.

 

Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Would it affect the strength or ageing or sound in anyway?

 

Now here is my first major query. On getting the guitar home I noticed the fingerboard actually has small 'fissures' all over the rosewood. Is this normal? I have never seen this on my other guitars. They where not visible in the light of the shop but are clearly visible in the daylight through my window. If this is a fault in the wood, would Gibson send this guitar out as ok?

 

Second query: The bridge has a knot in the wood on the bottom 'arm'. Would this affect the strength of the wood or make any detrimental tone issues? Sorry if i sound like a fool, but this would be interesting to know.

 

My last major issue with the build and finish of this guitar is you can feel the join between the neck and the fingerboard. Where the white binding joins the neck you can clearly feel the join all the up the neck on both sides. Surely this is not right? Even my $500 Yamaha cira 1970 acoustic is completely smooth at this join, as is my Yamaha SG200 and a Seagull CW6+ with LR Baggs electronics. Hell even an old battered Tanglewood acoustic and really cheap bass I own have completely smooth necks. This was the major factor of me contacting the store and asking for a replacement.

 

Was i correct in doing this?

 

Finally, sorry if this is a little long winded, there are a number of other issues with this guitar. The pick guard has 2 blemishes/ air holes actually inside the material which are clearly visible, one looks as if there is some foreign material actually inside the casting of the guard. There is also some glue and air pockets visible underneath the guard. I have read the topic on this issue on at this forum and understand it is quite common?

 

And lastly, the tuning heads seem really tight and hard to turn, alot more than the other Icon 60's model Hummingbird i tried, which seemed to have excatley the same gold Gotoh green button tuners. I don't believe this to be a problem but any thoughts on it would be appreciated.

 

This is kind of a moot topic post I suppose , as I am getting a new Hummingbird from the store, but i would be interested in any responses and thought any members have on the points I have raised. to be honest i didn't feel 100% happy with the guitar as soon as i first picked it up. You know that feeling you get when you pick up an instrument and it 'talks ' to you straight away. Because it was the only one in the shop... and it still does sound really beautiful.... i bought it, i think I am right in asking for a replacement though?

 

Thanks in advance for any replies..... I'm in love already with the Hummingbird and look forward to receiving a differnt model....

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I cannot really comment on the issues you bring up. However, I know exactly how you feel about this. I have been there with quite a few of my guitars in the past. My advice is to take this one back, wait for the replacement, then examine it thouroughly. Don't settle, there is always another guitar out there. I know from experience that cosmetic issues can bug me enough to sell an otherwise great guitar. If you are like me, wait for the right guitar.

 

Lars

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What would concern me the most is that I'm not sure your guitar is actually a True Vintage model. I've never seen a TV Hummingbird with an adjustable bridge before and the Gibson website doesn't seem to show it either. You might make sure you're not being charged extra for something you're not actually getting.

 

http://www2.gibson.com/Products/Acoustic-Instruments/Square-Shoulder/Gibson-Acoustic/Hummingbird-True-Vintage/Features.aspx

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I am not sure regarding the specific issues with your guitar. But if you are not happy and the guitar you have is not the greatest sounding guitar you've ever played, then you are definitely doing the right thing if the dealer is getting you a new guitar.

 

Just wanted to let you know to be careful with the straight from the factory guitar. The finish on my factory fresh J-45 TV was pretty sensitive to scratches the first couple months. Keys in my pocket gave it some scratches whereas I haven't had issues like this before on my other guitars which had presumably been in the store for months.

It definitely seems to have hardened over the past couple months.

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Was thinking of giving some pic's of "the fallen bird ". will try to get some up shortly. Another query I would have would be the alignment of the strings with the neck. On this model..a slight mis-fingering on the top E string will cause the string to actually slide off the fret.If you where to give a moderate vibrato to this string it will 'come off' the fret. Is this normal?

 

I tend to have a very strong/forced finger pressure when making chords and general playing. i know this is a fault in my general playing...and even a few days with this new Hummingbird is making me a better player. ( i think this is due to many years travelling the world and playing cheap guitars and the fact that the main guitar I have been playing for the last 11 yrs is a Seagull with high action and now very worn frets) I have never played a guitar with the top E so close to the edge of the fret.

I am wondering is this normal on the Hummingbird?

 

The bottom E string alignment seems to be fine.. I will try to post some pic's so members can have a look.

 

thanks for replies

fissures in fingerboard not able to photo due to quality of camera

 

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To me it doesn't look like there is anything wrong with the low E string regarding it's string spacing and room between the edge of the fretboard. If you are pushing the string upwards rather than simply pressing it down for it make contact with the fret and ring out.

 

If you are used to really high action and bed frets this could be a fault in your fretting technique rather than the actual guitar, of course I could be wrong, but the photograph showing the string spacing does not look suspicious to me.

 

The small knot probably wouldn't have bothered me much either, but, customers are all different, perhaps I would settle too easily for a less than perfect model.

 

all the best

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To me it doesn't look like there is anything wrong with the low E string regarding it's string spacing and room between the edge of the fretboard. If you are pushing the string upwards rather than simply pressing it down for it make contact with the fret and ring out.

 

If you are used to really high action and bed frets this could be a fault in your fretting technique rather than the actual guitar, of course I could be wrong, but the photograph showing the string spacing does not look suspicious to me.

 

The small knot probably wouldn't have bothered me much either, but, customers are all different, perhaps I would settle too easily for a less than perfect model.

 

all the best

Yes thanks Palourman... i think this is due to my technique also... as I stated, playing this guitar is already making me a better player even after a few days.

The cosmetics 'faults' of the bird do not bother me so much... i believe they are part of its character. the main issue though is the join between neck and fingerboard.. surely this should be completely smooth on a guitar of this caliber. There being so many small defects, and in my mind this one defect being major? ( does any other member have a Tv with this same issue?)has made me request a new model.

 

And again I would like to state the store where i purchased the guitar have been great, and have said i should keep hold of this model until a new one arrives.

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I dont know. Having a loot at the pics it doesnt seem to be anything drastic, probably would not bother me. However if it bothers you, as it does and it will be replaced than thats what really matters.

 

Interesting finsih, more on the orange side than the cherry burst finishes Ive seen and played of the HB TV's.

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I dont know. Having a loot at the pics it doesnt seem to be anything drastic, probably would not bother me. However if it bothers you, as it does and it will be replaced than thats what really matters.

 

Interesting finsih, more on the orange side than the cherry burst finishes Ive seen and played of the HB TV's.

 

 

Cheers, probably the light and camera i'm using giving the orange impression. What are your thoughts on ' fissures/ cracks' in rosewood fingerboard? this does not seem good to me....

 

Any other member have any thoughts on this?

and actually it is quite orange when i look at it. :)

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I think everything sounds structurally fine, although the e string does look quite close to the edge of the fretboard to me...

 

The cosmetic issues are purely personal, and for me the wonky TRC would be annoying!

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That Gibson guitar model should be "above" quality issues of that type. I'd ask for a different guitar... Particularly if you have a reputable Gibson dealer who wants you to be happy with your purchase (and I assume the guitar was not sold "as is" or with a price discount because of the "issues"...)

 

A "Hummingbird True Vintage" should be "right" (or it should be replaced...)

 

Good luck,

Jack6849

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Cheers, probably the light and camera i'm using giving the orange impression. What are your thoughts on ' fissures/ cracks' in rosewood fingerboard? this does not seem good to me....

 

Any other member have any thoughts on this?

 

It seems that you've found enough faults with this guitar that it's almost pointless to comment on them individually. It sounds as much as anything like a case of "buyer's remorse". In this case, you should have sat down with it in the shop and gone over every square inch of it in the presence of the dealer, even before playing a note on it. That way, you can't be blamed for putting a scratch on it.

 

When I buy a guitar in person, I show up with a towel to set it on for inspection, which tells the seller that you are serious about evaluating it cosmetically. It also shows you have respect for his instrument.

 

Rosewood varies a lot in density and grain pattern, even within the same species and with wood cut from the same tree. The streakiness in your fretboard is common with the "grainier" rosewoods such as Brazilian or Madagascar.

 

Even straight-grained (almost an oxymoron) Brazilian can have pronounced "fissures" which are just the surface manifestations of the wood grain. Without knowing what constitutes a "fissure" in your case, it's hard to offer an opinion

 

I have several vintage Gibsons with Brazilian boards from the 60's, and they are all different, some with straight grain and dark, even color, others with a pronounced, almost "wild" grain an a variety of colors. I can't say with certainty that one piece wears better than another.

 

If you want even color and tight grain on a fretboard, you need a guitar with an ebony board. Ebony can be so dense and even in color that it looks like matte black paint.

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I think you have a Fine Hummingbird... Rosewood Grain can be all over the map.. and still a very Stable solid wood.. its been that way for ever..

 

as for the Bell trussrod Cover.. loosin the screw off.. you may have a little room there to move it over a bit. ..

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It seems that you've found enough faults with this guitar that it's almost pointless to comment on them individually. It sounds as much as anything like a case of "buyer's remorse". In this case, you should have sat down with it in the shop and gone over every square inch of it in the presence of the dealer, even before playing a note on it. That way, you can't be blamed for putting a scratch on it.

 

When I buy a guitar in person, I show up with a towel to set it on for inspection, which tells the seller that you are serious about evaluating it cosmetically. It also shows you have respect for his instrument.

 

Rosewood varies a lot in density and grain pattern, even within the same species and with wood cut from the same tree. The streakiness in your fretboard is common with the "grainier" rosewoods such as Brazilian or Madagascar.

 

Even straight-grained (almost an oxymoron) Brazilian can have pronounced "fissures" which are just the surface manifestations of the wood grain. Without knowing what constitutes a "fissure" in your case, it's hard to offer an opinion

 

I have several vintage Gibsons with Brazilian boards from the 60's, and they are all different, some with straight grain and dark, even color, others with a pronounced, almost "wild" grain an a variety of colors. I can't say with certainty that one piece wears better than another.

 

If you want even color and tight grain on a fretboard, you need a guitar with an ebony board. Ebony can be so dense and even in color that it looks like matte black paint.

 

thanks for reply...interesting comments. i will leave this post for 24 hours and look at members replies... Thanks again for all your comments.

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thanks for reply...interesting comments. i will leave this post for 24 hours and look at members replies... Thanks again for all your comments.

And yes, my yamaha sg2000 has an ebony fingerboard i believe and it looks completely matt black. Main querey is. Does rosewood have these 'fissures" naturally? seems like comments are stating it does.....

 

when i go to collect new 'Bird' this knowledge will be much appreciated

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And yes, my yamaha sg2000 has an ebony fingerboard i believe and it looks completely matt black. Main querey is. Does rosewood have these 'fissures" naturally? seems like comments are stating it does.....

 

when i go to collect new 'Bird' this knowledge will be much appreciated

 

It can. Every piece of rosewood is different. It is not necessarily a flaw, unless you don't like it. At that point, it's a flaw as far as you're concerned, but another buyer may see it as a plus. It's all a matter of expectations.

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.... a new 'Hummingbird Tv' Herritage Cherry burst' ... I have a number of issues with this guitar....

 

Sounds like you weren't as sharp-eyed at the shop as you are at home, and that's a mistake. When you find some issues at a shop, but still are interested, take advantage of their "Hold" policy (if they have one). Sit on it overnight, go back the next day, and take out your fresh critical eyes, ears and hands - go over the whole guitar.

 

As for the issues you mentioned -

 

Knocks, dents and cracks you didn't notice in the shop - you need to use a more critical eye. Those are shop issues.

 

The rosewood - sounds normal to me. Rosewood has a fairly open grain compared to ebony. A non-issue, and a matter of personal preference.

 

The knot in the bridge - if there are no visible cracks in the wood, this should be fine. Although as a woodworker if find it odd the knot was not cut out of the blank stock strip. A non-issue, and a matter of personal preference.

 

The tuning heads are too tight. A non-issue as they can be adjusted and lubed. The tightness is a matter of personal preference.

 

Truss rod cover - I'm at a loss to explain why Bozeman would've let that get out the door. It's a pretty obvious misalignment. That's a Gibson issue.

 

The join between the binding and the neck is noticeable to the touch (I'd like to see a pic of this) - it should be smooth and level to the touch. That's a Gibson issue.

 

Pickguard blemishes on a model that is universally identified by it's iconic pickguard is big oversight in my book. That's a Gibson issue.

 

Maybe some buyer's remorse here, but between the shop issue (knocks and dents), and the Gibson issues, IMO you definitely got a basis for exchange. OTOH, if the guitar was blessed with fantastic sound and playability, I might overlook these issues and keep it. But in the end, YOU are the one who has to live with your decision. Judging from your posts, I think you've made the right move. I hope your exchange 'Bird is everything you hoping for. B)

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As for the issues you mentioned -

 

Truss rod cover - I'm at a loss to explain why Bozeman would've let that get out the door. It's a pretty obvious misalignment. That's a Gibson issue.

 

 

If you look closely at the picture, it seems obvious from the offset of the lower screw head relative to the TRC that it simply may not be screwed on straight. loosen the lower screw slightly (maybe the upper one, too), and rotate the TRC into the proper position. Re-tighten screws. Should not have happened, but it may not be rocket science to fix.

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If the dealer is willing, take a look at the replacement and go with it if it passes inspection. The unevenness you noted between the fretboard and the neck is unaccetable. The other things you could live with. The streakiness of the rosewood neck is not unusual. I've noticed some very detailed problems in my new J45 (built Feb 2011) but nothing that would cause me to fall out of love ............. wonder if this is a problem others are having with new instruments? Any others out there?

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I bought a Jan 2011 J-45 a few weeks ago. It does have a few minor detail / finish issues. I wouldn't even call them flaws, just imperfections. I do understand the expectation of a 100% perfectly flawless guitar for the amount you spend for a new Gibson, but they are made by humans. I bought it as a "lifetime guitar. I have decided to not worry about imperfections and keeping it in pristine condition for the next guy. I am just going to enjoy playing it, even if it gets a few bruises along the way.

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