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J-185 True Vintage


Navy986S

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Greetings. I've been monitoring this forum for some time - lot's of good information. This is my first post. Just purchased a beautiful 2010 J-185 TV. Hopefully the picture will attach below. This is my first "nice" acoustic. Had the guitar setup by a tech who is well thought of in the Northern VA/DC area (Metro Guitar Service). Following the setup, she plays beautifully, is quite loud, and for the most part, has a very nice tone. There is a but coming. . . at standard tuning, the G string sounds thin and compressed. To get the G string (and to some extent, the D string) to sound "right", I need to tune down an entire step and use a capo. I have taken the guitar back to the tech as well as two other local shops. All agree that the G string does not sound as good as the other five. However, all three shops thought the nut, saddles and neck were fine and did not think additional adjustments would help. I have tried several types of strings. John Pearse Phospher Bronze 12's sound the best to my ear. However, she is still tuned down an entire step. Have considered heavier strings, but Gibson recommended I stay with 12's.

 

I have only been playing for about two years and concede I may be making too much of this. WIth the JP strings, she sounds pretty good. I could live with it as is. On the other hand, this is an expensive guitar and I would like to be as good as it can be. Quite frankly, I played a Hummingbird at Guitar Center today and wish the J-185 played as well and sounded as good. That guitar really was amazing. Would appreciate any suggestions on what to try next. Life with Telecasters was much simpler! Thanks.

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Not sure this may help:

Within a same set, D'Addario strings usually have D and G strings much harder than the others in standard tunning.

They generally fit my goals for strumming.

Sometimes I swap high E and B strings with a higher gauge though, mainly on acoustic guitars.

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My advice would be to go get the Hummingbird you liked. If you really do think that guitar had better tone and playability, you will likely keep second guessing your choice of the J-185 True Vintage until it drives you nuts.

 

Lars

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Thanks to all for the recommendations. I had considered taking a G string from a set of heavier gage strings. May still try it. My wife also thinks I should just get the Hummingbird (been talking about one for a year or so). Have to decide whether I would sell the 185 to get the Hummingbird. This is Labor Day weekend and the GC 15% off coupon is in the inbox. . .

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Get the bird......

 

By getting the 'bird and A/Bing your guitars you may see the 185 isn't so bad in the end, of course it may swing the other way and then you know, if you don't get the 'bird every time you play the 185 you'll be dissatisfied and thoughts will hark back to the 'bird...

 

getting the one you want is cheaper in the long run......

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...... at standard tuning, the G string sounds thin and compressed. To get the G string (and to some extent, the D string) to sound "right", I need to tune down an entire step and use a capo. ......

 

In the interest of a diagnostic discussion -

 

So you capo - that takes the nut out of the equation and it sounds better. Tune to standard, then apply the capo on every fret up to 5 or 7 and see if the string/s sound better at some point. If so, that localizes the problem to the nut and the first few frets. So either a nut problem (slot depth or material), or out of level fretboard and/or frets, or a combination of these. I had a problem once with a fret slot that was a bit to deep. No audible buzz, but just as you say - the sound from the string was thin and compressed. Check your fret level with a straight edge. Unfortunately, there's not much you do to check if a higher nut slot sounds better without possibly voiding your warranty/exchange rights. If you were going to keep it, you can raise a nut slot with some super glue into the slot, sprinkle in some baking soda and then pack it with a toothpick (yes, really, it works). Let it cure, then restring and see how it sounds.

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One thing to try might be to put together a "hybrid" set of strings, with slightly heavier (medium) gauges for the wound strings("E","A","D", and that problem "G") while maintaining the lighter size on the plain ones (the "B" and the high "E"). At least trying that mix once will tell you if your problem can be "remedied" with a "string" solution.

 

(Beefing up just the size of the "G", (with a slightly bigger single string), might also be a simple (and cheaper) way to start investigating your problem...)

 

Good luck,

Jack6849

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In the interest of a diagnostic discussion -

 

So you capo - that takes the nut out of the equation and it sounds better. Tune to standard, then apply the capo on every fret up to 5 or 7 and see if the string/s sound better at some point. If so, that localizes the problem to the nut and the first few frets. So either a nut problem (slot depth or material), or out of level fretboard and/or frets, or a combination of these. I had a problem once with a fret slot that was a bit to deep. No audible buzz, but just as you say - the sound from the string was thin and compressed. Check your fret level with a straight edge. Unfortunately, there's not much you do to check if a higher nut slot sounds better without possibly voiding your warranty/exchange rights. If you were going to keep it, you can raise a nut slot with some super glue into the slot, sprinkle in some baking soda and then pack it with a toothpick (yes, really, it works). Let it cure, then restring and see how it sounds.

 

This forum was definitely the right place to come to. Thanks for this suggestions. I intend to try the "hybrid" string approach (heavier G string) first. I should know fairly quickly if that will help. If that does not do the trick, I will give this approach a try. I learn something every day . . .

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My advice would be to go get the Hummingbird you liked. If you really do think that guitar had better tone and playability, you will likely keep second guessing your choice of the J-185 True Vintage until it drives you nuts.

 

Lars

 

+++1 The Bird is the word ! [thumbup]

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  • 2 weeks later...

and the word is the bird......

 

Hi guys , I signed up here to try and sell my 1953 J 185 but I have to have 10 posts to add a post in the sales section so here is #1

You don;t know anything about valuation of acoustics do you?

 

Email me on revinc@gmail.com if you are interested and I can send photo's/serials etc

 

Many thanks!

darin

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