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Aaron Lewis SJ 12 months later


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Thanks Mojo. You know I really did extensively A/B the lights v mediums combo and found that for flatpicking the mediums sound better. The thickness of tone just springs out from those strings. But for strumming, which is mainly what I do do lights were definitely better. When strummed the mids choked the top too much, felt stiff and I felt I wasnt getting enough spring, things were a bit tight. Lights really gave the top a lot of resonance and complexity, and given the ultra light bracing I can understand that. Its all about balance at teh end of the day.

 

With the pick, i would like to try a Gibson heavy pick, as i relly like these picks. Other heavier picks I tried really didnt do it for me. The only problem is that if you buy Gibson heavy's it has to be in a box of 50 .... not very smart. Right now Im using the Gibson mediums and feel pretty good with them for strumming but missing a bit of stiffness for lead and flapicking runs, however i compensate for this bu holding closer to the tip of the pick to provide less flex.

 

Well I guess given your gigging style, the honeyed sound from the lights is ideal. As I said, it does sound really good. I suppose that even though I spend 90% of my time fingerpicking and on that front look for smooth warmth and balance with a capacity for some growl when the strings are pulled hard, my yardstick for what a guitar is capable of in anger is a hybrid of flatpicking and strumming like you get on the old Thomann country sample. It sounds like the Aaron would have an almighty growl in that arena, but that it would need the mediums to extract it. That said, I'm still working with 12s on the Woody, and am very happy with the results. Mind you, I don't actually know what the exact gauge of my current high E string is, since it's really a cheap, locally made B string from a set of so-called 10s, none of which actually has the gauge printed on the packet. It seems to be thinner than the 13 that it replaced, but my eyes aren't so good that I can be sure! I assume your lights are 'medium light' 12s and not something even ligher?

 

I swear by my heavy Gibson 346 style. 20 years and counting. Used it on electric for years, and still do. Thin and stiff. This is the tool that let me learn Misirlou and contemplate Lou Reed's Velvet Underground solos. Now I find it's the best thing for a short-scale acoustic. Serious attack, and it really brings out the trebles on the Woody without muffling the mids, while delivering that bass thump in spades. If you look beyond Thomann and to my homeland, you can purchase single Gibson heavies.

 

Gibson Heavy Picks 1 by 1

 

Not sure it's worth the delivery on a 40p item, mind. Perhaps one for a future visit to the UK, or for when you want to buy something else over the net.

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Thanks for the tip on the single Gibson picks Mojo, might see if Strings & Beyond deliver these single picks as I normally order in bulk from the US through S&B. I do use standard 12's when I mention lights. The Martin SP Longlife seem to really work well on this SJ. They came standard on the 00-15 and I really like them on that guitar, so thought it might be a good option for the SJ also.

But ive also enjoyed tone of Pyramid PB's and they're dirt cheap of under 4 Euro a pack from Thomann.

 

Do you see much of a difference between the Woody and the Aaron ? Ive never played the Woody but from the Thomann samples it reminds me a lot of the Aaron, really nice, thick and full tone, very meaty.

 

btw: I did record the Thomann country jingle with the SJ some 11 even months ago, so that would be after ownign it for a month. I think it may have been with 13's actually. Listening back to it now the tone sounds pretty thin to me, especially compared to the weekend recording. I do believe that it is possible for the tone to be actually thinner with mediums than lights as the mids can choke the top and not let it breathe, thereby stopping it from projecting like it could.

 

 

Well I guess given your gigging style, the honeyed sound from the lights is ideal. As I said, it does sound really good. I suppose that even though I spend 90% of my time fingerpicking and on that front look for smooth warmth and balance with a capacity for some growl when the strings are pulled hard, my yardstick for what a guitar is capable of in anger is a hybrid of flatpicking and strumming like you get on the old Thomann country sample. It sounds like the Aaron would have an almighty growl in that arena, but that it would need the mediums to extract it. That said, I'm still working with 12s on the Woody, and am very happy with the results. Mind you, I don't actually know what the exact gauge of my current high E string is, since it's really a cheap, locally made B string from a set of so-called 10s, none of which actually has the gauge printed on the packet. It seems to be thinner than the 13 that it replaced, but my eyes aren't so good that I can be sure! I assume your lights are 'medium light' 12s and not something even ligher?

 

I swear by my heavy Gibson 346 style. 20 years and counting. Used it on electric for years, and still do. Thin and stiff. This is the tool that let me learn Misirlou and contemplate Lou Reed's Velvet Underground solos. Now I find it's the best thing for a short-scale acoustic. Serious attack, and it really brings out the trebles on the Woody without muffling the mids, while delivering that bass thump in spades. If you look beyond Thomann and to my homeland, you can purchase single Gibson heavies.

 

Gibson Heavy Picks 1 by 1

 

Not sure it's worth the delivery on a 40p item, mind. Perhaps one for a future visit to the UK, or for when you want to buy something else over the net.

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Thanks for the tip on the single Gibson picks Mojo, might see if Strings & Beyond deliver these single picks as I normally order in bulk from the US through S&B. I do use standard 12's when I mention lights. The Martin SP Longlife seem to really work well on this SJ. They came standard on the 00-15 and I really like them on that guitar, so thought it might be a good option for the SJ also.

But ive also enjoyed tone of Pyramid PB's and they're dirt cheap of under 4 Euro a pack from Thomann.

 

Do you see much of a difference between the Woody and the Aaron ? Ive never played the Woody but from the Thomann samples it reminds me a lot of the Aaron, really nice, thick and full tone, very meaty.

 

btw: I did record the Thomann country jingle with the SJ some 11 even months ago, so that would be after ownign it for a month. I think it may have been with 13's actually. Listening back to it now the tone sounds pretty thin to me, especially compared to the weekend recording. I do believe that it is possible for the tone to be actually thinner with mediums than lights as the mids can choke the top and not let it breathe, thereby stopping it from projecting like it could.

 

 

Yes, I remember that early recording. Not so much thin to my ears as not really opened up, but I take your point. If those were 13s they weren't exactly driving the top, were they?

 

The Aaron sounds very open now. I don't hear much underlying difference relative to the Woody really, but I think that your guitar gets more play than mine, since I mainly have to sneak practice into a window between the kids getting into bed and falling asleep, or brief weekend sessions. Also I don't have a regular gig, though the Woody sounded pretty good when given a public airing a few weeks ago. I do hit the strings harder than you, though, so perhaps I get the beast to unleash itself more quickly from cold. In any case, I do think that your recording set-up is very good, and that you have a superb example of slopey goodness. I wonder if the advanced bracing which I believe the Aaron has makes some difference in terms of how open it sounds, or how quickly you can warm it up. The Woody really does the business, but when it's been in the case for a while it takes a bit of work. And then there are those extra-damp days here when the tone won't appear for love or money. Thankfully a slight drop in humidity the next day can bring everything back.

 

I've been planning to record the Thomann jingle and the Steve Earle song just for comparison, but had no time for such adventures. All I've got to date is the following, which is recorded with a thousand-forint video-conferencing mic straight to soundcloud. Very different playing style, so the comparison is limited. Still, you can hear something of the family ties. Turn up through headphones for something of the real flavour.

 

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Thanks for the tip on the single Gibson picks Mojo, might see if Strings & Beyond deliver these single picks as I normally order in bulk from the US through S&B. I do use standard 12's when I mention lights. The Martin SP Longlife seem to really work well on this SJ. They came standard on the 00-15 and I really like them on that guitar, so thought it might be a good option for the SJ also.

But ive also enjoyed tone of Pyramid PB's and they're dirt cheap of under 4 Euro a pack from Thomann.

 

Do you see much of a difference between the Woody and the Aaron ? Ive never played the Woody but from the Thomann samples it reminds me a lot of the Aaron, really nice, thick and full tone, very meaty.

 

btw: I did record the Thomann country jingle with the SJ some 11 even months ago, so that would be after ownign it for a month. I think it may have been with 13's actually. Listening back to it now the tone sounds pretty thin to me, especially compared to the weekend recording. I do believe that it is possible for the tone to be actually thinner with mediums than lights as the mids can choke the top and not let it breathe, thereby stopping it from projecting like it could.

 

 

Yes, I remember that early recording. Not so much thin to my ears as not really opened up, but I take your point. If those were 13s they weren't exactly driving the top, were they?

 

The Aaron sounds very open now. I don't hear much underlying difference relative to the Woody really, but I think that your guitar gets more play than mine, since I mainly have to sneak practice into a window between the kids getting into bed and falling asleep, or brief weekend sessions. Also I don't have a regular gig, though the Woody sounded pretty good when given a public airing a few weeks ago. I do hit the strings harder than you, though, so perhaps I get the beast to unleash itself more quickly from cold. In any case, I do think that your recording set-up is very good, and that you have a superb example of slopey goodness. I wonder if the advanced bracing which I believe the Aaron has makes some difference in terms of how open it sounds, or how quickly you can warm it up. The Woody really does the business, but when it's been in the case for a while it takes a bit of work. And then there are those extra-damp days here when the tone won't appear for love or money. Thankfully a slight drop in humidity the next day can bring everything back.

 

I've been planning to record the Thomann jingle and the Steve Earle song just for comparison, but had no time for such adventures. All I've got to date is the following, which is recorded with a thousand-forint video-conferencing mic straight to soundcloud. Very different playing style, so the comparison is limited. Still, you can hear something of the family ties. Turn up through headphones for something of the real flavour.

 

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Certainly a very different playing style Mojo, but I do hear a lot of depth and richness in the tone of the Woody. Would have been great to hear it through a bit better mike to get more of a feel but it certainly sounded woody and warm to me ears for sure !

 

Would be great to hear the Thomann country jingle on the Woody also ... actually I think it would be great to hear the Thomann jingle on forum folks Gibsons. I think ive heard four versions of it so far..

 

Yes, I remember that early recording. Not so much thin to my ears as not really opened up, but I take your point. If those were 13s they weren't exactly driving the top, were they?

 

The Aaron sounds very open now. I don't hear much underlying difference relative to the Woody really, but I think that your guitar gets more play than mine, since I mainly have to sneak practice into a window between the kids getting into bed and falling asleep, or brief weekend sessions. Also I don't have a regular gig, though the Woody sounded pretty good when given a public airing a few weeks ago. I do hit the strings harder than you, though, so perhaps I get the beast to unleash itself more quickly from cold. In any case, I do think that your recording set-up is very good, and that you have a superb example of slopey goodness. I wonder if the advanced bracing which I believe the Aaron has makes some difference in terms of how open it sounds, or how quickly you can warm it up. The Woody really does the business, but when it's been in the case for a while it takes a bit of work. And then there are those extra-damp days here when the tone won't appear for love or money. Thankfully a slight drop in humidity the next day can bring everything back.

 

I've been planning to record the Thomann jingle and the Steve Earle song just for comparison, but had no time for such adventures. All I've got to date is the following, which is recorded with a thousand-forint video-conferencing mic straight to soundcloud. Very different playing style, so the comparison is limited. Still, you can hear something of the family ties. Turn up through headphones for something of the real flavour.

 

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  • 5 months later...

Hey everybody,

 

as my own Aaron Lewis SJ turns 1 next week (from the day bought, not built), I thought I'd share some experiences, too.

 

The Aaron Lewis SJ gave me many a sleepless night - both playing and worrying. It's my first Gibson, and my first hi-end acoustic. In my price range (2000-2500 Euros), it was the best guitar I played in three months of testing. There's nothing like that Gibson "thump". The light bracing gives the guitar a fast attack/response like no other. However, after bringing her home and changing the old strings from the store, my SJ suddenly sounded "tinny" on the B and hi-E strings. This, I have to admit, drove me nearly crazy at first. It took me months to be 100% happy with that guitar (and I'm honestly not sure I am by now). However, last week, I had a local master luthier build me a custom bridge inlay (bone for the 4 low strings, mahogany for the 2 high ones), which definitely improved the sound a lot. It might even get better, when the stings work their way a bit more through the mahogany.

 

Here's a song I recorded after I had the Aaron Lewis SJ for a few months. For some reason, the tinny sound is not very pronounced on the recording. Hope you enjoy it. https://www.box.com/s/a3cfccb8cfe3a2afdad2

 

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Well it sounds aboslutely fine in this context, but to be honest its difficult to assess the tone when there are some many other instruments mixed over it.

 

Do you have any recording just with the guitar, or the guitar and vocals ?

 

Hey everybody,

 

as my own Aaron Lewis SJ turns 1 next week (from the day bought, not built), I thought I'd share some experiences, too.

 

The Aaron Lewis SJ gave me many a sleepless night - both playing and worrying. It's my first Gibson, and my first hi-end acoustic. In my price range (2000-2500 Euros), it was the best guitar I played in three months of testing. There's nothing like that Gibson "thump". The light bracing gives the guitar a fast attack/response like no other. However, after bringing her home and changing the old strings from the store, my SJ suddenly sounded "tinny" on the B and hi-E strings. This, I have to admit, drove me nearly crazy at first. It took me months to be 100% happy with that guitar (and I'm honestly not sure I am by now). However, last week, I had a local master luthier build me a custom bridge inlay (bone for the 4 low strings, mahogany for the 2 high ones), which definitely improved the sound a lot. It might even get better, when the stings work their way a bit more through the mahogany.

 

Here's a song I recorded after I had the Aaron Lewis SJ for a few months. For some reason, the tinny sound is not very pronounced on the recording. Hope you enjoy it. https://www.box.com/s/a3cfccb8cfe3a2afdad2

 

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I've got this short recording that features the tinny sound. It's basically a very harsh harmonic. The recording was done with the original bone bridge inlay, about a month after I bought the guitar.

 

https://www.box.com/s/kum83yf4fj9xfx3pxx16

Sounds ok to me, but I understand - might this guitar be happier tuned down a half-step? My J-45 loves living there, really gave it a bit of roar that I never expected.

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It's quite the opposite. The tinny sound seems to grow weaker if I use strings that are stiffer, with higher string tension. I've played lights (.012) so far, and trying a .011 was a disaster. I should really try medium strings soon, but I was always a little worried if the Aaron Lewis with its light bracing can handle it.

 

However, the new part-mahogany saddle already took a bit of the bite away. And come time I won't be able to hear these high frequencies anyway. ;)

 

BTW: My luthier doesn't see the problem at all. After a while, I just got really obsessive with the frequency, I guess.

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It's quite the opposite. The tinny sound seems to grow weaker if I use strings that are stiffer, with higher string tension. I've played lights (.012) so far, and trying a .011 was a disaster. I should really try medium strings soon, but I was always a little worried if the Aaron Lewis with its light bracing can handle it.

 

However, the new part-mahogany saddle already took a bit of the bite away. And come time I won't be able to hear these high frequencies anyway. ;)

 

BTW: My luthier doesn't see the problem at all. After a while, I just got really obsessive with the frequency, I guess.

 

Ive used for a while 13's on my AL SJ and this guitar can handle those strings easily, however I didnt like the tone as I thougth the mediums choked the top a bit too much. However, even though I dont have same problematic experience with my model, i would try keepin the EADG strings as lights and try the EB in medium and see how that works.

 

Try perhaps warm strings, definitely not 80/20's but warm PB's like Pyramids (you should find them easily as youre from Germany) Thomastik Infeld PB's or DR Sunbeams. Ive used the Pyramids for some 6 months on my AL SJ and have been very happy with the tone coming from them.

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Thanks for the suggestions! 80/20 or PB shouldn't make a difference on the (unwound) B and E strings though, right? I've already tried a large variety of strings and kept a "string diary": various Martins, D'Addario, Dean Markley Alchemy, Adamas, Gibson etc. Liked the Eric Clapton strings from Martin (they could use some more low end punch though) and the coated D'Addarios.

 

However, even though I dont have same problematic experience with my model, i would try keepin the EADG strings as lights and try the EB in medium and see how that works.

As it happens, I ordered a single .013 E and a .017 B when I last got me some strings. Gonna try that tonight. Also, I've still got some Optima Gold strings around that I have to try out.

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