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Played Two Gibsons For The First Time


zombywoof

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It has been raining Gibsons around here lately and I got my hands on two that I have never had a chance to play around with before - a Starburst and 1930s L-12 archtop (X braced version).

 

I know Jorma played a blue Straburst so was hoping for a chance to try one out. Very much what I would describe as a modern voice Gibson. It was full and very detailed sounding especially when played up the board. Not as warm sounding and lacking that crackling edge I am used to hearing with my older guitars. It seemed equally at home though with fingerpicking and a flatpick although I would give it an edge when a pick is involved (just personal taste here). If I played more single string stuff like I did in the old days, it seemed like the Starburst would be a good choice.

 

On to the archtop. I keep grabbing hold of these f-hole guitars hoping to find one I can live in peace with. This sucker was amazingly well built and as good a looking guitar as you will ever see. I mean, this is one of those guitars you just like to prop up and look at. Alot thinner body than I would have expected. As to sound - have to start with a disclaimer that the strings on this thing were not exactly fresh other than the high E I slapped on as there was none there. Despite the thin body the lows and mids were everything you would expect from a reallly good archtop. Alot of punch there. But the upper end still sounded thin to my ears.

 

Upshot is while I passed on the Starburst I can't get that flippin' archtop out of my head. I am convinced if I play around with it I can get the highs to a place that would make me happy. But I ain't 100% sure of that. Plus I would have to part with one of my flattops to get it. While the guitar can be mine for a very reasonable price it is still not what I would call cheap. Lawdy, my head hurts from all of the thinking and rationalizing going on in there.

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Upshot is while I passed on the Starburst I can't get that flippin' archtop out of my head. I am convinced if I play around with it I can get the highs to a place that would make me happy. But I ain't 100% sure of that. Plus I would have to part with one of my flattops to get it. While the guitar can be mine for a very reasonable price it is still not what I would call cheap. Lawdy, my head hurts from all of the thinking and rationalizing going on in there.

 

 

Let me know which of your flat tops you decide to part with, if push comes to shove. I tend to adopt them like stray kittens.

 

Archtops are tricky. I like my L-7, but still haven't figured it out.

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Let me know which of your flat tops you decide to part with, if push comes to shove. I tend to adopt them like stray kittens.

 

Archtops are tricky. I like my L-7, but still haven't figured it out.

 

 

Thing is I have gotten to the point where I am pretty fond of everything I have and parting with any of them will require a whole lot of soul searching. But I do not have the expendable cash to just buy the archtop outright. Worst part is the guy who owns the L-12 told me he would gladly take my 1947 LG-2 in trade. It would have to be that one. I also know myself and have to be careful of the lure of the "new toy" thing. It is helpful that I can get the archtop over to the house and keep it for a bit so I can putz around with it before I make a call.

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Archtops are tricky. I like my L-7, but still haven't figured it out.

Put on some flats, OR some rounds heavy on the nickel...either pre nickel or nickel plated steel.

 

You will be wondering how that smooth clean Fender amp-like tone can come from an accoustic. The tone you hear from the L-7 will be the REAL deal, that Jazz or blues tone that gave birth to the whole be-bop and Jazz big-band thing.

 

The only mystery then will be how can something SOUND and play so good. You might ask how many others have heard such beauty coming from a guitar. You might ask how it is that the difference in quality can be so vast from an amplified copy and how it is achieved through actual craftsmanship.

 

These are the mysteries I haven't figured out. I have many of these.

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Thing is I have gotten to the point where I am pretty fond of everything I have and parting with any of them will require a whole lot of soul searching. But I do not have the expendable cash to just buy the archtop outright. Worst part is the guy who owns the L-12 told me he would gladly take my 1947 LG-2 in trade. It would have to be that one. I also know myself and have to be careful of the lure of the "new toy" thing. It is helpful that I can get the archtop over to the house and keep it for a bit so I can putz around with it before I make a call.

ZOMBY, WHERE ARE YOU LOCATED???

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What is motivating me is I am getting pulled away from playing the stuff I have played for decades into some new (for me) music and need a more detailed sounding guitar. I have a bunch of old bottom of the food chains guitars like the LG-2 that are great for playing around the nut but the only one I have that is detailed enough to really play up the board is the J-200. I am also being called on to play a bit more electric. The L-12 comes with a nice old floating pickup that can be slapped on. Although I have not yet tried it the archtop might be able to do double duty. Then again, I have three Dearmonds I can put on the flatops. Again though, I know me and I have a tendency to just be intrigued by something new and anxious to get something different in my hands. And so it goes and so it goes.

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What is motivating me is I am getting pulled away from playing the stuff I have played for decades into some new (for me) music and need a more detailed sounding guitar. Again though, I know me and I have a tendency to just be intrigued by something new and anxious to get something different in my hands. And so it goes and so it goes.

 

 

This is a problem that many of us share. Every time I hear something different that comes out of a type of guitar I don't own, I tend to go off looking for a new tool with which to replicate that sound. This is a dangerous path, and ultimately leads to guitarist OCD, which we all know is both incurable and, ultimately, terminal

 

Since you already have it, you might as well enjoy it until the end. There is no known cure, although there are obvious methods to put it into temporary remission. The cost of treatment is not covered by any medical insurance that I am aware of.

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It has been raining Gibsons around here lately and I got my hands on two that I have never had a chance to play around with before - a Starburst and 1930s L-12 archtop (X braced version).

Acoustically, the best sounding archtop I've ever owned was a 1930s Gibson-made Wards with a carved top and X bracing.

Take a long and very serious look at that L-12!

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One of the best hollow body electrics I ever played was a Gibson 335, just have to watch the nut for intonation problems.

 

The best hollow body electric I have played and owned is a PRS SC HB II and it is a true hollow body. Just great intonation and playability. Also stunning looks. The PRS is the guitar I play on mostly, next would be any of my 4 Gibson acoustics.

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One of the best hollow body electrics I ever played was a Gibson 335, just have to watch the nut for intonation problems.

 

 

The ES 335 is really a semi-hollowbody rather than a hollowbody, as a good chunk of what would be the resonant volume is taken up by the solid centerblock in order to reduce feedback. Just happens to look and handle like a hollowbody.

 

I've got two of the suckers, and I like them, even though they rarely get played these days.

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