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Buying my first gibson. Tested 12!


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All my life I wanted a Gibson......

I bought a Epihone Jumbo. I fell in love with it's shape.

Uppgraded to a Takamine EF341C wich been in my posseion since '99.

This is a real nice guitar. Sounds great.

But now I've decided to buy a gibson....finally.......

Im a hughe fan of The Traveling Wilburys and Tom Petty and love playing those songs. Strumming that is...

 

I wen't to a music store here in Gothenburg (Sweden). A store with nice range of Gibson guitars.

I played for about an hour and tried the following:

 

J-45

Hummingbird

Hummingbird (black)

Songwriter

SJ-200 VS

SJ-200 AN

 

All these were Standards and I must say I was truly dissapointed. The only one that came close to my Takamine was the SJ's.

Don't know if these were just "bad apples"? I was not impressed

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Well...... on to the next guitars.

Sheryl Crow

Songwriter Custom

 

Nice cripsy sound. Both sounded a lot like my beloved Takamine.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I tried a LG2 & a Bluesmaster Keb Mo...

No action in those to be honest

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Then I got to try out a real beauty:

Doves In Flight.

What a piece of work. So beautiful. But it sounded like the volume was turned down? It almost whispered. Didn't know what to make of it but expected more from a guitar with a $6000 price tag.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Last guitar I tried was

SJ-200 True Vintage

Even when I took the guitar off the wall I could feel it was something different.

I played the same two songs on all the guitars for comparison: Petty's "You And Me" & "Handle With Care" by The Wilburys

My heart started to beat faster. Was I hearing my self play? Where's that great sound coming from?

OMG! Felt like forbidden love......what will my wife say? $5000 guitar.....?

 

So now I've decided to join your family and buy this amazing guitar. It's with out a doubt the best guitar I've ever played.... everything I've read about SJ-200 TV is true it's just the best.

 

Now I would like to know your opinions of all these guitars I tried and listed here.... Have you played them?

The strings on the guitars was the ones that gibson put on in the shop.......

 

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Really don't know what to tell you. Too bad you didn't get to play your Tak against them in the same room. I've got three Gibsons. They all sound great to my ears and they all cost far below $5000. Beyond that, we all hear things differently. I might like the guitars you didn't and I might not be as impressed with the particular J200 you like. Or, I might like just one of the other guitars and also like the J200. There's no right or wrong to what you pick.......That said,it does sound like you've found a guitar you really like. If you have can afford a guitar, you like it, you're in the market for one, and you feel a connection with it, then you've met all the conditions I'd need to buy it....lol......I wish you the very best, and I hope this guitar is what you need from a Gibson. Get us some pics. [thumbup]

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What an exiting but compressed hour it must have been. And what a lucky exit you 2 made.

I understand you think a couple of the G's compared to your T and accept that 100 % - but you cannot be speaking about the actual voice of the guitars here, can you. . .

 

Apart from that – a big welcome, , , , and up with those honeymoon pics.

A new chapter of your life has begun. If the affair lasts for more than a month, it will probably go on forever.

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When I saw the list the one you picked was the one I thought would be the best.

I wish you could have got it for less money though..but its Sweden I guess.

Takamine seem to be intent to give the customer a $750 guitar for $350..Im sure the priceyer ones are the same..is that how you spell price y..?..e..?..ie ?

Anyway one hour is really hardly any time at all..but that was a decent amount of guitars on hand.

 

The AJ should be tried though like advised.

One of the guys just posted one for sale on craigs list for only $1295...looks really good .

 

Either way congratulations : )

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Gibson makes a new LG2?

 

There's the Arlo Guthrie LG-2 3/4 size guitar and yes, I've seen some LG models too. Played a very nice custom shop "LG-1" sometime ago at Folkway Music, braced like an LG-2 and with a solid top it should have been labelled an LG-2.

 

Fred

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I have decided to buy the guitar to 98%. I would like to try the Advanced Jumbo first but don't know if it's possible. Heard a lot about it.... good things....

 

I also would like to try a SJ-200 Antique Natural first...... this one is $850 "cheaper".

 

Could some one please explain why?

 

Also... "Jedzep"....yes. A new LG2....here it is.... http://www.blocket.se/goteborg/Akustisk_gitarr_Gibson_LG2_41930141.htm?ca=15&w=1

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can i ask , why are you just limiting yourself to gibson?

dont you think it wouldnt do any harm to be trying a few other makes ? if you're going to spend the amount you are talking about then why not look around more ?

 

best of luck

 

Well...... Why does anybody buy a Harley Davidson? Theres a lot of better bikes out there

 

 

But what would you recommend?

 

 

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Well...... Why does anybody buy a Harley Davidson? Theres a lot of better bikes out there

 

 

But what would you recommend?

 

thats a fair enough answer :)

 

it's impossible to 'recommend' a guitar to a person i don't know , would be a difficult enough task to take a close friend out huntung for his 'perfect' guitar .

 

who do you listen to ?

 

how big /small are you / your hands . do you play in public . do you play lead guitar ? rhythm ? jazz chords / cowboy chords ...

 

i chose a j45 because i thought it suited my style

of playing.. it looks super cool to me and i like its old fashioned style , i like that i see pictures of musicians holding one taken so many decades ago . i like that it has a link to the past.

as you say , if i was looking for a chopper , i wouldnt be buying a japanese bike.

 

i tend to play a lot of country folk , but i was raised on rock music which it also ties into very well .

 

i've heard guys on here playing blues on their little 00's and whatever and it sounds fantastic , but a pearl jam song isnt gonna bring out the best in it .

 

horses for course solving , what course you on?

 

p.s. an hour for all those guitars neither gave you or them a chance . guitars go into a little hibernation if they arent played hard regularly . maybe they were all just duds , but i wouldnt write any of them off with a couple of minutes test.

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Im average built 6 feet tall with working hands.

Prior to my takamine I had a Epiphone Jumbo wich suited me fine in size.

 

.I play mostly Tom Petty, Wilburys, Cash, Orbison, Lynne/ELO, Creedence, Scott Miller, Elvis, Beatles.....

 

 

Open chords, strumming. I sing a lot.

 

I've limited myself to Gibson cause they always been like a a holy grail for me. I know there's just as good guitars out there for less money.

But Gibson is iconic

But i didn't realize that the Standards and Vintage differ so much in quality.

 

BTW Does anybody know why SJ-200 Antique Natural first is $850 "cheaper" than the Sunburst

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A few things to cover here.

 

The TV version of the (S)J-200 has an Adirondack spruce top. Usually it is visually distinguished by larger, vertical growth lines like 'swimming lanes' that begin wide out near the edges and become narrower the closer they get to the center.

 

Tonally, Adirondack is considered to give a sharper 'bite' to the attack transient of the sound. Of course there are so many variables in guitar building that this alone is no guarantee. Personally I have noticed a big difference between the standard J-200 and its True Vintage cousin. So much that I suspect the bracing is different as well. In particular it has an authority to the bass end that the standard does not reach.

 

I have owned a good example of the standard J-200 and played many more. The TV version IMO was the most striking example tonally. Interestingly though, for such an expensive guitar the figuring of the maple was quite plain. My standard was much 'prettier' in that regard.

 

Finally for those US-based readers the $5000 price tag reflects the harsh realities of buying US guitars in Europe - particularly in Sweden where they have 25% sales tax. On the other hand many Swedish guitar players/buyers/retailers are very well informed about guitars and there are one or two shops in Sweden where you can find some very rare and wonderful guitars. Hellstones guitar shop in Stockholm for example is one where I have played a J-200 TV along with an L-00 Legend and an actual 30's L-00 upon which that model was based. Likewise for the Costello Century of Progress reissue and two original CoP guitars. You do pay a premium often though but the quality is there.

 

Back to the OP's question though. I would wait a bit to see what fits your style and taste, especially as you have, by your own admission, little previous exposure to higher end guitars. Hey, its your money but $5000 will buy you all sorts of great guitars so you might want to enjoy what's on offer from many brands both new and used before laying down the cash. I for instance eventually found the big body of the J-200 too unwieldy for my home on the couch singer/songwriter noodlings. It began to feel like a canoe with strings! You may think otherwise. Having said that, I would have that TV model in a heartbeat, as long as it wasn't my only guitar.

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I play mostly Tom Petty, Wilburys, Cash, Orbison, Lynne/ELO, Creedence, Scott Miller, Elvis, Beatles.....

Open chords, strumming. I sing a lot. Gibson is iconic But i didn't realize that the Standards and Vintage differ so much in quality.

 

From what you say, that SJ200, a Hummingbird, maybe Dove would fill the bill. One thing: ask the dealer to put fresh strings on any of the ones you might want to re-visist. And put some energy in the pick hand--these are new guits, they need to be woken up. Good luck.

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I still say try the AJ before you buy. Like you I tried a lot of the Gibson models and wasn't impressed. Being a bluegrass guy I'd always played Martins and the Gibsons seemed to be way short on volume I needed. I had a AJ kick my D28s butt one night so I bought it. The AJ has really defined what a " cannon" really is for me. I sold the Martins and the AJ is slaying banjos with a passion [thumbup]

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Dont over rationalise it here. You clearly fell for the SJ-200TV ... buy that guitar, it is the one for you. Let your instinct do the talking, not your head.

 

Well, one man's instinct can be another's GAS quickly followed by buyers remorse. This phenomenon is usually in direct proportion to the amount of money spent and/or lost when it gets sold on.

 

Just sayin' 'cause I've been there...

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A few things to cover here.

 

The TV version of the (S)J-200 has an Adirondack spruce top. Usually it is visually distinguished by larger, vertical growth lines like 'swimming lanes' that begin wide out near the edges and become narrower the closer they get to the center.

 

Tonally, Adirondack is considered to give a sharper 'bite' to the attack transient of the sound. Of course there are so many variables in guitar building that this alone is no guarantee. Personally I have noticed a big difference between the standard J-200 and its True Vintage cousin. So much that I suspect the bracing is different as well. In particular it has an authority to the bass end that the standard does not reach.

 

I have owned a good example of the standard J-200 and played many more. The TV version IMO was the most striking example tonally. Interestingly though, for such an expensive guitar the figuring of the maple was quite plain. My standard was much 'prettier' in that regard.

 

Finally for those US-based readers the $5000 price tag reflects the harsh realities of buying US guitars in Europe - particularly in Sweden where they have 25% sales tax. On the other hand many Swedish guitar players/buyers/retailers are very well informed about guitars and there are one or two shops in Sweden where you can find some very rare and wonderful guitars. Hellstones guitar shop in Stockholm for example is one where I have played a J-200 TV along with an L-00 Legend and an actual 30's L-00 upon which that model was based. Likewise for the Costello Century of Progress reissue and two original CoP guitars. You do pay a premium often though but the quality is there.

 

Back to the OP's question though. I would wait a bit to see what fits your style and taste, especially as you have, by your own admission, little previous exposure to higher end guitars. Hey, its your money but $5000 will buy you all sorts of great guitars so you might want to enjoy what's on offer from many brands both new and used before laying down the cash. I for instance eventually found the big body of the J-200 too unwieldy for my home on the couch singer/songwriter noodlings. It began to feel like a canoe with strings! You may think otherwise. Having said that, I would have that TV model in a heartbeat, as long as it wasn't my only guitar.

 

 

I e-mailed the retailer who told me the only difference between the two is the color and if I'll hear hear a difference it's because they're built just differently.

The AN was $850 less only cause the price set but is soon to be the same as the VS......(a bit blurry I know)

 

Would like to know if anyone else has any experience about the sound on different colors

 

 

 

 

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I go about things much as you have when it comes to guitar shopping.

 

I play as many as I can get my hands on and see which ones stand out amongst the bunch. If that happens to be a model that I would be interested in, then I'd contemplate a purchase. If on the other hand the best sounding guitar that day was of a size/shape/color that I just couldn't get along with, I would pass. If I had the opportunity to re-visit the shop, I'd once again play the guitars that I was interested in to see if the same guitar(s) stood out amongst the rest.

 

Sometimes, if lucky, I'll find a guitar that is clearly superior in tone and responsiveness. It doesn't matter how long it sits unplayed. It doesn't matter if the strings are many months old. The guitar is so resonant that it just sings no matter what. At that point, I'm not worried about what anyone else thinks. I'm only concerned with how much I'm connecting with the guitar. I'm the one that is going to be playing the guitar, and the one paying for it, so it had better make me happy above all.

 

Over the years, I've bought and sold a lot of guitars. As time moved on, I started targeting specific models that I was interested in. For example, I've wanted a J-45 for many years. I decided that I wasn't going to purchase one until it met the above criteria. It took me quite some time, and I played a few other great guitars during the process, but once I found a J-45 that stood out amongst the rest, I knew I had struck gold. I now can't imagine ever parting with that guitar.

 

It sounds like you might have found just such a guitar. However, you're the only one who can determine that. It's easy for each of us to share our experiences with you, but we don't all share the same preferences. So a guitar that sounds and looks wonderful to me, might not sound or look so good to you. In the end, it's what makes you the happiest that matters the most.

 

Good luck and trust your own instincts.

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I definately agree with letting your instincts choose not your head but try some more guitars.

A good AJ would be something you should seek out to try. I have a Huss & Dalton that is modeled after one of those...its great.

25% sales tax wow..

 

The TV is built using Hide glue too...but the Adirondack top which TV has..(maybe same kind of braces too)..if it is what you like, better look for that in a guitar.

It is more percusive & faster reacting.

Sitka is nice too.. figure which you prefer & look for that.

$850 less for the compromise is a mistake,I think you'll regret it eventually.

 

If you have stars in your eyes for a Gibson..better go for one.

The J200(TV)/Maple is a really good guitar for strumming & voice accompaniment.

 

If you were a virtuoso type of player that ran over notes all over the fingerboard...and were looking for the best instrument..Id recommend looking at Lowden Guitars.

And If this were the case you being 6ft tall as I..average height these days I think..I like shorter scale necks.

I read a luthiers suggestion that if you measure from the tip of your pinky & tip of thumb whilst hand streched open and if it measures 9" or less..get a short scale neck...longer than 9"..long scale.

But this is for that kind of challanging playing..for voice accompaniment strumming ,I think a J200TV would maybe be better than a Lowden.

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I e-mailed the retailer who told me the only difference between the two is the color and if I'll hear hear a difference it's because they're built just differently.

The AN was $850 less only cause the price set but is soon to be the same as the VS......(a bit blurry I know)

 

Would like to know if anyone else has any experience about the sound on different colors

 

I tried a J200 Standard..and I really didn't like the feel of the neck..but it sounded pretty good..but felt really like a machine made guitar,as vague as that may be.

I wouldnt want to wed that.

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