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Kossoff rep. and 'The Babe'.


pippy

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I had the good fortune to be able to play one of the 'hand-aged' Kossoff '59 replicas the other day. Looks absolutely gorgeous in it's slight green-lemon burst but a word to the wise about the hand-aged ones (as opposed to the VOS examples)...

 

The back of the neck has also been 'aged' to resemble the original and the result is that in the hand it feels like the surface of the moon. There are an unbelievable number of dents, dings and missing lacquer in general.

I found it really, really off-putting but was assured by someone who has spent a lot of time with it that you soon get used to it...

Oh, and the top part of the neck / peghead has been scarf-jointed on : to replicate the original which had its (completely severed) peghead replaced...

 

'The Babe', re-creation of Joe Bonnamassa's early 1960 Bigsby-equipped 'Burst (Collector's Choice #3) also surprised. It's a very fine instrument indeed but, being an early '60, the neck still has the much beefier '59 profile - and to me it felt more like the R8's that I've played. Baseball-bat-like in fact.

 

Moral of the tale? try either or both out before you buy, folks. They might not be quite what you expect!

 

P.

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I haven't played either but there was an article on Vintage Guitar Magazine about the original Kossoff and the Gibson re-issue and I was surprised by the amount of work they put into replicating this guitar. I do not mind the ageing, vos or even if a guitar is too shinny for my taste but the neck thing would bother me for sure.

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I haven't played either but there was an article on Vintage Guitar Magazine about the original Kossoff and the Gibson re-issue and I was surprised by the amount of work they put into replicating this guitar. I do not mind the ageing, vos or even if a guitar is too shinny for my taste but the neck thing would bother me for sure.

I can confirm the amount of work which has obviously been lavished on the instrument. Extraordinary.

 

I'm guessing most of the 100 'hand-aged' examples will be kept as collector's items and perhaps only given the odd airing and so it's academic whether the neck is comfortable or not.

From the point of view of playability, anyone wishing to buy a 'replica' for actual use would probably be better off with one of the 250 VOS examples.

 

In some ways it's a shame there is no third option offered with an aged front and rear but non-aged neck. In a peculiar way the hoary old question of "To Relic; or Not To Relic?" raises it's head here. Clearly we are not just talking about random defacement but a very skillful attempt to replicate a specific pattern of wear. I'm not a great fan of imitation 'patina' but the front relic-ing of the Kossoff really was stunningly convincing.

 

Rumour has it that that age those with fire and water.....:-k ...

LOL!

 

Apparently Gibson thought they had gone a bit too far with the prototype but they left it with their best luthier (my brother, Jake) who gave it a little bit of love and it's all right now.

 

P.

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I was lucky to get the opportunity to play one of the VOS Kos models in Dawson’s, Manchester. It was, without doubt the best electric guitar that I have ever played (I think it was the one in the magazine article), the only thing that stopped me from buying it was the lack of £5300 at that time (although I did spend a great deal of time wondering if I should “push the boat out” and get it). Thankfully the guitar has been sold, so I don’t have to think about it any more!

 

Ian.

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I get the whole appeal of wanting your hero's guitar but I could not handle (and certainly would not pay for) a neck that was artificially roughed up.

 

Much as I love Kossoff, I agree. I would prefer (even if it were given to me and cost $0) a new, smooth neck. I'm fine with some finish fading and hardware aging, but once it gets to the land of say replicating Clapton's cigarette burns it seems silly to me.

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I was just checking over a few things about the 'Koss' and noticed there IS, in fact, a snap of the rear of the neck showing the 'spline' and ageing on the Gibson product site;

 

http://www2.gibson.c...dard/Specs.aspx

...and click on thumbnails 1/3 way down the page.

 

I'll say straight away I'm sure the example IanHenry played was as good as he suggests but I'm curious as to why?...

There's no real reason why the Koss should be better than any other excellent example of a Custom Shop '59 R-I. Granted, it has slightly different custom-wound Alnico III p-ups and Grover tuners (and a broken-repaired neck) but apart from that it is built in exactly the same way with the same hardware as the rest of the herd.

Yet the guy who let me play 'my' Koss also said it was one of the very best LPs he'd ever played - and he'd played literally hundreds of LPs.

 

As I say; I'm curious.

 

Although it is a lot of money for a guitar £5,300 doesn't seem too unreasonable. I'm not surprised you were tempted, IanHenry!

 

And R9 and surfpup; Yup. I doubt I could get used to the neck. I love mine as smooth as glass which is why I raised the notion of a 'third way'. I'm sure I'd have preferred the feel of a VOS but the look of the aged one was simply perfect.

 

Not that I'm likely to be having the option of either beast!

 

P.

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Pippy, the one that I played was the VOS, without the worn neck. As to why it was the best that I've ever played, I have no idea, it just felt and sounded right. I was surprised when I played it because I thought all the differences from a standard R9 were superficial. Maybe it was just an extremely good example of a Les Paul, but it defiantly in a different league to my U.S.A Les Paul’s.

 

Regards,

Ian.

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Pippy, the one that I played was the VOS, without the worn neck. As to why it was the best that I've ever played, I have no idea, it just felt and sounded right. I was surprised when I played it because I thought all the differences from a standard R9 were superficial. Maybe it was just an extremely good example of a Les Paul, but it defiantly in a different league to my U.S.A Les Paul's.

 

Regards,

Ian.

Yes, I noticed it was the VOS you had tried. I wish I had the chance to try a similar one out. I'm 100% certain I'd have preferred the feel to the aged one.

 

But as to why the two examples we've tried out are so good; that's the intriguing part. As we've both noted; there shouldn't be any real, noticeable difference between a Koss and a regular R9. I know for certain that there are some Historic Division LPs which, for reasons unknown, are simply "better" than the vast majority - 'Special', somehow - and it's odd that each of the 'Koss' models we've played would seem to belong in this category.

 

(I also know "better" is a subjective term but IMX there are some instruments which galvanise critical opinion.)

 

P.

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