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Joined: 11/22/2008
Msg: 2
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Best Guitar Still...or the one that got away.Page 2 of 3    (1, 2, 3)
I justed to have an old Gibson Marauder many years ago. It wasn't my favourite at the time, but afterwards I've come to realize it was a great guitar. I've tried other Marauders, but none comes close. I know the model was intended as a "cheap" guitar, but still. Now I have a couple of Stratocasters and a Les Paul. Can't say I'm not happy with them so I shoudnt complain.
Joined: 1/9/2010
Msg: 4
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Best Guitar Still...or the one that got away.
Posted: 3/10/2010 6:07:44 PM
I had a Gibson acoustic from the 60's a lot like this one:

It was given to me by my dad who gave it to me on one condition: never sell it. I hocked it for $75 back in the 80's. One of my lifes big regrets.
Joined: 2/1/2010
Msg: 6
Best Guitar Still...or the one that got away.
Posted: 3/19/2010 5:34:58 AM
My aunt's '59 Martin D18, ...which I played as a child and visited every once in a while over 4 decades. I have never been happy with any other acoustic. I played it last in '05, ...I can pull things out of it that I can't find in any other acoustic.

I'm still searching for a D18 that I can get married to....

Then there's my '58 Strat I picked up in '81 or so, ...and reluctantly sold in '89. It was parted out in the late '90s except for the wonderfully light and resonant body (because I had re-finished it "arctic white" with nitro after I got it, the orig. sunburst finish was so worn, faded and ugly, ...the guy who parted out the strat thought it was not original) which I got back in '98 and fitted with a LH, MIJ '62 RI Fender neck, ....this guitar's soul was/is that body.

Oh! ...the '52 Gibson ES 295 I borrowed for a few months back in, ....nevermind, ...there's just too many.

Usually when I get together with other life-long musicians, we kinda' have an unspoken agreement not to talk about "gear regret", ha ha!
Joined: 2/1/2010
Msg: 8
Best Guitar Still...or the one that got away.
Posted: 3/19/2010 10:00:49 PM
don't know about the newer martins...

Some good some bad, the custom shop "D18V" series really shines, ...but we're talking $5000 and up.

My aunt paid $500 for her '59 in 1960, ...a nice chunk of scratch back then if you think about it....

there isn't consistancy in sound with the same models....

Never was, ...there's always been inconsistency, ...same with any guitar model. Further, there aren't a lot of people who pull the potential out of a great instrument, so a lot of the hype is just ....hype.

I guess in reality any brand if you pick it up and it feels good, plays and and sounds great.

Well ...these days it ain't going to happen unless you drop a lot of coin, ...seriously. The D18 was never a high-end Martin, has always been "plain jane", ...but it just happens to be the right mix of woods and construction for fingerstyle, especially if you want a huge range of dynamics and timbre.
Joined: 2/1/2010
Msg: 10
Best Guitar Still...or the one that got away.
Posted: 3/21/2010 10:08:46 AM
In new guitars true, but there are some vintage jap models from the late '70's that are hot....Gibson sucked from that era till early '90's

I'm not a big fan of Gibsons of any era (except for archtops and mandolins, ....and maybe early 70s SGs), I do have a '79 MIJ Yamaha SA 800 that can give any vintage Gibson 335 a run for it's money.

Trust me, when it comes to some guitars (electrics), ...I like the less expensive ones of quality (still, ...hard to find the good ones ...regardless of expense or brand ...if you're that picky).

Its name dropping that gets the price up.

Do the math, ...if you adjust the prices back to the value of the dollar in '59, ...that Martin I seek hasn't really changed in price all that much. I would ask my aunt for her guitar and she'd probably give it to me, ...but, she's afflicted with a short-term memory problem that would leave her wondering where the guitar went, ethically, ...I can't make that request.

Aside from flat-tops...

The Chinese are making some fine instruments now, Eastman makes archtops in the tradition (and design) of Benedetto of near same-quality at about 5¢ on the dollar, ...they're still $2500+ instruments.

Japanese instruments are pretty much on par with North American and European pricesnow, ...manufacturing costs being the deciding factor here.

...there are a lot of comanies who took apart the good stuff, and built the exact same thing for less.

Sure, but I've really never seen a ratio of outstanding/mediocre higher than 1:10 in any instrument brand/model of any era. ...I'm very picky.

When it comes to flat-tops, ...I play one I like maybe 1:50 (and I'm being very generous), ...for what I want to be able to "get out" of a flat-top, ....the one I seek is just that rare.

I've been plucking guitars from the rack since I was a kid, ...over 40 years, my pickiness was acquired over those years and the last few decades of being a session musician has refined this to the point of being almost ridiculous, ...but it's part of "the craft".

I'm pickiest about flat-tops, the point that I haven't yet found one that matches the interactive qualities of that '59 Martin, ...and that's where my personal "bar" is set.

The search continues, ...I have played hand-built Taylors, Manzers, Larrivees, Collings, Guilds (always sound too much like a Guild), etc. looking for the same tonal/amplitude range/interactive touch at a certain almost effortless level of playing comfort, ...the closest I get to my aunt's holy-grail Martin, other D18s old and new, ...Some Taylors have come close, but they just don't have the same power (at your fingertips) in the mids, ...but in every other way, they are a quality I can almost live with.

Gibson sucked from that era till early '90's

The only Gibson flat-tops I've played that I "liked" have almost always been pre-war models. I've played more than a few high-end Gibson archtops from the (sucked) era you mention that were amazing, ...but an archtop doesn't rely on the same physics as a flat top, nor does it have the potential bandwidth and range of timbre.

Electrics are even far less critical as far as construction/tonality is concerned, ...the amp does all the work (bandwidth, amplitude, timbre), and there I'm very picky as well, especially in regards to the circuit used in the amp, not necessarily the brand, or the vintage. In this regard I have been spoiled by using '50s Fender tweed models in the studio, ...the simpler the circuit the better, ...and it doesn't matter what the brand is, almost all of the holy grail amps are based on simple circuits that Leo lifted from a Western-Electric tube manual in the '40s. These circuits are still used in modern "boutique" amps, and they're simple enough that anybody with skill in electronics can build their own, ...I've done this too, ...and just procuring the parts makes it clear why these amps are so expensive.

Martins just never thrilled me...other than some old ones, I can get their sound out of cheaper guitars, and for the money, all they offer are *plain looking guitars, your paying a couple of thousand to say you have a Martin.

I've played many flat-tops, ...some instruments of well known players amongst them, and for playing the type of fingerstyle I do, the best ones tend to be vintage and modern Martins, I'm not at all a brand snob (I am a quality snob however), if you actually knew me you'd find the idea laughable.

And...while YOU may be able to get the same sounds YOU get out of lesser instruments, it may very well be that you aren't attempting to push the same envelope in regards to dynamics and touch that I am = we have different needs.

Further, a well-equipped recording studio, with a $20,000+ signal-path of two condenser (say, ...a Neumann U67 and a B&K small diaphram) mics, through Neve or API preamps and enough resolution in recording media to capture every nuance, ...the brand name is inconsequential, ...tone can't "lie".

I don't get many acoustic sessions because of any lack of playing skill, ...I don't get them because I don't have an instrument to do the playing justice (...yet) ...and people don't like to "lend" their "holy grails", regardless of brand name.

In the mean time, I keep my chops up on my girlfriend's daughter's Hagstrom acoustic, ...a passable instrument for around the house, ...but not even close to being useful on stage or in the studio.
*plain looking guitars

What on earth does "looking" have to do with playability and dynamic range?
Joined: 2/1/2010
Msg: 12
Best Guitar Still...or the one that got away.
Posted: 3/21/2010 9:07:15 PM
What kind of amp should I get when I have to give my borrowed one back?

A tube amp, something about 5 - 22 watts should do the trick, ...unless you plan on doing arena gigs. Don't think that 5 watts "isn't enough", a 5 watt amp is half the perceived loudness of a 50 watt amp, which would be way too loud if you dimed it in most small to medium sized clubs.

The great thing about a low watt tube amp is what happens in the back-end of the circuit when you run it wide open (true with any tube amp, ...but you can do this with a low-power amp without making your ears bleed), the amp distorts when it "clips", and the load transfers between the output tube(s), the output transformer and the speaker, ...just by "touch", you can go from sparkling clean to nasty crunch tones.

On a budget, the epiphone "valve jr" (5 watts) and a 1X12" cabinet is probably the best bang for buck. You might be able to throw this together for around $200 for both if you look around. A good starting point.

Don't let anybody fool you with a modeling amp, they don't "scale" or have any of the interactive qualities of a real tube amp.

There's a "Guitar Gear" thread in this forum that has plenty of info about amps from experienced pros, the thread's thousands of posts long but it's a good one and has been going for over 5 years.
Joined: 2/1/2010
Msg: 13
Best Guitar Still...or the one that got away.
Posted: 3/21/2010 9:57:28 PM

There's a "Guitar Gear" thread in this forum that has plenty of info about amps from experienced pros, the thread's thousands of posts long but it's a good one and has been going for over 5 years.

The above mentioned thread --->
Joined: 2/1/2010
Msg: 17
Best Guitar Still...or the one that got away.
Posted: 3/24/2010 4:58:29 PM
no reason they can't ad some nice inlay...

Except for the fact that it doesn't add anything to how the guitar plays or sounds, ...further, loading a flat-top with inlay can create dead spots ...and most often it's just icing on a turd...

No, offence, but other than the really pricey ones

None taken, ...the D18 I'm looking for is pricey, even used it's a bargain to find at under $2K.

But, for casual or hobby use, by all means ...go for cheap, it's likely the difference will never be noticed outside the studio or a critical audience. But a quality flat-top, like a quality tube amp; have interactive properties that can't be modeled or copied without using the same materials and craftsmanship, ...niether of which come cheap.

anyone can tear one apart and copy it for much less...

...if a cheap knock off could do this, ...I would have found one in the last 3+ decades of trying to find one, ...I've always been frugal, ...but I temper this with being a realist.

No offense, but it's physics, ...not the brand name that decides this.
Joined: 2/1/2010
Msg: 19
Best Guitar Still...or the one that got away.
Posted: 3/24/2010 8:23:52 PM

as the wood ages many times the sound inproves

Good point, you think those who build knock offs have the same stock of aged adirondack spruce that a company in existence since 1833 does? Most of the differences in old and new(er) Martins is in the bracing, they make them in the old style now, if you can find a "V" model, they aren't easy to find and they don't last long when they pop up used.

The newer "V" Martins are so close to the old holy grails that you can even see it on a scope.

Ive played some martins that sound great, others, no better than a 400.oo guitar

Show me a model of ANY guitar where this is not the case. Honestly, ...I've played $40,000 Manzers (fortunately I did a session for her girlfriend, Peggy White ...Linda supplied the instruments for the session) ...they were stunning, ...but not one of them could touch the D18 I covet, ...I used a D18 that I borrowed from Stephen Fearing, ...and it still wasn't as nice as my aunt's '59, ...but it was up to the task and then some.

I'm not talking out of my butt here, if you want name dropping, ...this is a luthier whose waiting list is now closed, couldn't buy one if you had the scratch. You would like the way they look though, lotsa' inlay.

Just my opinion, nothing against them, just overblown to me....

"To you"

Like I said dude, ..if you're just a casual player there's probably no difference between a $400 guitar and a $40,000 one, ....but trust me, ...the pros on the stand and in the studio really don't care what name is on the headstock, ...they care about quality, ...and they (and any recording engineer worth his salt) can tell the difference even if you can't.

If you spend any time in studios, WILL see a lot of Martins, ...and when they come out of the case, you will see the engineer smile, then you'll see them break out a Neumann and a couple of B&Ks and not a bunch of 57s.

There's a reason for this, ...and it ain't brand recognition.

Now, that was a bargin.

To you... but a pro might grab it for less than a minute and drop it like a rock because it can't keep up with him. Check out what the top-drawer players use, ...if it ain't a hand made custom,'s a Martin. Do you really think they use them because of the "name"?

For your average Joe,'s a waste, ...agreed, ...I'll go one further, when I see a fist-pickin' strummer assault a fine instrument, ...I throw up a little in my mouth.
Joined: 2/1/2010
Msg: 22
Best Guitar Still...or the one that got away.
Posted: 4/24/2010 2:55:03 AM
Have any of you seen the movie, "The Red Violin"?

It's all fake.

just sayin'
Joined: 2/1/2010
Msg: 25
Best Guitar Still...or the one that got away.
Posted: 4/27/2010 3:50:37 PM
Other than Buddy Hollie, I can't think of any rocker who played one in the Fifties...

Considering that guitar "rock" was in its nascency even in the mid-50s, and the strat did not come out until '54, this is understandable. But, what about Ritchie Valens, Dick Dale, The Ventures... Hank Marvin?

almost the same in the sixties

Whoa! Rory Gallagher, Robin Trower, Robbie Robertson,Randy California, Randy Bachman, Richie Blackmore, Ry Cooder, ,, I could go on... That's just some "Rs".

I think Leo came up with them to fit somewhere between the cheap foriegn crap that came in those days and real guitars that cost a lot.

Actually, most of the design was from Fender employee Freddie Tavares (according to George Fullerton), from requests made from a country player named Bill Carson.

What "cheap foreign crap" came in prior to '53, when the design of the strat started?

Bolt on necks, fake dots on the fretboard, no binding, and cheap single coil pick ups..spell cheap, cheap, cheap...

?? Seth Lover didn't even invent the humbucker until 1959, the reason for bolt-on necks and Fender, wasn't to be "cheap" it was to facility modular repair (instead of refretting = replace the neck), this started with the Broadcaster in the late '40s, the reason for "no binding" was the patented "comfort contour" ..."a guitar ought to fit you like a good shirt does" ~ Bill Carson.

As far as "cost a lot", the price of a '54 Les Paul and '54 Strat was about the same, +/- $250 -$300

They really weren't copied till much later on...

Design-wise, it's the most copied electric guitar, ...ever.
Joined: 2/1/2010
Msg: 26
Best Guitar Still...or the one that got away.
Posted: 4/27/2010 7:25:54 PM

My very first guitar was a Hagstrom III ! (1965, my brother had it new, I inherited it in '69 when I was 7), it was a cross between an SG and a Strat. They had fantastic necks, very stable due to a "T-bar" truss rod design. Mine was like this one, except "sunburst".

I used it on my first professional recording session when I was 12 y/o, it was radio commercial for a waterbed store in Winnipeg called "Floating Ecstasy".

I traded it in the mid '70s for a Vox AC-30 that needed a LOT of work.

There's two pieces of gear I miss.
Joined: 2/1/2010
Msg: 30
Best Guitar Still...or the one that got away.
Posted: 4/27/2010 7:56:20 PM
Hey, if people like the strat, fine, we should all have our preferences...I love the way they look, and for certain things, but they are over me.

To most pros, it is the "desert island" electric guitar.

I bought a Garnet Amp with the stinger! what a sound that thing had

I used to hang out at Gar Gillies shop back when he was making those!! I last spoke to him in 2001 while passing through the 'Peg. Sadly he passed away in '06. He really over-built those amps, like Pete Traynor in Toronto.

there were the silvertones and all that in the '50's
Hey Lucky! I had a backup acoustic, and it was a black and white silvertone...archtop! Very nice sound for a cheapy!

That would have likely been made by Harmony, National or Kay. Silvertones were also made by Nat Daniels.

Jimi Hendrix's first electric guitar was a Silvertone.

BTW, they were also used by Eric Clapton, Elvis Costello, Pete Townsend, J.J. Cale, John Fogerty, Jimmy Page, Tom Petty, Joe Walsh, Chris Isaak, Melissa Ethridge, Dave Navarro, Jesse Colin Young, Link Wray, Beck, Jack Bruce (Cream), John Entwistle. Even Elvis Presley.....

They are fantastic for slide, I use a '54 Silvertone for slide, ...killer tone.

I think the Ventures used the Mosrite's.

Nope, Semi Mosley got them to endorse them, but they never used them.

BTW, one of the reasons that the early Asian electric guitars sounded bad has more to do with differences in how timbre is perceived by Asians.

Regardless, "cheap" is pretty much meaningless as far as how electric guitars sound (compared to acoustics), the amp does all the work.
Joined: 2/1/2010
Msg: 32
Best Guitar Still...or the one that got away.
Posted: 4/29/2010 5:39:39 AM
True, but when they became something and could afford it...they bought something better...

Dude, I think you need to check out what many of those guys were playing after they had money...

As far as the amp doing all the work in an electric...not necessarily...

Unplug it then, ...see what you get. Yes, you can take the amp (tube amp- modeling doesn't "scale") in and out of its sweet spot by varying attack, but again, ...unplug the amp if you want to really see which is "doing all the work".

Again, a true story as it happened....I'm sure, it was just time for the amp to go...

Failed bias circuit or a failed filter capacitor, nothing to do with the front end; even a guitar with active p'ups can't harm an amp's finals. That's not how they work. You can't "up" the output SPL that much from the front-end, hell, you can only "up" it by a max of 3db by doubling the output (50 - 100 watts).

Impedance difference on passive p'ups has a lot to do with tone though, "more" output doesn't mean better tone, most often less impedance means more bandwidth per db. One of the biggest differences in tone between single and double coil p'ups is phase cancellation, which makes a big difference in articulation in the signal, can hear it and see it on a scope. This is one of the reasons that pros consider strats the "desert island" electric, they're just that much more versatile. Even before the 5-way switch was introduced, savvy players were "notching" the 3-way switches and modding the middle p'up to be able to have two humbucking settings.

There's nothing better than having a variety of guitars to give you a more varied palette of timbres, BUT, if you only have room for one, ...and you need to be versatile, better yet, you're being paid to be versatile,'re going to grab a strat. Want it to sound like a Les Paul? ...just drop a preamp into the signal path.
Joined: 2/1/2010
Msg: 33
Best Guitar Still...or the one that got away.
Posted: 4/30/2010 11:06:29 AM

different outputs from the factory maybe?

I doubt it's different pots/caps, though 250k ohms is the norm for Fenders, if it has a HB in it it could be 500k, this has a lot more to do with how much of the high-end is attenuated when you roll back the volume.

Fact is, uncle Seymore makes pickups in a lot of different output configurations, even though the bobbins are identical. A Duncan JB and PAF are going to have different outputs/same bobbins for example.

There are even different impedances between neck/bridge models of the same p'up (for obvious reasons, the closer to the bridge you get, the less the string vibrates and the less overtones there are -> needs more output).

guitars need to be played... there's a lot of "expensive" guitars tucked away in cases doing diddly squat for music..... worthless in one sense, for what they were made to do...

I feel the same way when I see a 'weekend' hack with an L5

paint worn off,chipped, scratched,burnt

The amp is a '52 Fender Champ, it ain't shiny either...
Joined: 1/22/2011
Msg: 36
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Best Guitar Still...or the one that got away.
Posted: 7/15/2011 5:11:30 PM
I would say for ones getting away . I would say my early 90's Tom Anderson Pro-am or my first San Dimas Charvel. I had a 63 Strat and 68 Les Paul custom that I don't miss either.
As for new ones : Charvels are pretty good right now ( bought a San Dimas Charvel very impressed) or a Buddy Blaze . There is a guy making American made Kramer styles that is very good as well. I would say the shocking would be PRS -I had a few from the 90's don't miss them either but the new ones are very poor. I see why price drops very bad on the used market.
Joined: 8/25/2005
Msg: 37
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Best Guitar Still...or the one that got away.
Posted: 7/16/2011 6:10:41 AM
1966 Epiphone Opympic double pickup
Joined: 2/29/2008
Msg: 40
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Best Guitar Still...or the one that got away.
Posted: 9/27/2011 8:06:48 AM
Ive still got an early 80's Westone Thunder 1 Active Bass which has now become a collecter's item. It's natural wood with rosewood fretboard and has brass bridge and controls and tuning pegs on the headstock.
Joined: 8/1/2006
Msg: 45
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Best Guitar Still...or the one that got away.
Posted: 11/29/2011 5:45:11 PM
The one I've owned for over 35 years, & still the best today - my 1974 Fender Telecaster Deluxe, with super low action, fat Les Paul-type frets & those 2 huge oversized Seth Lover-designed humbuckers....on the short list of being one of the best humbuckers ever made.
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