Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Gibson is Back and Great stuff!

At least you’re not in denial, Mike.

Hey JW already have a Bourgeois Vintage D, Collings D2H, Taylor Dn5, and now the Gibson, GAS class tonight, trying for recovery, not really I love em all !!!

PS: funny thing is I have yet to get a Martin, well something to look forward to…Jerry :mrgreen:

— Begin quote from "mreisz"

JW, you are an enabler

— End quote

I must admit, I had to look that up Mike. It’s funny now… good one.

Gruhn’s is a great place. I’d like to check out the new store and see Billy. He always sends me home with something even if I don’t buy anything.

— Begin quote from "Jerry M"

PS: funny thing is I have yet to get a Martin, well something to look forward to…Jerry

— End quote

I’ll be 50 this year and I’ve only had one Martin. It was a '56 D-18. Shoulda kept it, but I couldn’t stand the narrow neck and crowded string spacing, especially at the nut.

I didn’t know you had a Collings. I have a D-2HG (German Top) that I actually traded my Martin for. Since you already have a Collings, I think you should go for a Brazilian McPherson and skip the classes.


Poor Jerry… we’ll pass the plate for you to get a Martin. :laughing:

One major obstacle here… :nerd: my wife does not share my appreciation of fine woods and also has a nasty habit of asking why do you need another one??? Since I have promised the last five or so that was it , :laughing: :unamused: I need to cool it for a while , she says I am obsessed with playing and buying guitars :blush: but the guy at the store told me you can’t have too many??? :astonished: :open_mouth: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: Actually I am thinning down to my favorite four. HE, he, he, :unamused: No really…

PS: Since I bought the Bourgeois it has actually become my favorite of all that I have owned over the years and it is definitely the best sounding guitar I have ever owned, however I rarely take it out of the house to jams, I will grab another that I am not so nervous about being around a bunch of folks that sometimes sit close and don’t watch the headstocks and things swinging around the mikes etc. a friend had a nice chunk taken out of his Martins top by a fellow player moving up to the mike and not being careful with his instrument.

So I guess we don’t need to pass the plate for you after all if no more would be allowed. Can’t say we didn’t offer!

I bet your Bourgeois Slope is a wonderful instrument. I can understand wanting to keep it like new. I used to try to keep all my guitars that way. Now I only have one guitar that doesn’t get consideration for going someplace iffy. About a year ago I was playing that guitar and got a phone call. As I was putting the phone back, I fumbled it, dropped it on the side of the guitar and put a nice little ding in it. With some effort it could be made to all but disappear, and I thought about repairing it, but in time I decided to just leave it. Now I don’t have to worry as much about the next things that will happen. That guitar still doesn’t get out much, but I have played it out for a couple solo things. That wouldn’t probably have happened without the ding, so I guess it may have been a “good” thing in a way. I might even put a strap button on it one of these days.

All my guitars get strap buttons before I even leave the store as I need to be able to stand and play and the long straps over the headstock don’t work for me as it puts the guitar in a funny angle, I hold my guitar at the same place standing as sitting. I practice sitting but when I adjust the strap I hold the guitar in the same exact spot so standing doesn’t change the feel much.
I have forced myself to keep my guitars in the stand or case all the time, if the phone rings, dog needs out, wife calls or whatever, I put it on the stand, overnight they all sleep in the case.
I got up with a guitar to rush to the phone once and when I was sitting back down banged it on the leg of the chair I use for practice, it’s a metal folding chair, well needless to say ding time, made me ill for sure, but now the chair is covered in pipe insulation, the frame is round tubes so it fit perfect and if I bang it again won’t hurt a thing. Not pretty to look at but who cares I’m the only one who comes up in my music room anyway. And i don’t rush to phones anymore, let it ring until the guitar is down and safe…
I also bought a heavy duty music stand to make sure my folders don’t fall off and hit the guitar, since I made a conscious effort to be careful I have had no problems or dings. I also have a table and neck rest for adjusting and changing strings.
Someday I may get a Martin but for now I have not found one I like enough to buy, I have played a bunch, a 1949 dread was the last one I really liked at McKenzie Music in Eugene Or. here but at 62,000 I had to let it go, :blush: unless you guys can pass a bigger plate :mrgreen:
The new Martins don’t grab me much the older ones I like I really can;t afford and to be honest some of them are just so expensive I wouldn’t want to take them out. The Bourgeois are expensive enough but I must say they are my favorite guitar, the 23/32 nut and mod v neck are just perfect for me. I don’t care to much for the slimmed down necks they fatigue my hand in short order where as I can play the heavier necks for a good long time.
I don’t know about you guys but I need a minimum of four hours a day just to keep up with my regular lessons, and really that is not enough. I spend another hour or so every evening on memorizing tunes I can play but need music for. Slowly eliminating the crutch. Jerry

$62K sounds steep for a '49 anything. Was it a special model or have a history?

I guess I can be an enabler too… based on your stated preferences, I would suggest trying a Martin D-28 1931 Authentic (new model in the last year). I suspect you would dig it. I am trying to avoid one :laughing:

Mike that is one of many at McKenzie River they have a wall of vintage stuff, like some others, they know me and wanted me to try it out, obviously I can in no way afford a guitar at that price. The guitars I have are the result of my gun collection being substantially reduced, an AR 15 and a couple of handguns financed my Bourgeois. As I said I am going down to about four guitars now the Gibson I like because it’s different than all the others and is electric which I wanted for small venues, I plan on buying the Fishman Loudbox Mini, heard one and they are nice for only a few pounds in weight.
Anyway I lead a pretty boring life and guitars are my only hobby so if I drank or played with cars or boats or something it would be more expensive. At my age this is about as exciting as it gets, playing music and buying a new guitar now and then. Jerry

I have a Loudbox Mini. I wouldn’t trade it for anything I have tried when you consider size and cost. I went to get a bigger Loudbox (120 watt version with phantom power) and I didn’t like the basic sound as well as the mini. Your mileage may vary. My only real complaint about the mini… no phantom power for the mic.

By the way, in case it sounded as such, I didn’t mean to imply that you need a Martin to be complete. Obviously, you have a fine stable already.

Well, I took the Gibson J35 for a setup and got it back today, the truss rod had never been tightened from the factory just snugged up and now the action is fantastic on this thing. I kind of forgot about the short scale thing for a while there because I was only playing on the first seven frets because the action over 12 was a bit high for me. Now that the action is right and the short scale in combination this is the easiest playing guitar I own, hands down.
Doesn’t have the balls of a Bourgeois D but for playability it is fantastic, I am really impressed, and I like the electronics kind of icing on the cake!
As far as workmanship once again if I put it up to my Bourgeois it is nowhere as good, But I paid 4275.00 for the B and only 1250.00 for this Gibson used.The guy had just bought it in Dec. and didn’t like it and paid 1699.00 for it, but to late to return so I made the offer and he took it. I think the reason he didn’t like it was the action from the factory. I know from having a few guitars if the neck angle is good the action can be fixed so no problem.
I am really happy with this short scale, can’t believe the difference in ease of play. Sorry now that I didn’t order my Bourgeois with a ss. Jerry

— Begin quote from "Jerry M"

Sorry now that I didn’t order my Bourgeois with a ss.

— End quote

It would be interesting to have the SS and the longer scale available to play side by side with your Bourgeois. We can’t go back in time, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you would have gone with the long scale for tone. There was a D18 SS that everyone at a shop was raving about. I A/B’d it with the D18V, and I liked the feel of the SS better and the sound of the V better. I wasn’t in the market, but if I was buying one, I would have picked the V (tone over feel for me). It wasn’t a perfect comparison, but it was interesting nonetheless.

The big point… you don’t have to worry. You have the SS for sofa playing and the Bourgeois for making loud music. That sounds like a perfect combination.

Congrats on getting it setup! I love those J-35s. Like you said, they are tough to beat for that price range.

Ya Mike it’s a great buy, to be super critical I could pick apart some of Gibsons workmanship such as a few glue smears, and things but for the money a winner. I heard about the short D18 but have never seen one. In the store I frequent they out of a few hundred guitars may only have one or two ss guitars. May look into it more in the future. As far as my Bourgeois it is the super cannon type, very loud and beautiful tone, it will always be my favorite. Very similar neck to the Gibson feel almost the same. Jerry

I said earlier that the short scale is unbeatable if your style takes you to that advantage. I am glad you are enjoying it too. Question for you Jerry, I notice when I play my J45 the frets feel high to me. (I continually switch back and forth from the Martin to the gibson depending what mood I’m in) My D35 is much smoother and an easier player. It is not an action problem with the J45. For lack of a better description, it feels like my fingers are running over speed bumps when sliding over the frets. Others have commented on this too when they have played it. Do you seem to notice this with the J35? Hopefully I am giving a good enough description. This is really the only complaint I have about my gibson.

The more I hear you loving this thing the closer I am to going out and getting one!!! John

Hi John, well I don’t have and have never played a J45 so I can’t offer a very good comparison, my 35 is smooth as silk, guess that’s why I have fallen in love with this thing. Now that being said, if the truss rod is properly adjusted, I have a .004 thousandths relief put in mine that’s past the seventh fret, and the frets are level, easy to check with a machinist straight edge, I see no reason it would be like that other than large fret wire OR to light gauge strings. On a short scale the string tension is reduced considerably and requires less downward pressure on the fretting fingers. If you combine to much pressure and light strings and short scale on a slide I can see this feeling being there.
On mine I use Martin 12/54’s phosphor bronze strings, on a ss you could even go up to a 13/56 and still be ok. This may elevate some of what you describe. But Always check the neck setup before any other adjustments or changes. It is absolutely amazing the difference a properly adjusted truss can make in all respects. My 35 was ok, but didn’t play as well as I like and the factory had the truss rod backed off all the way, a not uncommon practice with makers as they don’t know the climate the guitars are going to. Made in Bozeman the RH is most likely 10% here in Oregon on the coast it is 50 to 60% RH.
I have a set of tools that I keep to check my necks and make sure everything stays in sink.
This is my first Gibson so it is the only one I can judge by.
I will offer this, keep in mind I am no expert on playing that’s Ben’s dept., however, about a year ago I noticed that I was having finger pain sometimes and hand issues as I play anywhere from 3 to 6 hrs. a day, I read an article concerning the pressure being exerted on the strings and overworking the hands. I made a conscious effort to (“ease up”) and it takes a while, but it is not necessary to press hard against the frets, we have a tremendous amount of strength in our hands being exerted on the neck. The harder you press the harder you work, once a string is fretted no need to press any harder. It took me several months to change this behavior but for me at least it has paid off in ease of play, speed, and accuracy, and allows me to play much longer without fatigue.
Anyway out of this you may find something useful that will help. By the way going from the ss to a Martin which is 25.5 is a huge change so you need to adapt the feel, at least I do. Jerry

John, one thing I forgot to mention, if I am correct the scale on the J45 and j35 are the same??? The 45 i believe is a bit heavier, this guitar weighs 3.8 lbs. the thing is super light, about a full 3/4 lb. lighter than my Taylor and Vintage D. I notice the bracing is quite light weight as well and most of it is shifted forward which lets the lower bout ring very nice.
I don’t have the 9v battery in it now that will add a few ounces but being so super light I don’t know how it will hold up over the years, time will tell. Jerry

Glad to hear your frets are smoother. I appreciate your analysis, but it is not me. Heavy fret profile is the culprit. I have been playing the J45 out/gigs about ten jobs per month so I guess I get used to it. Gotta get my hands on a 35. The switch to the mahogany will be nice! Just have to get my wife tuned in on the fact I am going to buy another one. :sunglasses: