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GAS has struck - I have bought another guitar! - photos!

MegiMegi Posts: 6,694Member
edited December 2016 in Guitar Chat
Second hand, but in very good nick, the seller is hoping to get it posted next day delivery, tomorrow, so with luck I should have it on Friday. Anyhow, for some bizarre reason or other, last week I started getting serious GAS for something semi-acoustic 335-ish. Some of you may remember me making various criticisms of that kind of design in the past, as well, so in a way it is bizarre, but I guess I just realised that I like the sound of a lot of guitarists who use this type of guitar, and started to think that maybe I might just be wrong about the whole thing!

The GAS was initially directed at the current Epiphone Sheraton ii Pro model, which does look lovely, and I also considered the bottom of the range Ibanez AS53, but then I remembered someone on another forum who'd had an ad up for an Ibanez AS103-nt model (not currently made). Went and looked at the ad, plus a bit of research on Youtube and elsewhere, and by all accounts these are tremendous guitars. So enquired with the seller, and offered to pay his asking price if it was still up for sale. And happily a deal has been done, for guitar and original Ibanez hard case as well. It's one of these beasties:



although mine is a slightly later version which has a standard stop-bar tailpiece in place of the fine-tuning thing. But otherwise the same - gold hardware, pearl and abalone block inlays, multiple binding, flame maple all over the place - somewhat blingy, but I always promised myself a proper blonde guitar one day, and I like the look, bling or not :D Pics will be posted when she arrives I promise - hard to wait at the mo. :)
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Comments

  • ESBlondeESBlonde Posts: 788Member
    Good choice on that there guitar. Remember that during the hey day of pop and rock in the 1960s that most guitarists were using semi acoustics almost by default and solids were far less common.
    I've now had my ES335 9 years so I'm getting used to it. To be honest in the early years it was an nice extra guitar, but in recent years it has become my go to and the one I'm most likely to pick up at home for a strum. At last years panto week I seem to recall it was the only electric guitar for all the performance sessions because I could make it do everything well and it just sounds gorgeous.
    So play it and get used to it before you consider any modifications. HNGD
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,694Member
    Thanks ES - you're own lovely blonde (IIRC?) 335 did come to mind as part of my thought process I'm sure, and perhaps the nice extra becoming a favourite over time will be a similar experience for me.

    As to the modification business - I really am hoping I'll like it as is, and I think there's every chance of that. From what I understand, it's a fairly bright-sounding semi-acoustic, which in theory should suit me, as long as the warmth is there as well. If there was any modding to be done, it would just be the pickups - I'd get a similar looking set, with gold covers, made to my specs, so the guitar's appearance would not be altered. But that's very much an "if" - I'm optimistic about the stock Super 58 Custom pickups. Absolutely won't be drilling any extra holes for phase switching/coil taps or any of that malarky.

    A good set up for my preferred 11-52 gauge strings will be done of course. The fret work on these guitars is said to be of a very high standard out of the factory, and the guitar I'm buying has been very little used, so hopefully nothing to do re that. Spoke to the seller, and he's still intending to get it on it's way today, so I'm hoping the official NGD will be tomorrow.

    :)
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,694Member
    Is there anybody out there?? Seems incredibly quite on the forum at the moment.

    Anyhow, just to report that my lovely new guitar will sadly not be arriving with me today - the seller could not get everything he needed to do a good packaging job together in time. But he has been very good about things, and frankly I'd rather wait a little longer and not be taking unnecessary risks with the safety of the guitar while being couriered. And happily it is only a little longer to wait now - the guitar is currently in transit with TNT, and scheduled to arrive tomorrow morning. :)
  • Just TelJust Tel Posts: 498Member
    edited December 2016
    Hi Megi...... I'm here. Your quite right, the forum is quiet. It doesn't seem to have got off the ground properly since the change over to the new platform.
    That's a bit of a bummer having to wait a further day for your new toy to arrive but as you say it's not worth taking unnecessary risks for the sake of one day. Don't forget we want photo's and full details when it arrives or it never happened.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,694Member
    Very quite days for the forum indeed Tel - good that you're still around, and a few others at least, but we do seem to have lost some momentum somehow. I can only hope we get some new people joining and a bit of life returns to the place.

    Hard waiting for a new guitar to arrive, certainly one of the truisms of life :D but tomorrow morning isn't too far away now, and I have a tracking number to add to the fun of the purchase. The seller really was trying his best to get the guitar out to me yesterday, and he didn't have to, so that was decent of him - I think he understood as a fellow guitarist. Photos and loads of overly indulgent detail to come I assure you! :)
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,694Member
    Just checked up on the tracking - about 50 minutes ago the guitar was loaded onto a delivery vehicle at TNT's depot in Horncastle (east of Lincoln), which is terribly close already - OMG! Aaargh! this is actually happening! eek! :D

    I am currently wondering what my chances of sneaking the guitar into the house undetected are - and pretty damn slim is the realistic answer, but if I hang around near the front door, trying not to look suspicious, then just maybe... Probably best not to try though - I will brazen it out, and promise to sell a couple more of my collection that really do just take up space in the next month or two.
  • Just TelJust Tel Posts: 498Member
    Just remember that you can never have too many guitars.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,694Member
    Just Tel said:

    Just remember that you can never have too many guitars.

    It's a shocking thing, but believe it or not, I know people who think I already have too many! Can you believe it? :D
  • Just TelJust Tel Posts: 498Member
    Megi said:

    Just Tel said:

    Just remember that you can never have too many guitars.

    It's a shocking thing, but believe it or not, I know people who think I already have too many! Can you believe it? :D
    I believe it's only jealousy because they don't have any.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,694Member
    Yeah you're right, jealousy is what it is! Anyhow, the guitar has arrived safe and sound - it's in very nearly as new condition, and appears to have hardly been played at all. Some of the metalwork does need a bit of a polish. Needs a set of 11s as well :D But it's lovely! I've taken some pics quick while there's some light, but unfortunately have to go out for a couple of hours now, so I'll have to post the pics when I get back.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,694Member
    And here are some new guitar day pictures:

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  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,694Member
    edited December 2016
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,694Member
    That last shot didn't come out very well, but it does show the difference in size of the new guitar compared to one of my Shine SIL-510's. This is something I will have to adapt to, not that the new guitar is uncomfortable to play at all, but it does feel unfamiliar at the moment.

    It definitely is quite a bright-sounding guitar, and with quite a lot of snap to the tone acoustically. And acoustically quite loud also - by comparison, the Shine is a bit more "rounded" in tone. I had a look through one of the f-holes, and the centre block is a light-coloured wood, definitely not mahogany, might be maple, or possibly something a little softer (spruce?). I believe from reading on the internet that the arched top and back laminates are both a triple ply sandwich going maple-bubinga-maple. Seems a good and resonant guitar anyhow, notes sound nice and lively, and sustain well, and no dead spots on the fingerboard.

    It's a bit of a looker, one could say a bit blingy, but I like it. The colour is just a bit warmer in real-life than it appears in the photos - it really is a blonde! I would say the neck is reasonably chunky in profile, perhaps a bit more so than I expected, but it's absolutely fine - in general I find I'm pretty adaptable when it comes to neck profiles, and can feel comfortable with most things. The binding on the guitar is impeccable - I'd read that it was of a very high standard, but it really is very impressive, I have to say actually better done than on my 1980 Japanese built Ibanez Joe Pass model. The fretboard inlays are very cleanly done as well. This is a Chinese-made guitar, and proof that this country can do very high quality guitar building when it wants to.

    Haven't pictured the hard case, but it arrived in pretty much as new condition as well. It's covered in an attractive dark grey textured vinyl on the outside, and some nice plush black furry material on the inside. Not quite sure what else to say at this stage - basically it's a really nice guitar, and I will have to keep it around for a while and play it, and see how it goes. I think I'm going to take it to a gig tomorrow lunchtime, so that will be an interesting test. For now I'm going to get it strung with a set of 11-52 roundwounds and do a basic setup. :)
  • Just TelJust Tel Posts: 498Member
    Well what can I say. Lovely duvet and the guitar aint bad either. Seriously Megi that is one beautiful guitar. You must be very pleased with it. As you say much bigger than the Shine but then the Shine does have a small body and neck length. Hope your gig today goes well with it and keep us posted as to your progress with it.
    I feel a little GAS coming on............
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,694Member
    Thanks very much Tel - the gig was great, although the lady singer insisted on calling the guitar "banana coloured" rather than "blonde", which was mischievous of her. I made a few errors of the fret locating kind, just because of the unfamiliar feel, and also the unfamiliar look of the neck - it just takes my brain that little bit longer to process what my eyes see, if that makes sense. But that will pass as I get used to the guitar. I do love playing it more and more, and I definitely have the right feelings about the instrument - it's a definite keeper, and a good match for my style and requirements.

    Sound-wise, there is a lot of acoustic woodyness in the tone, and also it's quite strident and forceful in nature, but responds well to a gentle touch, and allows for expressive. subtle playing. It's definitely not the same sound as the Shines, which of course is a good thing, as I wouldn't want to be duplicating what I already have.
    :)
  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,180Member
    Many congratulations. :smile: That looks like a lovely guitar Sir! While I'm rarely taken with the look of electric guitars these days, semi acoustics sometimes do it, and yours is one of those.

    I believe your centre block is maple from a guitar review I saw. A lot of what I see about your guitar makes me think it has a lot in common with my Hagstrom Viking Deluxe (although no tailpiece), and if you enjoy it as much as I've enjoyed the Hag it'll have been an excellent buy for you. Regarding Chinese made guitars my Hagstrom was also made in China, and also very well made.

    Maple would tend to suggest a bright sound, but then my Hag is all maple body and neck and with the original pickups the sound was a tad dark.

    I've looked at a couple of YouTube videos of your Ibanez model and they certainly suggest the sound is far from shabby!

    One thing I would say is that if the guitar feels good and is enjoyable to play but the sound doesn't quite work for you long term then a change of pickups can be a match winner. I'm teaching my grandmother to suck eggs there as you've upgraded many more pickups than me. :wink: The Hag was a good guitar, but Duncan / Lover SH55s turned it into a great guitar.

    What sort of weight does your Ibanez come in at? My Hag is 8 lbs, and I recall the guy that was selling it had thought when he bought it that it would be much lighter being a semi hollow. I did see it said that your Ibanez is a fairly thin body, but the Hag is too and it is not lightweight as a result.

    December has been yet another busy work month. My forum use has been badly hit most of this year by lack of spare time, as I like to fit in at least some guitar playing every night before doing anything else. Roll on retirement if I can reach that goal. Your thread started after last weekend I notice, so I'd not picked up on it. Sorry I wasn't around to encourage you with your waiting!
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,694Member
    Hey, thanks Mark, always nice to hear from you mate. And I'm very glad you approve of my choice of guitar. It is a shockingly naughty bit of unjustifiable GAS I know, and I don't feel guilty at all, which I possibly should!

    I think I read the same review re the maple block, and it might well be that, but I'm just not sure - it seems just a bit softer wood than I would have expected for maple, when I reach a finger in through the f-hole and touch it. Might just be something else - alder? - but just not sure. I guess I'll stick to maple as the most likely candidate. I can also see the shaped fillets that go between the arched top and back and the centre block, and I reckon those are spruce - the grain looks very like that on a spruce acoustic guitar top. It's all a lovely clean job anyhow - no visible gaps, everything close-fitting and accurate, and no extraneous glue anywhere.

    Forgive me, I'd forgotten you had that Hagstrom - a very nice looking guitar that one. And I do now remember your great experience with the upgrade to those Seth Lover pickups. Perhaps I will try something similar after a while - my Shines do both have really lovely pickups fitted, and after a while one tends to take that for granted, and forget the difference they make. But I am certain that the pickups can make or break a guitar - they can't rescue a bad/dull-sounding instrument, but the other side of the coin is that the wrong pickups can limit a good guitar that otherwise might sound superb. Too early to say where I am on that one with this guitar though, although I admit the thought is in my mind.

    Weight-wise, I reckon the Ibanez could well be about 8 pounds, like your Hagstrom - I don't have any accurate scales, but I would say that's right to the nearest pound, just from experience and comparing to my other guitars. Maple is quite a dense wood of course.

    No worries re not being around when the thread started, and I know people have busy lives to lead. That retirement of yours will be richly deserved, and I hope you get to play your guitars to your heart's content when that happens. It has seemed so quiet on here lately, so please do stick around, and hopefully things will pick up in the coming months. :)
  • ESBlondeESBlonde Posts: 788Member
    Megi that looks fabulous, yes it does have a finish remeniscent of my ES335 (pics on my Diary page).
    If you have zingy and woody tone you can dull the tone but not the other way round so sounds like you have a winner.
    Here is a link to a site where the interior gut shots show the construction method of the Gibson and probably every other semi using curfed softwood on the maple block.
    Changing PUs and electrics is another special skill if you need to master it, but watch some videos and take your time. I suspect yours are fine as is.

    Happy New guitar day Graham.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,694Member
    Thanks very much ES - I'm only today getting round to sorting out a string change and general setup to my preferences. I have a gig this evening, but I'll take one of the Shines - for one thing it's in a country pub with not a lot of space, and perhaps too much potential for damage to a shiny new guitar. The Shines do have the advantage of being a bit more compact and manageable in such situations.

    Can't see you link I'm afraid, and it does sound like it's one I'd be very interested to look at - please do post that if you forgot before.

    I think I'd be fine with changing the pickups and wiring if I had to, although I know it's a bit of an involved job with a semi-acoustic. I have done a bit of work on a friend's semi-acoustic before now, with success. But I'm leaving the guitar as is for a while though, and see how it goes. One thing I think I did notice on Sunday's gig was the absence of treble-bleed parallel cap/resistor circuits on the volume pots. I have fitted these to my other guitars, and I think they really do help to keep the tone more consistent at different volume settings. When I'm playing, I do tend to use the volume pot a fair bit, especially when switching between soloing and accompaniment roles, but also just in general in response to what's happening musically.

    Cheers though, glad you approve of the new guitar! :)
  • ESBlondeESBlonde Posts: 788Member
    Pah!

    OK this was the link

    http://www.es-335.net/interior.html

    (sneaks away in embarresed crouch like walk).

    The treble bleed is a good thing, I tend not to use one but have considerred a '50s style' wiring scheme which can have a similar effect. But having replaced the basic Gibson loom with something of a more consistent/known quality I have lived with the slight treble loss and use it to my advantage. I do sometimes miss the quieter treble response but the extra cut for solo or lead work when turned to ten is a nice bonus especially if there is a bit of overdrive or breakup. I tend to have a bright amp setting anyway and my 335 is not inherently bright. I do find I use the controls a lot more on the 335 and am a confirmed twiddler!
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,694Member
    No need to sneak away in embarrassed fashion ES, and I was indeed interested by the link. I had not realised that the normal centre block wood for a Gibson 335 is maple, for one thing - I always thought mahogany. I know the treble bleed is not a universally liked thing - very much just a personal preference for me.

    I've got new 11-52 strings on the guitar now, and done a bit of a setup, as well as a fret polish and cleaning the fretboard, then treating with a little almond oil. It's really a glorious-sounding guitar, and I've been enjoying playing it just acoustically, which has to be a good thing. Possibly I should have got a semi-acoustic before now - I don't think I fully appreciated how different they are to a solid body, why didn't someone tell me? :D
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,694Member
    Did my second gig with the new guitar last night - this was a really good chance to really assess things, since it's a regular band slot, always in the same pub, and I know well how things usually sound. I find the stock pickups not awful, and people did say nice things, but for me, a bit "honky" and agressive, while also lacking just a bit of sparkle and detail. I found it a little tricky to dial in the amp tone controls to a good overall place.

    Anyhow, not to anyone's surprise, I've decided to get some new pickups made for the new guitar, and have already had a chat with Ben Fletcher about this.

    We are settled on an alnico 3 neck, low wound to about 6.6K, and which should be sweet-sounding, but also really airy and open, quite bright, and able to bring out all the guitar's nice acoustic qualities. He's suggested using an unoriented alnico 5 magnet for the bridge unit, which apparently gives an alnico 2-ish kind of sound (smooth, sweet, warm in my experience) but with more power (I often find bridge pickups are too quiet used clean) and I think I'll probably go for that as well. I will have to wait a bit into the new year, but worth it I think.
  • Just TelJust Tel Posts: 498Member
    Well Megi, I for one knew it would only be a matter of time before you had it in bits.
    Merry Christmas.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,694Member
    Just Tel said:

    Well Megi, I for one knew it would only be a matter of time before you had it in bits.
    Merry Christmas.

    Of course you were absolutely right about that JT! :D Still, it will make for yet another riveting guitar mod thread at some point.

    And a very Merry Christmas to your good self as well mate! :)

  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,180Member
    I had a feeling a pick up change might be on the cards Graham. :wink:

    Good luck with it and I'm sure it'll help get the sound more where you want it to be.

    I haven't heard of an unoriented alnico 5 magnet, but if it gives you an Alnico 2 flavour and also a bit more power it sounds like a very good move.

    I hope you and your guitar(s) and all the other forum members have a very Merry Christmas. :smile:
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,694Member
    Thanks Mark - just messin' about with guitars really, as per usual :D My duo with lady singer Beryl has a lunchtime gig today - just playing for people eating their Christmas meal - and I'm taking the red Shine SIL-510, partly because it looks red and christmasy, but also because at the moment I think the sound it makes is better suited - to be honest, I do think that has something to do with the pickups. So it will be nice if I can get the new blonde beauty to be also more capable for this kind of playing.

    Merry Christmas to you (and your guitars!) as well, and indeed to everyone on the forum. :)
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,694Member
    Don't know if anyone is interested, but I took a few more photo's of the pickup cavities when I had the guitar unstrung. The cross-section of woods shows the 3 ply laminate top which is maple-something-maple and also the shaped fillet that fits the curved top, then the main centre block, which appears darker. I wonder if anyone could identify the wood used? Maple I thought, - could be, but maybe a bit close-grained for that. Doesn't look like mahogany to me, but I wonder if it might be a type of spruce.

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  • LesterLester Posts: 1,500Member, Moderator
    edited December 2016

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    Megi, when you were talking about a 335 I was heading in the same direction. I ended up buying this one year old mint condition secondhand Ibanez AS153. Your blond certainly has the looks. I particularly like the contrasting darker pinstripes. Both, it seems, have very impressive finishes. Apart from different knobs and tuners I think we have identical hardware.

    I cannot yet judge the amplified sound as the guitar is still at home. I have an acoustic CD to finish ASAP, having been delayed by my slipped disc. The acoustic sound, including lots of buzzing due to the action being too low, simply tells me it needs a setup and better strings - which makes me wonder how the original owner got by with it in this condition.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,694Member
    Wow Lester, congratulations for finding that one, what a beauty! I'd have to say that's a very nicely done dark tobacco sunburst - not normally the sort of thing I'd go for but that looks stunning.

    You've got an ebony fretboard there as well, and I believe there's a mini 3-way toggle to give coil split and parallel coil options for the neck pickup (I've been doing my homework on Ibanez models lately :D ). The fretwork on my guitar is extremely well done, and it looks the same on yours (I can tell by the fret ends) so I'm sure you'll be able to get a nice setup without too much trouble.

    I do remember you having a Gibson 339 that wasn't really satisfactory, so I hope with this guitar you've got the semi-acoustic box well and truly ticked. Being nosy, can I ask what the serial number of your guitar is? I'm wondering if it was made in the same factory as mine.
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,500Member, Moderator
    S/no. S15081583. The quality control stamp has the date 15.8.14 and Chen.C on it.

    You are right about the 3-way switch for the neck pickup. You have been doing your homework!

    You have a good memory: I have had the 339 for 5 years and have never bonded with it apart from loving the neck shape. This year my most played guitar has been my Burny archtop. It is lovely but a one-trick pony and so this is my way of buying one and (I hope to be) selling two as I don't have space for them all nor do I use them all. It has been a privilege to be able to have some nice guitars for extended periods to really get to know what I want from a guitar.

    PS. My 2nd guitar, bought new in 1972 was a blond Jedson Les Paul copy, it looked just like this one. Your AS103 reminds me of it.
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