DAVE CHRISTIAN'S HOMEPAGE

Last Updated: 07/25/06

 
 
 
 
   

Welcome to my home on the net. I thought I'd dedicate this page to some of my loves, Music, Guitars, and Motorcycles.  This information is provided for anyone who shares similar interests, and it's all based on my opinions and findings. 

Over the years, I've managed to buy and sale a few guitars, and the internet has been a valuable resource.  So, with that in mind, I thought I'd add my two cents.

I am not in the business of buying and selling guitars, All of the guitars that I own are purely for my enjoyment, and the information provided is not based on any supreme technical knowledge.  You'll need to go elsewhere for that.

What I can provide, is a few pictures and sound clips of the instruments I own, which may or may not be of value to you.

With all these guitars, you'd think I was a great guitar player........Nope......, but I'm getting there.

   

 

BIKE PAGE

 

For Those Interested:  The electric guitar samples on this page were recorded, direct out of the guitar, into a VHT Valvulator, with Mullard 12AX7 tube, then into my Digitech GNX-2, digital out into my soundcard. The Acoustic and Bass guitars go direct into Presonus TubPre, with Telefunken 12AX7 tube, into a Behringer Bass V-Amp Pro, digital out into the soundcard in my computer.  The mp3 quality was lowered to save space.

   

ARIA PRo II (Diamond Series)

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This guitar was purchased in the eighties, so I guess that makes it the elder of the group.  This guitar has also seen more stage time than all the others combined.  I purchased this guitar while in the Air Force, and stationed in Germany.  As you can tell by the pink pickup covers and ring, this guitar fit right in during the "Dark Years".  In the mid eighties, while stationed in Germany, I was part of an all Air Force band named "Matrix", and this was my main guitar.  The single coil pickups are stock, and the bridge pickup was replaced with a Seymour Duncan, if I remember correctly.  There is little information available on these guitars, so I have no idea what woods were used in it's construction, but that didn't matter at the time, the only concern was if the guitar matched your ruffled Prince shirt. I've held onto this guitar purely for sentimental reasons.  The funny thing about this guitar, and indeed that whole period of my musical life, is that I now realize that I knew nothing about woods, construction, sound, tone, character, and all the other guitar goodness that makeup a really good guitar sound.  As a matter of fact, I played this guitar for years, and it wasn't until I took this guitar out to take these pictures (some 20 years later) that I realized it had a coil tap on the tone knob, and I basically played this guitar for years with the coil tapped (Duh).  The sound of this guitar is pretty much straight up rock, as evidenced by the fact that the pickup selector is pretty much fossilized in the bridge position.  Still it has a place in my heart and memory (what's left of it).  BTW, the broken string happened when I took it out for the pictures.  What the hell was I thinking, 009s?, they feel like playing sewing thread to me now.

 

Body Style:  Stratocaster
Pickups: S/S/H
Body Type: Solid
Body Wood: Eh?
Neck: Yep
When Purchased: Mid Eighties
Place Purchased: Germany
 
 
       
 

Pearl Telecaster

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Manufacturers Website (Yeah Right)

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This is another guitar purchased during my military stint in Germany.  If my Aria Pro is the most used guitar in the bunch, then this would be the bastard brother who lives in the basement.  I bought this guitar around the same time as the Aria Pro, to use as stage fodder. (Note to Youth:  It was important at the time to have as many guitars as possible on stands, on the stage, even if you never picked them up.) This guitar traveled to all the shows, and faithfully did it's stand duties without complaint.  I can honestly say that I never once played this guitar on stage.  Now for the funny part.  This guitar is now one of, if not my favorite guitar.  I play this guitar daily, and it is now my best friend.  This guitar was made by Pearl (yep, the drum guys).  Apparently, in the eighties Pearl tried their hand at selling guitars.  The fact that very few people know about this should give you some idea of their success.  I can't find any info on the materials used in it's construction, but the thing weighs a ton.  A couple of years ago, I took this guitar out of the case, and started messing around with it, and realized, it is a nice guitar, so I took it to my buddies at Torres Engineering, and had a bone nut put on it, Graphtech saddles, a proper setup, and replaced the stock pickups with an EMG Tele set, and voila!!  Instant favorite.  This is now my go to guitar for all things recording related.  It can handle anything from Country to Carlos, and not break a sweat.  This guitar is probably laughing it's butt off at the Aria Pro's pink pickup covers now. And to think, this guitar sat on the stand during all those shows.  Well, I guess there is something to be said about maturity.
  Body Style:  Telecaster
Pickups: S/S
Body Type: Solid
Body Wood: Eh? Stone?
Neck: Yep
When Purchased: Mid Eighties
Place Purchased: Germany
 
 

Peavey Predator

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During the nineties, I put down the guitars for a while, and started a little in house studio, for some of the locals.  This guitar, and the Peavey bass which follows it, were purchased for recording purposes.  I kept it pretty much stock, until a few years ago, when I decided to get out of the recording business and start playing guitar again. The guitar in stock form was a decent guitar, but I decided to make it my blues axe, so I removed the stock pickups, replaced the bridge pickup with a Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates pickup, and the single coils with Fender Texas Specials.  I also replaced the neck with a Birdseye Maple / Rosewood neck from Mighty Mite, and to finish it off, I special ordered a mint green pickguard from www.pickguards.com.  The guitar is now a great blues axe.  I actually prefer this guitar over my Fender Strat for that blues sound.  I've read that a lot of the old blues guys use these Peavey Predators as their nightclub axe, because they're inexpensive, and you don't mind if they get beat up.  This guitar has also had a full shielding job under the pickguard.  I wanted to try my hand at shielding a guitar, so I went to the local hobby shop, and bought a thin sheet of copper (used for etching, I think) and some rubber cement, and proceeded to cover the whole pickup cavity with the stuff.  I also, covered the back of the pickguard.  Did it work?  Well sort of.  Those darn Texas Specials still hum. (maybe that's what makes them special).  The guitar does a great job of getting that elusive blues tone though.  The pearly gates pickup, according to Seymour Duncan, were wound for the famous '59 Les PaulŪ Standard that defined the raw, rebellious sound of Texas blues rock.... Yeah, that's the ticket.
  Body Style:  Stratocaster
Pickups: S/S/H
Body Type: Solid
Body Wood: Poplar?
Neck: Maple/Rosewood
When Purchased: 1994
Place Purchased: Gelb Music
 
 

Peavey P-Bass

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I'm not a bass player per se, but most guitar players can pick out enough notes to sound decent at it.  At least that's what I told myself as I plunked down the cash for this bass.  I needed a bass to cover some recording projects I was working on at the time, so I bought this. It's a decent bass made in the design of the original Fender P-Bass.  Using my usual, stock is never good enough logic, I yanked the original pickups out, and replaced them with Seymour Duncan Quarter Pound P-Bass Pickup. The bass sounded decent in stock form, but the Quarter Pound pickups really bring out the.....uh.....bass.  The sound is clearer, more defined and rounded.  I run this bass through my Behringer Bass V-Amp Pro, and it sounds great.
  Body Style:  Fender P-Bass  
Pickups: P-Bass
Body Type: Solid
Body Wood: Probably Poplar
Neck: Maple/Rosewood
When Purchased: 1994
Place Purchased: Gelb Music
 
 

Epiphone Classical

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This guitar was given to me by a friend, so I don't know much about it.  But I've probably put more practice hours in on this guitar, than any of the others.  This is my couch guitar. and it has a place safely beside my couch in the living room.  I can't stress how important it is to have a couch guitar, that is, assuming you have a couch.  You'll look awful funny sitting with your couch guitar, and no couch.  I used to waste my time on the couch watching television.  Not any more, not since I got the couch guitar.  Now, I can play just about every Chili's, GM, commercial that comes along, not to mention jamming with the theme from Monk.  Seriously though, anytime I'm on the couch, I have this guitar in my hand, which has given me countless additional hours of practice. (Note;  I am not married, so your mileage may vary.) You'll have to excuse the audio sample for now.  I still haven't decided how I want to amplify this guitar, so I just used my trusty Dean Markley Stick-on pickup to record the little demo.

Update:  I've replaced the Dean Markley pickup, with a inexpensive system from Artec, and I love the results.  You can usually find these Artec preamps on Ebay for a great price.  The system that I chose has a piezo undersaddle, and internal microphone, new this year from Artec, and cost about eighty bucks for the whole system.  The only drawback is that you have to cut a hole in the side of your guitar for the preamp, which was not an issue on this Epiphone, but I wouldn't have done it on one of my more prized guitars. I'll post some samples soon.

  Body Style:  Classical
Pickups: None
Body Type: Hollow
Body Wood: Only Epiphone Knows
Neck: See Above
When Purchased: Unknown
Place Purchased: Unknown
 
 

Fender 62' Re-Issue Stratocaster

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What can I say?  Anyone, even vaguely familiar with guitars will recognize the Fender Stratocaster.  This is the second Stratocaster that I've owned. The first was lost to the "Dark Years".  I was never really a big fan of of Stratocasters, that is, until I matured enough to appreciate the amazing tone that these guitars offer in the right hands.  S.R.V., Hendrix, and countless others all have managed to squeeze their own unique sound from this one design.  It's with this in mind that I started watching EBay, for a good deal on one.  Well, I finally found it after a couple months.  This guitar is a 1999 Fender 62' Re-Issue Stratocaster, in Shoreline Gold, a color that is no longer available.  The guitar sounded great in stock form, but I wanted noiseless pickups, so I replaced the originals with Kinman Woodstocks, which are supposed to have an un-aged tone, as fender pickups sounded when bought new in the sixties.  I'm not sure what that all means, but they do sound good to me, and they are definitely noiseless. I would have preferred a little more character / color in the pickups, but I guess that comes with age.  The pickguard was replaced by the original owner, but was included in the auction, along with the tweed case, original pickups, and all the swag. Considering all the craziness on EBay lately, this guitar will be my retirement fund.
  Body Style:  The Originator
Pickups: S/S/S
Body Type: Solid
Body Wood: Ash
Neck: Maple/Rosewood
When Purchased: 2003
Place Purchased: Ebay
 
 

Yamaha AEX500N

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Here, we have another nylon string guitar.  I was looking for a guitar to handle some Brazilian jazz stuff, and this is what I ended up with.  This was another EBay find, and I got a really good deal on it.  At the time I was looking for a nice Godin for sale, but this was such a good deal.  Turns out, it's not a bad guitar.  With a little reverb, this thing sounds great, though it's unplugged capabilities are weak.  The only thing I'm not happy with is the neck width at the nut.  This guitar has a narrow neck which makes any finger style playing tedious.  I' probably end up putting this one back on EBay, in search for a more finger style friendly guitar.  Till then, I'm just a Jobim fool

.SOLD

  Body Style:  Les Paulish
Pickups: 1-way Piezo
Body Type: Semi-Hollow
Body Wood: Alder / Lam Spruce
Neck: Maple/Rosewood
When Purchased: 2003
Place Purchased: Ebay
 
 

Samick SMJ

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Does anyone know who the hell Greg Bennett is?  It seems Samick has pretty much given this guy free reign to build whatever he wants.  Well, I didn't either until I bought this guitar. Now I see why Samick put so much faith in this guy.  He designs some great guitars.  Samick is not really a go to name for the guitar elite, so I was a little apprehensive about buying this off EBay, sight unseen.  But it turned out to be a great deal.  For those of you who don't know, Samick builds guitars for many companies who just stick their logo on them.  This guitar is a steel string acoustic hybrid in the same vein as the Chet Atkins models I've found very little info for this model, but I believe it's mahogany.  The pickup system is kind of cool, it has a Piezo under the saddle, and I believe, a magnetic pickup in the sound hole.  The three knobs control volume, sound hole, and bridge pickups, which give this guitar a lot of tonal possibilities. I use this guitar to practice with late at night, because it's virtually silent unplugged, which is what I was looking for.  But plugged in, this guitar sounds huge. When I got it, it was strung with Elixirs, and I went through just about every other brand of string, before coming back to them. They just sound good on this guitar.  Again, I took it this guitar to Torres Engineering, and had a proper setup done, and now I really like this guitar.

SOLD

  Body Style:  Dreadnaught
Pickups: Piezo / Magnetic
Body Type: Semi-Hollow
Body Wood: Mahogany
Neck: Mahogany/Rosewood
When Purchased: 2003
Place Purchased: Ebay
 
 

A.J. Van Spronssen

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If you didn't know who Greg Bennett was, then you're really not going to know who A.J. Van Spronssen is. A few months ago, I decided to drop my other styles of playing, and concentrate seriously on learning the art of Gypsy Jazz.  I started by practicing with my Samick, but I quickly realized that along with changing my whole attitude toward playing guitar, I would also have to change the guitar, so began my search for a decent guitar to learn on.  I began with the usual entry level offerings (which in this genre, is very limited) Gitane, Patenotte, and then by chance, I ran across a hand built guitar for sale by it's builder in the Django Swing Page Classifieds.  The guitar was listed as hand built European Spruce Top, Indian Rosewood back & sides, Ebony fingerboard. I contacted the builder,  Arie Van Spronssen, and found out that he , and the guitar were in the Netherlands. During our correspondence, I learned that Arie was building another guitar for someone in the same area, so after several emails discussing the guitar, I agreed to purchase.  Now, buying a guitar from an unknown luthier (at least in the U.S.) is risky at best, but it can also be exciting, kind of like getting in on the ground floor of a new business. Luckily, all turned out well. The guitar was shipped out on Friday, and imagine my surprise when, a couples days later, on Monday, the guitar shows up at my door.  The guitar included a nice hard-shell case, and arrived without incident.  All I can say, is WOW, this guitar is amazing.  I've spent some time at Gryphon Stringed Instruments playing some of the top of the line gypsy guitars, and found that this guitar is right up there in terms of workmanship, quality of materials, and such.  The tone of this guitar is pure Gypsy.  It'll be a while before my gypsy chops can do this guitar justice, but it sure makes learning the style, a lot easier.  If you are interested in having one of these guitars built, you should definitely consider Arie Van Spronssen.  There's not much information on his website, but he (or she, now that I think about it...hmm) is very fluent in English. You'll have to excuse the audio sample for now.  I still haven't decided how I want to amplify this guitar, so I just used my trusty Dean Markley Stick-on pickup to record the little demo.  Update 1:  See my How To page

Update 2:  I've recently purchased a B-Band A2.2 Xom system which I intended on installing in this guitar.  The system is fairly new from B-Band, and consists of a internal preamp, an under saddle pickup (UST), and a soundboard transducer (AST).  The preamp allows you to blend the two pickups to get a more complete sound.  About the same time that I bought this system, I learned of a new system called the K&K Powerblend Trinity which uses three sensors, an undersaddle pickup, a soundboard transducer, and a microphone, it also has soundhole mounted volume controls which allow you to blend all three.  If I have to pay someone to install one of these systems, I only want to do it once, so now, decisions, decisions.

I've had a few people ask me the name of the song that I'm playing in the demo.  It took me a while to find it again.  It's a song by French Songwriter Georges Brassens titled:

 

 

  Body Style:  Selmer
Pickups: Poor Man's Bigtone
Top Wood: European Spruce
Body Wood: East Indian Rosewood
Fingerboard: Ebony
When Purchased: 2004
Place Purchased: Netherlands
 
 
 

Alvarez AD62SC

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2004 Alvarez AD62SC. To be honest, I bought this guitar on a whim.  I've been looking for several month's for a good Classical guitar with a cutaway, and I've been leaning toward an Alvarez Masterworks MC90C. As a result, I've become familiar with some their other models, and when I saw a good deal on this one, I couldn't pass it up.  This guitar is from Alvarez's Artist Line, which is their most basic lines when it comes to ornamentation, and shiny glossiness.  This particular guitar though, is a special edition model, which I can't find on their website, btw.  It has a solid cedar top and fantastic Burled Mahogany back and sides. Maple bindings.  It also has the 600TMkII preamp which is the latest in Alvarez electronics. I've only had this guitar a short time, but I can tell you acoustically the sound on this thing rivals some of the best dreadnaughts out there.  The preamp has two inputs to allow for a piezo, and magnetic pickup or microphone. I just ordered the internal microphone from Alvarez, who don't make it easy by not selling accessories directly to their customers, instead, I had to find a Alvarez dealer, and have them order it for me.  If you are in the market for a Dreadnaught, I would suggest you take a look at some of the Alvarez offerings.  They have several lines to fit various price points, to include Artist Series, Professional Series, Fusion Series, and Masterworks Series.  After that, you get into the higher priced Alvarez Yairi models.  Now where's that classical guitar I've been looking for?

SOLD

 
Body Style:  Dreadnaught
Pickups: 600TMkII
Top Wood: Solid Cedar
Body Wood: Burled Mahogany
Fingerboard: Rosewood
When Purchased: 2004
Place Purchased: Ebay
 
 

Yamaha FPX-300N

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While still looking for that elusive classical guitar, I ran across this guitar, described as a nylon string guitar designed for finger style players, I searched the internet to find some opinions before purchasing it, and I found that there is not much information about this guitar.  I found many pages which had the scripted Yamaha literature, but no first hand accounts, but I took the plunge anyway.  turns out, it's a nice guitar, built in typical understated, Yamaha fashion. I would have never thought of purchasing a nylon string guitar without a cutaway, but I liked the OM body style , and with 14 frets to the body join, I'm not missing the cutaway at all. I do have a couple issues with the guitar, though.  Yamaha has to be the master of gloss, and they put it on this guitar in abundance, to the point that I think it affects the tone, which is not as open as I like on nylon string guitars.  If you've had a chance to play a La Patrie classical, you know that there's something to be said for lightly finished guitars, they just seem to sound more alive.  This guitar on the other hand sounds smothered in comparison, when heard unplugged.  I can just hear it screaming "Get this crap off of me".  I'm hoping that with time, the soundboard will come alive. The plugged in tone is first rate though, which leads me to my second complaint. Hisssss... I hate noisy electronics, and this guitar has a serious hiss.  I called Yamaha about it, but they could only recommend, replacing the battery, or turning down the internal preamp, and boosting my external presonus Tube Pre preamp, which does work, but it's not a very good solution if you ask me. Now some may not be bothered by the amount of hiss that is present, but when recording with headphones, it gets real annoying. Back to the tone. I'm still getting familiar with it, but this guitar does have a better amplified tone than any of my previous nylon string guitars, even the Yamaha AEX-500N, which I sold sounded thin in comparison. I'm now in the process of finding the right strings, so I'll keep you up to date on that.  Next, I have to find that perfect Eastman Guitar, then the elusive classical. After that, I'm finished. (Yeah, Right)

Update:  I recently cut a new bone saddle and nut from a batch purchased from Sam's Oriental Workshop on Ebay.  The difference is night and day.  I suggest that if you own one of these guitars, that you install or have installed a bone nut and saddle.  Took about a week for the guitar to settle with the new additions, but it was worth the wait. Now, the guitar is 100 times more lively and responsive.

SOLD

 
Body Style:  OM
Pickups: System 45 Piezo w/Mic
Top Wood: Solid Cedar
Body Wood: Rosewood
Fingerboard: Mahogany / Rosewood
When Purchased: 2004
Place Purchased: Ebay
 
 

Paracho Classical

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While researching guitars on EBay, I kept seeing guitars from Paracho, Mexico and in doing a little research, I found that there is a little town in Mexico that has as it's main source of revenue the art of musical instrument building, including classical guitars.  Now, the best case scenario would be to take a little trip to Paracho, visit all of the guitar shops, and bring home a nice guitar.  But I decided to risk it and purchase a guitar sight unseen.  From what I've read, this can be very risky because the quality of guitars made there can vary from the greatest guitar you've ever played, to the worst piece o' crap you've ever seen.  Since I had no experience with guitars from Mexico, I decided to risk it, but limit my loss to a couple hundred bucks, and that is where this guitar comes in.  It was listed as:

Handmade classical guitar from the shop of Senora Herrera.  Following in the tradition of the late Salvador, Sna. Herrera use techniques she mastered from her late husband.  She uses only quality materials , some native to Paracho, Mexico, home of her shop. Other materials are imported from Brazil.  This particular guitar is a true showcase of the art of creating a masterpiece. This guitar has beautiful sound quality. This guitar has a cedar soundboard and body. It is very light in its construction and fingering is effortless.  

The first thing that struck me upon arrival was the smell of this guitar.  It smells like the trees used, were cut yesterday.  Hell, if it didn't sound good, it would make a great air freshener.  Secondly, was that this guitar was very light in weight, I mean to the point of being scary, light.  I  was beginning to think I got took, but then I tuned it up and played it, and man this thing sounds good.  Really good, worth more than I paid good.  The one downside is that the finish work was very rough.  Frets ends needed filing, and the saddle and nut were made with corian, so I had to remake both in bone.  With that done, It is a very nice guitar.  Not Spain nice, but nice.  One thing that I wanted to do was to add a B-Band A2.2 system w/ AST and UST, that I've had laying around for a while, so this guitar with it's low purchase price made it a good candidate.  I have installed the B-Band, and you can hear the results in the links above.  All in all, not a bad experience.

 
Body Style:  Classical
Pickups: B-Band A2.2 System
Top Wood: Solid Cedar
Body Wood: Solid Cedar
Fingerboard: Yes :-}
When Purchased: 2005
Place Purchased: Ebay
 
 

Washburn J-6S

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Well, here is my newest baby.  A Washburn J-6S.  This is Washburn's attempt at copying the Gibson L5, and a great job doing so, at that.  I've been on the lookout for a nice Jazz box for some time, and the deal I got on this one was just too good to pass up.  Washburn makes a couple versions of this guitar, one with a laminated spruce top, and this one, the J-6S which has a solid spruce top.  This is a great guitar, and it sounded good right out of the box.  Even the stock pickups sound good, though I'll probably upgrade them at some point, because I can never leave well enough alone.  You can see the top  and back in the picture links above.  The flamed maple on the back of this guitar is gorgeous. It was sold as follows:

This gorgeous re-owned Washburn J-6S Hollowbody jazz guitar comes complete with authentic Washburn hardshell case. Features include close-grained spruce top, magnificent premium grade flamed maple back and sides, spruce top, Venetian cutaway, fully-bound f holes, multi-laminated binding front and back, 648mm scale, exclusive fully-enclosed Grover 18:1 gear ratio tuners, gold hardware throughout, two (2) Pickups, two (2) Volume Controls, two (2) Tone Controls, three-way toggle switch, fully-bound rosewood fingerboard, fully adjustable tune-o-matic bridge, distinctive Washburn "W" tailpiece, and noticeably-superior split block abalone fingerboard inlays. This is a pre-owned guitar but it is in like new condition except for two hairline cracks in the finish, one around the toggle switch and another smaller finish flaw on the edge of the top. Neither of these finish flaws affect the action or the sound of this superior guitar (and my camera can't even show these minor finish flaws).  As an added bonus, a genuine Washburn fleece-lined hardshell case in included with this guitar. The case fits like a glove. Retail is $1,359.00 with Case.

The sound this guitar puts out is easily on par with more expensive Jazz boxes on the market.  It's amazing how it can be done at even the MSRP.  If you are in the market for a nice Jazz guitar, I can't reccomend this guitar enough.  I think anyone would be happy with it.

Update: I found a good deal on a Bartolini PBF-55 (Neck) pickup yesterday, and I decided to give it a try.  All I can say is WOW.  The difference this pickup has made is night and day when compared to the stock neck pickup.  I really thought the stock pickups sounded good, and had no intention of swapping them, but boy am I glad I did.  The Bartolini has clarity and focus and dynamics that the stock pickup just can't touch.  I can now hear every note (even the lowest) with absolute clarity, and not even a hint of breakup even with the hardest attack.  If your looking for a replacement neck pickup, my recommendation (FWIW) is to give the Bartolini PBF-55 a try.  Now I have to find a Bartolini for the bridge position.  One last thing, the thing looks classy as hell.  The Bartolini's I've seen previously were always black covered (al a EMG), but  the one I found has a nickel cover plated in gold, with the little Bartolini logo stamped into the lower corner, and the cover is solid no screw adjustment holes.  I'll post some samples, shortly.

Update: I chose to go with the Bartolini PBF-57 in the bridge position.

Audio Samples were recorded direct to my E-mu 1820 soundcard.  2,3 and 4 are the rhythm pickup only.  1 and 5 start with the bridge pickup, then middle, then neck  I'm using GHS flatwounds 14-60.  All samples were played fingerstyle (trying something new).  You'll get a more defined sound with a pick, probably.

SOLD

Body Style:  L5-ish
Pickups: 2 Stock Humbuckers
Top Wood: Solid Spruce
Body Wood: Flamed Maple
Fingerboard: Rosewood
When Purchased: 2005
Place Purchased: Ebay
 
 

Larrivee L-09

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Have you ever gone to your local music store for something small (strings, picks, ect.) and come home with a guitar?  Well that's kind of what happened here.  I was actually shopping for a Roland AC60S amp, and I just happened to pick up a Larrivee to try out the amp.  The guitar in question was a Larrivee OMV-05E.  This is the OM bodied / V -Venetian Cutaway / 05 Series / w/ Electronics.  Now as stated, I had no intention of purchasing a guitar, but I was so impressed by this guitar, that my attention quickly turned away from the amp and onto the guitar.  Larrivee from what I've learned so far were originally made in Canada, and have since expanded operations to California.  They now make all of the matte finish guitars in Canada, and all of the gloss finished guitars in California  Well after much negotiation with my local shop, we couldn't come to terms on the price for the OMV-05E, so I took the show on the road, or internet if you prefer, and found a great deal at E.M. Shorts Guitars on a Larrivee L-09 which is step up from the 05 series, in that it has a rosewood body whereas the 05 series is mahogany.  The L body size is also different from the OM.  It's Larrivee's own creation, and falls somewhere in between the Dreadnaught and the OM, in size I believe. At first, I was put off by the tortoise pickguard, because the clear pickguards that come on many Larrivee's looks so cool, but It is quickly growing on me.  Now , the sound is nothing short of amazing.  Once I got rid of those Elixirs, and went through a few sets of strings, and found the DR Rare strings.  Don't get me wrong, I like Elixirs, but I find that they work much better on cheaper guitars.  They tend to over exaggerate the sound/tone, needlessly on most higher end guitars.  The DR's on the other hand, are perfect.  I also like the fact that they have a much lower tension which makes chords and note bending a breeze. It even allows one to jump up to the next higher gauge string set for even more tone.  I have upgraded the bridge pins and saddle to bone, since i took the pics, which is more personal preference than necessity. When compared to the OM series, the L series has a larger sound which I attribute to the larger body size.  I think the L series is a much more centered guitar than the OM, in that it can do both finger style and strumming, well.  The OM was more of a finger style guitar.

The L-09 does not have electronics but it was a perfect opportunity for me to try out a Truetone M7 pickup system, which I've had sitting around for some time now.  The truetone pickup system has three sensors.  1.  A piezo which mounts inside the guitar on the bridgeplate.  2.  Lo Microphone  3.  Hi Microphone, and a preamp to blend the three.  With this setup, I'm in acoustic guitar nirvana.  Now I have to find another Truetone system to keep on the shelf, which is getting harder and harder since the company has stopped making them, and those of us that have them don't want to part with them.

 

Body Style:  Larrivee's Own Design
Pickups: Truetone M7 System
Top Wood: Canadia Sitka Spruce
Body Wood: Solid Rosewood
Fingerboard: African Ebony
When Purchased: 2005
Place Purchased: E.M. Shorts
 
 

Cordoba RCWE

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Next up in my search for the perfect nylon string guitar is this new Cordoba RCWE.  As you can see above, I have gone through a few nylon string guitars, and this one is the best so far,  though it should be, as it cost as much as several of the others combined. The RCWE is another thin body guitar, similar to the Yamaha AEX500N that I had previously.  It is roughly 2-2.5 inches thick. Other than that, it is constructed just like any other quality classical guitar.  It amazes me how Cordoba has managed to get so much acoustic sound out of this little guitar, but they have.  This little guitar actually has more volume than my full size Yamaha FPX300N. Another nice features is that the sound is very clear and direct. This guitar was bought from www.musiciansfriend.com, but it shipped to me in a guitar salon box, so I'm guessing that Guitar Salon is the main U.S. importer. This guitar has a narrow neck (47mm) at the nut, when compared to traditional classical (50-52mm), which makes it a little better for jazz and pop songs.  The built in electronics are Fishman.  The Fishman Prefix Pro Blend, to be exact which consists of a undersaddle Piezo, and an internal microphone.  Amplified, this guitar sounds just good as it does  unplugged. Another benefit of this guitar is that has made me realize how nice my Paracho Guitar sounds.  Before this guitar, I had no yardstick to judge the Paracho guitar by, but now that I know what a quality nylon string guitar should sound like, I realize that my Paracho guitar is right up there.  The next weeks, I'll try some different strings on this guitar to find out what works.  My favorite nylon string of choice currently is Galli Genius strings which I buy from www.stringsbymail.com

 

 

Body Style:  Thinbody Cutaway
Pickups: Fishman Prefix Pro Blend
Top Wood: Solid German Spruce
Body Wood: Solid Indian Rosewood
Fingerboard: Ebony
When Purchased: 2005
Place Purchased: MusiciansFriend
 
 

Yamaha AEX-1500

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After my recent purchase of the Larrivee, and Cordoba guitar above, I wasn't in the market for another purchase this soon, but I ran across another EBay deal that I just couldn't pass up.  You know, sometimes you just can't stand to see someone getting a guitar like this for pennies on the dollar, with a low EBay bid, so sometimes I will bid on a guitar at the last minute just to keep the other person honest, and in the hopes that I'll be the high bidder. In this case, I was, and I got this guitar for a very good price.

I've wanted one of these Martin Taylor model Yamaha's for some time now.  Well, now I own one.  This guitar was developed by collaboration between Yamaha, and one of my favorite guitarists, Martin Taylor. If you're familiar with the sound that Mr. Taylor got on some of his earlier records, then you know what this guitar sounds like.  This guitar has a Piezo pickup in the bridge, in addition to the magnetic neck pickup, so you can get what I call "a nice crystal blend" by mixing the two.

The guitar arrived well setup, and ready to play, though a little dusty.  I took a few minutes to clean and inspect it.  I then began my seemingly never ending quest for the perfect strings by replacing the string that arrived on the guitar, with a set of Elixirs Electric Strings as now endorsed by Martin Taylor. I quickly removed them.  (Sorry, Mr. Taylor)  Elixirs are great strings, and I used them on my Alvarez acoustic with great effect, but I prefer flatwound strings on my jazz guitars.  I'm now trying D'Aquisto Flatwounds, but I can tell that they will be coming off as soon as I can get a set of Thomastik Infeld George Benson Flatwounds, which are my favorite jazz strings, so far.

 

Body Style:  Hollowbody Cutaway
Pickups: Magnetic Neck / Piezo Bridge
Top Wood: Spruce
Body Wood: Alder
Fingerboard:  Ebony
When Purchased: 2005
Place Purchased: EBay
 
 

Luthier Made Les Paul

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Uhh...Not quite sure what to say about this guitar. Recently, I've been looking for a Les Paul to replace the real Gibson Studio that I gave to my father, and I ran across this guitar.  Supposedly, It was made by a luthier in California, but that's pretty much all of the detail that was given in the Ebay listing.  I have no idea what materials were used in it's construction, but it's fairly light for a LP. But, the price was right, so I bought it.  When I received it, it was in pretty sad shape for a so called "luthier built guitar", so I took it to my local guitar tech, and had him do some fret work.  His work has made it a much nicer guitar.  I also took out the original generic import pickups, and replaced them with a set out of a real 1992 Gibson Les Paul Standard.  That has really given it a nice sound.  I had forgotten what a nice jazzy sound you could get out of a Les Paul's neck pickup.  Of course, the real LP pickups has much to do with that.  Check out the audio link, above.  It is a demo song that I recently recorded in my little home midi studio. Most of the instruments come from my Yamaha Motif ES Rack. The guitar is plugged into my Yamaha AG Stomp, then digital out into a Lexicon MPX-200, and into a BBE maximizer, then straight into the 1820 soundcard in my computer.  It just goes to show, that even with a cheap generic guitar, a little work and setup can make a big difference.
Body Style:  Solid
Pickups: Humbuckers (1992 Les Paul)
Top Wood: Uhh?
Body Wood: Ehhh?
Fingerboard:  Hmmmm?
When Purchased: 2006
Place Purchased: EBay
 
 

(NEW) Crafter SEG480TM/VTG-V

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I've picked up a few Crafter guitars at my local guitar shop, and I've always been impressed by the quality.  When the price is taken into consideration, Crafter guitars are among the best deals out there. So, when I ran across a picture of the new SEG480, I knew that I had to get one.  To do this (I'm not rich), I had to part with one of my other guitars.  In this case, I sold the Washburn J6-S.  I figured that the 335 style semi-Hollowbody Crafter SEG480 could serve the dual purpose of rock/jazz. 

Well, this is where the fun began.  Firstly, this particular model can't be found on the US website, so I had to get the model number from the Crafter International website.  I then emailed the Crafter guitar company to see if this model was actually available in the U.S., and they emailed back that it was available in the U.S,  so I called my local guitar shop (Crafter Dealer), gave them the rather long (SEG480TM/VTG-V) model number, and was met with silence, followed by I can't find that model on the Crafter website.  I explained that it was not on the US website, only the International website, and the Einstein on the other end of the line, told me that he didn't think this particular model existed (good help is hard to find). 

So, with that said, I turned to EBay to find one for sale, and the only one available was in the U.K.  Fortunately, it was a display model in perfect shape, so the money saved made shipping from the U.K. feasible.

The guitar took less than a week to arrive, and as advertised, it was in perfect shape, which was very lucky because I had it shipped without a case to save on shipping weight. 

The first thing that attracts you to the guitar is the Tiger Maple body.  Pictures don't do it justice, this thing is nice.  It had the usual cheap import electronics that required a volume change from 10 to 3 before any change was heard. I believe they use linear taper pots instead of audio taper.  The pickups sounded good, but they were wound very hot for a semi-hollow guitar, I thought.  So, out with the electronics, including the pickups, and in with new CTS pots and Switchcraft jacks and switches. 

For the pickups, I decided to go with the tried and true.  Seymour Duncan SH-2 Jazz Neck and Seymour Duncan SH-4 JB Bridge.  This setup gives me a neck pickup that's perfect for clean jazzy rhythm, and a bridge pickup that's perfect for rock/blues leads. 

I must say, this guitar is perfect, now.  I 've got the jazz capabilities of my Washburn J6-S, and the added benefit of a rock/blues guitar. 

Unfortunately,  while visiting the Crafter International website,  I ran across the new FEG780SP/VTG-V, which looks like Crafter's version of a Gibson L5, and I'm already looking for a good deal on one.

Stay tuned for soundclips......

SOLD

Body Style:  Semi-Hollowbody
Pickups: Humbuckers
Top Wood: Tiger Maple
Body Wood: Tiger Maple
Fingerboard:  Indian Rosewood
When Purchased: 2006
Place Purchased: Ebay (U.K.)
 
 

THE DARK YEARS (Subtitle:  Damn, Eddie Van Halen)

I purchased my first real guitar in the early 80's, A beautiful Gibson Explorer, followed by a perfect 25th Anniversary Fender Stratocaster, then an exquisite Gibson Les Paul Studio, I was well on my way to guitar collector status.  Then, he came, black as the night, with his blazing solos, bell bottoms, and one pickup guitars covered in electrical tape, with a sound that we just couldn't resist, and he Pied Piped us, right into the music stores to trade our now classic offerings, for his hell spawn, with names like Charvel, Kramer. We traded our beautiful instruments for, neon colored pickup covers, and Floyd Rose Locking tremolos.  Little did we know that some twenty years later, another monster would arise....yes.....EBay.  We could be among the few who resisted his temptations,  and reveled in the joy of selling Gibson Les Paul's' for ridiculous sums, but no, they're all gone now, sitting in some Hard Rock Cafe, collecting dust, and watching people scarf down chicken wings.  The in-humanity of it all.  Damn you Eddie Van Halen.........Daaaamn You.