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Hi, I wanted to add to a thread in a previous thread but it seems to be tackling a whole number of different issues now and so I thought I would start a new one.

It's basically picking up on the issue of quality of newer Gibsons. I have a newish 'Blues King' although I prefer to call it something like a new L00 which I believe it is based on. The fact that you get a soft case with 'Blues King' written right across it is somewhat embarrassing although the case is handy when you have two guitars and a bag full of leads etc - you can sling one guitar across your back. 

I have for many years said I would never have a Gibson and that was more to do with the width of the neck at the nut rather than anything else. Personally, I have never got on with many Martin guitars and bought a newer Levin some years ago not knowing it had been bought out by Martin - curtailed my playing for a couple of years.

Anyway, two years ago I had a need for a guitar whilst in the UK - all my others were back in New Zealand and were not going anywhere else due to the dreaded baggage handler. So I looked at quite a few guitars, one of which was my current, used, Gibson. It was apparently a 2008 build. I had heard a bit about the current quality of Gibsons but this sounded so good for what I was going to play on it. So, bought it - much to my wife's relief as she definitely thought it the best of the bunch. Around two weeks after buying it the bridge started to lift - scary when you have never had that happen, and I do not want it to happen again. So, not a good start to my Gibson owning days. Recently the LR Baggs system has started to be a pain. The batter bag is not placed in the best of places and the volume switch fell apart. Now this is nothing to do with Gibson I hope but rather Baggs.

That all said I love the thing and cannot see myself using much else other than my National. I would love to try an older Gibson preferably small bodied (I just do not get on with jumbo's or dreadnoughts) and with a wider neck at the nut for my playing style. I am sold on them now and, sadly, my hand-made John Hullah has taken a bit of a back seat. Also, the audience seem to love it too - it has the look and sound for my style.

As far as I understand, Gibson do have a model that meets my requirements - perhaps two - but who wants to pay over the odds just because it is a 'signature' model. 


Lil' Ian

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Replies to This Discussion

Howdy Ian!  Well I'm no one to have this conversation with, as I always recommend only vintage guitars, and Gibson has the sound that appeals to me.  I'm also attached to small bod acoustics.  I think the Blues King is the model I spoke of earlier in reference to Rory Block's eBay offering.  Why wouldn't you peruse the hundreds of opportunities to buy a proven older instrument in good condition?  Most repairs, if needed, outlast the owners, and you can count on the superior tone that comes with aged wood.  There are 60's era J45's, 50's era LG 2's, and 30's era L0 and L00's available out there for between $2 and $4,000.  What a rush to hear and play them!

The one I do like the look and sound of is the one that Woody Mann uses with the floral inlay that seems to be on the body rather than the pick guard. This is the link:


Anyone know what it is? I know it doesn't make any difference to the sound but I love decoration like that. Is it a custom made one?


Being in New Zealand, I do not feel that easy about picking up on eBay. Would rather go around to a shop and here Gibsons are not that popular as I am not that experienced at playing Gibson's - or buying from eBay for that matter.

I think it's a J200/Southern Jumbo model, but I'm limited visually where vids are concerned, as I live in a backwoods region of upstate NY and use a blurry dial-up computer service.  Looks like a hand painted motif, but who knows how and when it was put there. That guy has a clear studied fingerpick style that I envy, as I formed bad lazy habits for that style of playing, where I didn't utilize more than my thumb and index.  God bless John Prine though, the master of two fingered picking.  I'm more comfortable flatpicking.

I would urge you to hook up with eBay to just look at guitars.  You'll eventually get a feel for price ranges if you 'save' the ones you're interested in on your 'watch list' and compare.  If you see something you're interested in, email me the listing at and I'll be happy to prat on and on and on about it.  I suspect, so would most of the Gibson geeks herein. 

Dave, I frequently look at eBay guitars and then suffer fits of depression due to not being able to afford the ones I would like. And I have to say, Gibsons are the main ones nowadays but I think I will have to have a look at specs as I really need a slightly wider neck at the nut than the one I currently have.


In fact I had a look today - same thing. Will surely call on you should I have something to ask - many thanks. Ian

I have just had a look at the Gibson J185 and think that might be the one that Woody Mann plays along with some extra decoration.


Cheers, Ian

New Zealand has many wonderful things but a good range of acoustic guitars is not one of them Ken. When I tour the UK a little later this year I will again search the shops and think I will try the Keb Mo' Gibson as that has a wider neck at the nut - but only 12 frets and so worry that will not be the one as that is why I selected the 'Blues King' over the others I tried last time.

According to specs the J185 has a 1.725" neck at the nut and Woody Mann's looks wider. Who knows - as you say, the search goes on. I hate to say it, but one guitar that did appeal to me was an old Martin that had 12 frets but I would have been terribly worried about taking it on tour with me.



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