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Got a jazz box!


coyote

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A Robelli D120 Manhattan. (The one in this Web pic has an aftermarket bridge, mine has the original rosewood bridge.)

 

http://members.aol.com/greeniebean310/rob1.jpg

 

They were closing them out at $269. Between a gift cert and a couple trade-ins I whittled that down to $125.

 

What a nice guitar! It plays well, looks goood, and sounds great both acoustically and through an amp. Solid bookmatched spruce top and maple back/sides, even a wood pickguard. And of course the pickup is hung from the neck and the vol/tone controls in the pickguard so the top can resonate freely...

 

SamAsh is doing final closeout on these, which originally sold for something like $600. They are introducing a model from Guitar Research that is very close to the D'Angelico New Yorker in appearance. That guitar is selling for $1200... if you want a good jazz box cheap, now's the time (IF your local SamAsh still has any D120s left).

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

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No clips yet. When I do record it, I'll post a few. In the meantime, I can only say it sounds as good as it looks. :D

Originally posted by revolead:

Wow, I wish I had a $125 guitar that looked like that. How does she sound aside from "great"? Any clips?

I find myself wondering why the guy who owned the one in the pic chose to replace the rosewood bridge with a tune-o-matic. If anything, there's a temptation to replace the metal tailpiece with ebony wood!

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

This ain't no track meet; this is football.

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What?!!! You bought that thing when you could have had an Esteban guitar for 4 easy payments of $39.95?? :D

 

Nice buy Coyote. Just goes to show that you don't need to spend $2000 to get a nice guitar. :thu:

bbach

 

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LOL!

Originally posted by Bbach1:

What?!!! You bought that thing when you could have had an Esteban guitar for 4 easy payments of $39.95?? :D

 

Nice buy Coyote. Just goes to show that you don't need to spend $2000 to get a nice guitar. :thu:

Actually, the Esteban guitars ain't that bad. A friend of mine got one for his nephew - I was kinda surprised by the quality of the thing. It fits in with bejeeber's "era of good cheap guitars" concept.

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

This ain't no track meet; this is football.

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Only one problem so far: the 16th fret is slightly high on the high-E string. Fortunately if I slide the entire bridge over just a bit it's a non-issue, but I'll get it fixed anyway. Then I'm gonna put some heavier strings on it (maybe D'addario half-rounds) to bring out its tone a bit more.

Originally posted by jonnbee:

very pretty. if she sounds as good as she looks, i'm there. congrats, and have fun with her....

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

This ain't no track meet; this is football.

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True.

Originally posted by Scott Fraser:

Individual string intonation.

Scott Fraser

HOWEVER.

 

Typically, the original bridges on such guitars are well-designed and flexible enough to provide for very good intonation, as good as can be had with tempered tuning. Meanwhile, the extra mass of a metal bridge kills some of the vibration of the guitar top - thus wrecking tone. Given that the first time you bend a string you knock the guitar out of tune anyway, my preference is to preserve the tone.

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

This ain't no track meet; this is football.

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<

Typically, the original bridges on such guitars are well-designed and flexible enough to provide for very good intonation, as good as can be had with tempered tuning. Meanwhile, the extra mass of a metal bridge kills some of the vibration of the guitar top - thus wrecking tone.>>

 

Definitely, but the other side of that coin is that the extra mass of the bridge increases the sustain, by preventing some of the energy from being transmitted to the soundboard. So, less woody tone, but more sustain...it's a tossup. My main issue with jazz guitars (I have three) is the lack of sustain compared to my solid bodies. So, although the tone would be altered, there may be a real upside. And I would probably consider it "changing" the tone, rather than "wrecking" it.

 

<< Given that the first time you bend a string you knock the guitar out of tune anyway, my preference is to preserve the tone.>>

 

I don't do nearly as much bending on my jazz guitars as on my solid bodies, so that doesn't seem like an issue to me. I find none of my guitars ever sound really in tune to me anyway, but this is a problem I have with most instruments & singers too.

 

Scott Fraser

Scott Fraser
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Originally posted by coyote:

True.

Originally posted by Scott Fraser:

Individual string intonation.

Scott Fraser

HOWEVER.

 

Typically, the original bridges on such guitars are well-designed and flexible enough to provide for very good intonation, as good as can be had with tempered tuning...

I'm unsure what you mean, Coyote. :confused: Is the original bridge designed as a "stepped", solid nut for more accurate intonation? There's no way a straight nut can intonate as well as individual adjustments.

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You know, physics prevents intonation from varying wildly. A given new string of a certain diameter and composition will intonate at approximately the same point as its new replacement - and that will occur on guitar after guitar after guitar. Every classical guitar I've ever played had a straight bridge, and any decently-built one would be in tune with itself.

 

There's no reason to expect different results with archtop guitars - especially since the entire bridge is movable. You are correct that perfect intonation will not be possible with it. Then again, it remains impossible with a tune-o-matic for two reasons: a) tempered tuning and b) a fretted instrument. If you are in tune open, by the 7th fret a chord will NOT be in-tune. It'll be close, and a hair closer than with a straight bridge - but perfection will not be forthcoming.

 

That being true, a straight bridge works for me.

Originally posted by fantasticsound:

Is the original bridge designed as a "stepped", solid nut for more accurate intonation? There's no way a straight nut can intonate as well as individual adjustments.

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

This ain't no track meet; this is football.

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The 16th fret is slightly high at the high-E end. I'm gonna get it taken care of, then I'm going to change strings and put a heavier gauge set (with wound G) on the guitar. I might have to move the entire bridge slightly, but my bet is the instrument will intonate properly without need for individual string adjustment.

 

I'll let you know.

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

This ain't no track meet; this is football.

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<< I'm going to change strings and put a heavier gauge set [with wound G] on the guitar. I might have to move the entire bridge slightly, but my bet is the instrument will intonate properly without need for individual string adjustment.>>

 

I imagine with a uniformly heavier or lighter set of strings intonation would be pretty similar, but I can also imagine real issues when going to a mixed set of guages. I like .010-.052's, but a jazz playing friend of mine has convinced me to try .013-.050's. Seems like going both heavier AND lighter in different areas will really want individual intonation.

 

Scott Fraser

Scott Fraser
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Originally posted by coyote:

You know, physics prevents intonation from varying wildly. A given new string of a certain diameter and composition will intonate at approximately the same point as its new replacement - and that will occur on guitar after guitar after guitar. Every classical guitar I've ever played had a straight bridge, and any decently-built one would be in tune with itself.

 

There's no reason to expect different results with archtop guitars - especially since the entire bridge is movable. You are correct that perfect intonation will not be possible with it. Then again, it remains impossible with a tune-o-matic for two reasons: a) tempered tuning and b) a fretted instrument. If you are in tune open, by the 7th fret a chord will NOT be in-tune. It'll be close, and a hair closer than with a straight bridge - but perfection will not be forthcoming.

 

That being true, a straight bridge works for me.

Originally posted by fantasticsound:

Is the original bridge designed as a "stepped", solid nut for more accurate intonation? There's no way a straight nut can intonate as well as individual adjustments.

I'd love to hear a professional opinion from a luthier (and I'll call John LeVan to get one if none are posted here.) Despite your claims to the contrary in relation to classical instruments all the proof you need that this is an issue is to look at any Strat, LP or other electric guitar with individual intonation adjustments. The saddles are significantly off kilter with one another because of intonation. Perhaps it's the relatively small diameter strings used on most electric guitars. Maybe it's something to do with the difference in mass and composition of nylon vs. steel strings. Maybe great classical musicians retune for each key to compensate for the poor intonation available from a straight bridge. I don't know. But I do know it makes an audible difference, if not to you then to me, and a poorly intonated instrument will sound out of tune as you play up the neck even if most chords sound ok in the open position.

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"a jazz playing friend of mine has convinced me to try .013-.050's. Seems like going both heavier AND lighter in different areas will really want individual intonation"

 

You know what Scott, that idea is just asking for all kinds of complex tuning/intonation/strangely distributed neck forces both laterial and in shear trouble. Not a good idea at all IMKO.

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"a jazz playing friend of mine has convinced me to try .013-.050's. Seems like going both heavier AND lighter in different areas will really want individual intonation"

 

<>

 

This is the set up he has on a gorgeous L5, & it really does play like butter & sound great. The expected benefit of heavier strings on top is all there in terms of tone & sustain, but I was quite skeptical of his going to a lighter guage at the bottom. Since he uses the neck pickup mostly he wanted to get away from some of the boominess with thicker strings. It sounds very balanced & plays very nice. I don't have an L5, but I do have a few jazz hollow bodies & I guess I'm intrigued to try it because it's exactly the opposite of what I've been doing in recent years with skinny top thicker bottom strings; .010-.052. As long as the neck stays straight the intonation can be fixed on the Tune-O-Matic-style bridge (Gretsch) or not, on the Epiphone Emperor rosewood bridge. We'll see. Maybe best to work gradually up to the .013's in stages. though.

 

Scott Fraser

Scott Fraser
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The Ramirez guitar playd by the awesome Segovia had a straightline bridge. Django played one. And here's the incomparable Joe Pass playing an archtop with, you guessed it, a straight bridge:

 

http://www.jazz-planet.com/smckenna/images/smk-git.jpg

 

So individual adjustments may be desirable on my Strat. But they are clearly not neccessary on many guitars, and many dazzling players have created fantastic material on straight-line bridge guitars.

 

BTW, I did not say it was not an issue. I only stated that, in many cases, a straightline bridge is sufficient to alleviate the issue. And "all the proof you need" of that is to look at the examples I posted above; the day I find major-league classical guitars with adjustable saddles is the day I'll buy your apparent argument that they are an absolute neccessity.

 

Originally posted by fantasticsound:

I'd love to hear a professional opinion from a luthier (and I'll call John LeVan to get one if none are posted here.) Despite your claims to the contrary in relation to classical instruments all the proof you need that this is an issue is to look at any Strat, LP or other electric guitar with individual intonation adjustments.

SNIP

But I do know it makes an audible difference, if not to you then to me, and a poorly intonated instrument will sound out of tune as you play up the neck even if most chords sound ok in the open position.

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

This ain't no track meet; this is football.

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<< And here's the incomparable Joe Pass playing an archtop with, you guessed it, a straight bridge:>>

 

Can't tell from that photo. More than 2 feet away from my Epiphone Emperor it looks like a straight bridge. Up close you see that the wood under each string is carved to offset about 1/10th of an inch from its neighbor. The "straight" bridges on at least 4 other of my guitars are similarly compensated.

 

Scott Fraser

Scott Fraser
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Originally posted by coyote:

...And here's the incomparable Joe Pass playing an archtop with, you guessed it, a straight bridge:...

I'm impressed by the Lab Series back-line. I once had an L5. Best clean sound of any amp I've ever owned. :thu:

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