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  1. #1

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    Just that.

    I often see reviews saying they are all great guitars, then many counter comments that they are overly bright. It’s confusing.

    I’m semi contemplating an electric archtop - don’t like the 175s I’ve tried, might consider a Pat Metheny model, not the PM2, something easy on the left hand. Budget up to two grand for used. The Bensons have started to attract me, but the number of variations and quality levels are confusing.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    I have a 1981 GB10 which I think is plenty warm-sounding but never gets muddy. The secret sauce of those guitars is the hot pickups. I typically play the guitar with the volume control on 4–5 and then the tone control to taste, often fairly high up. The pickups have so much output that it is still as loud as most of my other guitars through the amp at the same settings. I think that's the reason for the hot pickups.

    As you turn the volume knob up (and lower the amp volume to compensate), the guitar gets brighter and closer to that poppy George Benson tone. If you like all the knobs on 10 all the time, you'll have to EQ at the amp a bit more aggressively to darken and warm the tone up.

    I would recommend one of the MIJ versions and maybe one from the early 80s; by reputation, the pickups were switched to ceramic ones that are brighter but you couldn't prove that by me. There are some thicker bodied versions but I've never played those. Big Mike has them all and it would probably be the best resource for this since he can compare them.

  4. #3

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    In my experience, the GB's with the warmest tone have been the GB200 and GB15.

  5. #4

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    Is the GB15 a single-pup version of the GB10?

  6. #5

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    Have you looked at Gretsch? The Electromatic models are really good instruments, and with a lot more tonal varies than the PAF-styled pickups in most electric guitars. I picked up a Streamliner (the cheapists of the Gretsch line), and found it an extremely good value, well-made, easy on the left hand but with pickups designed to be closer to the PAF standard of tone. I traded it up for a 5420, very much in the 175 mode as far as size goes, but with Filtertron pups, and these are where the magic lies. Anyway, just a suggestion, as they are far less money than Benson models, with no noticeable loss in quality. If you look around you could find a Player's model, made at the Tirada factory, for the budget you're looking to spend. An Anniversary or Tennessee are startlingly good instruments. I now wish I had tried these years ago, they are much more interesting than the standard "jazz" boxes.

  7. #6

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    I never owned one but two of my friends did, both sounded great (warm) both were late 70's and I'm pretty sure both were made in Japan. That's all I've got to offer.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop View Post
    Budget up to two grand for used

    I paid what equals 1200 quid for my PM100 and my PM120 ... and passed on I think 2 GB10s at that price too ..That's pre-pandemic, but still .. Should be feasible to find a nice MIJ Ibby way within your budget

  9. #8

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    Ron - Gretsch? Those colours! I jest. I once played a Terada Country Gentleman, and was hugely impressed with its overall quality. Contenders.

    Lobomov - 1200 quid for PM 120?! I must move to where you live!

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop;[URL="tel:1148926"
    1148926[/URL]]Ron - Gretsch? Those colours! I jest. I once played a Terada Country Gentleman, and was hugely impressed with its overall quality. Contenders.

    Lobomov - 1200 quid for PM 120?! I must move to where you live!

    would love to see you in Copenhagen … but maybe thats the issue/reason … we are a small market so stuff like the pm's is hard to sell?

  11. #10

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    I’d love to go there. If I do, I’ll let you know.

  12. #11

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    I just picked up a GB-100 Rob and it's a bit deeper than a standard GB-10.

    I never got on with GB-10's but the 100's have a touch more woodiness to the sound but of course, each particular guitar can sound more, or less, open.
    It still has the diminished acoustic resonance associated with the 15" body type.
    The necks are to die for and the size is very appealing. Build quality is fantastic although I noted on mine, there are one or two spots, where I raised an eyebrow about 1mm high.

    Here's a demo the acoustic and electric sound I found on Youtube.

    Last edited by ArchtopHeaven; 09-28-2021 at 06:55 PM.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop View Post
    Ron - Gretsch? Those colours! I jest. I once played a Terada Country Gentleman, and was hugely impressed with its overall quality. Contenders.

    Lobomov - 1200 quid for PM 120?! I must move to where you live!
    There are "normal" looking Gretsches in natural and sunburst; my current working 5420 is black with gold hardware, including Bigsby, and is very posh and elegant. I am awaiting the arrival of a double-cutaway hollow body 5622 that is "Snowcrest White" with gold hardware, that should be quite the "show" guitar for when I work with singers on big stages. Fact is, it handles beautifully and is a bit more comfortable than the 5420, as it has a thinner body. The Gretsh orange that is so prevalent is truly a mystery, though. The stuff out of the Terada factory is great, with ebony fingerboards and beautiful fit and finish, and not overpriced, although I'm at the tail end of my career, so I'm not going to go for the 3K+ guitars, unless I land a great big-time gig or hit the lottery. Good luck on your quest.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop View Post
    Is the GB15 a single-pup version of the GB10?
    Yes, pretty much.

    However, for some reason it has a slightly mellower tone than a GB10.

  15. #14

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    Had for a while a 85 gb10 . Beautiful guitar, but I ended up preferring the mellower sound and the slightly different (a bit wider?) neck of my FG100. Not strictly speaking a GB model, although you can see videos of Gorge Benson playing one. But I guess that the bigger GB models are derived from it.

  16. #15

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    Those FG100 guitars are rare in the UK or Europe.

  17. #16

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    wish Rob had looked at the Peerless Monarch..why did i get mine....Matt Otten influence.....

  18. #17

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    I had one a few years back. Sold it a month later.

  19. #18

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    picked one upfor £700..swapped to 57`s.....

  20. #19

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    For guitars with floating pick up I would say the GB12 or GB100 or the GB15 that extra half an inch depth gives you some some fatness in the tone. And those models have a maple and mahogany neck which also gives it a nice woody sound compared to the GB 10.

    And the set in pick up versions the GB5 and the GB200 Are really outstanding truly outstanding - those super 58 pick ups really come across nice.

    But for my personal preference I still would prefer the floating pick up version of the guitar there’s a certain airyness in the tone that the floaters have that really tickles my fancy

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop View Post
    Those FG100 guitars are rare in the UK or Europe.
    Actually quite a problem in general .. I don't think I've ever seen any other version of the MIJ GBs than the GB10 tbh

  22. #21

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    I don't think George's tone is too bright on the GB10. JMO.

  23. #22

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    I seen him do a couple of songs from Earth wind and fire where he used the earth wind and fire Guitar players spare Guitar, it was a strat like guitar and George sounded just like George V playing it

    So much of his tone is in his hands and his technique

  24. #23

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    Just want to chime in and say that in my experience these are really bright guitars. Not to say you can’t do things to tame them, or that it’s a bad sound, but they’re small bodied archtops made of bright sounding woods.

    Part of it is Benson’s technique, but there’s an inherent brightness to these. They’re not going to give you a dark 175 sound, or the fullness of an L5.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop View Post
    Those FG100 guitars are rare in the UK or Europe.
    If you'd consider an FG-100 then you should also consider the AF-200, which is Ibanez's top of the line non-endorser archtop. The AF-2000 (anigre back and sides as opposed to maple) just came out so the AF-200 should drop in price a little in the near term as well. They are very nice guitars as well.

  26. #25

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    Well, I’d like to thank all the contributors to this thread, including those who PM’d me with suggestions and offers.

    I bought the AF2000 for £2075 including shipping from Thomann, which is the lowest price I could find, and they have a great returns policy. If I like it, I’ll keep it, if I don’t, I won’t.

    I’ll let you know what I think of it in due course.