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  1. #1

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    I might not be official yet (I think I'm still waiting to be approved by a moderator), but this is on my mind, so I'm writing it up.

    I got this from a friend, who did his best to rescue it after a couple of lifetimes of torture. It's an amazing player. I had an under the saddle transducer installed, and I hate it. It fails to capture the voice of the instrument.

    Thoughts about a DeArmond Monkey-on-a-Stick solution?

    My Old Gibson-img-1871-jpg

    My Old Gibson-img-1872-jpg

    My Old Gibson-img-1873-jpg

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by osloutah
    I might not be official yet (I think I'm still waiting to be approved by a moderator), but this is on my mind, so I'm writing it up.

    I got this from a friend, who did his best to rescue it after a couple of lifetimes of torture. It's an amazing player. I had an under the saddle transducer installed, and I hate it. It fails to capture the voice of the instrument.

    Thoughts about a DeArmond Monkey-on-a-Stick solution?

    My Old Gibson-img-1871-jpg

    My Old Gibson-img-1872-jpg

    My Old Gibson-img-1873-jpg
    That is a an elderly and venerable instrument. The MOAS would be my go to for that. Congratulations on a real classic!

  4. #3
    That is a an elderly and venerable instrument. The MOAS would be my go to for that. Congratulations on a real classic! [/QUOTE]

    Thank you! My friend is an old surfer with quite a collection, mostly non-archtops. He was happy to entrust this one to me, and I'm glad to be able to enjoy it and keep its story going.

  5. #4

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    Bearing in mind that no amplification captures the full acoustic sound of a nice instrument.

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara
    Bearing in mind that no amplification captures the full acoustic sound of a nice instrument.
    Amen. When I was talking to someone about the transducer, she sold me on what was installed, but added that she uses good mics if she wants a better sound.

    I'm kinda jaded/broken anyway? I've played the saxophone and flute forever, and I've worked with some really loud groups. Most of the interesting stuff seems to vanish from acoustic instruments once they're amplified. And the irony stares me in the face as I type this: why did I want to amplify this guitar in the first place...

  7. #6

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    Nice to see an old L-30 that's been well used, maybe abused but lives on....glad you're enjoying what it does.
    I used to have a couple of these some time ago and miss them.

    Without an elevated fingerboard extension a DeArmond wouldn't have enough forward clearance to fit very close to the neck.
    Probably could be situated somewhere midway between the fingerboard and the bridge.
    But a DeArmond being a magnetic pickup would give the guitar more of an electric than an acoustic amplified sound.
    That said, old DeArmonds can sound great!

  8. #7

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    I agree doesn’t look enough room for a Dearmond pickup on a stick.

    Looks like there are only 3 good options for amplification:

    1) Transducer, which you have—try to coax a good sound of it with a good DI and/or amp

    2) Mic

    3) Set in pickup

    I have some friends in a kind of skiffle/blues band who both have old Epiphones and routed out holes for some DeArmond foil pickups, and they sound AWESOME.

    Of course that would involve cutting into the top of this guitar, though there may be some options that mount directly to the top. OTOH, it’s not like a pristine closet queen either.

  9. #8

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  10. #9
    Wow, thanks for all of the knowledge and guidance!

    Quote Originally Posted by zizala
    Nice to see an old L-30 that's been well used, maybe abused but lives on....glad you're enjoying what it does.
    I used to have a couple of these some time ago and miss them.

    Without an elevated fingerboard extension a DeArmond wouldn't have enough forward clearance to fit very close to the neck.
    Probably could be situated somewhere midway between the fingerboard and the bridge.
    But a DeArmond being a magnetic pickup would give the guitar more of an electric than an acoustic amplified sound.
    That said, old DeArmonds can sound great!
    Hopefully this doesn't open a can of worms along the lines of the Ibanez Joe Pass pickup location, but that placement might actually work for me. I've been forcing myself to use a pick for more than a year, and I'm kinda locked in to picking closer to the bridge than the neck. I dream of a nice fat neck tone, but my mechanics just aren't there (as of right now).

    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Jeff
    I agree doesn’t look enough room for a Dearmond pickup on a stick.

    Looks like there are only 3 good options for amplification:

    1) Transducer, which you have—try to coax a good sound of it with a good DI and/or amp

    2) Mic

    3) Set in pickup

    I have some friends in a kind of skiffle/blues band who both have old Epiphones and routed out holes for some DeArmond foil pickups, and they sound AWESOME.

    Of course that would involve cutting into the top of this guitar, though there may be some options that mount directly to the top. OTOH, it’s not like a pristine closet queen either.
    It is very tight in there, so I'm not positive there's room for a DeArmond. I've tried a couple of DIs, a decent EQ, but I'm finding too much air in my amplified sound. I still haven't tried an acoustic amp though. The routing has crossed my mind. I think the adhesive holding the guitar together, front and back, is clear boat epoxy. If you hold the guitar up to the light, you can actually see through it. But I'm worried about killing off the existing voice.

    Quote Originally Posted by pcjazz
    I'll have to investigate!

    Again, thanks for all of the knowledge and guidance! I wrote up a little introduction to myself (located elsewhere), and I can't overstate the thanks: even though I've been lurking forever, this knowledge base has really guided lots of my guitar choices. I'm so glad I finally joined.

  11. #10

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    Cool guitar! Lace makes an ultra slim humbucker for this style of archtop that sits on the top. If you’re interested, call Lace and ask Gabriel (the manager) about it. He’s very knowledgeable and a really nice guy - and I love their pickups.

  12. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by nevershouldhavesoldit
    Cool guitar! Lace makes an ultra slim humbucker for this style of archtop that sits on the top. If you’re interested, call Lace and ask Gabriel (the manager) about it. He’s very knowledgeable and a really nice guy - and I love their pickups.
    The guitar is a beauty of a beast. Once I pick it up I have a really hard time putting it down. If I ever decide to purge everything (again) it’s surely the one I’d hold onto (famous last words).

    Just saved the link. Thanks!

  13. #12

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    I put a clingon mic on my L50 .Its cheap . Sounds okj to me. Mickmac

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by nevershouldhavesoldit
    Cool guitar! Lace makes an ultra slim humbucker for this style of archtop that sits on the top. If you’re interested, call Lace and ask Gabriel (the manager) about it. He’s very knowledgeable and a really nice guy - and I love their pickups.
    I happen to have one of the ultra slim hum buckers that I am not using in case you decide to go that route.

  15. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by rsclosson
    I happen to have one of the ultra slim hum buckers that I am not using in case you decide to go that route.
    Thanks for letting me know! PM sent.

  16. #15

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    I love to see a guitar that has been highly used. Be respectful of it, it may not last more than another 50 years!

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Grass
    I love to see a guitar that has been highly used. Be respectful of it, it may not last more than another 50 years!
    I'm not necessarily recommending restoration, but I bet a very good restoration of that guitar could be done to the point it would look like a different guitar. I've seen some unbelievable results with 100 y/o Martins, and Steve Erlewine (Stew Mac) has many videos out showing his restoration of vintage instruments.

    OTOH--if it ain't broke don't fix it. I'm sure Willy's Trigger could be restored to some degree, but that wouldn't be a good idea, would it?

  18. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Grass
    I love to see a guitar that has been highly used. Be respectful of it, it may not last more than another 50 years!
    Deal!

  19. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Jeff
    I'm not necessarily recommending restoration, but I bet a very good restoration of that guitar could be done to the point it would look like a different guitar. I've seen some unbelievable results with 100 y/o Martins, and Steve Erlewine (Stew Mac) has many videos out showing his restoration of vintage instruments.

    OTOH--if it ain't broke don't fix it. I'm sure Willy's Trigger could be restored to some degree, but that wouldn't be a good idea, would it?
    Apparently it was painted black when my friend acquired it, so that's something to think about. Maybe go all the way? I need to talk to my luthier about it.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Jeff
    I agree doesn’t look enough room for a Dearmond pickup on a stick.

    Looks like there are only 3 good options for amplification:

    1) Transducer, which you have—try to coax a good sound of it with a good DI and/or amp

    2) Mic

    3) Set in pickup
    It's an L 30 or 37 from the 1930s. I have one of these with an original 1938 Charlie Christian pickup retrofitted somewhere along the life of the guitar before I got it. I'll warn that installing set in PU's in these old instruments carries a risk of developing cracks in the top (which is quite thin and has become brittle after all those years). According to the OP, this guitar has them already just as mine has.

    I have sometimes thought of having mine restored and the cracks repaired. To keep the heavy pickup, I would likely also have some additional bracing installed around the pickup, though it would degrade the acoustic response of the guitar. One can literally feel the brittleness of the top. So far, I have not done anything about it, and the guitar is mostly a museum piece for me.

  21. #20

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    Kent Armstrong also makes an ultra thin pickup called the "2D." Choice of neck bracket or tab mount.

    https://www.djangobooks.com/Item/ken...icro-humbucker

    ac accessories

  22. #21

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    Congratulations on the new old Gibson! My general feelings and approach with acquisitions like this is sort of like a doctor's hippocratic oath, i.e., do no harm! Same as with wine making. Once you have the grapes, your job is to retain whatever the goodness the vine has provided. Enjoy!

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Grass
    I love to see a guitar that has been highly used. Be respectful of it, it may not last more than another 50 years!
    I suspect there’s not one surviving Strad, Amati, etc that hasn’t been repaired at least a dozen times and many have suffered significant injury or wear. What keeps them alive for centuries is the combination of intrinsic value as great instruments and their economic value as prized rarities. Simply put, they’re clearly “worth” protecting, repairing, and maintaining to their owners regardless of the cost.

    Unfortunately, many nice older guitars from the bottoms of their makers’ price lists are allowed to deteriorate because maintenance and repair add up to their market value or more after years of enjoyment. The better the guitar sounds and feels, the more it’s played and enjoyed……and the more apparent that becomes over time. I’m always amazed at “collectors” who only want pristine instruments with all of their original parts. The most common reason for a guitar to have remained perfect after 50+ years (after death of its owner or having been forgotten about) is probably that it was a real dog.

    I hate to hear “I can get an X for what this repair will cost”. A good luthier can keep most old guitars at their best, and sometimes make them even better than they were. The guitar(s) you love and have been playing for years are like your teeth - you only have to take care of the ones you want to keep. You can replace them, but the originals will go the distance if you help them. And once you start discarding and replacing, it’s just not the same.

    Here’s to the perpetual survival of good old guitars and fine luthiers (and fine dentists)!

  24. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by oldane
    It's an L 30 or 37 from the 1930s. I have one of these with an original 1938 Charlie Christian pickup retrofitted somewhere along the life of the guitar before I got it. I'll warn that installing set in PU's in these old instruments carries a risk of developing cracks in the top (which is quite thin and has become brittle after all those years). According to the OP, this guitar has them already just as mine has.

    I have sometimes thought of having mine restored and the cracks repaired. To keep the heavy pickup, I would likely also have some additional bracing installed around the pickup, though it would degrade the acoustic response of the guitar. One can literally feel the brittleness of the top. So far, I have not done anything about it, and the guitar is mostly a museum piece for me.
    How does it sound with the CC?

    More importantly, thanks for the guidance. I just made a deal with rsclosson for his Lace, so I'll give that a go first. I'm generally inclined to let instruments be what they are, but I jump on old instruments that are still players, if that makes any sense.

    How good is your luthier? Mine has a knack for finding old instruments which have little to no value, then re-engineering them so they play and can be played for another hundred years. I understand that isn't the case with your Gibson, but maybe your person can give it a good look and potentially find some solutions.

  25. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by skykomishone
    Congratulations on the new old Gibson! My general feelings and approach with acquisitions like this is sort of like a doctor's hippocratic oath, i.e., do no harm! Same as with wine making. Once you have the grapes, your job is to retain whatever the goodness the vine has provided. Enjoy!
    Agreed, almost all the time. I'm 99% sure I'll stick with non-invasive options with this Gibson. The person who put on the transducer barely had to remove any material for the output jack, so that option is almost entirely reversible. I'll never know what it sounded like before it was traumatized, but I love how it sounds now, so best to leave things be.

    I learned a relatively inexpensive lesson about this many years ago with an old, non-valuable alto saxophone. I got it for a good price, and my tech told me to just enjoy it as is. I kept pushing him to do an overhaul until he reluctantly took my money and did it. Took a quaint, pleasant sounding instrument, and just ruined its voice. I destroyed whatever was there, and ended up gifting the horn to a friend's son who wanted to play around on a saxophone. Long story short: I think that the acoustical properties basically settle in over time, so if you don't like the instrument as is, don't get it and let it find the right owner.

  26. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by nevershouldhavesoldit
    I suspect there’s not one surviving Strad, Amati, etc that hasn’t been repaired at least a dozen times and many have suffered significant injury or wear. What keeps them alive for centuries is the combination of intrinsic value as great instruments and their economic value as prized rarities. Simply put, they’re clearly “worth” protecting, repairing, and maintaining to their owners regardless of the cost.

    Unfortunately, many nice older guitars from the bottoms of their makers’ price lists are allowed to deteriorate because maintenance and repair add up to their market value or more after years of enjoyment. The better the guitar sounds and feels, the more it’s played and enjoyed……and the more apparent that becomes over time. I’m always amazed at “collectors” who only want pristine instruments with all of their original parts. The most common reason for a guitar to have remained perfect after 50+ years (after death of its owner or having been forgotten about) is probably that it was a real dog.

    I hate to hear “I can get an X for what this repair will cost”. A good luthier can keep most old guitars at their best, and sometimes make them even better than they were. The guitar(s) you love and have been playing for years are like your teeth - you only have to take care of the ones you want to keep. You can replace them, but the originals will go the distance if you help them. And once you start discarding and replacing, it’s just not the same.

    Here’s to the perpetual survival of good old guitars and fine luthiers (and fine dentists)!
    Amen!!! And on that note, I was devastated to learn that my luthier is retiring. I know there are other great people around, but I've known this guy for 20 years.

    A related anecdote: I'm aware of a handful of saxophone flippers. Not too long ago, one of them somehow ended up with an amazing and very valuable alto saxophone. For whatever reason(s), he ended up stripping off all of the remaining original lacquer, and then threw the horn on the market for absolute top dollar because he'd made it look brand new. He makes me sick, because he works at conning people out of these great old instruments, then he turns around and does stupid things with them. Ends up ruining them for everyone, but I guess he's making enough to keep doing it.