The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
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  1. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by tbeltrans View Post
    OK, guys and gals, here is the result of my visit to Lavonne.

    In short, I was absolutely STUNNED/GOBSMACKED/BLOWN AWAY when I first strummed the Gibson Citation. I have NEVER, ever, played a guitar that astoundingly beautiful in my life. The acoustic sound is full from bass to treble and certainly loud enough to play at home without amplification or to mic for any performance. Playing it through a Fender Deluxe Reverb (since I have the Tone Master version that I modded), it played with a deep, full, rich sound. I expected that because when you amplify a guitar, the quality of the pickup is largely at play, but the amplified acoustic sound was unbelievable.

    This Gibson is by far the easiest playing guitar I have ever experienced. It has the same strings that I use on my Eastman FV-880ce-sb, D'Addario NYXL 52-12 (round wound), and it is ever so smooth, absolutely effortless playing.

    Honestly, I never knew a guitar, especially an archtop, could play and sound like that. Everybody else (in the shop) was oohing and ahhing over how it looks, and it is gorgeous. But for me, it was the sound and playability that absolutely blew me away. I have played a number of boutique type luthier built guitars, but none affected me like this Citation. It was incredible. The whole guitar vibrated as I played with bare fingers. It was so responsive and seemingly alive. I always thought this was the domain of fine acoustic guitars only, until today.

    I have heard all the hype about fine archtops, but never really believed it. This Citation is in another universe. Whether all Citations are this good, I will never know, but if they are, then their owners (the OP) are very, very, fortunate.

    This one was the first one built in 1995 (serial number is 001 after the year built). It is drop dead mint and has all the "case candy" including the original warranty, truss rod wrench, keys, etc. It did not have a case cover, but from what I have read, not all of them came with one. It depended on what Gibson had on hand. For me, this is a non-issue.

    So...down to the good part (as if the foregoing wasn't enough to give the OP a real thrill to hear another's take on his new Citation )...

    I bought it and it is safe at home with me. I got a better deal on it than was discussed in this thread, but that is probably down to buying locally so no shipping hassles and such. I am selling nearly all of my other guitars because I have been thinking about clearing house for some time now, and now I truly have a "lifetime" instrument. When the smoke clears, I will have repaid myself all but about $3k or $4k. I had the cash to buy this, since I never ever borrow money to buy guitars (except in this case I borrowed from my savings to buy the Citation), but it is nice to be putting that cash back into savings anyway.

    My intention, at least for a while, is to hang on to the Eastman because it has the wider string spacing and is a fine instrument, though not in the same league as the Citation, but certainly worth hanging on to.

    When I was a full time working musician, it always seemed as if the part time and hobby players always had much better instruments than we union road musicians did, and the thought crossed my mind after getting this Citation, that this is probably still true today since I am just a hobbyist and have been for years now.

    Anyway, thanks to this thread, because I would have never known about this instrument.

    Tony

    That's great.

    On the other hand, maybe, I bought the wrong guitar ... LOL

    I know there were some other players watching that guitar.

    I hope it serves you well.

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  3. #52

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    No, you didn’t!

  4. #53

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    Wait a minute...2 top of the line Gibson Citations purchased within a week or so of each other and posted in the same thread?? I'm pretty sure that's never happened here before and probably won't again. The posts in this forum (and most other online forums) can sometimes get so cantankerous and frustrating...and then there's times like this when the stars align and you're so stoked for a couple members that it washes away the negative and puts a smile on a readers face. Did mine.
    Congrats guys! and I'm pretty sure we need pics of the latest tbeltrans. One of the coolest NGD threads in awhile.....

  5. #54

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    Quote Originally Posted by D'Aquisto Fan View Post
    Congratulations! As I was reading your post I was hoping you were going to buy the guitar. Very happy for you. Enjoy!
    Thanks D'Aquisto Fan! I really appreciate your comments. Bluedawg and I (and any others) should form a Citation group or at least find a way to get together to play.

    Tony

  6. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluedawg View Post
    That's great.

    On the other hand, maybe, I bought the wrong guitar ... LOL

    I know there were some other players watching that guitar.

    I hope it serves you well.
    Thanks Bluedawg. Same right back to you. I doubt you got the wrong one. If I read about these correctly, each was built to high standards. I can't remember any guitar I have played that gave me such an immediate and strong "WOW" factor. If that hadn't been the case, I would not have jumped on it because these guitars are awfully expensive, at least I have never even come close to spending this kind of money on any guitar (or car for that matter).

    One thing I found interesting is that in pictures I have seen around the internet, some of these guitars have the metal bridge and others have the wood bridge. Mine has the wood bridge and I suspect that contributes to the sound I described. From your pics in your OP, it looks as if yours does to, so I would guess yours sounds very similar to mine (or mine to yours...).

    I saw one on reverb.com in Germany for something over $35k. I don't know if that is realistic or not, but I do believe (based on what I read about these) that there aren't all that many floating around. That one is a newer model from 2016 and has a metal bridge:

    2016 Gibson Custom Shop Citation - Antique Natural | Reverb

    Tony

  7. #56

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    Quote Originally Posted by wintermoon View Post
    Wait a minute...2 top of the line Gibson Citations purchased within a week or so of each other and posted in the same thread?? I'm pretty sure that's never happened here before and probably won't again. The posts in this forum (and most other online forums) can sometimes get so cantankerous and frustrating...and then there's times like this when the stars align and you're so stoked for a couple members that it washes away the negative and puts a smile on a readers face. Did mine.
    Congrats guys! and I'm pretty sure we need pics of the latest tbeltrans. One of the coolest NGD threads in awhile.....
    Thanks wintermoon. Yes, I suppose it is unusual. Credit that to the post from Bluedawg that pointed out that Lavonne's had it. I would not have known otherwise. That is one cool store. It was an easier drive than I thought it would be, given the traffic patterns between me and them - freeway most of the way and a nice Mexican restaurant just a couple of easy blocks away makes for a nice trip with my wife. This trip yesterday will certainly not be the last for me.

    If these Citations are as rare as what I have read around the internet seems to indicate, yes, a thread like this would be unusual.

    I have never posted pics to this forum, so will have to figure that out. I think folks would enjoy seeing the back of this one because it has wood grain that looks like pillows (quilted maple?) rather than the typical straighter grain I see on most archtops. The top grain (spruce) is unbelievably tight and very consistent.

    Tony

  8. #57

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    T Beltrans,
    A big congrats. As I was reading your post - I too was so happy it led to a purchase. When you come across a guitar which moves your sole beyond anything you’ve experienced , the worst thing is to walk away without finding a means to buying it. So glad you made the right decision - we’ve all been faced with that same decision , and many of us have regretted not buying something.

    With Gibson prices escalating……along with a dwindling supply of Citations - you made a wise decision. Don’t forget to buy your wife something nice.

    Wishing you many years of enjoyment.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  9. #58

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    Quote Originally Posted by QAman View Post
    T Beltrans,
    A big congrats. As I was reading your post - I too was so happy it led to a purchase. When you come across a guitar which moves your sole beyond anything you’ve experienced , the worst thing is to walk away without finding a means to buying it. So glad you made the right decision - we’ve all been faced with that same decision , and many of us have regretted not buying something.

    With Gibson prices escalating……along with a dwindling supply of Citations - you made a wise decision. Don’t forget to buy your wife something nice.

    Wishing you many years of enjoyment.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Thanks QAman. After sleeping on it, I find myself vacillating between being really, really pleased to have gotten this instrument and feeling worried about having spent so much on a guitar. It is funny in a way because a violin of this kind of quality would cost ten times what this guitar cost and folks in that realm wouldn't bat an eye to buy it. We are fortunate that guitars were historically viewed as not being nearly as esteemed as orchestral instruments, so we can get a world class instrument in a guitar at much more reasonable prices. It will take a while to build up that savings again, but there is really nothing else I need to purchase involving guitars. I am stocked up on strings, straps, etc. So I can easily go for quite some time without spending another dime on guitar related materials.

    My interest is in continuing to learn and play solo instrumental guitar. I have little interest in retirement in playing out, making videos, and that sort of thing. I am well stocked with materials from Robert Conti, Barry Greene, Jake Reichbart, and Steve Crowell, not to mention a bunch of arrangements from Steve Herron's collections at chordmelody.com. Having such a nice guitar now, these all take on a whole new light. I don't need to live near a golf course or take any more trips, a fine guitar and a bunch of learning materials are good enough for me.

    Tony

  10. #59

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    Tony,
    You have a great mind set - and I know it was a lot of money to spend, but if it resonated with you that much, it’s likely the only guitar you will need, and it will spare you the journey of collecting guitars you don’t play. Trust me I know.

    In 1992 , I had the chance to buy a blonde
    D’Aquisto that was built for Ed Benson, the prior editor and owner of a magazine called “ Just Jazz Guitar”. The magazine is no longer in publication. Today, 30 yrs later I am still in search of that guitar…..and would buy it in a minute.

    So , no need to have any buyers remorse….you found you jewel, and can always sell it on this forum if your desires or circumstances change.

    Just enjoy it !


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  11. #60

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    Quote Originally Posted by QAman View Post
    Tony,
    You have a great mind set - and I know it was a lot of money to spend, but if it resonated with you that much, it’s likely the only guitar you will need, and it will spare you the journey of collecting guitars you don’t play. Trust me I know.

    In 1992 , I had the chance to buy a blonde
    D’Aquisto that was built for Ed Benson, the prior editor and owner of a magazine called “ Just Jazz Guitar”. The magazine is no longer in publication. Today, 30 yrs later I am still in search of that guitar…..and would buy it in a minute.

    So , no need to have any buyers remorse….you found you jewel, and can always sell it on this forum if your desires or circumstances change.

    Just enjoy it !


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Thanks QAman! Your story of the one that got away does help, though I am sorry that you had that experience. At least others such as myself can benefit from it. I hope you do find your dream guitar!

    The one that got away from me years ago was a MacIntosh tube stereo components system that I could have gotten locally at a good price. I had just taken on a new job and didn't want to spend any money until I was sure it would work out. Of course by then, the system was sold. At that time apparently Japanese audiophiles were buying that stuff up. If I had the room, I would love to have had that tuner, preamp and the MC-275 power amp. Oh well.

    I just got back from my guitar repair tech person and she put a strap button on the guitar for me and checked it over carefully, giving it a perfect score. She said that it is in perfect shape, so I can rest easy knowing that there aren't any problems lurking waiting to be found. Both your post and Michelle's assessment of the instrument have chased away any buyer's remorse, not to mention that my wife told me to buy it or I would be forever regretting it.

    Tony

  12. #61

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    Quote Originally Posted by wintermoon View Post
    Wait a minute...2 top of the line Gibson Citations purchased within a week or so of each other and posted in the same thread?? I'm pretty sure that's never happened here before and probably won't again. The posts in this forum (and most other online forums) can sometimes get so cantankerous and frustrating...and then there's times like this when the stars align and you're so stoked for a couple members that it washes away the negative and puts a smile on a readers face. Did mine.
    Congrats guys! and I'm pretty sure we need pics of the latest tbeltrans. One of the coolest NGD threads in awhile.....
    Thanks!

    I've been eyeballing these for many years.

    It's nice to finally have one.

  13. #62

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluedawg View Post
    Thanks!

    I've been eyeballing these for many years.

    It's nice to finally have one.
    Well, if it weren't for you mentioning that Lavonne Music having one, I wouldn't have one either.

    By the way, did you know that the nut width on these Citations is not 1 11/16", but instead 1/32" wider at 1 23/32"? A friend who knows these guitars well just told me that a little while ago, so I measured it with my digital calipers and he is right. On the internet, any specs for this guitar I have seen say it is 1 11/16". To me, this is good news, the wider the better.

    Tony

  14. #63

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    Quote Originally Posted by mauibob View Post
    No, you didn’t!
    It is a great guitar.

    Currently it has round wound strings on it that sound great and seem to bring out the high end more. The high end on the Citation is really fantastic. The low end is also good, but I'm curious to know what it would sound like with flats.

    I find that flat wounds bring out the bottom end of an archtop. I usually prefer flat wounds on an archtop.

    I'll have to try flat wounds someday, but if I decide to go back to round wounds, I hope I can find strings that sound as good as the current round wounds.

  15. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by tbeltrans View Post
    Well, if it weren't for you mentioning that Lavonne Music having one, I wouldn't have one either.

    By the way, did you know that the nut width on these Citations is not 1 11/16", but instead 1/32" wider at 1 23/32"? A friend who knows these guitars well just told me that a little while ago, so I measured it with my digital calipers and he is right. On the internet, any specs for this guitar I have seen say it is 1 11/16". To me, this is good news, the wider the better.

    Tony
    Glad to be of service.

    Looks like we bought the last two "reasonably" priced Citations on the internet. At the moment.

    There is still one on Gbase at $27K, but it says, "On Hold." It's an early 80s which is probably the reason for the advertised price. Who knows what it will actually sell for.

    And the 2016 in Germany at $35K. It's a beautiful blonde. Not sure of the European market justifies the higher price or not.

    There was an early 70s on eBay in Japan at $49K a few weeks ago, but it's not there anymore. Seems high to me, but I don't know the Japanese market.


    As for the nut width, Gibson's advertising and reality are not always in sink. I suspect the people who write their ads aren't always in communication with the teams that are actually doing the work. Gotta love company bureaucracy.

    I have played a few 60s Gibson archtops that I really did not like. I think they had the thinner 1 9/16" nuts which really did not feel good to me.

    I picked up an 18 inch Campellone a few years ago with a 1 13/16" nut that is a real sweetheart and very comfortable to play.
    Last edited by Bluedawg; 08-19-2022 at 03:58 PM.

  16. #65

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluedawg View Post
    Glad to be of service.

    Looks like we bought the last two "reasonably" priced Citations on the internet.

    There is still one on Gbase at $27K, but it says, "On Hold." It's an early 80s which is probably the reason for the advertised price. Who knows what it will actually sell for.

    And the 2016 in Germany at $35K. It's a beautiful blonde. Not sure of the European market justifies the higher price or not.

    There was an early 70s on eBay in Japan at $49K a few weeks ago, but it's not there anymore. Seems high to me, but I don't know the Japanese market.


    As for the nut width, Gibson's advertising and reality are not always in sink. I suspect the people who write their ads aren't always in communication with the teams that are actually doing the work. Gotta love company bureaucracy.

    I have played a few 60s Gibson archtops that I really did not like. I think they had the thinner 1 9/16" nuts which really did not feel good to me.

    I picked up an 18 inch Campellone a few years ago with a 1 13/16" nut that is a real sweetheart and very comfortable to play.
    It seems as if maybe prices for these Citations is all over the map. I have no feel for what Citations should go for, but comments in this thread helped a lot. For some things, I also prefer a wider string spacing. My Eastman provides that, so I am hanging on to it too.

    Tony

  17. #66

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    Here are a couple of pics of my (new to me) 1995 Citation that I purchased this week at Lavonne Music. Again, thanks to the OP and this thread for cluing me in on both the Citation and the one available in my area. It is my "forever" guitar now.

    Tony
    Attached Images Attached Images 1995 Gibson Citation-img_01a-jpg 1995 Gibson Citation-img_02a-jpg 1995 Gibson Citation-img_03a-jpg 

  18. #67

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    good gracious, my eyes are spinning in my head looking at the back of that one, geez!
    I like both of them however.
    For me the only thing I'm not crazy about on Citations is the figured guards and Switchmaster tailpieces.
    I'd rather see a plain maple guard, and maybe just a burst on the treble side so it would blend in better w/the top. And I think for a top of the line guitar they could have put some thought into coming up w an original tp design.
    But just 2 minor nits on my behalf, carry on...

  19. #68

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    My gosh that guitar is a sight to behold. One could find one that better but frankly you might spend eternity trying to find it. To me this is simply fantastic story of someone finding the guitar they wanted, and it checked all the boxes. Then when you went back to review your situation you found.....................damn all the boxes are check...........it cannot get better. Oh, for a sound clip please.

  20. #69

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    Boy when Gibson gets it right nobody can touch them.
    I always dug the no heel cap on a Citation. Gorgeous !!!

  21. #70

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    wintermoon, deacon Mark, and vinnyv1k,

    Thanks so much for your kind comments! I only buy my guitars locally where I can see and play them before I buy, and not have to worry about shipping issues. So the fact that Bluedawg started this thread with his own Citation purchase and then clued me in that one was available locally, all led to those pics. I simply couldn't pass it up.

    Some years ago (early 2000s), I purchased a used Gibson Johnny Smith from the early 70s. It had been stolen from the previous owner and later recovered, and had some issues but was relatively inexpensive for a Johnny Smith. Gasses from the pick guard pretty much destroyed the electronics after I had owned it for a few years, and that on top of some other issues were enough for me to decide to sell it. I did pay somebody to address these issues, but moved it on anyway. Since then I have wanted just one top notch Gibson archtop and this one is immaculate with absolutely no issues, so I went for it. Happy days!

    Tony

  22. #71

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    Citation is a favorite of mine and the Le Grand as well. I find it interesting that Gibson's most expensive offering features cloud inlays which were an Epiphone signature on the Deluxe models early on. A nice tribute indeed.
    I found it odd about choosing the Switchmaster tailpiece as well, but it works and I love the look. What's there not to love?
    Does the Le Grand come close in feel and sound? Big difference in price but those Citations . . . wow, just beautiful! Thanks for a gander!

  23. #72

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sleeko View Post
    Citation is a favorite of mine and the Le Grand as well. I find it interesting that Gibson's most expensive offering features cloud inlays which were an Epiphone signature on the Deluxe models early on. A nice tribute indeed.
    I found it odd about choosing the Switchmaster tailpiece as well, but it works and I love the look. What's there not to love?
    Does the Le Grand come close in feel and sound? Big difference in price but those Citations . . . wow, just beautiful! Thanks for a gander!
    Thanks Sleeko. I have never played a Le Grand so I can't make a comparison. It was the sound and incredible playability that sold me on this Citation. I have never played a modern hollow body guitar that the whole body vibrates when played. I say "modern" because I did play an early 1950s ES-175 that was light as a feather and vibrated like that years ago. I had a late 1990s ES-175 that I had bought new. It was a real clunker, with various things rattling when I played it. It wasn't at all like that one from the 1950s. My Citation is rather heavy, so it is surprising how alive it is when played.

    If the Le Grand is supposed to be a version of the Johnny Smith (?) then it must be a fine instrument too.

    Tony

  24. #73

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    Appreciate it and thanks for the reply Tony, much luck with that beauty. I read somewhere years ago, and I don't know how true it is, but the Le Grand bodies were Citations that didn't quite make the grade wood wise. (Though I've never seen an ugly one).
    I noticed the f holes on the Citations are shaped quite elaborately compared to the typical straight forward ones featured on most Gibsons, my L4 included. I see a bit of early Epiphone/ Guild style and flair.

  25. #74

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    Quote Originally Posted by tbeltrans
    Thanks Sleeko. I have never played a Le Grand so I can't make a comparison. It was the sound and incredible playability that sold me on this Citation. I have never played a modern hollow body guitar that the whole body vibrates when played. I say "modern" because I did play an early 1950s ES-175 that was light as a feather and vibrated like that years ago. I had a late 1990s ES-175 that I had bought new. It was a real clunker, with various things rattling when I played it. It wasn't at all like that one from the 1950s. My Citation is rather heavy, so it is surprising how alive it is when played.

    If the Le Grand is supposed to be a version of the Johnny Smith (?) then it must be a fine instrument too.

    Tony
    I have a Legrand and my good friend down the block has a Citation. My Legrand is lighter for sure and I think the tailpiece is the reason. The Citation tailpiece is heavier than the 6 fingers tailpiece. Both guitars sound good take your pick? I actually like my Legrand just as well.

  26. #75

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    Quote Originally Posted by deacon Mark
    I have a Legrand and my good friend down the block has a Citation. My Legrand is lighter for sure and I think the tailpiece is the reason. The Citation tailpiece is heavier than the 6 fingers tailpiece. Both guitars sound good take your pick? I actually like my Legrand just as well.
    I hope to get a chance to see and play a Le Grand someday. It seems to me that Gibson made (makes) quite a few excellent archtops and it would be tough to choose one model over another, all things being equal (i.e. having the money for any one of them and in my case, anyway, having them all available locally at the same time). Since I only buy locally, I pick whatever is available. At this moment in time, it happened to be the Citation.

    Truth be told, I really didn't know anything about the Citation beyond that it was a higher end Gibson. I went to try it out of curiosity since not many guitars like this show up around here, and it was my fingers and ears that told me I had to have it. Had I read the various threads here that have discussed it over the years, I may have gone in with a strong bias that precluded whatever my fingers and ears told me, and bought it because it was "cool". Whenever I have done it that way, I always end up regretting it sooner or later. I am sure that if the guitar in question that was available locally was a Le Grand, I would have been just as taken with it, based on what I have read around here.

    I would think that at that level of guitar, there probably isn't really a clear winner standing above the rest by model number or name, but maybe by variances between individual guitars where some just come out a bit better than some others in the build process through no fault of the builder. With only a sample of one, I have no idea where my Citation would compare that way.

    There is a concept called "paradox of choice" in which when we have only one item to choose from, we get it and are fully satisfied with it. But when we have at least two choices, we pick one, but are thereafter wondering in the back of our minds if we REALLY picked the best one, and therefore do not experience the same level of satisfaction. So, in my case, the only higher end Gibson archtop available at that point in time was that one Citation so I can avoid that paradox of choice. If there were a few other models of higher end Gibson available, I would probably at some point wonder if I had made the right choice. Fortunately, there were no Le Grands.

    Tony