January 28, 2020 at 5:00 am #3693
Why does Santa Cruz not make a 17″ maple backed jumbo? Have they ever?
I’m really finding that a Roy Smeck style guitar and a SJ-200 style guitar have a lot of appeal to me as main strummers, and most of the time I’m just singing over a guitar acoustically and these fit the bill for that. Does anyone have any recommendations for similar guitars that I might want to look into for people who are into such guitars?
I really wish they’d introduce a 12 fret OM Grand and a SJ-200 inspired guitar. I noticed Froggy Bottom has a 12 fret OM Grand type guitar and in the five years I’ve had my Santa Cruz OM Grand, I’ve always felt it needed that extra airspace for sound and response.
Curious what you guys with more experience and years into this now about these topics that you can share. I didn’t want to email Carolyn why they don’t build jumbos while she is trying to catch up from NAMM emails haha
January 28, 2020 at 3:26 pm #3694
Because they have not yet felt they needed to .The lack of inquiries or demand as of yet ? There are the 3 other brands ,G, G and T that do.
I’m guessing that a SCGC RS made with spruce and their great quality German maple would be a bell ringer.
I know this from the D12 12string they made for me a few years back with that same combo. A few of the players here have played it maybe they’ll chime in. To this day I keep my eyes peeled for the VSD they use to make as a standard model..
January 28, 2020 at 3:43 pm #3695
January 28, 2020 at 3:45 pm #3697indexlessKeymaster
I have stood in the presence of Dig’s 12 I will never be the same
January 28, 2020 at 4:12 pm #3698
Woah that’s some nice pin striping!!!
I guess for the people that are interested in santa cruz I’m in the minority then of going after Roy Smeck, L-5s and SJ-200 type sounds if they haven’t had enough demand. Seems like that would be equally as popular as a dreadnought
January 29, 2020 at 7:11 am #3699
A 12-fret OM Grand would have the upper shoulders extended a la a 12-fret 000, so it’s be a 12-fret 0000, which is getting into Larson Bros/Prairie State territory. Guitars like that have similar body volume to SJ-200s (or the slightly smaller J-185) with a slightly more “Martin-y” shoulder and lower bout shape.
Here’s Martin’s own take on it: https://www.laguitarsales.com/index.php/martin-cs-0000-18s-06679.html
If it were a deep body, it’d be a “J” in Martin-style nomenclature.
“OM,” Orchestra Model, is defined as 14 frets clear of the body – that was the entire purpose of the change in design in the late 1920s, as the longer neck appealed to orchestra banjo players crossing over from banjo to guitar way back when. Consequently, “12-fret OM” is something of a contradiction in terms. The specific feature set that made the early OMs so wonderful – and which Richard and crew do so wonderfully – is shortened-upper-bout 000-size body, 14-fret long-scale neck, typically wide nut/saddle (1-3/4” and 2-1/4” or thereabouts) and a ‘normal’ 000-depth body. The combination seems to be a good baseline for success – it offers remarkable power for its small size with surprising sweetness.
January 29, 2020 at 8:02 am #3700DanielParticipant
Maybe I have misjudged the SJ200 all these years, but when ever I hear them being played (and this is both live in the room with one and on TV-mainly Emmy Lou Harris), they never sound like you’d think that should sound. There’s little bottom and buckets of top end. I hear a lot of the DGB and E strings.
That sound really works for Emmy Lou because she is usually playing with another guitar player, electric guitar, keys, what have you. All of those fit into the general mid-range area and she sits comfortably slightly atop that.
I think RH & Co have always been looking for a more articulate sound than Gibson has ever gotten out of an SJ200. Mind you, if anyone could get an articulate sound out of an SJ200 the team at SCGC could.
- This reply was modified 4 months ago by Daniel.
- This reply was modified 4 months ago by Daniel.
January 29, 2020 at 2:59 pm #3702
A lot of them are really overbuilt. Some of the ones from the forties and fifties are great, but after the early sixties and the adjustable bridge, they were very heavy.
I briefly had a mid-sixties one which was dead, and a repair person showed me the brace with a damping screw under the bridge that Gibson had added for some reason…loosening that helped, but it was too heavy overall. Gibson called it a tone adjuster. It was a 1×1 rod of maple with a screw that pressed a cork-lined metal disc about the size of a half dollar against the bottom of the bridge. Really.
January 29, 2020 at 3:32 pm #3703
Daniel – yes that’s the sound I became accustomed to but when I was revisiting them recently over the past year or two trying to find something I enjoy singing over more I discovered quite a few custom shop ones that did not sound like that. It made me think perhaps they are not meant as a model to sound so thin and trebley because those were perfectly balanced to my ear. It seems more common to have the treble and thin sound, but it doesn’t seem rare to get a nice balanced one either. From what I can tell anyway, I have more road tripping to do and shops to visit.
Matt, so the 12 fret OOOO is actually the thing I most adamantly wanted Richard to do when building mine, and then secondly I had asked for a deep body. They rejected both at the time of building, I’m not sure if it’s because they just started building them a year before or what. I think the very most important thing would have been for it to have been 12 fret, followed by a slightly shorter scale…. I’m not sure if that would have done with a deep body or not, but it couldn’t have hurt I don’t suppose. I’ve thought about telling them after 5 years I still wish that they would have tried building it that way, selling it, and seeing if they’ll redo it. I’d rather just get an RS first and some type of Maple Jumbo if I can find one that sounds right. I do want Richard to build some type of 25″ roundabout or 25.25″ OOOO (the 12 fret) with adirondack and mahogany or african blackwood. The entire time I’ve had this, it has just needed a bit more of that 12 fret sound along with a bit more airspace. The only way to get the woods I have to open up a bit is to use 80/20, the phosphor bronze they sound overly rounded off. My wife says the Santa Cruz strings sound the most musical though despite not having any chime with my woods.
I’ll be excited to pursue that in the future, I want to fly out to Santa Cruz and chat about it in person. I was looking up the history of the martin F-7 flat top conversion, and if I’m not mistaken it was originally a 12 fret, not 14 fret. Carolyn said the cutaways have no sonic drawback, so since I like that sound I see no reason other than $$ to not go 12 fret with cutaway.
January 29, 2020 at 7:18 pm #3707
The F-7 was a 14-fret from the get-go – all of the Martin archtops with square shoulders are 14-fret. The most famous conversion was David Bromberg’s – was based an F-7 (0000 size, 14-fret square shoulders). Martin didn’t do a 12-fret archtop – they were following Gibson, who had as a selling point the longer neck and greater upper fret access.
The only 12-fret archtop I think I’ve ever seen might have been a Buscarino of some sort, made for nylon strings.
If you want to get a feel for a 12-fret with cutaway, a good bet would be to try to test-drive a Martin Merle Haggard – it’s a 12-fret 000 with a cutaway and long scale. It’s a large instrument and relatively deep, and the sheer air mass of the design makes a lot of sound. The 0000 version would be enormous, and with J body depth, the air mass would be bigger still – you could land aircraft on that top and the body could be a cistern. With a cutaway, though, upper fret access would be there.
I really hope you find the sound you’re hearing…..it’s the best thing, when the instrument rings all your bells.
January 29, 2020 at 7:34 pm #3708
Oh, the best J-200 around here is owned by one of the guys at Tall Toad in Petaluma (George?). OMG it is SO GOOD. I think it’s a 1956. Light as air and it has great thump (I see why Rev Gary Davis played them). It’s good strummed, too, big smooth sound. No, he won’t sell it. But he sometimes lets people test drive it.
January 30, 2020 at 3:55 pm #3713
Matt H. I’ll have to introduce you to my RUMBLE Gibson 2000 sj200 it does not lack any bottom ,mids or trebles. It has been with me the longest and serves as my crucible of tone for all other guitars
January 30, 2020 at 4:25 pm #3714
That’s good to hear, I think it’s going to be a year or two before I get to CA since I did a US tour from Texas to Philly and back two different ways. That took about a month. Nice Jumbo stories 🙂
January 30, 2020 at 7:14 pm #3715bertParticipant
I had a Goodall Standard, nearly the air space of a 17″ jumbo. A few months after the AC630 arrived in 2014, the Goodall was sold. AC630 is 17″ lower bout with flame maple and engelmann top. Just put new string on last week, has gotten better all along the way. Great balance across the registers.
SCGC VJ, Collings CJ mhA, 89′ Martin 000-16M, Eastman AC630 jumbo & El Rey4 archtop, bottleneck reso.
January 31, 2020 at 2:08 am #3716
Ah thank you for the tip on that bert! I’ll check it out!
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