10 June 2012

Lemon oil

My Gibson's rosewood fret board was getting as dry as a dead dingo's donger.
Last week I restrung it with some nice coated EB slinkys but as the board was so dry they felt like rusted barbed wire.
Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating just a tiny bit here but it got to a point where it just didn't feel right anymore.
I've been reading about oiling fret boards with all kinds of stuff: 'lemon oil', 'mineral oil', olive oil (yes, olive oil), etc but the most common advice was getting some lemon oil.
I'm not big into DIY stuff and had no idea what lemon oil actually is so I went to a DIY store.
People working there had absolutely no idea what I was on about and as I didn't know what it actually was I wasn't going to buy just anything.
Instead of going on a rant about inaccurate and incomplete advice given out on message boards on the intertubes I turned to my local music store's website and there I saw some Dunlop 65 ultimate lemon oil.
That's right, ultimate lemon oil, not just regular lemon oil, _ultimate_ lemon oil; the only thing missing is a '2000' or '5000' at the end of that name.

Again, a long story short: I bought some, applied it to the fret board and these are my findings:

* It's easy to use and dose because of the applicator.
* It cleans the grime and grease pretty well.
* The wood got (what I assume is) its natural color back.
* Fret board feels much smoother and is much more enjoyable to play on.

* It smells funny.
* It's like everything smells like funny at least 2 hours after using it.
* My guitar's fret board now (the day after) smells funny.
* I don't want my guitars to smell funny.

Did I mention yet it smells funny? No? Well, it does; smells funny, that is.
The reason I'm going on about this is that I don't even think there's actual lemon extract in it, it smells nothing like the lemon extract bottle I keep in the fridge.

It smells like Cymbopogon, the Citronella stuff my mom soaked me in with 25 years ago when I was little right before bed time during summers.
I never really liked the smell of it and it didn't keep mosquitoes at bay at all but to be honest, my mom couldn't have known because it was only in 2002 a study (8th paragraph in the article) concluded the stuff is effective for about 20 minutes.
Anyways, one night the bottle started to leak in the drawer of the end table next to my bed so that drawer reeked for years to come.
Smell memories are funny that way, cleaning a fret board took me back 25 years; another smell that really fucks me up is cherry blossoms but that's another story and totally irrelevant now.

But yeh, the fret board: it's stunning now and I took a before and after shot for your amusement.

06 June 2012

Gibson V-Factor X Flying V

There are some subtle differences between Gibson's Flying V model over the years.
It's particularly nasty when trying to verify whether a certain model is most likely to be a real Gibson only having access to pictures of said guitar.
So I've been trying to find information on the intertubez on a particular V from 2008 (according to the serial number), it looks genuine enough but there's something strange about it: the head stock looks different from the V pictured on gibson.com.
So, is it real? Refinished? Maybe a rebranded Epiphone / Chibson ... ?

Here's a picture of the guitar:

This is a regular Flying V:

Same head stock as the one I've been trying to find info on:

You'll notice the head stock on the 2nd one is sharper.
Problem solved, right? Nope, because the guitar's finish is ebony.
The red one is a 'faded cherry' finish, which basically is Gibson selling a genuine Gibson for the price of a decent Epiphone as far as I can see.
Anyways, could it be a refinished one?
Doesn't look like it plus the guitar comes with a hard case, while the faded cherry ones come with a gigbag.
It does bear an uncanny resemblance with the Epiphone version of the '69 V though, but the tuners are genuine Gibson and the nut is different as well.

A couple Google searches later and I found this jem:

(Source: http://axestaticprocess.com/2011/09/19/get-monte-pittmans-flying-v/)

Exactly like the one I'm researching except for the hardware and pickups.
The site says they owned changed it, so fine but I still didn't quite know which guitar this is.

The mystery V was advertised as being a 2008 '68 flying V re-issue but all the images on Google show a regular V, not the pointy head stock one.

Anyways, long story short: the pointy ebony one is a Gibson V-Factor X Flying V.
Yes, seriously.
Gibson apparently tried to 1337-en up their guitars, so they briefly named the Flying V the V-Factor X and the Explorer the X-Plorer.
This is what Gibson have to say about it:

"The neck on Gibson’s V-Factor X has the best of both worlds—it is a hybrid between the ’50s rounded contour and the ’60s slim-taper profile."
"Whether it’s the regular Flying V, or the Gibson V-Factor X, the solid mahogany body provides tone, sustain, and performance."
"On the flipside, warm up the cutting tone of the bridge P-90 on your SG Specialby using a more rounded pick, or take some of the aggression out of the high-gain pickups of your V-Factor X by using a thinner pick for a smoother, more compressed rhythm tone."

So nothing really usable, no archive product pages, no nothing.
Attempts to look at how gibson.com looked like in 2007 through archive.org simply fail as Gibson has a robots.txt in place. Thanks Gibson!
No product catalogs to be found either so I decided trying to find the same guitar on a webshop somewhere to verify there was, in fact, a time where the standard Flying V's had that type of head stock.
After a bit (hah!) of Googl'ing I found these:
That's the one! Finally a shop which took the effort of actually taking a picture of the instrument they're selling instead of just using the same one over and over again.
Right, so now we know it at least exists and isn't a fake (although there's always the possibility a store is selling an obvious fake, but let's assume they're legit).

A bit more Googl'ing resulted in 2 NGD's on random forums and a couple more links:

http://www.in2guitar.com/flyingv.html: Nice picture of the pointyness
http://i133.photobucket.com/albums/q53/joolzriff/SuperHawk002-1.jpg (from http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=250162)
http://www.musicradar.com/gallery/reviews/v-factor-x-157224/1: "The classic arrowhead headstock remains" - No, not really.

So although I haven't been able to find pictures of that actual model on a page hosted on gibson.com, I'm pretty confident it's, in fact, real.

Now if only Gibson would provide archives of their site (ESP does) or answer email ...

Edit: some picture links were dead, fixed that.