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Old March 15th, 2011, 05:15 AM   #1 (permalink)
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NGD Douglas thinline Gravity NT - lefty

UPS dropped off my new Douglas guitar from Rondo Music early this afternoon.
The official name of this guitar is the Douglas Gravity NT AS Vintage Nat Semi Hollow. The grand total including tax and shipping came to a whopping $188.09.

Here's the link for all the specs listed by Rondo:

http://www.rondomusic.com/ntaslhvtn.html

It was double boxed and well packed from head to toe. It came with a guitar cord and a couple allen wrenches for the truss rod and saddle screws. As I uncovered it, it appeared to me that the grain on this burl top looked more
like the design on the Gravity WFS TA model, and just a couple shades lighter. That's fine with me. The cream binding and maple neck look like a good match. Everything is nice and tight, the neck fits tightly in the pocket, the frets are smooth on the sides, seem level, intonation was good according to my tuner, and the volume and tone knobs feel snug and turn smoothly.

Before I came across this Douglas, I was about to pull the trigger on the SX thin line, either the sunburst or natural finish. They looked pretty slick and I already have an SX - P bass that I've really enjoyed playing over the last year, and then I scrolled down and saw the Douglas. It was $20 more but the black pick guard against the natural finish sold me. I've noticed that the Douglas's haven't gotten the same publicity as the SX's, but the testimony I've read from Douglas owners has been pretty convincing, so I felt confident to try this out. The return policy at Rondo takes the pressure off in case you don't care for the choice you made after you receive it.

I haven't had much time to spend with my new guitar today, and fortunately it was set up to my liking right out of the box. I tuned it up and it was ready to be played. No need to do a truss rod adjustment as the action was low already and no buzzing frets anywhere that I could detect from playing chords and scales. I plugged the Doug into my Peavey Delta Blues and the was no buzz or hum. The pickups sound good, the bridge pickup has the traditional tele tone with bite, the neck pick up gave me a tone that's full, punchy and glassy at the same time, which is one of my favorite telecaster tones on neck pick ups. I rolled the volume back and the notes remained crisp. The tone control gives a smooth transition from bass to treble and gets a nice wah wah effects when turning back and forth. I added a little tremolo from the Delta Blues and this gave me the "swamp" tone that I love telecasters for.

The tuners might be the weak link, but it's too early for me to tell. They're about the same quality I saw on a few Squiers over the weekend, so if I was still giging or going in the studio, that would be an upgrade I'd want to do first.

I'm going to change the strings tomorrow to a brand I'm more familiar and then I'll decide the future for these tuners.
What I like about this guitar is that there are no modifications I feel like that I have to make. In time, I can replace the bridge, the nut, little things like the screws, the pots, wiring......but I can take my time to do it and there is no need to rush. It sounds fine the way it is, and doing these upgrades is no different than what I've done in basses and guitars overtime that cost much more than what I paid for this, and I'm not even convinced these upgrades any more necessary with this guitar.

Here's a few pics for starters, and if anyone wants more info, I'll share with you what I can. The thin clear plastic covering is still on the pick guard.














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Old March 15th, 2011, 05:18 AM   #2 (permalink)
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very nice! i absolutely love bound guitars. i'd probably be shacked up with a ton of sx/douglas guitars if the shipping wasn't insane to canada.
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Old March 15th, 2011, 05:25 AM   #3 (permalink)
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That's a bumma. Maybe you can schedule a little vacation and head down to New Hampshire. I wonder how long of a drive that would be?
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Old March 15th, 2011, 05:31 AM   #4 (permalink)
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That's a bumma. Maybe you can schedule a little vacation and head down to New Hampshire. I wonder how long of a drive that would be?
quite a while :P

i like the douglas headstock better than the new furrian ones that for sure. fortunately i also have an SX STL Ash (purchased used locally) with the strat-style headstock which i love.

i found the pickups in these guitars to be pretty decent.
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Old March 15th, 2011, 10:11 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Wow, that wood looks great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old March 15th, 2011, 10:15 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I think that you may find those tuners to be very adequate. The ones on my SX thinline hold tune very well...it's been said that these more expensive thinlines carry the better quality tuners as apposed to the less expensive solid bodys for $110.

Congrads and play away on that nice lookin axe
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Old March 15th, 2011, 11:55 AM   #7 (permalink)
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*
1. Level and crown the frets. Unless you are perfectly happy with the action the way it is and you have no issues.

The bulk of players have never had a really well set up guitar, which includes fret leveling/crowning, and don't know what they are missing.

And some prefer a higher action, which is much more forgiving of a production line guitar.
And sometimes the preference of a higher action is actually a result of getting away from fret buzz (never having played a truly well set up guitar) years ago and has become habit.

2. Address nut slots with some files. After doing this you will likely find that the tuning machines work just fine. Most of the problems people perceive with tuners these days are actually binding at the nut.

And in working the nut, be sure to know about this:

http://frets.com/FRETSPages/Musician...nutaction.html

3. Adjust saddles: loosen, adjust, tighten, repeat as necessary. If you adjust with tension on the strings you run the risk of stripping.

4. Shim the neck if need be.

In other words, give it a real set up, which includes all of the above, truss rod, etc.


Great looking guitar BTW. Actually, Fabulous, from the top to the swirls in the body on that side shot.

Thanks for sharing. Danged spiffy beaut of a guitar. An incredible value.


*If you already know all of this then ignore the bulk of the post and skip to the, "Great looking guitar BTW, etc. etc. part.
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Old March 15th, 2011, 12:15 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Looks great. I got the SX Furrian SB Thinline a few weeks ago and really like it. Like yours, the frets were smooth, the finish flawless, grain well matched and it sounded nice right out of the box. I did put a Graph Tech nut on on it right away and new strings. I was able to intonate it and set the action to Fender specs with no fret buzz anywhere on the neck. Tuners seem fine.
A lot of guitar for the cost, IMO.

Mine
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Old March 15th, 2011, 01:53 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by RBBB View Post
*
1. Level and crown the frets. Unless you are perfectly happy with the action the way it is and you have no issues.

The bulk of players have never had a really well set up guitar, which includes fret leveling/crowning, and don't know what they are missing.

And some prefer a higher action, which is much more forgiving of a production line guitar.
And sometimes the preference of a higher action is actually a result of getting away from fret buzz (never having played a truly well set up guitar) years ago and has become habit.

2. Address nut slots with some files. After doing this you will likely find that the tuning machines work just fine. Most of the problems people perceive with tuners these days are actually binding at the nut.

And in working the nut, be sure to know about this:

http://frets.com/FRETSPages/Musician...nutaction.html

3. Adjust saddles: loosen, adjust, tighten, repeat as necessary. If you adjust with tension on the strings you run the risk of stripping.

4. Shim the neck if need be.

In other words, give it a real set up, which includes all of the above, truss rod, etc.


Great looking guitar BTW. Actually, Fabulous, from the top to the swirls in the body on that side shot.

Thanks for sharing. Danged spiffy beaut of a guitar. An incredible value.


*If you already know all of this then ignore the bulk of the post and skip to the, "Great looking guitar BTW, etc. etc. part.
+1

This is pretty much the bible when it comes to the Rondo line. It could include any other guitar as well, but your thread is about the Douglass.

Very nice & thanks for the pics & info. I've got my eye on 1 of these too.
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Old March 16th, 2011, 04:14 AM   #10 (permalink)
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In other words, give it a real set up, which includes all of the above, truss rod, etc.
I agree. I haven't been physically feeling that great the last couple days that's kept me from sitting down with it and going over the tune up check list. There's nothing that has jumped out at me that needs immediate attention, so I'm grateful for that.

Thanks for sharing your new guitar check list. That is some very useful information. That's very true what you said about the relationship between the nut and tuning pegs. If the strings are binding in the nut, it's not going to stay in tune very well. In the past, I've used graphite powder sprinkled into the grooves. That's a good prevention method to use, but if the nut is cheap and not grooved properly, best to replace it with higher quality.
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Old March 16th, 2011, 04:19 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Looks great. I got the SX Furrian SB Thinline a few weeks ago and really like it. Like yours, the frets were smooth, the finish flawless, grain well matched and it sounded nice right out of the box. I did put a Graph Tech nut on on it right away and new strings. I was able to intonate it and set the action to Fender specs with no fret buzz anywhere on the neck. Tuners seem fine.
A lot of guitar for the cost, IMO.
Your SX guitar model and finish is the one my wife had picked out first. I was ok with either one of them. I haven't had a natural finish guitar in about 15 years, so I went the Douglas.

I think the Graph Tech nut will be a good upgrade, even thought the nut on this one isn't bad. I might get Graph Techs for my other two guitars also.

Thanks for the positive comments on the guitar, musicmatty, bluescube, and iblastoff!
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Old March 16th, 2011, 07:55 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I just bought the Douglas thinline like the OP's but mine has a 3 tone sunburst finish. I've been playing blues, rock and country music now for 30+ years. I've also been into modding and assembling Strats and Teles for about 10 years now. I think this is one of the best values out there. The stock pickups were just ok for a bedroom player. No meat at all, but the neck on this is unbelievable for such a cheap guitar. I like BIG necks and this is really comfy for me. It seems to be wider than an American Standard neck and chunkier. I know it's wider because I wanted to switch the neck out for an Allparts vintage tele neck I have which was too narrow to fit the pocket. I don't know why I wanted to change the neck out anyway. It felt good out of the box. The nut was cut to the right depth but they failed to file down the top so they were really deep. A nut file fixed that problem. The frets were very smooth so I didn't touch them. I put Fender 52' Vintage reissue pickups in and cloth wire and CTS pots and new switch. WOW! I've never had a thinline before and I think I've just been converted. The finish on this is beautiful as well as the burled top. Bridge and tuners will do the job for now. I noticed on the back of one of the tuners, it says Korea. So I'm assuming that the rest of the guitar is made in Korea as well. They make some nice guitars over there these days. Oh, I didn't really dig the headstock shape so I took a saw to it and whittled it down to a very close tele shape. There is enough wood there to cut it down to a very close facsimile. I'm thinking of getting that natural finish one as well! If you're into guitars and not brand names, then I think you'll like this one. With a little modification, this guitar can be pro quality.
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Old March 16th, 2011, 08:09 AM   #13 (permalink)
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very nice! i absolutely love bound guitars. i'd probably be shacked up with a ton of sx/douglas guitars if the shipping wasn't insane to canada.
While the shipping to Canada isn't great, it's not that bad. Mainly because all the brokerage fees and taxes are included in the price. The price you pay is the price to your door. No extra surprises on arrival. When the Canadian $ is good, the guitars are a killer deal even with the shipping. I have bought 5 guitars over the years from Rondo. The shipping also seems to be lower on the SX and Douglas than on the Agiles. I don't know if that is due to weight, or because they use a different company to ship those.

The only issue is that their return policy isn't the same from Canada. You have to pay return shipping. I had some problems with a couple of items though, and they gave me a "B stock" refund in both cases. Their customer service is very good.
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Old March 16th, 2011, 09:45 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Old March 16th, 2011, 09:53 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Looks real purty. I really dig the color. Congrats!
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Old March 16th, 2011, 04:18 PM   #16 (permalink)
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In the past, I've used graphite powder sprinkled into the grooves. That's a good prevention method to use, but if the nut is cheap and not grooved properly, best to replace it with higher quality.
Jim, this is where a set of nut slot files comes in. To work those grooves/string slots into shape.
Plenty of nuts that people replace would have been just fine IF people had, and knew well how to use, a set of nut slot files.

As far as lube for strings, another tip:
I use silicone lube for O rings from a dive shop, applied very sparingly with a tooth pick to all string contact points (nut slots, trees, saddles, whammy contact points for guitars with vibrato units... all points of string contact other than tuning machines, frets).

Very effective, very inexpensive, and a little goes a loooooong way.
I still have some Guitar Grease (a graphite based product) in a tool box that never gets used. Can't come up to the efficiency standard of the silicone lube, as well as ease of application, for my purposes.





Best to keep silicone lube off the finish, as it may, or may not, interfere a tad with a refinish (if someone is so inclined to refinish a guitar).

Last edited by RBBB; March 16th, 2011 at 08:55 PM.
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Old March 18th, 2011, 02:36 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I put Fender 52' Vintage reissue pickups in and cloth wire and CTS pots and new switch. WOW! I've never had a thinline before and I think I've just been converted. The finish on this is beautiful as well as the burled top. Bridge and tuners will do the job for now. I noticed on the back of one of the tuners, it says Korea. So I'm assuming that the rest of the guitar is made in Korea as well. They make some nice guitars over there these days. Oh, I didn't really dig the headstock shape so I took a saw to it and whittled it down to a very close tele shape. There is enough wood there to cut it down to a very close facsimile. I'm thinking of getting that natural finish one as well! If you're into guitars and not brand names, then I think you'll like this one. With a little modification, this guitar can be pro quality.
T-Joe,

I think when the time comes to do some mods, I might borrow your ideas. I'll bet your guitar sounds incredible. I'm pretty happy with the way mine sounds as it is, but there's some pickups from Bill Lawrence that I like. They're a stacked humbucking TL-280 / 290 , bridge and neck that sound incredible in a tele and really versatile. I don't know if I'd want to put them in this guitar or wait until I get a solid body. Either way they made my socks roll up and down.

I've got Lawrence pickups in a Greg Bennett Samick AV-3 (Les Paul style) that I'm real happy with. I was ok with the stock pickups on that guitar too but once I put the new pickups in there was no looking back.

You mentioned your tuners saying "made in Korea" on them. The Saein company that makes the Douglas (and some Epiphones along with Samick) is in Korea, but they have a new factory in China too. The box that my guitar came in does say "made in China" on it. I'm not sure which Douglas' are made in which factory, I just know that I'm real happy with the craftsmanship and finish of this guitar.

This gives me a chance to show off my new/used leather guitar strap I just found at the "Mister Money" pawn shop for $5 ! I'm a big spender these days

Electrablue & tunecaster, Thanks!

RBBB, thanks for the additional info. I think I will invest in a set of nut slot files.

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Old April 2nd, 2011, 07:03 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Hey Jim Dep, that is a fine looking lefty! I really like that $5 strap too. Thrifty is a virtue!
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Old April 2nd, 2011, 09:06 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Son House had no problem with blue men singing the whites - so maybe you should get over it as well.
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Old April 2nd, 2011, 10:07 AM   #20 (permalink)
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I like that strap too .Straps are costing $75 theses days. real nice thinline too.Being a lefty myself,I know how hard it is to find a good guitar.Next time you get the urge for a guitar,Silverspringmusic an Ebay vendor deals with Starfire teles,I never seen a thinline though.Right now he has a black lefty tele,reduced something like $119 ,he's going to be getting tele with a natural finish in may.Silverspringsmusic and Rondo ,are a great source for us leftys
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