Will Ray's "Bottom Feeder" - July Premier Guitar

Discussion in 'B-Bender Forum' started by Silverface, Jul 10, 2019.

  1. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    In the July print issue of Premier Guitar (June in the online edition) Will features a cool guitar that has one of the WORST names ever - Gibson's "Music City Jr." - a Les Paul special with 2 P90's and a Glaser B-bender!

    They were made for a VERY short time, sadly. Nice guitar, and a faux tooled-leather HSC with white fur lining! Tapped pickups for Fender-ish tones, light, nicely balanced, fast neck - and awful name! :confused:

    Very cool guitars. Kinda wish I had one.

    Oh, wait - I DID! The "TDPRI" member in the article who swapped one to Will....was ME!o_O

    Cracked me up seeing...and hearing...my old guitar in the column. I contacted Will and we joked about our having "mutual trust" being a frightening thing!:lol:

    Anyway - if you see one of these for a good price buy it! They're really nice, under the radar B-bender guitars.

    In fact, it prompted me to make a trade with a buddy for ANOTHER one myself!

    Dammit Will - it's your fault! :D

    https://www.premierguitar.com/articles/28951-will-rays-bottom-feeder-gibson-music-city-jr
     
  2. ClashCityTele

    ClashCityTele Tele-Holic

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    It looks like someone put it together over a weekend with bits out of their spares box.
     
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  3. P-Nutz

    P-Nutz Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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  4. teletimetx

    teletimetx Doctor of Teleocity

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    Learn something new every day! Had no idea these were even out there. Does make me curious, though, what did you trade the Music City Jr. for? Of course, that's none of my business, but inquiring minds, etc. I enjoy his bottom feeding articles when I get the time to read them. He finds some interesting stuff.
     
  5. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Errrrrrr - rather not get into that part of the transaction.

    Hey, we need to keep some details under the tinfoil hats! :lol:
     
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  6. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    ?????

    At first glance they simply look like my old '56 Les Paul Special.

    The pickguard is a little larger, as is the bridge No idea what you're referring to. Please clarify -
     
  7. ClashCityTele

    ClashCityTele Tele-Holic

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    Are you serious?
     
  8. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    Hey Jim what else you got to trade ?:) Excellent article and sound clip by Will.


    Interesting article and I couldn't agree more ! These were made I believe for two years , 2012, 2013. They sold new for around $1399 +/- , maybe $1499 and it is said that maybe 500 or so were made. I wanted one and was always planning on buying one , but then all of a sudden, there were no more !

    IF we do some research , the name , Music City Jr was an oddity as they were trying to come up with something that was somehow not already used. One name for consideration was the Gibson Glaser, but that came with additional legal issues, as do most things these days. I read that in an internet article somewhere.

    The guitar, everything as stated in the article is correct, but two things need to be mentioned.

    1) the fret heights are up near .050 compared to Fender at around .040 . If we are Fender acclimated , the higher frets cause more "pressing down" and can cause slight pitch issues. Especially as the neck is a bit fatter with a 12" radius. The simple fix, dress the frets down to .040, which I am doing to mine.

    2) the fret board is not "finished" it is raw. It gets dirty and stays dirty. Easy fix, 3 coats of satin poly with light sanding in between.

    The guitar sounds great, plays well and is a very hi quality build , seriously well made. its no surprise that Gibson stopped assy at the initial offer price which was close to the Fender PG guitar , they were probably losing their shirt ! The Glaser Bender , it can be either G or B by moving the saddle, very positive pull and return. The spring tension is set by an adjustment screw near the rear strap button. The pull is on the strap button rather than a neck plate which is common for the Glaser system.

    Think about it for a second or two, a USA Gibson Les Paul something or other , with a Glaser Bender system , for under $1500 NEW , with a hard case ! Almost madness.


    I started a search for this guitar late last year, after what seemed like a few months I finally found one on Reverb one early morning . At first I made an offer then thought about it, 30 minutes later I paid full asking price. No regrets. My friend down the road has one and when I played his that was it, it wasn't a desire it was a "gotta have one" !

    Its not a Telecaster and it's not supposed to be. Since I purchased mine, it appears the prices, if you can even find one, are going UP not down. Once I get the frets dressed down I'll bring it out to gigs more often. Its even possible that I'll set this up as a G Bender and bring both the B and G Benders to gigs for different songs , we'll see.

    MCJR.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
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  9. BB

    BB Poster Extraordinaire

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    Super cool story Silverface. Since my first good electric was a 1957 Les Paul Special, I have a fondness for Specials.

    I remember seeing Emmy Lou Harris years ago and her guitar player at the time(Frank Rekkord, I believe) was playing an LP Special like mine....only with a B Bender!
     
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  10. monkeybanana

    monkeybanana Tele-Meister

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    Very cool. I lust for a bender.
     
  11. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Errrr - Huh?????

    There are few *stock* guitar frets made that end up at .040 height unless aggressively hacked down! Example - the American Special Strat and highway ones use Dunlop 6000's - .055 crown. There are some replacements Stewmac sells a lot of down at the .039 level, but that's "fretless Wonder" territory.

    Most of the Jescar replacement sold is either .055 or .047;

    And stock "medium" and "medium jumbo" fretwire used by most manufacturers r Fender-style instruments is around .048 as sold and ends up .046 or so (on a decently built production guitar that does not need a radical fret dressing).

    Virtually every Tele I have - whether it has a stock or replacement neck - has frets above .045 with the exception of one unknown-source neck at .043-.046. And that's after a couple of dressings - some are VERY old. My favorite '68 Mitey Mite Tele neck (maple/ebony) has original frets that are .047-049. And that neck has been on whichever has been my primary gig Tele since 1970 when I bought it with my bass player and his dad) at the original Mitey Mite's "Going out of business" auction in 1970. We got about half the inventory - and a local tech shop....who I now weirdly work with at times...bought the other half!

    And (I don't have the B-bender Gibson yet) my Les Pauls, 335's. old U.S. Epis, ES-175's etc range from .047-.051 except for one - a 1984 Les Paul Studio Standard, made when they hadn't figured out what the "Studio" was going to be - full-thickness maple top, *alder* back, Shaw PAF;s , fully bound - and dot frets. So it looks like a Standard except for the dots (and sounds better than most with the Shaws). The frets are stock .106 x.039. Ye olde "Fretless Wonder" spec. And a ***** to bend on!

    OK, back to the Music Ci...aaaaarrrrgggghhhhh I can't use that name - the Les Paul Special B-Bender - they really should have sealed the fretboard, but I just chalk it up to another mistake in a market Gibson had lost touch with. When I get this one, *IF* I can clean it up well enough I'll seal it with Sherwin Williams or Valspar lacquer sanding sealer and a few coats of clear. OR if I'm feeling lazy & don't want to break out the HVLP just use Mohawk aerosols!
     
  12. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    Jim you are probably correct in the exact measurements, the Gibson frets are taller than the Fenders, the two real Luthiers in the area suspect a 5 to 10 thou height difference. One thing is for certain, the Gibson requires a stronger fret pressing, not by much but stronger. All I want is for the fret heights to match. There are several NET conversations about this as well, same deal Gibson heights out of the box too high compared to Fenders with the same slightly off pitch issue when fretting too hard .

    Both of my 52RI's are at .043, not dressed. The specs listed on the current Fender pages have the Jumbo and Medium Jumbo heights at .042 and .043.


    According to many Gibson sites, the height can range from .047 to .050, which is what we are expecting before they are dressed down. This is why I used those numbers. When I bring the Gibson in, we will check both the Fender and the Gibson as I want the Gibson to match the Tele. I don't do this work and don't want to. :)

    Regarding the NO Finish on the M City necks, I'm sure that was a cost savings as its apparent that these guitars escalated in price before they even sold the first one !

    Thanks for you input as always.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
  13. urbandefault

    urbandefault Tele-Meister

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    John Bohlinger has one that he swapped the P90s for mini humbuckers and had a killer pinstripe job done. He turned an ugly duckling into a swan. YMMV. ;)
     
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  14. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    The MC Jr is an ugly duckling ?
     
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  15. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Yep- so instead of obtuse comments with no clarification, why don't you try providing some details in your posts?

    o_O

    See pics below - Music City Jr. & 1956 Les Paul Special:

    They have the same body shape in a light color; scale length; headstock; pickups, similar control positions.

    The bridges differ for functional reasons - you DO understand the bender mechanism - or don't you? The pickguards are different - again due to the mechanism. The biggest visual differences are the fretboards (and yes, the body finish/wood, but again, at first glance they're pretty similar)

    The single-cut body shape with two P-90's and a 24.75" scale set-neck is basic mid-50's style Les Paul Special construction.

    So what do you base your "put together over a weekend with parts out of a spares box" comment on?

    Have you ever played one - or any Les Paul Special? Or ANY b-bender guitar of any kind? Neither are listed in your profile

    You're fairly new here - what we do is actually discuss things. You may have missed that somewhere. You'll need to change your operating mode though, since most of your forum posts are one line. The few I can find that are related to guitars, that is. So instead of just crapping on the instrument and posting "are you serious?" how about making the effort to explain what you mean?

    Gibson-Music-City-Jr.jpg Gibson56LP_SpcTV63977_20.jpg
     
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  16. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    Not hardly, it looks like an old Les Paul , same design, same characteristics . What do we want it to look like ? Its a Gibson Les Paul design . As Jim so properly states, the only REAL noticeable cosmetic differences are the natural body, the fretboard and the pickguard. Under the pickguard is the Glaser system, the body is minimally routed . The bridge / tailpiece assy is functional , as it should be. Allowing the B/G saddles to be moved for the PULL.

    Personally, I think its a thing of beauty and compared to other Gibsons I've owned , this one is stellar quality. Ok, they could have added some finish to the fretboard but other than that, its a simple very "Telecaster Like" , design.

    And yes, it's not a $299 Made in China guitar which most folks compare guitars to these days.

    Plus , nobody made this Headstock, with Grover Tuners and a multi- layer Truss Rod cover in their garage last night.

    Stay positive.

    IMG_9407.JPG
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019
  17. bobk

    bobk Tele-Meister

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    It def has a fenderish look about it.... that fretboard has me confused....lol.......but then Jim, you and I tend to gravitate to the strange and bizarre at times....like the bridge design too......an improvement for Gibson in my opinion.....how’s the bender action on it(glazer Vs. Pw)?
     
  18. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Cool!
    I’d do the same thing, pickup-wise.
     
  19. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Frank Reckard is a cool player!
    His Emmylou-era guitar, is/was a double cutaway Les Paul Junior with a “Sully Steel” B bender.
    Of course, he may have a LP Special, too.
    Like many of us, be probably has more than one guitar.
     
  20. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    Similar, very positive pull and return, very accurate. The typical Glaser system has the pull on the neck plate rather than the strap, as this guitar has . The one advantage is that this guitar has the spring tension adjust externally rather than an internal adjustment. I own a Fender PG and my go to guitar is an 08 Tele with a Forest Lee jr system, which is a quasi PW. The throw and tension on the Fl jr system can be adjusted to our personal desire, so its not a like one is better than the other. What it really comes down to is which guitar do we like to PLAY more, the Tele or the Lp style. Both pull systems are excellent.

    Just keep in mind, the Glaser system pulls the saddle, the string ball end is secured to the saddle, just like a Pedal Steel . It does not actually PULL THE string, it pulls the saddle. Other systems pull the string across a fixed saddle. The FL Jr system has the string going thru the "wheel", the wheel turns thus causing the string to TIGHTEN, similar to a moving bridge. The string also glides across a fixed saddle. The PW system is pretty much the same. The Fender PG has a cam in the string tower where the string ball end is secured, the cam is pulled, thus causing the string to TIGHTEN, then the string glides across a fixed saddle. Another system has the string ball end secured to a pin on a wheel which turns , the string tightens as the BALL END is directly pulled. Then the string glides across the fixed saddle. Pick your poison.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019
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