Gibson Johnny A Undervalued?

lpnv59

Member
Messages
628
He also studied another local player, Bobby Keyes, who had that chord-melody thing DOWN a long time before it ever occurred to JA to work on it, pretty intensely. Johnny kinda went his own way with it, and he's a much better self-promoter than BK, but I'll tell ya the folks around here (southern NH/northern MA) know Bobby Keyes is the real player in the house where that sorta "pop guitar" (in the Chet Atkins/Les Paul sense) is concerned.

BTW, did y'all know he (JA) once auditioned for Bruford, around the time Allan Holdsworth bailed?
FYI...I've known JA, been his friend for 30+ yrs. and can tell you for fact that he NEVER studied Bobby (who I also know). John had always been into Chet and Les and Wes and all the GREATS of that genre as well as other genres. They are both around the same age. Fact is that Bobby's brother Russell played in one of John's bands in the 80's (Hearts on Fire) where JA played in a style remeniscent of James Burton / Albert Lee. JA has been gigging in The Boston scene since '76 and has gone through several style shifts. To say JA "studied" Keyes is an insult to John's talent and obvious ability.

PS: BTW..John auditioned for Bruford in London around '74ish just after Bruford left Crimson BEFORE he played with Holldsworth or Ray Gomez. Prior to John forming The Streets.
 

lpnv59

Member
Messages
628
Oh yeah (pun intended), the JA is a lot of guitar for the money. The amount of craftsmanship that goes into building a JA, along with its appointments, give a better bang for the buck when compared to a Les Paul. It just happens that it all comes together as a great instrument with a unique voice.
 

clothwiring

Member
Messages
6,820
I have a Johnny A (sunburst, hardtail) and it does wonders for a guy who loves a Strat and Tele but wants more meat of a LP and the air of a 335. It's a phenomenal guitar and everybody pissing about who Johnny A is is wasting time...who cares, it's a great guitar that everybody should at least put down their defenses and try.
 

lpnv59

Member
Messages
628
I guess maybe I'm the problem too. I'd never heard of him before I joined TGP -- I have 4000-5000 LPs and CDs, I've been collecting for 30 years, and I receive review copies in the mail. Since joining TGP, I've been looking for him at Amoeba records -- the largest CD store in Los Angeles -- and never found a single CD. In fact, I've heard and read more about the Johnny A guitar than I have Johnny A himself. That he's made "quite a name for himself" is a very relative statement, as wonderful of a guitarist as he apparently is. I mean absolutely no disrespect for him, but I have a lot easier time finding Derek Bailey CDs. (When is Gibson coming out with the Derek Bailey 175?)
try amazon.com: Search for the titles "sometime tuesday morning" and "get inside" there's also an instructional/performance dvd "taste, tone, space"
 

FiveG

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
902
I love Johnny A; listen to his two albums all the time. Have seen him twice live at the Iron Horse. But, the second clause of my first sentence is, I think, part of why he (and his guitar) hasn't/haven't necessarily taken off. For reasons that are not clear, he hasn't released much in a couple of years -- including the live album he recorded at the Iron Horse. His live shows are great, but most folks don't know that. And given that the studio albums are several years old, they aren't high on the "new play list" lists.

Hopefully, if he can release his live recording, and a new album of new material, he will get in front of more folks, and take off more. In the interim, I'll keep loving Wichita Lineman and all the rest.

FiveG
 

Tommy Tourbus

Senior Member
Messages
565
i think it's 'taken off' just fine. It also holds it's value well, just not as well as other Gibsons. The reason for this is that it's a new design, not one of the old classics. There will always be more of a demand for the old classics over new designs.
 

TheOneOff

Member
Messages
203
The JA guitar is phenominal!! I absolutely love mine! Gorgeous to look at, incredible sound and feel and fantastic craftmenship.

I think if you compare it to spending the same amount on any other Gibson that the Johnny A holds it value abit more than most models. It may take a few more years, but you will start to see these suckers doubling in appreciation!!!
 

kingsleyd

Frikkin genyus
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
8,085
FYI...I've known JA, been his friend for 30+ yrs. and can tell you for fact that he NEVER studied Bobby (who I also know). John had always been into Chet and Les and Wes and all the GREATS of that genre as well as other genres. They are both around the same age. Fact is that Bobby's brother Russell played in one of John's bands in the 80's (Hearts on Fire) where JA played in a style remeniscent of James Burton / Albert Lee. JA has been gigging in The Boston scene since '76 and has gone through several style shifts. To say JA "studied" Keyes is an insult to John's talent and obvious ability.
I didn't mean for my post to come off as diminishing JA's accomplishment as it reads, looking back at it -- but I had heard from a couple of other folks who've been around that JA regularly showed up at BK gigs during that time, and the similarity of what they do is undeniable. Clearly they're both of the same generation and have some roots in common, and both are *really* accomplished players. (and I'd add that pulling that pop instrumental guitar off cleanly and in a way that people actually wanna hear takes a whole lot of hard work and raw talent!) Anyway, for those unfamiliar with either or both, both are sure worth checking out.

PS: BTW..John auditioned for Bruford in London around '74ish just after Bruford left Crimson BEFORE he played with Holldsworth or Ray Gomez. Prior to John forming The Streets.
Ya mean after Fripp decided to quit being a rock star and go clean latrines! I did not realize that BB had tried to put a band together that early on.
 

lpnv59

Member
Messages
628
I didn't mean for my post to come off as diminishing JA's accomplishment as it reads, looking back at it -- but I had heard from a couple of other folks who've been around that JA regularly showed up at BK gigs during that time, and the similarity of what they do is undeniable. Clearly they're both of the same generation and have some roots in common, and both are *really* accomplished players. (and I'd add that pulling that pop instrumental guitar off cleanly and in a way that people actually wanna hear takes a whole lot of hard work and raw talent!) Anyway, for those unfamiliar with either or both, both are sure worth checking out.



Ya mean after Fripp decided to quit being a rock star and go clean latrines! I did not realize that BB had tried to put a band together that early on.

FWIW...JA and BK both did offnite gigs/residencies in JA's hometown at a place called Dodge Street in Salem, MA about 1/2 mi from where JA lived/rehearsed (this was about 1998.) They were both using the same drummer for a while. As a courtesy and out of friendship, JA went a couple of times as a show of support. I went once too. That's what you do right? Support your friends?!

PS: Bobby and his brother Russell showed up at a JA show on occassion.

As far as "what you heard from a couple of other folks"?
...as the saying goes..."believe nothing you hear and only half of what you read!"
 

kingsleyd

Frikkin genyus
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
8,085
As far as "what you heard from a couple of other folks"?
...as the saying goes..."believe nothing you hear and only half of what you read!"
Fair enough, and thanks for setting the record straight -- certainly you're a trustworthy source in these matters.

That said, for fans of Mr. A's playing, Bobby Keyes is well worth searching out, although I have to say his two records only give a bit of a hint of what he can do. Johnny A's records are much more fully realized in that respect. We're lucky to have them both as "locals"!
 

lpnv59

Member
Messages
628
Fair enough, and thanks for setting the record straight -- certainly you're a trustworthy source in these matters.

That said, for fans of Mr. A's playing, Bobby Keyes is well worth searching out, although I have to say his two records only give a bit of a hint of what he can do. Johnny A's records are much more fully realized in that respect. We're lucky to have them both as "locals"!
There are many great players around here. Duke Levine & Kevin Barry are a tag team that amaze people with a similar style to Bobby and JA.

That said, when Eric Rosenfeld lived in Boston, he just smoked everybody at that stuff......when he felt like it. He'd blow the audience away with that fingerstyle Chet stuff, then switch gears and go all Segovia for 12 bars, then downshift into some Jeff Beck/Yardbirds madness. Jaws dropped and we all bowed down. Eric now resides in the DC/Maryland area. Those who saw him, like myself, still talk about Erics on nights. Simply the best guitar playing I ever witnessed by anyone anywhere.
 

mtndog

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,121
I love mine, but I can't keep it in tune!
The nuts are all cut too tight on the Johnny A. I have one and love it, but found tuning to be an issue. I researched a bit and found it to be a common complaint about an otherwise remarkable guitar. Get some lubricant meant for use at the nut and it will improve things quite a bit. Good luck.
 

1973Marshall

Member
Messages
6,821
I would buy or enjoy one if it was sub-$1000

Why? I would gig with it! I don't like fancy tops and high prices, makes me skiddish to take it out of the house. I have parts-casters and MIJ Strats I play like there is no tomorrow, and they have almost no marks on them - but its because I am loose and not worried lol.

I have a well worn 73 LP I got fgor a good price back in the day, and it gets out a lot, but I have no worries on dinging it.
 

jads57

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,139
I ended up putting a Graph Tech nut and saddles, and Planet Waves locking tuners on mine. It helped some, but actually the best fix was just taking a penny and puting it under the Bigsby spring! It will only cost you a penny to try it. Good Luck~
 

OldSchool

Senior Member
Messages
13,094
I've heard nothing but raves about this guitar. Everyone I know who has one or has played one LOVES it. Guitar players are such a fickle bunch. Rarely do I see such a great reaction to a new piece of gear. This guitar has Modern Classic written all over it. Usually a Star will make a guitar famous.......I think with the Johnny A its the other way around!
I just can't stand the Double horn design. But I used to feel the same way about SG's and now I love them and perfer them over the Single Cut.
 

lpnv59

Member
Messages
628
I would buy or enjoy one if it was sub-$1000

Why? I would gig with it! I don't like fancy tops and high prices, makes me skiddish to take it out of the house. I have parts-casters and MIJ Strats I play like there is no tomorrow, and they have almost no marks on them - but its because I am loose and not worried lol.

I have a well worn 73 LP I got fgor a good price back in the day, and it gets out a lot, but I have no worries on dinging it.

There is a plainer standard model out. Or was suppose to come out. I think there was at least a run of them. They were less fancy with a plain mahogany top instead of flame maple, nickle hardware and less inlay work. Doubt if it came in under a grand as it was still built in the customshop.

http://www.gibsoncustom.com/inspiredby/JohnnyAStandard.html
 

phretbored

Member
Messages
4,942
The JA is the ****.
If you think Gibson can't put together a killer guitar the JA is
proof that they can.
If you already have a killer Gibson guitar other than a JA...then this
would make a kick @$$ addition to your stable.





 

daddyo

Guest
Messages
11,797
The Johnny A Standard is out now. There is one at a local store but it is $3400 CDN and stuck 12 ft in the air behind the counter. Plain walnut syained mahogany and chrome hardware with blockish inlays. Still nice.
 

Vegas Bob

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
462
I have one of the few amber JA's and it's a keeper forever. Something very special about the model.

Johnny gets amazing tones live out of it and his control is staggering. He goes into Marshall preamps direct to the board. I've seen him in a couple of different clubs and the sound is consistent.

The Bigsby makes the tuning a little tricky, you've got to make sure your strings stay in an absolute straight line thought the tailpiece.

Another tip is to widen the slots in the nut slightly. A "U" shaped file is best.
The way Gibson cuts them pinches the strings and causing a lot of tuning problems. Once I did this the guitar stays in tune for days at a time.
 






Top