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Larry Carlton's guitar

Ron Kirn

Vendor
Messages
7,925
when ya play like Larry, you can string a wire over an old log, screw a pickup to it and make it sound amazing... the boy can play..

It's not the gear, it will never BE the gear it is 100% what "you" can do with whatever gear you have at your disposal.

r
 

musicman1

Member
Messages
4,821
Inspite of making really good basses for the money the LC gtr line doesn’t seem to be well received. Probably too much competition in the price range and these are built in the same factories as all the other imports. His career long association w 335s and Valley Arts guitars make it seem like he would not play junk but it’s delusional to think the Sire gtrs get you there for their pricing.
 

PB+J

Member
Messages
1,816
Inspite of making really good basses for the money the LC gtr line doesn’t seem to be well received. Probably too much competition in the price range and these are built in the same factories as all the other imports. His career long association w 335s and Valley Arts guitars make it seem like he would not play junk but it’s delusional to think the Sire gtrs get you there for their pricing.

Because Gibson uses magic plywood? Because their jigs and fixtures and CNC have mojo?

It's amazing really, the way people persist in fetishizing brands. I have no doubt, based on like fifty years of experience, that some of the Sire guitars will be great, most will be Meh, some will be bad, and the same will be true of a Gibson es-335--a few will be great for you, most will be Meh, and a few will be dogs. All of them would benefit from being setup to the player's personal preferences, which differ from player to player

But a good player would sound good on pretty much any of them. Does anybody seriously listen to that clip of Larry playing his Kid Charlemagne solo and think "wow that stinks because it's not a gibson or an original tweed deluxe?"

This site is embarrassing, sometimes
 
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Locatelli

Member
Messages
244
when ya play like Larry, you can string a wire over an old log, screw a pickup to it and make it sound amazing... the boy can play..

It's not the gear, it will never BE the gear it is 100% what "you" can do with whatever gear you have at your disposal.

r

Well, Larry surely is a heavenly player, but that gear surely doesn't sound too good. And he has to fight to make some of the notes ring.
 

lostpick

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
940
Well, Larry surely is a heavenly player, but that gear surely doesn't sound too good. And he has to fight to make some of the notes ring.
Is that what fighting looks like? Looks like he's smiling and having a blast. I'd bet my mortgage if that exact tone came out of a Gibson and some boutique/vintage amp, you'd be fawning over it. And for the record, it's a lousy phone recording.
 

Locatelli

Member
Messages
244
Is that what fighting looks like? Looks like he's smiling and having a blast. I'd bet my mortgage if that exact tone came out of a Gibson and some boutique/vintage amp, you'd be fawning over it. And for the record, it's a lousy phone recording.

You can bet your mother-in-law if you like, but since you don't know me, it wouldn't make sense anyway.
If you don't hear what I hear (in spite of the rather good recording here) it's ok for me, since it's your ears not mine.

We're here to discuss, not to make snarky remarks.
 

Cheddar Kung Pao

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
4,140
I wasn't overly impressed by any Sires I picked up. That's not to say that the difference between his (probably not straight off the shelf) signature guitar and his 335 is going to translate into much that an audience would notice, if anything. But I'm not gonna buy one. And I'd encourage someone in the market to save up for an Eastman if they could. I think those are the most affordable 335 style guitars that are actually pretty consistently good, IMHO.

No it's not due to "magic plywood" or any foolish canard like that. It's because more time was spent putting it together. Which is why it costs more, and why it turns out better. No mystery. Same reason a nice restaurant costs more than McDonald's. I don't know why so many people have to act like you're claiming that fish can do algebra whenever someone says that more expensive guitars that get more time spent on them are nicer than more affordable guitars that are built as quickly as possible. One of the many weird guitar player behaviors.
 

guitarchitect

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
531
Has anyone played this guitar? I mean other than Larry, unless he want to chime in on it.
There is one in our local GC, been hanging there for a few months and I think is still there. I tried it and the first thing taking it down to play was that it was extremely heavy. It wasn’t set up well and the intonation was so out that I couldn’t really evaluate the tone as every chord was out of tune. I gave it two minutes and gave up - it sounded OK. The quality seemed on par with most of the Asian import stuff at the same price point, which is pretty darn good. I really like the headstock design, very elegant. I will have to swing back by and try it again.

I have tickets to see Larry live two Fridays from now, in a small jazz club where I’ll be able to see his gear. Excited!
 

Alton

Member
Messages
1,354
Never heard of Sire until today. Went to the Sire website to check their offerings and have to admit the instruments both look really nice and are priced really nice, Went to Sweetwater site and Mitch and Don were welcoming them to the Sweetwater family and talking the guitars and basses up and giving some details on materials used, neck shapes, hardware used, feel of necks, shapes of necks, pickups used and so on. Next time I get down to Sweetwater I will be trying out a few. Only playing and listening will tell me if they're worth it for me. From what I see and hear online they appear worthy of further investigation.
 

txrsm

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
566
He's an awesome musician and I like to see when the artist actually plays the gear they endorse. I think it sounds great in the clip below which looks like the Sire guitar based on the headstock. Still sounds like Larry. Besides, about the only major mod I would see him making would be swapping the pickups out with his traditional Gibson 57 model but that's something all guitarist tend to do anyways. lol



 

PB+J

Member
Messages
1,816
I wasn't overly impressed by any Sires I picked up. That's not to say that the difference between his (probably not straight off the shelf) signature guitar and his 335 is going to translate into much that an audience would notice, if anything. But I'm not gonna buy one. And I'd encourage someone in the market to save up for an Eastman if they could. I think those are the most affordable 335 style guitars that are actually pretty consistently good, IMHO.

No it's not due to "magic plywood" or any foolish canard like that. It's because more time was spent putting it together. Which is why it costs more, and why it turns out better. No mystery. Same reason a nice restaurant costs more than McDonald's. I don't know why so many people have to act like you're claiming that fish can do algebra whenever someone says that more expensive guitars that get more time spent on them are nicer than more affordable guitars that are built as quickly as possible. One of the many weird guitar player behaviors.


Yeah so if you want to have a small maker build you a guitar, you can get a lot of attention to detail, but it's not really clear to me what that buys. You might specify "light," but that won't make it necessarily a great guitar. You can get exactly the finish you want, and probably a good set up and fret dress, and those are good things to have. You can insist on stainless steel frets or this or that bridge or whateves. You can't really do that with a Gibson ES-335

But if you've ever built an electric guitar you realize how much of the construction is jigs and fixtures that eliminate the need to for a lot of hand work, which is their exact point. But you can have a plek machine in your factory. I don't think guys at the gibson factory are shaving the angle of the dovetail on the neck: I think the dovetails are routed or machined via automation.

Also how does the guy at the Gibson factory know what you want a guitar to sound like?

If people want to spend their money on a Gibson, fine by me--if it's a source of satisfaction great! I like the idea of American made and recently put money down on a Patrick Olwell flute, handmade in Massies' Mill VA. But there isn't a market in high quality mas produced conical bore wooden flutes. But there is a vast market international market in guitars, and the capital to invest in automation.
 

Cheddar Kung Pao

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
4,140
Yeah so if you want to have a small maker build you a guitar, you can get a lot of attention to detail, but it's not really clear to me what that buys. You might specify "light," but that won't make it necessarily a great guitar. You can get exactly the finish you want, and probably a good set up and fret dress, and those are good things to have. You can insist on stainless steel frets or this or that bridge or whateves. You can't really do that with a Gibson ES-335

But if you've ever built an electric guitar you realize how much of the construction is jigs and fixtures that eliminate the need to for a lot of hand work, which is their exact point. But you can have a plek machine in your factory. I don't think guys at the gibson factory are shaving the angle of the dovetail on the neck: I think the dovetails are routed or machined via automation.

Also how does the guy at the Gibson factory know what you want a guitar to sound like?

If people want to spend their money on a Gibson, fine by me--if it's a source of satisfaction great! I like the idea of American made and recently put money down on a Patrick Olwell flute, handmade in Massies' Mill VA. But there isn't a market in high quality mas produced conical bore wooden flutes. But there is a vast market international market in guitars, and the capital to invest in automation.

so you are right there are jigs and CNC to make things more consistent and reduce the amount of hand labor, but they do not eliminate it. And that's the thing, nicer guitars get more time so more careful hand work.

watch some factory videos, there are peolle at Gibson, PRS, Collings, Eastman, etc. hand shaping the neck pocket and the neck tenon to try to optimize the fit.

a Plek machine is just a tool. It doesn't guarantee a great setup any more than a high quality file does. It helps, but the humans operating the machine and doing the rest of the hand work ultimately determine how good the guitar plays. Gibson has had Plek machines for years, but there's still variance in how good one guitar plays to another.

my point is you are bringing up tools as if they guarantee guitar quality, and there's no way a guitar can be any better once the tool is there. That's just not accurate.
 

Benz2112

Memba?
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,877
The price of a guitar is not tied to how good it sounds, it is tied to the labor, materials, and market forces that give that instrument a value. My last two acquisitions have covered the space of most valuable and least valuable guitars that I own. I would say there is at least a couple thousand dollar difference in value, but the least valuable guitar is absolutely killer, sounded great stock, and has been fun to tinker with.
 

mermermer

Member
Messages
107
a Plek machine is just a tool. It doesn't guarantee a great setup any more than a high quality file does. It helps, but the humans operating the machine and doing the rest of the hand work ultimately determine how good the guitar plays. Gibson has had Plek machines for years, but there's still variance in how good one guitar plays to another.

Another variable is how that pleked neck adjusts to time. My 2021 LP now has several high frets. My CS 335 of roughly the same vintage is still dead on perfect. Not sure if it is a materials/craftsmanship factor or luck of the draw, but plek only goes so far in ensuring smooth action over time.
 

electricfactory

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,257
I have to say, this really is the truth. Larry Carlton sounds just like himself in the clips. I have no doubt his particular guitar was set up to his standards which accounts for why he can perform with it successfully. As a side note I just returned to GC a vintage 1982 black Gibson ES-335 which I was so excited to get and wanted to love. As it arrived it was terrible. Heavy, dead sounding pu's, frets leveled down to nubs over the years. I had it set up by my luthier and while it played somewhat better it was still a dead sounding, heavy guitar. As a point of reference, I already owned an Epiphone ES-335 Pro ( I replaced the neck pu with a Seth Lover) and that guitar is simply excellent, trulyfirst rate. In fact I compared both guitars side by side trying desperately to love the black 1982 Gibby. In the end it was no contest. I sent back the Gibson ( if you go to GC Used you can see it, they already re-listed it). My point ? The name on the headstock is almost no indication of a guitars value as a playing, working instrument. When and if I find a Gibby that's as good as the Epiphone I have maybe I'll replace it.

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Because Gibson uses magic plywood? Because their jigs and fixtures and CNC have mojo?

...but a good player would sound good on pretty much any of them. Does anybody seriously listen to that clip of Larry playing his Kid Charlemagne solo and think "wow that stinks because it's not a gibson or an original tweed deluxe?"
 
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Jimmy MAck

Member
Messages
828
I've heard LC play countless times, onstage, online, a DVD, and most of his recordings since 1973. The LC in the video above does not sound like most of the LC I've heard. I'm not gonna knock the Sire guitar, but I don't think that critical listening to that performance would sell me on the guitar. If I really wanted to sound like him (who wouldn't?),I'd save for a Gibson and hunt for a good one. But, my Epiphone Pro 335 is a very very good buy, on all fronts.
 

Paul Conway

Member
Messages
5,810


Interesting. The strat and Tele sound pretty good to me. I would like to try one but I think we have one dealer in the entire country.
 




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