Moonstone Guitars

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by RAD, May 24, 2005.


  1. RAD

    RAD Member

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    Hi there,

    Has anyone ever played a Moonstone guitar? I like the look of the M-80 model, which is kind of like a Gibson 335 but with a maple neck. I remember reading a very positive review about that guitar, but this was a long time ago.

    So if there is anybody out there who knows more about that model or other guitars by Moonstone, maybe you would like to share your thoughts, pictures and so on.

    RAD
     
  2. rooster

    rooster Member

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    I played one of their burled maple explorers about 20 years ago. It was OK, very heavy, played pretty good, IIRC. However, I can't see getting one these days. Now, with the guitar you're looking for, a 335-type, I'd be inclined to get a Heritage 535 from Wolfe. But, that's me.

    rooster.
     
  3. Vicktory

    Vicktory Member

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    Hi, I just discovered this board a few weeks ago and have been a lurker until now, but since I have information relevant to this thread, here is my first post.

    I own an old ('81) Moonstone Eclipse standard (one of about 80 made) which is an incredibly beautiful and very well playing guitar. The materials, construction and tolerances in this guitar are fabulous in all respects. If Steve Helgeson (Moonstone Owner) is still building his guitars with as much attention to detail as he used to, then I imagine that the M80 will be an excellent guitar.

    On the other hand, I also own a Heritage H535 which is my main "player", and I would recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone in the market for a 335 style guitar, especially now that Heritage is using Plek. There seems to be a range of opinions on quality control at Heritage (I think I have an exceptionally good one) so if at all possible try before you buy.

    Since you asked, here are some guitar porn pics of the Moonstone:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Just so she doesn't feel left out, here is the Heritage:

    [​IMG]

    Good luck with your choice!

    Vicktory
     
  4. erksin

    erksin Member

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    To me, the Moonstone's are THE '70s guitar epitomized - outrageous burls, multi-laminate, just about every electronic option available, brass hardware, etc. Totally take me back to 1978 everytime I see one...

    They seem to me to be an amalgom of Alembic and BC Rich with a little Gibson thrown in - I've never played one, how do they sound/feel?
     
  5. Taller

    Taller Silver Supporting Member

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    I remember drooling over Moonstones back in the early 80's.

    OK - I may be having some kind of wierd flashback or something, but I seem to recall that Moonstones featured some kind of unique finish that...here's where this gets strange, so bear with me...ahem...a finish that heals itself?
    Like, if you get some minor pick scratches on the clear coat, they won't be there tomorrow?

    OK, tell me I'm all messed up!:D
     
  6. Lex Luthier

    Lex Luthier Member

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    Tried a couple Explorer style ones back in the day. They were both heavy, and both had really thin, wide necks.
     
  7. Vicktory

    Vicktory Member

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    Taller, I just looked and unfortunately there are minor scratches on the body so I don't think there was a special finish. Would be a great invention though if somone could come up with such a thing.

    Erksin, I posted a detailed review of this same guitar (there is only 1 review of a Moonstone Eclipse) on Harmony-Central, so I won't rehash it here. In summary the neck is very fast and access to the highest frets is incredibly good. The sound is unique due to the Bartolini single-coils and neck-through design. If this is a guitar I was willing to modify I would put humbuckers in, and in general I prefer the tonal complexity of a bolt or set neck. Unlike the reputation of old Moonstones, this guitar is not heavy. That reputation comes from the Vulcan model that Moonstone is known for which was intended to be a "Les Paul Slayer" and was VERY heavy. This is an entirely different instrument, much thinner, and neck-through design.

    I agree that this guitar screams 70s, but I don't think its features and characteristics say anything at all about what a Moonstone of today is like other than it was obviously made with a lot of care and love using top-quality components for the time.

    My own next guitar is a Suhr Classic that I commissioned through Tone Merchants and which is waiting for me to pick up in 3 weeks when I am back in the States. The wait, knowing it is finished (ahead of schedule), is murder.

    Cheers,

    Vicktory
     
  8. RAD

    RAD Member

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    Thanks for the replies. First of all, the Heritage looks killer. Very nice color indeed!!! By the way Vicktory, have you heard of DNG guitars? It is a small company run by 3 luthiers in Paris. I have one of their guitars that I bought about 4 years ago. It is the Artisan model, a kind of LP junior. I think this may be one of the best LP jr on the market at the moment. You should check them out!

    I was hoping to find somebody who could tell me more about how the M-80 and the 335 compare in sound. The M-80 has a maple neck so one would naturally expect a brighter sound. On the other hand the M-80 is hand carved which should add the tonal response of an archtop.

    Maybe I should ask Steve (the luthier) for some sound clips.

    RAD
     
  9. Taller

    Taller Silver Supporting Member

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    Yeah, well...come to think of it, the person who told me about the supposed 'miracle finish' on Moonstones had a habit of...ummm...exagerating the truth. :rolleyes:

    For your enjoyment, I found a cool article on Moonstone guitars:
    Article about Moonstones
     
  10. Vicktory

    Vicktory Member

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    Taller: Thanks for the very interesting article on Moonstone. I read it yesterday, and in fact found in it what your friend had spoken about. The article says that they sold separate pickguards as well as guitars:

    "Pickguards were made from the same woods and finished with an exclusive polymer coating with unique properties and characteristics – it felt hard, but retained a semifluid state all the time. Always a high gloss luster, this finish remembered the way it was originally cured; it could be dented or creased, yet would “heal” itself in a few hours, or overnight. But if an instant “heal” was desired, heat could be applied (1-second application of torch flame or lighter, infrared, etc.). The finish could also be cleaned and waxed, and the only way it could be damaged would be by cutting, scraping or removing the polymer coating. These pickguards were designed to fit Teles, Strats, P basses, Jazz basses and Les Pauls."

    My Moonstone doesn't have a pickguard and I had never heard of this before. Just goes to show that people that "exaggerate the truth" sometimes also tell it straight.
     
  11. lhallam

    lhallam Member

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    Sucker - ;)
     
  12. cswolfe

    cswolfe Guest

    Cannot comment about an M80. I've never played one. But I would buy one in the proverbial new york minute from a seller I trusted.

    My moonstone vulcan deluxe is back on the other coast, so I cannot pull it out to look at the finish. But I do have very clear recollection that it (1981) has only the TINIEST specs of finished lost on a couple of the edges, and the guitar has "been around." I think that, however, is that it's body is built out of one uncut insanely heavy piece of very hard burlwood and not anything wildly special about the apparently thin finish it has on it.

    If you like lightweight guitars, that model is certainly bad news. It's incredibly heavy. Weighs about as much as two of my PRS combined.

    I don't mind though. Due to the tall frets it took an adjustment period for me, but it's God's gift to great action, and the sustain is unreal. It's a heck of a guitar.

    I've not used any of Steve's recent stuff, but he's a heck of a guy, and a heck of a luthier. Man. :) All this talk of moonstone has me GASn for an M80 for "this" coast to play out here.

    Other than weight, then only bad thing I can say about my moonstone is that it's rate of having the frets "green" is outrageously obnoxious.

    Don't know if Steve has moved on to stainless, but the frets on that thing go green if you leave it unplayed for 15 minutes. ;) The moonstone is so darn good and confidence inspiring I would not hesitate for a second for anything steve has slapped his name on.

    But as somebody else said, if Steve is even as good as he was 25 years ago, let alone having learned anything about making guitars in a quarter decade, I'm sure his new stuff rocks.

    best,

    sterling -- who's happy to trash-talk his own guitars if he doesn't like them.
     
  13. Luke Gibson

    Luke Gibson Silver Supporting Member

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  14. Taller

    Taller Silver Supporting Member

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    Well, damn! I skimmed that article before posting the link, just to see if it said anything about that special finish, and...well, I missed it!

    This is good for 2 reasons:
    1. My friend actually got one right!:D
    &
    2. My memory isn't as bad as I thought it might be!
    :dude
     
  15. Kalalau Hiker

    Kalalau Hiker Supporting Member

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    I have mine on sale in the emporium for anyone interested

    I loved the sound - not for vi8ntage blues tones - but sophisticated Alembic type fusion and jazz sounds. I liken it to a Stanley Clarke sound in a guitar.

    the bridge pickup has an insane amount of gain.

    I love the guitar bit have to sell some due to finance issues.
     

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