Stevens Neo Guitar Day; 1 Year Late

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by fishleehooker, Jan 8, 2020.

  1. fishleehooker

    fishleehooker Supporting Member

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    This is a new guitar day posting, finally posted, just over a year removed from receiving it. Some of you knew I was getting this or even had gotten this, but with so much going on in my world, mostly moving, I recently realized I hadn't posted a NGD for it!?
    So there is a lot to say about this instrument and I can feel a little better about talking about it now that the honeymoon is over (or is it?). First off, everyone should know where I got the inspiration to do the color and build: Ultra's Watermelon Neo. When Michael Stevens called me for my turn, I had already just put down money on a les Plank and really went back and forth on the LJ model and the Neo and Ultra's Melon neo was my fave guitar to ogle, perhaps ever, besides the Korina Les Planks with the Ramos pickups, but I had Michael build one of those, but junior style. That guitar has it's own thread and is an absolute joy to play. So I decided to have Watermelon Neo 2 (insert lame sequel reference that is hard to refrain from). Ultra's is Fender scale, while this one is Gib scale. Also, I love Michael's weird inlays and am a huge an of bound headstocks, so I went with that. The top wood on this guitar is not Maple, but rather, Anegre. I could have gotten the guitar sooner as Michael had Holmes pickups without coil taps, but Ultra was raving about that so much that I had to go with that option and wait a few months longer, but I am super glad I did as I use that feature a ton.

    How does it feel? It feels like a very unique instrument to be sure. It doesn't feel like a ES type instrument. It does not feel like a Les Paul. It kind of does feel like a bigger Stevens Les Plank, but that is a very different instrument too. From day 1, both Stevens' have felt like old friends; many boutique guitars I have gotten do that, but this was taking it way beyond that and doing it with shapes that are very unique to electric guitar. And I am smitten with Stevens' aesthetic and artsy, yet beautiful style that somehow is super user friendly. The controls are 1 volume and each pickup with its' own tone knob that can be pulled for coil spilt. I prefer not having the extra volume, but that is how Michael does it anyway. I also think the back of the guitar with the bodycuts and stuff makes it feel really good as far as sitting and holding it for seated play, compared to the Stevens Classic, which has the traditional backside and I really thought hard about getting rather than the Neo (Win-win either way there I'd think).
    How does it play? It plays very very nice; Michael hits it out of the park on string spacing and things of that nature. Neck size is hefty, which I love, but not baseball bat size. On a recent 10 day trip to Germany when I started missing my guitars, I visualized myself playing this guitar and it's neck and fretboard. It holds tune and stays in tune as well as any guitar and the sustain is almost comical....it's fantastic guitar for playing with fuzz and doing that Randy California style (I try anyway).
    The Sound? Not the same as an ES, nor a Les Paul. Not the same as a Collings I-35 I had a while back (still miss it). Not the same as my old Thorn Grantura (I def miss that one though!), nor the same as chambered Les Paul. It's almost like a huge-bodied verrrry chambered SG/ Les Paul mix. It sounds as hollowbodied as the I-35, but doesn't have the same sound as the Thorn or Gibson Laminated semi hollows I have had. The notes sort of leap off it like an SG, but it sounds super airy still. It still feeds back, but more rare than the others I have had from the lack of sound holes. It's pretty easy to control that, which is pretty cool. All of this is to say that it sounds like a Gibson inspired electric to the common listener. To us obsessives it's different than any of the ones I have had. One thing that has made this my fave guitar currently is that coil split thing; it does a great Fender tone. I can play the Police, Skank guitar, Funk and that stuff great, and yet get a nice super creamy lead tone, without pedals. It's fun to get a Woman tone on one pickup and coil split the opposite pickup when in the middle position. Truthfully, if anything the guitar has so many tones that I need really sort that out for live usage....but at the same time it's hard to find a bad tone.
    Ok, blah, blah, blah....here are some pics!:[​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Super big thanks to Michael for this guitar. Its now been over a year of ownership and its getting better and better. A super guitar. (Many great guitars sadly had to be sold to buy this and all of them are missed, but this instrument has made those losses hurt a lot less.)
     

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  2. fishleehooker

    fishleehooker Supporting Member

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    More pics of Baby Melon (Baby Yoda reference...let's see how that ages?)
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  3. fishleehooker

    fishleehooker Supporting Member

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    More[​IMG]
    Two of a kind....kind of:
    [​IMG]
    Love these backsides:[​IMG]
     
  4. fishleehooker

    fishleehooker Supporting Member

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    Now my NGD version of Stop Making Sense:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    The one on the bottom far right is gone, but they needed to be photo'd together while I had the chance...this is just after I moved to this house.
     
  5. pirateflynn

    pirateflynn Supporting Member

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    That's a great looking guitar. I love the finish! Funny, your description of the tone is how I feel about my Koll Duo, chambered, Korina body and neck, maple top. I'm sure the two guitars are quite different but your description is so close.
    Enjoy that beauty. Cool room, by the way!
     
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  6. Baemer

    Baemer Silver Supporting Member

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    Thank you for sharing. I’ve always wanted to play a Stevens! So glad to see you enjoying what I imagine to be a marvelous instrument, and the great company it keeps!

    Best!
    B
     
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  7. magnus02

    magnus02 Member

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    Fuuuuuuudge.... I love it.

    The original Watermelon has been one of my favorite guitars from the moment I saw it.

    Enjoy this amazing piece and feel free to post videos!

    And dibs if you ever think it needs a new home!
     
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  8. Shane S

    Shane S Member

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    @fishleehooker that/those guitars are awesome! The honeymoon should never with those guitars.

    Serious question: where did you get that couch? I would love to have that in my future music room.
     
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  9. fishleehooker

    fishleehooker Supporting Member

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    I'll find out...the wife will know for sure...we shopped for the perfect one for so long and I looooove this couch. The spot right next to the Orange amp is my fave seat in whole house, including the large couch in the living room.
     
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  10. shallbe

    shallbe Deputy Plankspanker Gold Supporting Member

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    So nice. I love the look of the top wood.

    I appreciate the side shot. It gives me an idea how the top and back fit to the player.

    That Jr style is amazing as well.
     
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  11. monkeybrains

    monkeybrains Member

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    Love the slanted humbucker and how the fingerboard meets it.
    Any clips?
     
  12. Mark Kane

    Mark Kane Gold Supporting Member

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    Michael's guitars are truly something else. Nothing but praise for his unique talents.
     
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  13. Adam Spencer

    Adam Spencer Member

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    Very nice - congratulations!
     
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  14. johnsav

    johnsav Member

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    Wow, that's really eye-catching!
    I like the sly humour of the design.
     
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  15. fishleehooker

    fishleehooker Supporting Member

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    I'm gonna get some together soonish...I've never done it before! But I've been meaning too....its the tech that I need to figure out.
     
  16. fishleehooker

    fishleehooker Supporting Member

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    I thought about the guitar and how it sounds since my first post. It still is in that realm of ES/ SG/ Les Paul. There is definitely air in the notes and feedback like an ES. One thing that is definitely different in a Stevens built guitar than most Gibsons is that his fretboard is just a little wider; there seems to be more effort put into getting the strings spaced out well so that when a chord is played, all the notes are heard, like on a tele. When you play a chord on a semi driven amp on most Gibsons, you don't really hear every string. No problem with that, per se. But I was reading why Steve Cropper picked a tele over his ES and it was that they could hear the chord and each note better. Both instruments cut through. So anyway, the Stevens is more even across that spectrum and I think the string spacing gives each string more space to sing, so to speak. ES guitars and semi hollows seem to project the note out a bit more than a solid body and the Neo has that for sure.

    I will definitely put up some clips....where do I find out how to do that? LOL Is there a good thread or someone that could give me advice there?
     
  17. bikeracr

    bikeracr Supporting Member

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    Very nice! The Stevens at first smacked at what I thought an ES-style should be, not bad, but...different. But the more pictures I looked at, the more it just works (for me). That collection is incredible! And is that a Thorn V?
     
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  18. fishleehooker

    fishleehooker Supporting Member

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    Shhhh....maybe on the V :) As far as the Stevens, the shape really gets me for sure...and I dig the no holes twist. Thanks fpr the props!
     
  19. Mr Fingers

    Mr Fingers Member

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    Not to be a smartass, but what, exactly does this "realm of ES/ SG/ Les Paul" sound like? Like a... guitar? Meaningless verbalizations like this are useless. This "sound" isn't even a thing.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2020
  20. ultra

    ultra Member

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    Congrats Marc. We are now Stevens brothers.

    I do agree with your comment that when playing a chord, every note rings out and none are cancelled or lost. One of my favourite things about MS' guitars.
    Solo notes just leap from the fingerboard and rise above the band (in my case) in a sound that is classic yet unique.

    I cannot imagine life without it, even after 10 years of ownership (wow, where did those 10 years go?)
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020
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