How far could a Mooncaster get into Gibson tonal territory?

Rick

Senior member
Messages
4,328
The Aaron said:
...
Custom Shop Gibson 339.....which is sitting in its case ten feet from my desk as I type this. ...
This is the sort of thing that makes Warmoth sound like heaven to work at ...
 

teleme01

Senior member
Messages
368
i was thinking how nice it would be to have a warmoth showroom in backwood louisiana population 170 where i could tryout all the different neck shapes and nut sizes and combinations thereof ... but i guess what would be even better than that would be to get paid to work there.
 

BroccoliRob

Senior member
Messages
881
bro heck yeah - if you recorded a bunch of jazz with a humbucker 'quipped (short past-tense form of e-quip) mooncaster and told ppl it was a 335 aint nobody gonna be like "nuh uh." even the most hardened, bong totin', surf ridin', taco chompin' gen-X turned guitar enthusiast self-proclamated kno-it-all wouldn't be able to tell the #diff. of that i promise u. the moony-C is good stuff. i'd put my body all over one (figuratively/metaphorically, not sexual)

Nature Museums are like 'hey u wanna see this bat that died 100 years ago?' and i'm like... "yeah." but for all i know the janitor killed that bat last week and they put it in a display case 30 minutes ago. I don't know how to tell the difference i'm just there to look at cool Nature stuff, ancient or modern. speaking of Nature, dont you think Super mario shouldve cut his Mushroom into .05g pieces and taken them once every three days for inspiration? you know.... instead of eating the whole thing and killing turtles?

man i havent had this much #NRG (short for energy) since that time i chugged those pixie sticks that turned out to be cocaine (long story). anyway, a couple minutes ago my boss told me to "have a good day" so i think i'm gonna go home
 

mayfly

Senior member
Messages
8,233
BroccoliRob said:
... since that time i chugged those pixie sticks that turned out to be cocaine (long story).

How do you come up with this stuff???
 

BroccoliRob

Senior member
Messages
881
Mayfly said:
BroccoliRob said:
... since that time i chugged those pixie sticks that turned out to be cocaine (long story).

How do you come up with this stuff???

man it would take a long time to explain that. i'd probably have to write a biography. they call it an autobiography when u write it yourself which is weird since its not automatic and you have to actually do it. i would title it "physically thicc & mentally sicc: the BrocolliRob story" and most of it would be about my adventures and misadventures in the 90's. a lot of people don't think about that decade as particularly #wilde but i can prove otherwise. its not like the 50's when going on a date meant having a cheeseburger, french fries, and a malt (sort of like a milkshake) in a car and trying to hide that youre cuttin' dairy farts next to your best girl at the latest Donald Duck movie. in the 90's it was more like going to a Prodigy concert on E, watching your girl make out with someone in a Furry custome, becoming lucid while dry heaving in the alley after the show, and then having to fight off a pair of juggalos in 20" JNCO pipes because you don't want to buy meth from them.... and those were the *good* nights.

Or going to a crust punk basement show, having to take a trip to the ER after being bit by a crowd surfer on heroin, escaping before they realize you dont have insurance and then hopping a freight train to the next town while all you had that day was a bottle of gatorade and a half pack of Newports. i had abs back in those days, but it wasnt necessarily by choice. (BTW I have quit smoking since then)

you didn't have to worry about stuff like having Spotify going in your car and it deciding to play an Ed Sheeran song but you get in an accident and die before being able to reach over and hit the dislike button, so the First Responders tell your family you were a big Ed Sheeran fan and you get cremated while The Shape of You plays. thats my literal worst fear and its only possible in this hi-tech dystopian age. my biggest fear in 1994 actually came true when i wasn't able to get on camera during MTV's coverage of Woodstock that year, which isn't too bad all things considered.
 

Stilgar138

Active member
Messages
34
I wanted to say thank you to everyone who answered. I feel like between reading the replies and watching some videos, I have a decent idea of what these things can do. I think if I do decide to do one, I'm going to get it sprayed as a gold top and take some influence from a Les Paul Standard, natural back, cream binding/plastics and trapezoid inlays. The big thing is Gibson scale conversion or going with a 25.5 inch scale. I know Gibson scale would get closer to what I was asking about when this started but the ones on Youtube sure sounded good. I'm definitely not seeing some Fender snap as a bad thing at all. It's just something I'll have to think about.

Although I'm kind of planning it out out now, I'll have to do some serious thinking when the time comes to possibly do it. The body alone will cost a hair more than the body AND neck of the Switchback. I'm not complaining, I understand why. There's also no schedule on when I would have to get it done, I can take all the time I need to put away for it. I've got quite a while yet so that side is a decision for another day. I'll probably still think about the specs in the mean time though haha.
 

teleme01

Senior member
Messages
368
interesting about the 24 vs 25.5 neck,  i can understand how they would feel diferent but an a is an a and a b is a b ,  what diffence besides feel would there be?
 

Stilgar138

Active member
Messages
34
That is where things get interesting. No doubt Fenders sound different than Gibsons, but there's far more to it than simply scale length. I've never played a Strat with Gibson scale or a Les Paul with Fender scale to be able to make a direct comparison. Gibson has made some Les Pauls and I believe some SGs with 25.5 scale necks. I've heard they sound different but I can't say one way or the other since I've never played one. I'd like to try one out though.

I went over to Sam Ash today to get some polish and they happened to have a Squier Starcaster. I fooled around with it a bit and thought it sounded spectacular. It sounded quite similar to the videos, I don't know about anyone else but I'd call somewhere in between Fender and Gibson. It is different than what I described wanting earlier but I'm thinking this kind of tone might make for a more interesting guitar to have around. I've also started thinking maybe I get close enough to what I described with my Les Paul already. There are certainly differences between it and what I'd do for my Mooncaster but I think it gives me a good frame of reference. I really think I'd like the change to mahogany and PAF style pickups. Although I'm not entirely sure what to make of the whole scale length thing, I'm leaning towards Fender scale at this point.
 
C

Cowbell Fever!

Guest
The scale lengths sound different, as do the different neck attachments.
 

Stilgar138

Active member
Messages
34
Somehow, I forgot to come back around to this thread.

It certainly sounds like 25.5 inch scale makes Fenders sound more, well, Fendery haha.

I got to play a different Squier Starcaster, this one had regular uncovered humbuckers. It didn't tell me what PAF style would sound like, they were pretty hot but I think I'm getting an idea what I could have with a Mooncaster. I know there's no way to tell since I'd do something different with wood and pickups but I'm feeling like I'd really like a Mooncaster done to my specs. I wish it was possible to play one before I buy but that ain't gonna happen. I'm feeling like I'll have to try this out even if it will be a ways down the road before I can. I could change my mind in between but I really think I'll go for a 25.5 scale neck with a Warmoth 3 on a side headstock.

How much difference does laminate top wood make as far as tone goes with something like this? I imagine the body wood plays more of a role but I really don't know.

 

DaveT

Senior member
Messages
113
Gibson use laminate tops on many of their guitars. They sound alright to me...
If you want your Mooncaster to be as close to a Gibson as possible then built it as close to a Gibson as possible.
That means Gibson scale length and PAFs.
 

bostjan

Active member
Messages
33
It's a very touchy topic for some people, so take everything I say below with whatever amount of salt suits you:

An electric guitar is a vibrating string supported by a hard material.  The string vibrates in a magnetic field provided by the pickups' magnets and is converted into AC electricity through induction by the pickups' coils.  That AC electronic signal is then processed by the tone controls and passed to the amplifier.  Looking at this chain of events to make a sound, the items that should have a strong effect on the way the guitar sounds are, in no particular order:

  • The speakers
  • The amplifier
  • The amount of induction in the pickups
  • The amount of AC impedance in the pickups
  • The amount of AC reactance in the pickups
  • The tone controls
  • The length of the string
  • The tension of the string
  • The material of which the string is made
  • The hardness of the material stopping the string on each end
  • The amount of yield (flexibility) in the support
  • The means by which the string is excited (plucked, for example)

But virtually everything else will have a nuanced effect on the tonal qualities of the instrument.  Those nuances are probably rather important to the player.

My takeaway from that, though, is that some specs are very important in determining the tone of the instrument.  For example the scale length and tuning and the type of strings used.  These have a very profound effect, yet we perceive it as less of an effect because the variation is small.  A 25.5" Fender and a 24.75" Gibson have a ~3% difference in scale length.  The differences between Ernie Ball Super Slinkies and GHS Boomers is also nuanced.  Yet, to my ears, the tonal differences between those things is significant.

Next are pickups and pots.  Personally, I think, again, it's a huge difference in tone.  And the values are much more profound as well.  You could take any two of the same model of pickup from the same manufacturer, and I'd be unsurprised if the DC resistance (indicative of the AC impedance characteristics) were within 3% of each other.  Various different models on the market have significantly different numbers of winds and thickness of wire and even different grades of copper wire (also remember those silver-wound pickups that were marketed a few years ago?, or Lace alumitones, which use very very thick aluminum single winds?), and the winding techniques can vastly vary (single/double coil [sometimes triple or more]; scatterwound, straightwound; potted, aircore; even QTuners, which have the winds oriented longitudinally relative to the strings, rather than the usual transverse direction).  Pots can be 1megohm down to 250kohm.  Many of my guitars have no pots at all, and they sound noticeably brighter than even 1megohm pots.

Then you get down to the construction of the guitar (solid, semi-hollow, full-hollow; bolt-on, set, thru-neck; hardtail, vintage trem, floating trem; etc.), and both the effect on tone and the amount of variation are a little more subtle.

Basically, IMO, if you put tele pickups on a strat, I'd expect it to sound more like a tele than a strat.  If you made a 25.5" ES-335, and put Dimarzio super distortions in it, then plugged it into a wireless and went far enough away to kill any feedback, it'd sound more like an Ibanez or a Jackson superstrat than it would like a Gibson.

I've tested this sort of thing before, and I'm not saying that wood makes no difference, because I've proven that it does through my own experiments.  But it's probably the 9th or 10th thing down on the list in terms of how much variation in tone you get from the amount of variation in parts accepted for mainstream use in the trade.  Probably the most interesting thing to me was the amount of tonal variation between non-identical pieces of identical-species timbers. 

But this whole topic is quite the rabbit hole to go down.  If you try to quantify anything using a scientific approach, there are just too many variables to isolate to get anywhere near the point where you can start answering more questions than you are raising.  Plus, so many people on the internet treat this as though it were a religion vs atheism debate where either certain pieces of aged tonewoods are the magical missing piece necessary to achieve a certain tone or else the nature of the wood makes zero difference at all.  And probably most people are somewhere in the middle, like me, but it's the most extreme and vocal people who shape everyone's perception about the "debate."
 

DuckBaloo

Senior member
Messages
282
Stilgar138 said:
How much difference does laminate top wood make as far as tone goes with something like this?

All the classic Gibson "ES" guitars had full laminate construction (top, back, sides), same with the (pre-Gibson) Epiphone "Zephyr" series. The idea was, since these were dedicate electric guitars, that the laminated wood would hamper feedback. Remember these are built like an acoustic or archtop, bend sides, top and back, held together with kerfing, they vibrate more ...
es335_guts_3.jpg


The Mooncaster is more like a chambered "thinline" (the back is routed out of a body black, like the Gibson ES-/CS-356), the body is more than rigid enough to fight feedback ...
bf30b6e913fba7fd194d614061997bd2.jpg



Considering the construction differences, whether the top is laminated, or what wood is used, probably wouldn't make any difference. I agree with the others that a Gibson scale-length and PAFs, and the right licks when playing, are close enough.
 

Stilgar138

Active member
Messages
34
I apologize, I messed up in how I worded that. The Mooncaster requires a laminate top, what I was really wondering if the type of wood made a difference. I'm probably going to do it as a gold top with natural back, so there's no point in paying more for anything fancy. I'm leaning toward mahogany to match the main body wood. I know everything plays a part and it can get complicated to say the least!

Upon more thought and trying out a Squier Starcaster, I've changed my mind on what I'm looking for. I started thinking, if I want something that sounds like a 335, I should get a 335. There's the possibility of being disappointed if I'm expecting a Mooncaster to sound like one. I may get a 335 one of these days but for this, I'm wanting the more Fender/Gibson hybrid tone that I got with the Starcaster. I really liked the snappiness the 25.5 inch neck added as well. With my spec changes and the differences in construction, the Mooncaster I'm thinking of won't sound exactly like that either but I think it's closer to giving me an idea of what I could get with one. I think it could really be one I play a lot.


I'm getting too far ahead of myself with this but I can't help but think about it. As far as wiring goes, anyone have any experience with Mad Hatter Guitar Products? I'm thinking about one of their wiring kits for this as the pots can be wired to either 250k or 500k. I think that option is quite interesting and makes experimenting a lot easier than having to solder in new pots. Too many options can also mess with just playing and enjoying it too though.



 

JohnnyHardtail

Senior member
Messages
319
A few things I would like to revise to make a proper attempt at Gibson Tone.
1)  Use a single truss rod instead of the modern one.  (Not available from Warmoth in 24.75" scale)
2)  Relocate the bridge humbucker closer to the bridge, to get a more precise voicing of the midrange.
3)  Experiment with some softer woods, Eg. Poplar back and Mahogany/Koa top.  Obviously with solid finish on the back.
 

teleme01

Senior member
Messages
368
i can understand your anxt,  i have the same compulsive obsessions that run around in circles in my head,  should i get walnut,  maple,  swamp ash,  etc... i believe that is where the addiction comes in because you get a taste in the first build but there are so many options that even a second build cant let you know what the other choices offer ... what to do ?  i origional wanted to get a tele with jazzmaster pickup routes,  but ended up with p90 routes,  and then which p90s or other options?  there are so many options ...  i have never owned a tele and so then there was the bridge options,  i got a 510 (which i love by the way,  i have the trem bar off and really like bending strings with the tremolo springs giving me efacy)  on this one but is a tele a tele without a tele bridge ?  i think i have to build another with a standard tele bridge,  and then your question on which top wood,  my god ,  there are so many options,  maple, canary, etc,  but you said your going gold top so alder ? roasted alder? or what about gold top flame maple :) i bet that would look rad,  ok so i rambled for one long sentence,  im tired now,  but to answer the age old question,  your gonna have to (im gonna have to) build several guitars.
 

Stilgar138

Active member
Messages
34
teleme01 said:
i can understand your anxt,  i have the same compulsive obsessions that run around in circles in my head,  should i get walnut,  maple,  swamp ash,  etc... i believe that is where the addiction comes in because you get a taste in the first build but there are so many options that even a second build cant let you know what the other choices offer ... what to do ?  i origional wanted to get a tele with jazzmaster pickup routes,  but ended up with p90 routes,  and then which p90s or other options?  there are so many options ...  i have never owned a tele and so then there was the bridge options,  i got a 510 (which i love by the way,  i have the trem bar off and really like bending strings with the tremolo springs giving me efacy)  on this one but is a tele a tele without a tele bridge ?  i think i have to build another with a standard tele bridge,  and then your question on which top wood,  my god ,  there are so many options,  maple, canary, etc,  but you said your going gold top so alder ? roasted alder? or what about gold top flame maple :) i bet that would look rad,  ok so i rambled for one long sentence,  im tired now,  but to answer the age old question,  your gonna have to (im gonna have to) build several guitars.


With so many options available, it is indeed hard to not let my mind wander lol. I had no intentions of thinking up another guitar to do as I have that Switchback planned out that'll be the next guitar thing I do but I made the mistake of messing with the body builder. Actually being able to do a Mooncaster is plenty far off that I don't need to be thinking about it now but I can't seem to make my brain stop doing it haha.
 
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