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Old 02-09-2019, 01:49 PM
candyman candyman is offline
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Default Blackbird Lucky 13

I have a later Lucky 13 (with the soundport) that feels a little dull to me and I can never quite figure out why.

I bought the Lucky 13 because I own a Rider and was blown away by the resonance and tone of that instrument. I also bought it because I love the Gibson L models it is based on (I also own a Gibson Keb Mo signature).

I’m not sure what it is - it feels kind of heavily built to me which makes it ring less to my ears. I have tried a few different strings on there - I felt Martin monels compounded the issue a bit. I have EJ16 DAddarios on there now which I seem to prefer. The construction feels more like a Composite Acoustics Cargo than a Rider if that makes sense (I’m using these examples because I have experience with them both).

I love the playability of the guitar and the size/body shape, scale length, string spacing, nut width,and neck - I just can’t get the sound I’m looking for. I also tend to favor smaller guitars and mahogany bodies for a mellower tone so it’s not that I’m looking for a bright /spruce top kind of sound.

I wanted to try a bigger string but Blackbird told me I couldn’t run 13s.

I’d appreciate any insight otherwise I might have to sell her.

Last edited by candyman; 02-09-2019 at 02:17 PM.
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Old 02-09-2019, 05:55 PM
FormerFoodie FormerFoodie is offline
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You may get more hits in the Carbon Fiber sub-forum, but here are my two cents:

I had a Lucky 13. It was a good guitar, but I never bonded with it. Over time, I ended up gravitating towards the Rainsong tone.

I ended up selling my Lucky 13. I still have my Blackbird Rider. The Rider is more convenient to lug around.

However, I feel the Rainsong tone draws me in more...

The Lucky 13 is a good guitar, but do what your ears and heart tell you.
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Old 02-09-2019, 06:45 PM
mot mot is offline
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I have 12s on my Lucky 13. I am pretty sure it could handle 13s if I wanted them on mine. I certainly don't think it would break it, but it might change the sound a bit or more likely wear out my fingers faster. The 12s make the high strings ring out a bit more for lead work than the 11s I had before.
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Old 02-09-2019, 07:44 PM
candyman candyman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mot View Post
I have 12s on my Lucky 13. I am pretty sure it could handle 13s if I wanted them on mine. I certainly don't think it would break it, but it might change the sound a bit or more likely wear out my fingers faster. The 12s make the high strings ring out a bit more for lead work than the 11s I had before.
I thought it would too but I saw a post where someone on here had one made with extra bracing to use 13s so I asked Blackbird and they said not to do it.
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Old 02-10-2019, 04:47 AM
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benderman57 benderman57 is online now
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I have a Lucky 13 with soundport and I use Elixir PB Medium/Lights on it with the top 3 being Light and of course the bottom or lower strings are mediums. A lot of companies refer to these as Bluegrass Gauge.

I thought this woke up the guitar slightly and really did not hurt the playability from what I could tell.

I've owned all kinds of carbon guitars and really have enjoyed all of them for one reason or another. My favorites tend to be my Emeralds but I really do love the Lucky 13 as it just sounds different than any other carbon I've heard or owned.

It has more midrange attack from what I'm hearing, maybe more of a Gibson tone. I will say no matter what string I've had on it the sustain is not up there in the CA, Rainsong or no where close to what a Emerald produces. This could be what you are hearing as well?

It's plenty loud for it's size but a lot more attack on the front end and not as much sustain is what I'm hearing.

I leave this guitar at my Trio's practice place and it gets plugged in most of the time so really not an issue for what I'm doing with it.

Great guitars and very different sounding compared to other Carbons out there I think.

I hope you can get a sound you enjoy with it! Good Luck!
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Old 02-10-2019, 04:51 AM
mot mot is offline
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They must have a reason for saying to avoid 13s. I am less sure my Lucky 13 can handle 13s than my X20, but I still think my Lucky 13 could do it easily. Based on your comment I might tune it low at first and then work into standard tuning assuming I don't see any unusual movement in the face. Blackbird (Joe) is probably just being cautious, but he's the expert. I certainly am not. I only have lots of experience with one Lucky 13 after all.
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Old 02-10-2019, 04:53 AM
mot mot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benderman57 View Post
I really do love the Lucky 13 as it just sounds different than any other carbon I've heard or owned.
Same here. That's why I still have mine.
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Old 02-10-2019, 09:42 AM
steelvibe steelvibe is offline
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I didn't think string gauge could adversely affect any CF. Maybe on the Lucky Blackbird recommends not using 13s because of both the fact there is no truss rod AND because the neck is hollow?

At any rate, the L13 the Shorty were the 2 guitars I wrestled between when making my first CF purchase. Good luck with your decision.
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Old 02-10-2019, 10:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steelvibe View Post

the L13 the Shorty were the 2 guitars I wrestled between .
I guy stuck in the middle of 2 guitars wrestling about... sorta like dueling banjos... all these newer sports these days.
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Old 02-10-2019, 10:13 AM
Jimmy Koh Jimmy Koh is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by candyman View Post
Iím not sure what it is - it feels kind of heavily built to me which makes it ring less to my ears.
You have answered your own question, candy.

If it is heavily built, e.g. thick soundboard, thick side and back wall, thick resin coating etc - the guitar is definitely compressed and vibration resistant. And yes it will ring less. Canít be helped - these are handmade instruments subject to production inconsistencies. Sometime the maker got it, sometimes they just missed it. Change of strings set/type may change the tonal properties, but only to a limited extent.
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Old 02-13-2019, 05:04 PM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by candyman View Post
I thought it would too but I saw a post where someone on here had one made with extra bracing to use 13s so I asked Blackbird and they said not to do it.
That would be me. I use alternate tunings a lot, so I have standardized on medium gauge strings. Joe added an extra neck brace to account for the extra tension. I also play standard tuning with mediums on it sometimes, and it handles that just fine.

Carbon fiber guitars and the Lucky 13 in particular seem to be far more sensitive to string type / alloy than wood guitars. I like John Pearse Pure Nickel's on my wood guitars, but could not get them off of the Lucky 13 fast enough. I might also get a plug for the side sound port to see how that affects things.
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Old 02-13-2019, 10:04 PM
Narsil Narsil is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earl49 View Post

I like John Pearse Pure Nickel's on my wood guitars, but could not get them off of the Lucky 13 fast enough.
I also love the JP Pure Nickels, as I find they really warm up the tone, and keep an overly bright (to my tastes) guitar at a more pleasing level for my ears.

I am curious, do you happen to recall what wasn't so agreeable about the Nickels on the Lucky 13 ? Also, have you ever tried monels/Retros on it ? Which strings have you found that do sound good on it ?
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Old 02-14-2019, 08:44 AM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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The Pure Nickels took a guitar that I normally like the sound of and gave it an unpleasant "plastic tone". That is about the best way I can describe it. They changed the overtones and reduced the brightness enough so that I suddenly did not care for the guitar's tone at all. Apparently I like the extra touch of brightness. I actually left those strings on for several weeks to give them a chance to settle, but never liked their tone from the first strum to the last. I do like the JP's on wood guitars (Taylor 414ce, Taylor 424 all-koa).

My go-to strings are Elixir Nano PB's, D'Addario EJ-17 PB, and GHS White Bronze (52% nickel). I don't use Monels or any Martin branded string - just personal preference. Once in a while I will dabble with Cleartone or Red or some other brand, but go back to my main three. In addition to liking their tone, these are easy for me to get when needed, if I run out of stock at home.
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