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Old 01-17-2020, 03:27 PM
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Mr. Jelly Mr. Jelly is offline
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Default Gibson Nick Lucas Guitar Questions

I've been eye balling Gibson Nick Lucas guitars on line. They're smaller guitars that are deeper than 00 guitars. What can you tell me about them? Some of them sound pretty good on line. What woods have you had experience with and what is you're opinion?
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Old 01-18-2020, 05:30 AM
slide496 slide496 is offline
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I had one which I sold through Elderly, it was uncomfortable with the depth and never sounded right or in tune. On the demos if the guitar is being played in a style that you can relate to I think there's a better chance of it being something you would like but mine was useless and stayed in the "closet of shame" for most of its 5 year stay with me. I haven't ever played a guitar as problemmatic as the Nick Lucas in terms of comfort and intonation.

I don't have much experience with tonewoods, most of mine are ladderbraced birch, but I think my little Art and Lutherie roadhouse sounds better than that one did. Those Martin and Taylors I have tried in store - the NL was not in the same class in terms of rich resonance IMHO. YMMV
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Old 01-18-2020, 02:34 PM
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Thanks for replying. It seems nobody on AGF has had any experience with them but you. The more I look into them I am realizing they aren't for me. Not enough midrange for me.
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Old 01-18-2020, 04:10 PM
zombywoof zombywoof is offline
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A Nick Lucas takes in a whole lot of territory. Gibson made something like 6 different versions with different body shapes, different body woods, even a different number of frets. About the only thing that remained constant was the deep body. I have had experience with a couple of them but not every flavor.

Eventually though I ended up with an early-1930s Kay Kraft version. A bit more attitude than the NL and it worked better for the way I approach a guitar. Also a lot cheaper.
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Old 01-18-2020, 10:37 PM
Marshall Marshall is offline
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The Nick Lucas model is a deeper L00. 3/8" or 1/2" deeper. Makes a difference in the fullness and bass response of the instrument. The NL (& L00) hav a smaller upper bout, but the bottom bout is as wide as a J45. (or pretty darn close). That also means it has a very good low end response. Thebody shape is not as warm sounding as a J45. But it's more articulate. But just as full.

The original model (1937) was mahogany B&S. You may be able to get Indian Rosewood in the modern remakes. I actually have NL knockoff by a local luthier. It's a fantastic guitar. My favorite. Mine has a sitka top and saepele B&S. Sapele is a poor man's mahogany (so the story goes).

Great guitar

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Old 01-18-2020, 10:41 PM
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The ergonomics of a NL are very good. It sits on your lap nicer than a big bodied J45 or D18. But it has as much volume as those shapes. Just a different character.

But the added body depth is similar to the J45 and D18 if you;re standing and strumming.
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Old 01-19-2020, 01:45 AM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is online now
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Mr. Jelly, plenty of us on the AGF have personal history with the Gibson Nick Lucas model - in my case, both with the originals from the late 1920ís and early 1930ís, and also with the modern guitars that Gibson has built sporadically since the 1990ís - but not all of us have yet had a chance to respond to your query.

Iíve played a bunch of them, including originals in maple, mahogany or Brazilian rosewood, in 12 fret, 13 fret and 14 fret configurations. Iíve also played a number of modern ones, all of which have had maple backs and sides.

The Gibson Nick Lucas model is one of those guitars that sounds terrific in the right hands, probably one of the greatest steel string acoustic guitar designs EVER. But hereís the catch: it also accurately reflects your skill level as a guitarist.

Iím a pretty good guitarist, but not a great one. So in my hands the Gibson Nick Lucas model sounds pretty good.

Not great.

What youíll find with these guitars is that the players who sound absolutely fabulous on them tend to be highly skilled fingerpickers who can play more than one line at at a time. These guitars sound GREAT in their hands, because of the clarity: Scott Joplin rags sound magnificent on them because you can hear every melody note and every bass line.

But as strumming guitars, theyíre kind of a mismatch. Yes, Bob Dylan used a natural finish Brazilian rosewood Nick Lucas model on a couple of albums early in his career (before the guitar got stolen,) but if you listen to those albums you can hear that he really didnít get all that great a tone out of the guitar.

Fortunately, the songs he was writing at the time were so riveting that nobody cared much about the guitar tone...

Another characteristic of the Nick Lucas models is that theyíre very projective, and the player canít really hear exactly what the tone sounds like out front. This is true of all acoustic guitars to an extent, but itís especially true of the Nick Lucas model. I suspect that Slide496ís guitar sounded better out front than he thought it did, because thatís very typical of the Nick Lucas model.

Anyway, as many times as Iíve tried to get a great tone out of Gibson Nick Lucas models, Iíve never been able to do that to my satisfaction. But the same guitars in the hands of others have sounded much better.

So I know that the lackluster performance that I could coax out of those guitars has been the result of my own limitations as a guitarist, not the limitations of the guitars themselves.

Short version: Gibson Nick Lucas models are marvelous, even magnificent instruments, but itís necessary to have the right touch and be at the necessary skill level to get the most out of them.

Hope that makes sense.


Wade Hampton Miller
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Old 01-19-2020, 04:49 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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as Wade says, there have been many incarnations of models designated as "Nick Lucas".
The only one that I experienced was a 12 fret with the rounded body (i.e. the Rob't Johnson shape,which had been rebuilt and refinished somewhere in Scandinavia.
the wexperience was close to frightening and a bit like he story in the Guy Clark number "The Guitar" apart from the fact that I didn't buy it ...kinda wish I had but we were trying to move house at the time.



This is my humble version :

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Old 01-19-2020, 05:12 AM
jt1 jt1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wade Hampton View Post
... But hereís the catch: it also accurately reflects your skill level as a guitarist.
Wade,

I'm still looking for the guitar that won't reflect my skill level! But, try as I might, I've not found a guitar that will disguise my many limitations as a guitarist.

A case in point? My 1929 Nick Lucas:



I love the Nick Lucas design. As others have observed, the added depth augments the low end, but the design maintains most of the clarity and attack of the L-00 style instrument. Where I might differ from others is that I think that the difference between the deeper body Nick and the shallower L is relatively subtle.

I, too, have played all of configurations, including the smaller Robert Johnson styled version of the late 1920s and the various combinations of back and side wood and neck/body join. My favorite is the design of mine: mahogany, large body, 12-fretter.

OK, back to my life-long quest to find a guitar that will conceal my many playing mistakes!
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Old 01-19-2020, 03:08 PM
J185-4Me J185-4Me is offline
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Originally Posted by jt1 View Post

I love the Nick Lucas design. As others have observed, the added depth augments the low end, but the design maintains most of the clarity and attack of the L-00 style instrument. Where I might differ from others is that I think that the difference between the deeper body Nick and the shallower L is relatively subtle.

I, too, have played all of configurations, including the smaller Robert Johnson styled version of the late 1920s and the various combinations of back and side wood and neck/body join. My favorite is the design of mine: mahogany, large body, 12-fretter.
John's Tasmanian Nick Lucas is one of my favourite three I've played of that model. One of these days..... :-)

Fred
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Old 01-19-2020, 03:19 PM
slimey slimey is offline
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There are quite a few builders that make versions of the Nick Lucas, Kopp, SCGC and Collings come to mind. I've played both the Kopp and The SCGC, both 13 fret models and they were super!
Gibson versions I've played did not really impress me, but maybe they were just not good ones.
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Old 01-19-2020, 03:36 PM
lt20dbl lt20dbl is offline
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If you can find a Tacoma PR-12 you will have a reasonable facsimile for short money. Solid Rosewood back and sides with spruce top and sounds way better than it should. Surprising headroom and a bit less sustain than a dread but about as loud ad with more snap. Quite a versatile guitar.
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Old 01-19-2020, 06:03 PM
Idaho Guitars Idaho Guitars is offline
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Default Gibson Nick Lucas Guitar Questions

Big fan of a few of the Original Variantís of the ĎLucasí guitar. Huge fan of the Original Gibson L-00ís. I remember quite few years back 35+ back when the Dreadnaught was king. Smaller Martinís and Gibsonís werenít much sought after. You could pick up a 00 Martins and especially Gibson L-00/LG-2 & 3ís for much less than the big Dreadnaught and Jís and Jumbos. Not any more. Folks caught on and now Original smaller Martinís and especially the smaller Gibsonís have nearly caught up and cost a bundle now. The Gibson Montana versionís of the Lucas and L-00ís /and Blues King are Decent. They Feel slightly heavier built and of course the newer tone wood-Versus aged Adirondack tops on those old ones. I bet the ĎSanta Cruzí Model based off the Lucas is an Awesome guitar. I believe ĎFroggy Bottomí builds a model similar that would be sweet! Iím not a Dread player much anymore. I prefer guitars a Little smaller, but I like to have that decent Rich Bottom end bass -but more balanced -so I built my last two personal guitars patterned a bit off the L-00/Lucas. Same lower bought width about 14 5/8Ē but narrower waist and Narrower upper bout. Body depth 5Ē at butt and 4Ē at neck joint. 50 year old aged Honduran/25 year Seasoned Adirondackí on this one! í

Last edited by Idaho Guitars; 01-19-2020 at 10:37 PM.
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Old 01-20-2020, 10:41 PM
Marshall Marshall is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slimey View Post
There are quite a few builders that make versions of the Nick Lucas, Kopp, SCGC and Collings come to mind. I've played both the Kopp and The SCGC, both 13 fret models and they were super!
Gibson versions I've played did not really impress me, but maybe they were just not good ones.
Interestingly enough, the Nick Lucas I have was inspired by a 1937 13 fret guitar that Bruce Roper (recording engineer/luthier) had in his studio. He said it was the best sound guitar he ever heard. Then he told me he was building one just like it. Of course, he was looking for someone to buy it. I was sucker enough to stop buy and see the body before it was finished. I swallowed hard and told him if he'd make a neck for it that matched my 1957 J-50, I'd buy it. I said I needed to be a 14 fret neck. So, Bruce adjusted the bridge position and made the 14 fret neck. Even though the bracing had been laid out for the 13 fret neck.

Turns out the resulting guitar has great volume and balance. It's a little susceptible to feedback it you have a SBT pickup. But a UST is no problem. And as it turns out Bruce has built 3 other similar 13 fret models. And I've stopped by and seen 2 of them. And my 14 fretter sounds the best of them all. I can tell by the look on Bruce's face when we compare them that he agrees.

Last edited by Marshall; 01-20-2020 at 10:46 PM.
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Old 01-20-2020, 11:04 PM
Marshall Marshall is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Idaho Guitars View Post
-so I built my last two personal guitars patterned a bit off the L-00/Lucas. Same lower bought width about 14 5/8Ē but narrower waist and Narrower upper bout. Body depth 5Ē at butt and 4Ē at neck joint. 50 year old aged Honduran/25 year Seasoned Adirondackí on this one! í
Really NICE !
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