Greven L-00v Prototype Test

PART II - Phosphor Bronze Uncoated EJ-16 Strings

 JULY 18, 2006

Quick mp3 before and after string change comparison

Recording setup - I used the same chair, mic, software session, levels,  position of body, guitar and pick location on the strings.

I was so happy to be right about the silky treble sound coming from the Elixir strings because I just could not understand why these guitars didn't have more of the open woody sound of a vintage L-00 with cloned bracing, woods and the hand of a master luthier. Off came the Elixirs and on with a generic brand of phosphor bronze uncoated strings. Now I can hear the actual guitar and the body and not the artificial velvety high end contributed by the Nano strings. The guitars even feel more loose, open and responsive with a throaty bass and uncompressed ringing midrange. Now I can hear the old Gibson sound more than ever including some of the nasally small body funk and thump.  I don't think I've ever seen a more dramatic example of Elixir strings influencing the sound of the guitar and misleading my first impressions. In person the results are even more dramatic. Listen to the compressed (smiley face) EQ'd sound on the Elixir clips compared to the open unrestricted sound of the plain DAddarios. It really makes me think many builders that ship with Elixirs might be missing out on hearing a whole other range of sound from their guitars and the Elixir feedback could actually influence how they build. Don't get me wrong I do use Elixirs on some guitars when it makes sense but in this case the Elixirs are not the answer for these guitars. Not if vintage Gibson tone is what you are looking for. I could however see the flat mids and bright slick trebles sounding great for some songs like a fast rag blues.

BONUS Bottleneck slide recording test #002 EJ-16 - [PLAY MP3]

NEW! Longer Instrumental Lead and Rhythm Track #003
 "Wee Midnight Hour" [PLAY MP3]

This is a review about the sound of the L-00v prototype and not a string review. I do however believe this could be the first time the guitars themselves are being heard. Even proto #003 with the adi top sounds more open and rich with these strings. It seems to give #002 a run for it's money now and every bit as good a guitar even though it may not have been the chosen one. The midrange on both guitars has a good dose of mojo. I've played more raunchy L-00s but this one does have the sound. I hope the future builds will use a lighter more woody mahogany and possibly result in a slightly woodier tone and more sparkling highs. These have a tinge of the qualities you see in rosewood guitars. These are fantastic prototypes and more great ones will be coming from Portland that could eclipse these.  If anyone can dial in the tone it will be Greven. I'm keeping #003 for myself banking that the adi top will open up for me and surprise some people. I love the underdog anyway.  

Disclaimer: Please don't send me a million emails about Elixirs. This test is trying to document what I hear on this end. I recommend all players do their own sound comparisons and make their own judgements. If you can't hear the difference in tone of these 9 clips then there's not much I can say. I don't mean just volume and attack. I mean the tone too. 

Echord Strum #2 and then #3    [EJ16-Strings-MP3]  

Compare to the clip with the elixirs


A Blues #2 and then #3    [EJ16-Strings-MP3] 

Compare to the clip with the elixirs

Fingerpicks -  #2 and then #3   [EJ16-Strings-MP3] 

Compare to the clip with the elixirs

More bonus mp3 comparisons of Elixir Nano vs DAddario EJ-16 strings before and after. See if you can hear the compressed midrange and amplified highs on the Elixirs. And the open less stringy sound of the guitar with the plain PB light EJ-16s.

[clip1-Elixir]   [clip1-EJ16]  -   E Blues bass runs then Eminor chord
clip2-Elixir]   [clip2-EJ16]  E Lightnin' Licks
[clip3-Elixir]   [clip3-EJ16]  -  E John Hurt Lazy Blues 
[clip4-Elixir]   [clip4-EJ16]  C standard blues rag low
clip5-Elixir]   [clip5-EJ16]  -  C blues rag high


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