10/24/2014

c.2011 The Loar LH-300-VS Carved-top Guitar




This guitar came by way of trade and after a fret level/dress, minor bridge work, and setup it's now ready to go back into the world. I wasn't wowed by the factory setup but after work it plays spot-on and has a good, crunchy, creamy carved-top L-48/50 style sound. If clarity and a dark-tinged compressed sound are your thing... this has it. I was suitably impressed once I'd gone through it... as it gets really close to the old-timey Gibson sound (albeit perhaps not as barky and with a bit less complexity).

A funny other bit? It has a feel like a 30s Gibson, too, with a medium V-shaped neck and thinner old-style fretwire. It's a bit like being in bizarro land for me as it has that feel and most of the sound but the finish and style is definitely your average Asian-import glossy standard.



According to the company's information the top is solid, 2-piece carved spruce while the back and sides are "maple." The back is bookmatched and both it and the sides are relatively plain (in terms of figure) but they're both certainly laminate material. The neck is mahogany with a grafted heel and headstock and while the coloration of the finish looks pretty good at first glance you notice bits of discoloration here and there if you look it over pretty closely (small bits of bled black, mostly).

The proportions are all essentially 30s Gibson spec, though, with a 24 3/4" scale length and 16" lower bout width.


This has a 1 3/4" nut (bone) width, head-mounted truss rod access, and a headstock shape that's actually more like a 30s Harmony archtop than a 30s Gibson one. Fair enough, though!

I installed the gold-finish tuners that I had in my parts bin to upscale it a bit as they were the same 18:1 Grover type (save for finish) used on this guitar in the first place. Note the finish chip-out next to the A-string tuner post. Grr! That was my little addition by accident. Except for that the finish is in almost "as-new" or "very lightly used" shape.


Radiused rosewood board, cream binding, and pearl dots. Sheesh! These guitars offer a lot at a "shipped to you brand new" pricing of $600.

The strings are a set of new 54w-12 GHS "vintage bronze" lights.


The ebony bridge is nicely fit and compensated. I had to shave a bit from the bottom of the bridge topper/saddle to allow for more adjustment room. I like to be able to move a bunch up or a little bit down depending on the season and that wasn't possible before. It's now setup for spot-on 1/16" treble and 3/32" bass action at the 12th fret.



It's a pretty clean build.





Compared to the thin nitro finish you'd see/feel on an old Gibson, the thick import gloss used on this guy feels a bit overwhelming. It's pretty typical, however, of import stuff and doesn't seem to kill the tone or volume too much. It makes you wonder what it would've been like with a thin natural satin finish, though, huh?








The "VS" is for vintage sunburst, I believe.


And... yup... a newish hard arched case, too, fitted just so.

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