Will Ray's Bottom Feeder: Jay Turser ES-125 Copy

A copy of my onetime dream guitar—for $145.

In my youth I always wanted a Gibson ES-125TDC. I used to go to our local music store and salivate over the one in their window. But oddly enough, I’ve never bought one over the years. Oh well.

Fast forward to 2014. I saw this cool Jay Turser 125 copy on the ’Bay, and the youthful memories started flooding back. It sported two P-90 pickups, a Tune-o-matic-style bridge, and a thinline body with a Florentine cutaway. It had a buy-it-now price of $170 plus $20 shipping, which I thought was a good deal. But the auction also included the words “or best offer.” Well, alrighty now—my kind of auction!

Being the cheapskate I am, I immediately sent an offer of $145. I was going to give them a few days to reply before just paying their original asking price, which I still considered a bargain. But to my surprise, they accepted my offer within two hours.

Bottom Feeder Tip #284: Whenever you see a price with OBO (“or best offer”), go ahead and send a lower offer, but not so low as to risk making the seller angry. What have you got to lose? The worst that can happen is they say no.

After the first three notes I was in love. The action was nice and low, and I’ve never had to adjust it—it’s perfect!

But sellers usually entertain best offers because they’re unsure of their asking price. Take advantage of this when you can. But remember: Once you’ve submitted an eBay offer and the seller has accepted it, you’re committed to buying.

I received the guitar five days later. It had no case but was very well packed by the seller, who turned out to be a music store. After the first three notes I was in love. The action was nice and low, and I’ve never had to adjust it—it’s perfect! It does have one high fret that frets out when I bend the 1st string at the 10th fret, which I may deal with down the road. But honestly, the guitar is such a pleasure to play that I just overlook stuff like that. Plugged in, the P-90-style pickups sound fat and strong, but with enough high end to give your sound some snap.

The guitar has since become one of my go-to “TV guitars,” an axe I play acoustically while watching TV as part of my maintenance/rehearsing program. I reserve that position for guitars that have a nice acoustic tone and are fun to play, so I can hear myself over the TV.

So is it a keeper? Most definitely—at least for now. I can’t explain it, but some guitars just speak to me on a gut level, and this is one of them. I don’t own a guitar quite like it, and it’s sooooo much fun to play!

A bone nut being back-filed for proper string placement and correct action height.

It doesn’t have to cost a lot to change your acoustic guitar’s tone and playability.

In my early days, all the guitars I played (which all happened to be pre-1950s) used bone nuts and saddles. I took this for granted, and so did my musician friends. With the exception of the ebony nuts on some turn-of-the-century parlors and the occasional use of ivory, the use of bone was a simple fact of our guitar playing lives, and alternative materials were simply uncommon to us.

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While Monolord has no shortage of the dark and heavy, guitarist and vocalist Thomas V Jäger comes at it from a perspective more common to pop songsmiths.

Photo by Chad Kelco

Melodies, hooks, clean tones, and no guitar solos. Are we sure this Elliott Smith fan fronts a doom-metal band? (We’re sure!)

Legend has it the name Monolord refers to a friend of the band with the same moniker who lost hearing in his left ear, and later said it didn’t matter if the band recorded anything in stereo, because he could not hear it anyway. It’s a funny, though slightly tragic, bit of backstory, but that handle is befitting in yet another, perhaps even more profound, way. Doom and stoner metal are arguably the torch-bearing subgenres for hard rock guitar players, and if any band seems to hold the keys to the castle at this moment, it’s Monolord.

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