Das Grote!

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by OMB, May 20, 2020.

  1. OMB

    OMB Well-Known Member Supporting Member+

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    My guitar of preference is a 335 style but I was very unhappy with the 2 Gibson 335's I had because the neck was too slim. I have also owned many 335 style Epi's in various configs and same thing. I Had made a decision that I wanted one last electric guitar (335 style of course) but it needed to have the rounded Mickey Mouse Ears versus the slightly sharper horns on my Ibanez AS and Guild SF VI. So the initial Firefly ticked off the bigger neck and rounded horns. Then they changed the shape to the current style which I didn't/don't care for (just me) and there were too many possible niggles (issues) with the FF's. So then my attention turned to the Grote. I kept reading and looking for problems. Not much negative publicity so that was good. I also tried to figure out the neck profile and with some help here and other spots on the Interwebz it appeared the neck was a full 1-11/16" + width at the nut and between .88 - .92 thickness at first fret. I could live with that! So I ordered one.

    Each guitar I own has a specific sonic characteristic that I enjoy or that works for a particular type of music. Due to my sell off I no longer had any P90 guitars but I had a set of GFS Mean 90's I ordered for my Ibanez AS-73. The Ibby has a newer version of their ceramic humbucker offering and to be honest I like them. A lot. So the Mean 90's were still available. The guitar was purchased new through Amazon and came pretty quick. It was shipped in a Spartan triangular shaped container with a covering over the guitar resting on a couple of foam blocks. Yikes!!! But it arrived intact. I guess the shipping Gods were watching over DAS Grote! Tuned it up. Plugged it in. Everything worked fine. The neck was fantastic. No sharp frets, no finish issues I could find. Everything looked copacetic. Nothing wrong with the pups either just not the sound I needed to round out my crew. So I ordered some parts and then dropped it off at my luthiers. Some of the mods I made were:

    Locking Tuners - Like the ones from GFS with the thumb wheel except these were from Amazon. One was funky but I disassembled and put it back together. Still a little tight but it works. Why lockers? Nothing to do with tuning but I am lazy and it makes changing strings much simpler with less concern for slippage due to a lousy wrap on my part.

    GraphTech Tusq Nut - Either these, bone or brass are my go to choices. This nut was cut to take full advantage of the extra width so as to maximize string spacing for my fat fingers.

    GFS Mean 90 Pickups - I had these in a couple of guitars and they got close enough to a real P90 (whatever that is) sound but either way they worked.

    Ibanez Grip Knobs - Not sure of the name of these but I liked them a lot when I first got them on an Ibanez Artcore. Nothing wrong with the stock black speed knobs, just personal preference.

    Roller Bridge - Probably not necessary but I like them with a Bigsby.

    Bigsby B6 - I don't like tension bar (B7/70) Bigsby's but the neck angle on these requires some downward pressure/angle on the strings. Also the usual proper choice would be a B3 but it is shorter than the B6 and the handle would be just behind the bridge pup which is not convenient. PLus I like the Duane Eddy type arm on these.

    Towner Bar and Metric Studs - These are needed to provide the proper angle of the strings so that they don't pop out of the saddles with use of the Bigsby.

    I got it back from my luthier and plugged it in to my Ampeg GVT5H. Yuck!!! Sounded brittle, thumpy with no depth and to be honest very little character and zero sparkle. Great now I have to change the pups again. I stuck it back in the case and put it back in the closet. Got thinking. The Ampeg is a 6V6 tube like a Fender. Maybe it will sound different in a solid state or EL84 amp? After 10 days to let the frustration dissipate I pulled it back out and plugged it in to my other amps. First up was my Vox Mini Beetle MSB25. There it is. That sound. The Mean 90's barked and had a sparkle and depth I had expected from them. Next up was my Vox AC-10. Oh my. The sound was glorious. Wide ranging, plenty of bite and a touch of sparkle. P90 Goodness at last. Holding my breath. Last up my favorite amp, the Ampeg Jet II J12T. Just like the AC10 but even more breadth and the tone I had been looking for. It was a toss up between the Ampeg and the AC10 with the Ampeg just nudging out the Vox. My wife came down and said that was one of the prettiest guitars she has heard. I have to agree.

    In Summary - The quality on these is not in the same class as a Guild or a pro-line Gretsch but it is solid. If you need more meat on the neck this is your guitar. Very playable stock and for $159 it is amazing. Heck for $400 it would be a deal. With the parts installed (I did the tuners and the bridge) and a professional set up by my luthier this guitar has right at $800 invested. Crazy right? Yup but a Gibson ES-335 with similar neck profile used was going to run me $2,300 so I feel pretty good and it as a great last hurrah guitar! I never plan to sell this. I would never get my money back. I will leave it to my son.

    Just a thought. I wonder how many guitars have been plugged into a particular amp and sounded like crap resulting in a return or a sale. I have had a few. The Mean 90's sounded terrible through a 6V6 tube but sounded fantastic through EL-84 tubes. Crazy right? Das Grote is Good!

    OH yeah some pics...

    95334aa454e56028b1885e9d0f9b2ecc.jpg
    30e05bb69e5db21681ea22f9615d6372.jpg
    474a7b24e2a704190a187ae603010267.jpg
     
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  2. uwmcscott

    uwmcscott AGF Survivor Champ

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    Very nice, looks like you have a winner there. I ordered ( and subsequently returned ) 3 Firefly 338's due to many issues, but I always wondered about the Grote's but not many talked about them. Glad to see that they are indeed a good option to consider, and happy that you got a good one!
     
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  3. fullonshred

    fullonshred Well-Known Member

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    One Grote to Rule them all!

    Congrats and glad you have what you want. I bet that is THE most tricked out Grote in existence!
     
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  4. OMB

    OMB Well-Known Member Supporting Member+

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    I can not vouch for Grote quality. I may have just got lucky but either way I am glad to say Oh YEAH!

    And yes I spent waaaaaaay too much money but it was personally worth every penny to me.
     
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  5. Razzle

    Razzle Well-Known Member

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    Grotes were great, had one (on reverb now), I think their build is better than the Fireflys. I actually liked the neck on the Grote better than the FF because it was thinner. In constrast to you! hahahahaha

    Well congrats on your guitar!
     
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  6. peskypesky

    peskypesky Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    congroteulations!
     
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  7. peskypesky

    peskypesky Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    I myself prefer sharper horns to the Mickey Mouse ears, but I know that's a minority opinion.
     
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  8. andrewsrea

    andrewsrea Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like you got a guitar - your way! Congrats! HNGD.
     
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  9. nomadh

    nomadh Well-Known Member

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    Some guitars certainly like some amps better but so far If I generally like the amp but really hate a certain guitar with that amp then I'm having a problem with that guitar. If may sound better on other amps but it probably wont be great. So far thats what I've found.
     
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  10. voodoorat

    voodoorat Well-Known Member

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    DAS GROTE IST GUT
     
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  11. Mossman

    Mossman Well-Known Member

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    Looks great! I've had some periodic interest in das Grotes. I haven't had a semi-hollow in my arsenal for some time, and that's about the only type of guitar I can see myself buying (rather than building) for the foreseeable future. But I don't know if I can get worked up enough to drop $500 or more on an Epiphone, and I'm still not feeling the Firefly... I think people are maybe just a little over-enthusiastic about them.
     
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  12. tonray

    tonray Well-Known Member Supporting Member+

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    This Grote has been in my wish list for the longest time.....what am I waiting for ?

    [​IMG]
     
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  13. Mossman

    Mossman Well-Known Member

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    That looks hawt... Not a fan of the trapeze tailpiece, though. Maybe you're waiting for one with a stop tailpiece?
     
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  14. tonray

    tonray Well-Known Member Supporting Member+

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    I think I am waiting for a Natural/Flame Maple or a BlueBurst to be honest....Since CV-19 options on Aliexpress have withered a bit
     
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  15. Mossman

    Mossman Well-Known Member

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    Amazon doesn't reach Thailand? I thought they were everywhere now.

    They have a nice brownburst (I know it doesn't sound appealing, but it is) on Amazon right now. Honestly, I'd take almost any finish on a 335-style guitar except for Heritage Cherry... Waaaay too common. Same with SGs... If I liked SGs.
     
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  16. tonray

    tonray Well-Known Member Supporting Member+

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    Only some Amazon vendors ship overseas...and shipping usually is very big compared to the cost of the guitar.
     
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  17. Mossman

    Mossman Well-Known Member

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    I was half joking when I said that, but I thought maybe they might have a distribution center nearby... Well, relatively nearby... Somewhere in Asia. But yeah, not everything is fulfilled by Amazon.
     
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  18. tonray

    tonray Well-Known Member Supporting Member+

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    Nah..they have not penetrated SE Asia. The big vendor here is Lazada.com. big Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore.
     
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  19. Manodano

    Manodano Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    I like my Firefly - I got a pretty good one, but bought it just to do an all-out number on it myself, and I loved doing the project and the results. But I don't favor the pointy horns, and now you have me wanting a Grote with the ears. I'm sort of down on the Chinese these days, though, and that may be the only thing keeping me from buying more cheap Asian guitars that I love but don't really need. Still won't rule it out, though, I'm a weak knee'd man.
     
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  20. T100D

    T100D Well-Known Member

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    Peavey JF1! Peavey JF1! Peavey JF1! Peavey JF1! Peavey JF1! Peavey JF1! (but don't forget to upgrade the tuners …)

    https://reverb.com/marketplace?query=Peavey JF-1
     
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