Updated - Sully Guitars NGD x2!

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helldorado
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Updated - Sully Guitars NGD x2!

Postby helldorado » Mon Mar 08, 2021 10:07 am

So I decided to get in on a run with Sully Guitars. If you're unfamiliar, the new trend with a lot of the smaller and mid-size custom shops is they have started focusing on pre-paid runs to offer a lower cost, import version of their guitars while still trying to maintain a relatively higher level of quality commensurate to price. So while PRS might order 5000 guitars from Cort, have them built in Indonesia, then shipped to their dealer network, PRS typically fronts all the costs.

This model has smaller shops trying to get 20-50 customers to put a deposit down to help reduce their upfront investment and guarantee a sale so they aren't sitting on excess unsold inventory afterwards. The trade-off is they'll offer the customer a much better price by avoiding the dealer mark-up and also they try use the higher end Korean factories that have been losing business to Indonesia and China. So in the case of Sully, he's using WMI for the builds.

I went with the Sully Elita Baritone. $1250 with a hardshell case. Now the question is will I see the guitar before 2022? :lol: :lol: :lol: If the prior run is an accurate indicator, that's a hard no. It took about 11 months for those people.

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The specs are solid, and from what I can see, the quality has been relatively high, or high enough to satisfy all his prior customers and win repeat business. Sully does final QC and setup in their shop before sending them out, so the assumption is he's being picky

Construction: Set neck
Scale: 27
Neck: Black Limba
Headstock: Reversed Raven
Truss rod: Dual action, adjust at head
Fretboard radius: 12-16" compound
Number of frets: 22
Fret wire: Jumbo stainless steel
Fretboard material: Ebony
Inlays: Slashes at 12th fret only
Side dot material: Luminlay
Body wood: Black Limba
Pickups: Salty Bastard Bridge (about 14k/A5), Al Pastor Neck (about 7.5k/A5)
Bridge: Hipshot hardtail
Controls: Volume/Tone (Tone pot is push pull to split coils), 3 way toggle
Knobs: Metal knurled dome knobs
Tuners: Hipshot locking
Color: Shipwreck Satin

A baritone explorer shaped guitar was something I was missing and this seemed like a good way to address that while also seeing how Sully ran his business. Even if he's not building them, he's still doing QC and signing off on them. If the experience is good, I may consider a full custom build in the future. His raven body style is pretty awesome as well. Assuming it takes a year to get my Elita, I have plenty of time to pursue the baritone Crescent project as well.

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Last edited by helldorado on Sun May 30, 2021 9:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Future NGD - let's see how long this takes! lol

Postby Sunset » Tue Mar 09, 2021 7:12 am

Patience is one of my strong points, but dang...basically 1yr. :lol: Is there any way to take one for a test ride before investing? I ask because I waited 9mo for the AZ2402 to show only to realize that Louisville Slugger neck and I weren’t going to get along too swift.

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Re: Future NGD - let's see how long this takes! lol

Postby helldorado » Tue Mar 09, 2021 9:50 am

Sunset wrote:Patience is one of my strong points, but dang...basically 1yr. :lol: Is there any way to take one for a test ride before investing? I ask because I waited 9mo for the AZ2402 to show only to realize that Louisville Slugger neck and I weren’t going to get along too swift.


I'm hoping this run doesn't take so long. Sully announced this morning he was pulling back on the options that nobody had ordered yet and closing up pre-orders by end of this week so he can get in the manufacturing queue with WMI ASAP for a reasonable turnaround as WMI is still in reduced capacity because of COVID restrictions. I figure it'll be one of those deals where I've forgotten about it and then it's like, hey! NGD! :lol: I figure at worst, because these are such limited availability in general, if I don't dig it, I should be able to resell it without taking a huge loss. I've been doing pretty well selling my guitars on the used market in the past yea. Half of my guitars have broken even or even made money, while the "dogs" haven't lost more than 20% of their value.

But you can actually give them a shot if you are close to where a dealer is located and they have one available to play. So if I was still working in Dallas, it totally would've been worth the effort to drive up to McKinney to the Guitar Sanctuary because they are one of his primary dealers (Sully Guitars is located in DFW). They do order and carry both his custom shop builds and Korean built Conspiracy Series guitars. They currently have 1 Korean built and 3 custom shop builds in stock right now.

https://www.theguitarsanctuary.com/Sull ... -s/447.htm

If I wasn't hung up on baritones, I probably would've skipped this Conspiracy Series run and just purchased the transparent purple Raven they have in stock.

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Also, totally worth driving to the Guitar Sanctuary because it looks like a badass shop where they focus on a lot of higher end and limited availability brands.

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Re: Future NGD - let's see how long this takes! lol

Postby Sunset » Tue Mar 09, 2021 10:48 am

What. In. The. Actual. ****....???

That’s the coolest guitar shop I’ve ever seen. I must make the pilgrimage.

Re guitars, I’ve never sold one in my life. I still have my first guitar(1977 Memphis alembic copy), but if I were to let one go it’d be the Ibby AZ. Super versatile guitar, but that neck tho.

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Re: Future NGD - let's see how long this takes! lol

Postby helldorado » Tue Mar 09, 2021 1:58 pm

I only regret not making it there before I switched jobs and stopped traveling to Dallas, but the days I was in town and my work schedule didn't align with their hours, so I didn't get there. :?

I've never really been part of that GAS mindset where you sell one to buy one, or just constantly cycling instruments, but I do look at them as tools and if I don't need the tool, is it better off in somebody else's hands? I went through a period where I was buying used vintage Japanese guitars because they were a much more affordable way to try some real vintage spec copies, and found that vintage is cool, but not for me. Then I came to terms that I was never going to fully get comfortable with 7 strings and and decided to sell those to focus on baritones, etc... so I've sold 10 guitars over the past 2 years, but most of them came and went within a 1-2 year window. The guitars I've had more than 5 years will probably never go anywhere and the others I've bought or built in that window that are remaining, probably won't go anywhere too soon. :-)

My Brent Hinds Flying V went because it had a baseball bat neck that I just never got along with. Otherwise, not bad for made in Indonesia. Great sound and look to it.
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Then I had my Burny, Greco and Orvilla vintage LP and Strat clones. All cool and the white LP Custom Burny was the hardest to sell. But I wanted to mod all of them and they were all too sweet and awesome in their own ways to mod. So I figure send them to better homes and I can mod new stuff. :lol: I made a small profit on each one of these. I did learn that I desperately want a modern Strat with the triple on/off/phase switch control setup that the Greco Jeff Beck strat had. It's like the old Schecter Dream Machines.

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Then I officially decided to commit to baritones and sell both of my 7's because I never fully vibed with either.

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Then once Chris said we might be able to pursue my baritone Crescent build idea, I did actually need to free up some funds because I didn't expect that to ever actually happen. So I took the opportunity to trim the fat from the stable with these last three I sold. If the Crescents do come about, I have one more PRS 277 SE semi-hollow that will probably get sold after the Crescents arrive because they make the Korean made PRS guitars redundant.

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The S2 Vela I could've kept, but PRS came out with satin finish models (it's like Kiesel's raw tone) after I bought my ice green metallic model and I'd much rather get one in black satin. Then I would swap the pickups with blacktop Lollars, install them in a black aluminum pickguard, and tune it to C#.

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Re: Future NGD - let's see how long this takes! lol

Postby helldorado » Mon Apr 26, 2021 4:09 pm

Welp, it came waaaaaaaaay early! It turns out I was the only person to order one, so Sully sent me the prototype for this run, which I was OK with because it meant not waiting 6-9 months! It also let him avoid even putting an order in for them, so it worked out for both of us. The bummer is he's done the baritone style twice now and it's been a poor performer, so he's probably not going to offer one again. It just means I'll need to order one of his personal US custom builds instead of the outsourced WMI-built run to get future baritones from him. Not a bad thing, just more expensive.

But this thing is fantastic and feels like a steal for the value relative to the price. $1250 + shipping, but that included the form fitted hard case. The body and neck are solid black limba, and it's super beautiful wood with some really nice black and orange streaks running through it. If I ever needed to get this refinished, natural would definitely be an option because the core wood is beautiful. The fret ends are nicely rolled and the edges of the fretboard have been hand filed and all rough corners rounded off. There is no hard edge or uncomfortable corner anywhere on the guitar, and it has perfectly placed contours and cuts all over. For being a large body, fairly heavy guitar, it's incredibly well balanced and comfortable. It's not until you pick up the case where you're like, oh sh*t, this is heavy! :lol:

I haven't tried out the pickups yet, but it feels great noodling around unplugged. They're A5 based pickups, hot output, based on a Grover Jackson design, his shop does the US versions, WMI does these. If I don't get into them, I do have a set of DiMarzio D-Activator pickups in brushed metal I can put in that would look really killer. Specs are in the original post, but nothing about this guitar disappoints so far. The only shame is it's a bit of a unicorn, there's only a handful of them out there and there deserves to be more!

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Last edited by helldorado on Sun Jun 06, 2021 10:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Future NGD - let's see how long this takes! lol

Postby Sunset » Tue Apr 27, 2021 5:42 am

Dontcha just love it when everything come together? Very nice, and congrats!

Now get off the stupid innerwebs and play the **** out of that thing on your new Gojira rig.

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Re: Future NGD - let's see how long this takes! lol

Postby ElfDude » Tue Apr 27, 2021 6:29 am

helldorado wrote:Welp, it came waaaaaaaaay early! It turns out I was the only person to order one, so Sully sent me the prototype for this run,


How cool is that?! Congrats! :applause:
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Re: Future NGD - let's see how long this takes! lol

Postby amispy » Wed Apr 28, 2021 8:16 am

Nice! Glad it worked out so well for you. Beautiful axe.
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Re: Future NGD - let's see how long this takes! lol

Postby helldorado » Thu Apr 29, 2021 8:46 am

There's really only one downside to all of this, this won't be my last Sully guitar, so I'm gonna have to split the budget between Kiesel and Sully for custom builds. Jon Sullivan is a fantastic guy to work with and his designs are wicked. So while this was a Korean built model, it was a good way to check out his designs and QC, to see what he was willing to put his name on. This has been impressive enough that I definitely want to start working with him on his in-house custom builds. WMI did an great job putting the guitar together, but it rests on the strengths of Sully's designs and understanding of the craft.

Sully's vibe is completely different from Kiesel. He is doing builds and styles Jeff has said multiple times he doesn't personally like or want to build. He's a classic rock / hair metal guy, and that ostentatious style carries over to the builds. You can go subtle, but he loves to do sparkles and flashy colors. He said he would be absolutely build a baritone Raven, which is the Firebird inspired style. So I'm still going to push for baritone scales in the Kiesel body styles I like, but instead of trying to force Jeff to do something he doesn't really love, I've found the guy who fully embraces it.

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Re: Future NGD - let's see how long this takes! lol

Postby HarlowTheFish » Sat May 01, 2021 8:10 pm

Nice score, man, that looks wicked!

I've been eyeing his imports for a little while, but I have plenty of humbuckers already, and don't wanna get rid of anything to clear out some room for one. That metallic Strat in the last picture though . . .

That's hawt.

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Re: Future NGD - let's see how long this takes! lol

Postby helldorado » Sun May 02, 2021 12:38 pm

HarlowTheFish wrote:I've been eyeing his imports for a little while, but I have plenty of humbuckers already, and don't wanna get rid of anything to clear out some room for one. That metallic Strat in the last picture though . . .

That's hawt.


I really am surprised with the quality of the import models, especially at the price point. Even though it's WMI, he's paying for a higher level of feature and quality than other manufacturers do. They're far better than the WMI built Schecter, PRS and other models I've bought retail. Good enough they can give Kiesel a run for their money. So if there's a model that catches your eye, I would absolutely recommend getting in on a run, or picking up a Conspiracy Series model from a dealer, fantastic value.

The Strat is the 622, he builds those himself in small batches. I'd be torn between one of those or a Delos, both are very cool.

https://www.sullyguitars.com/622

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Re: Future NGD - let's see how long this takes! lol

Postby helldorado » Wed May 26, 2021 11:46 am

Whoops, I did it again... Decided to grab a '71 Starling from Lark Guitars. Slightly less hot bridge pickup, same neck pickup as the Elita baritone. Because it had been in a guitar showroom for a solid year or so, I knew it would need a little TLC. So cleaned the body up, has some swirls and pick marks, but whatever, it's a guitar, lol. New 10-52 elixirs, polished the frets, cleaned up the ebony board, tuned up nicely, sounds and plays great.

For being Korean made, these things are really tight. The necks are so in spitting distance of Kiesel quality, and they do a really nice job overall with QC, fit and finish. Set Neck, 25.5" scale, ebony fretboard and piece maple, glossy, but satin on the playing area, so very nice. Body is a nice grain mahogany, solid with an attractive flamed maple veneer. You're not getting 1/4" caps at this price, and that's OK. The hardware is still hipshot, the electronics are Korean but the wiring is super clean, the pickups are surprisingly good.

I'm not sure if I'm going to keep this one long term, but I wanted to try out the body shape as it's a cool take on the classic single cutaway. It's comfortable yet it feels like it sits a little off-center on me compared to my other guitars. It was priced well enough I can try it out, and resell it without taking too much of a hit for something else. This will probably be a good intermediary until all my other projects and aspirations are done, next step is to try mounting my Fishman TriplePlay to it.

Sully_026_01_1_1800x1800.jpg


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Re: Updated - Sully Guitars NGD x2!

Postby helldorado » Sun May 30, 2021 9:30 am

Still working through the details on getting my TriplePlay setup, it's a little more complex on the software front than it probably needs to be. :? By that, I mean it works nicely hardware wise, but the TriplePlay software isn't as intuitive or streamlined is it could be. It's like c'mon guys, I just want to play and record MIDI using my guitar, and simplify the ability to make noise! I may still consider a Delos in the future for my TriplePlay, but this is working nice for now. :applause:

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Re: Updated - Sully Guitars NGD x2!

Postby spudmunkey » Sun May 30, 2021 10:24 am

If on a delos, this hardware looks like it would be attached to the pickgard, which is raised up off the surface of the guitar. Is there enough clearance under the strings to accommodate for this pick up and also the thickness of a pick guard?

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Re: Updated - Sully Guitars NGD x2!

Postby helldorado » Tue Jun 01, 2021 9:00 am

spudmunkey wrote:If on a delos, this hardware looks like it would be attached to the pickgard, which is raised up off the surface of the guitar. Is there enough clearance under the strings to accommodate for this pick up and also the thickness of a pick guard?


Yeah there is, you get 4 different thickness pads that the pickup attaches to. You go with the one that gets you as close as possible to the strings without touching. From there, you adjust the pickup height to the optimal which is pretty close to the strings. It's a real low priority, so it'll be a while before I even seriously consider it. I need to get back to my baritone Crescent plan, lol.

It's definitely designed to work with a pickguard. They have adapter mounts to make it compatible with TOM bridges too.

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Re: Updated - Sully Guitars NGD x2!

Postby pauljackson » Fri Jun 18, 2021 12:13 am

The compromise is they'll offer the client a vastly improved cost by staying away from the vendor increase and furthermore they attempt to utilize the better-quality Korean plants that have been losing business to Indonesia and China. So on account of Sully, he's utilizing WMI for the forms with brandsmart coupons
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