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Does anybody know the difference between a Gibson Dove and Gibson Hummingbird?

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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 23, 2011 9:16:48 AM PST
KBIC says:
I posted this in the acoustic guitar community but it seems pretty dead there.

I like both of these guitars but am leaning toward the Dove. From the research that I have done the price difference is about a grand but the money doesn't matter. The Dove is prettier and louder that I am aware of too. Does anybody have any further information about this comparison? I am primarily going to use this guitar for home recording if that helps.

Posted on Jan 23, 2011 11:08:55 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 23, 2011 11:11:18 AM PST
If a grand doesn't matter to you, how about buying me one too? Either one.

The Dove's scale length is 25.5inch, 24.75 inch on the Hummingbird.

In the 60s and on modern models made in Montana, the Dove had maple back and sides, making them brighter and boomier than the Hummingbird according to some. Perhaps it depends on the year, though, since some claim they're darker and have more midrange.

The Hummingbird was typically mahogany (but maple occurred rarely), which some consider more "mellow" and sweeter than the maple Doves. There were 1963 and 1964 batches of Hummingbirds with maple sides and back, and this kind is the one considered to be more similar to a Dove than to any other guitar. Gibson actually used excess Dove bodies for those Hummingbirds, so no wonder.

It matters slightly whether wavy or curly maple was used. Apparently there are some more recent Hummingbirds that used softer curly maple, which theoretically should be more like (but not identical to) mahogany in tone.

The bracing of the 1969 and 1970 Hummingbird was considered inferior due to being large and bulky, adversely affecting tone. In 1971 it was changed to double "X" bracing.

The Dove has long been Tom Petty's favorite. The Hummingbird was used in the intro to the Rolling Stones' Angie and most of the Beggar's Banquet album.

Posted on Jan 24, 2011 2:29:49 PM PST
KBIC says:
It is not that money is no object. It is more that I have intent to purchase one of these two guitars in the future. When in the future, not sure.

It will be what ever the current model is of the two so I am not really concerned with what went on in the past. It is still a good history lesson.

Posted on Jan 28, 2011 1:06:51 PM PST
Take my comment with grain of salt. I by no means have the funds to purchase any of these guitars, but I have tried many of them out at my local guitar shop. From what I have played, I personally would not recommend a Gibson acoustic guitar. They just don't seem to sound as good as they look and they (IMO) feel cheap in my hands.

My reccomendation to anyone with the funds to purchase such and instrument would be to research Taylor and Martin guitars. Martins are my favorite personally, but it really depends on what sound you like. I would encourage you to seek to try them out in a comparable price range before settling on a Gibson. I think you will be pleased with the results.

Posted on Jan 28, 2011 2:00:48 PM PST
Dave R says:
Both are very, VERY nice guitars! As aforementioned by Douglas, the scale of the guitar does fluctuate between the two guitars. The "new" Hummingbird comes in a few different styles/variations. They have the Artist series, Pro series, True Vintage, and Anniversary series as well. I believe as far as the new Dove models go they have the regular acoustic and the acoustic/electric and also an Elvis model lol. As for your question... The Hummingbird has a very sweet, smooth tone. This is great for MOST vocal types allowing for easy sing and play ability. The Dove is both very bright and very rich, providing an awesome guitar for those with a bold voice (not for the timid singer) If singing and playing is not your thing. Either guitar would be an amazing addition to your musical arsenal. It just truly depends on both your playing style and musical interests. Personally, I believe that they are far too overpriced for what they are. You are paying for the beauty/look. I prefer Taylor guitars. Either way, I hope that I answered your question. Enjoy the new guitar!

Posted on Jan 28, 2011 4:11:21 PM PST
D. Mok says:
> From what I have played, I personally would not recommend a Gibson acoustic guitar.
> My recommendation to anyone with the funds to purchase such and instrument would be
> to research Taylor and Martin guitars.

Taylors and Gibsons are polar opposites. Taylors have great high-end sparkle in the sound, clarity, cut. Gibsons are more about bass, boom, projection and dry, woody tone. Taylors have what I'd call more of a rock voice and respond better to a delicate touch, while Gibsons have a blues/country voice and sound best when played hard. Martins are in the middle. Very few players play Taylors *and* Gibsons on an equal basis. I'm a Taylor player, and though I admire Gibson guitars and they're all comfortable to play (except jumbos with their enormous body), only about two out of every 10 meet my sonic needs.

Gibson acoustics also vary much more wildly in terms of sound and quality. Most Taylors and Martins are pretty consistent -- if you dislike one model, it's not likely another guitar of the same model will appeal to you. But with Gibsons, you can dislike one Hummingbird and then find another one right beside it, of the same model, materials and construction, that plays 10 times better. You really have to play a Gibson in person.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 28, 2011 5:00:20 PM PST
KBIC says:
I am a bass player mainly so I like a rich deep tone. I have played Taylor and Martin acoustics and they don't appeal to me at all.

Posted on May 24, 2011 6:51:44 PM PDT
G. Walker says:
I have played for over 48 years. I have played most models of the main builders, especially Martins, Taylors, and Gibsons. Generalizing is quite tough since there can be vast differences between individual guitars of the same model. The age of the instrument can play a major part in how a guitar sounds (Hence the premium price for older Martins, for example). One of my biggest regrets is passing up buying an older Gibson Dove which had a professionally repaired crack across the face. It was the best sounding Gibson I had ever heard but was influenced in the end by the repair. Shame on me. I should have listened to my heart and gone with the sound. Presently I own a Martin HD-28 which I bought 4 years ago getting a fab deal online. I was less than pleased with the sound since I had heard other HD-28's sound so much better. However, after four years and the nitrocellulose finish having "opened up" I will match my guitar against any other guitar out there. It is amazing. As far as Taylors, the great thing about them is that they generally have great brighs and great mids right off the bat without having to wait for them to "open up."
My backup acoustic is a nice and rare Guild. They are so incredibly under-rated, and mine was quite under-priced so I feel I got a steal. If you do have some money to spend I would recommend the D-55 (I love the sunburst). Happy shopping and playing!

Posted on May 28, 2011 7:37:24 PM PDT
Patti Cake says:
If you're a bass player (as am I), I'd suggest a J-45 or SJ-200. Both have more bottom end than the Dove or the Hummingbird - the J-45 has that growl, too. Great sound - even the Gibson/Martin "bad years" (the '70's) the J-45's hold their own, although I actually prefer the new ones.
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Discussion in:  Guitar forum
Participants:  7
Total posts:  9
Initial post:  Jan 23, 2011
Latest post:  May 28, 2011

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