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Author Topic: RS2 History Lesson  (Read 7463 times)
Tio Kimo
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« on: October 31, 2012, 06:18:48 PM »

Hello folks.
I'm a longtime Larrivee acoustic owner, and am looking at an RS2, glossy, with Humbuckers. I was hoping to find some sort of concise history of the model, but it's not coming up. could someone possible drop a link in this thread to another thread that may help, or, care to share an outline?

What I'm wondering....

when did the model debut?
Are the original humbuckers Larrivee wound?
One piece bodies?
Neck geometry consistant with acoustics on this model?
Is the original "gloss" finish a nitro or poly finish?

they seem like a fantastic value, which shouldn't surprise me given what a fantastic guitar my LV03 is.

Thanks for the info!


 
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Mikeymac
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« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2012, 09:31:05 PM »

Here is a long thread (6 pages) from when the RS-2 was first announced (in 2010).

To answer your question, it would seem that the RS-2 was released around the time Larrivee 3rd generation humbuckers were being used, so all RS-2s that have humbuckers should have the 3rd generation.

Many of these have one piece bodies...pretty sure mine does...

It has a poly finish, same as Larrivee uses on their other electric and acoustic guitars. Early RS-2's had a gloss body and a satin neck. I ordered an RS-2 with an all satin finish sometime in 2011, and after building mine, Matthew decided he liked the all satin finish, and shortly after that the "2nd Generation" RS-2 was born with an all satin finish, wrap-around one piece bridge tailpiece, and either one or two P-90's (at this point humbuckers probably became a special order item). There is now something of a 3rd Generation RS-2 which is similar to the 2nd, but with new finishes available, and it now comes standard with 1 volume/1 tone and a Tele style 3-way pickup switch by the V/T/ knobs (rather than a Gibson style switch on the upper bout like the RS-4).

The neck shape is very similar to the acoustics, but with a 1 11/16" nut. As Matthew says below, 12" fingerboard radius.

Here, in no particular order, are some other quotes from Matthew Larrivee about this particular model and also his pickups:

The Larrivee P-90's are partially accurate to vintage models - I did model them after a 54 soapbar, but I put a slight twist on them. Many of the details are vintage correct (Screw alloys, Magnet wire, braided lead, etc) but I changed the baseplate to Nickel Silver - which I think sounds way better and cleaner than traditional brass (Probably why Seth Lover chose Nickel Silver for PAF's). In addition, older P-90's used the commonly available AlNiCo 3 magnets. I did countless tests with A3 and just could not bring myself to like it. I finally settled on A8 and A6. AlNiCo 8 in the bridge makes the pup so responsive to touch, and beautifully clean to average playing.. but strike a little harder and it growls. It has a throatiness and drive that I just love. The AlNiCo 6 in the neck is totally off vintage spec, but it does wonders for a neck pup. It full and vibrant, with a distinctive bite. Excellent mid range with clarity that you dont see in neck pups. Many neck pickups I try sound washed out, where as these just ooze mojo.

Many makers make higher wind P-90's (11+ kohms), probably because they attempting to compensate for a tone they dont like. It has the effect of darkening the pickup and driving it too hard. I like a low to vintage wind (7.5-8.8kohms). It will handle anything you throw at it and sound great in virtually any style from Jazz to Punk Rock.

So to answer your question - Yes they are a vintage wind - but with a well thought out twist.

I like clarity and definition. Like in acoustics, I like balance between low mids and highs where no specific frequency range appears dominant. Yet at the same time, I want it to growl when you dig in - Really drive the amp. It needs good attack but not too quick. In general I prefer the sound of gibson style pickups over fender style pickups (pole piece instead of direct magnet).


On March 16, 2011, Matthew Larrivee wrote:

All RS-2's use the latest generation humbucker - known as the G3.

When I learned pickup making, I was faced with alot of so called "Common Wisdom". I like to think that tonally, I can read past alot of bullshit and decide for myself what "I" think sounds good.

The first pickups we made used Alnico 5 and Alnico 2 because, well that’s what everyone used - but it wasn’t the sound that I had in my head (Don’t get me wrong, I still think they are great pups). I started working with Alnico 4 and it was closer. Then one day I got this somewhat obscure Alnico 8 as a sample and it was exactly what I was looking for in the bridge - like an AHA! moment. The problem then was neck pickup - until I tried another obscure magnet Alnico 6. The A6 balances the A8 very well, yet creates distinct tones in both positions.

The pickup is unique in that many of the features are dead on PAF re-creations, and then other parts stray to where we want them to go. Take the bobbins for example - They are exact - and I mean EXACT replicas of PAF bobbins. The plastic is the same, the measurements are the same, the tooling marks as the same, the fit of the slugs are the same, the dye is the same, and I even included the original Gibson text on the inside of the bobbin (a feature no one will likely ever see). There are only a handfull of people in the world that would be able to tell the difference between our bobbin and the original... someday I'll post pictures. yet at the same time the magnets are totally different as are the pole screws.

IIRC, since the beginning of the RS-2 the fretboard radius has been 12" non compound.
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Tio Kimo
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« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2012, 03:45:17 AM »

MikeyMac...THANK YOU. exactly what I was looking for. I will take the time to wade through that thread. Although at this point it's somewhat academic. I committed to the glossy RS2 that i played for an hour tonight. So frickin' comfortable. That belly carve and 7 lbs could go all night. The thing that made it melt into my hands is ironically the same thing that gave me pause....the neck. So similar to my LV03 that it felt like home....but electrically...bluesy wise, I'm most accustomed to the 24.5" scale.  But it was too comfortable and sounded too good (through 3 different amps...a '65 Ampeg J12A, a boutique 5F1, and a Little Lanilei.) that I couldn't pass it up. NGD announcement forthcoming next week.

Thanks again.
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honorable mentions: Heritage 535, Bourgeois/Washburn D55 "Cherokee"
JOYCEfromNS
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« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2012, 01:15:02 PM »

MikeyMac...THANK YOU. exactly what I was looking for.
Thanks again.

 +1 nice summary Mike

Essentially there are 5 Generations of the Larrivee RS-2 body style. Maybe some pics of each generation could be posted. ( I have 3 of them  Will post later if someone else doesn't in the meantime as on my mobile  wacko
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« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2012, 02:28:14 PM »

+1 nice summary Mike

Essentially there are 5 Generations of the Larrivee RS-2 body style. Maybe some pics of each generation could be posted. ( I have 3 of them  Will post later if someone else doesn't in the meantime as on my mobile  wacko

The main difference in one -or a couple of - those generations is the addition of a pickguard, and changing from a TOM and stoptail piece to a one piece TOM wrap around bridge. The body style hasn't really changed, although they did add a forearm cut on newer ones - don't know if that's still there or not...
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Tio Kimo
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« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2012, 04:25:24 PM »

Wow, 5 generations in a model not even 3 years old? Well you can accuse them of being stubborn about making changes!!

that 6 page thread really didn't talk too much about the RS2 beyond the product announcement, which was cool to read.

I take it that the reason that the first RS2's had a G3 humbucker is because G1 and G2 were developed and sold for the RS4?

What I was able to determine from my time with the guitar last night, definitely 1 piece body. Uncovered humbuckers, standard Tone Pros Nashville/stoptail hardware (LOVE the Klusons, installed them on my Heritage a while back).

truss rod adj...not necessary on the guitar at this time, but what tool is used? I noticed the access pocket, but didn't feel free to be pooping covers off til I take her home. A neat approach, and gives you a much stronger headstock angle portion. These seem to be really well thought out guitars. What kind of production numbers on these, do "we" know?
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honorable mentions: Heritage 535, Bourgeois/Washburn D55 "Cherokee"
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« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2012, 05:02:34 PM »


I take it that the reason that the first RS2's had a G3 humbucker is because G1 and G2 were developed and sold for the RS4?

Nothing more than timing. The RS 4 predated the RS 2 by a couple of years. When the RS2 went into production the G3 Humbucker was already established. If it had been produced a year earlier it could have ended up with a G2.
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Matthew Larrivee
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« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2012, 08:26:01 PM »

It's only been a couple of years, but I already strain to remember it all :>

The RS-2 started with an idea to make a lower cost RS-4, so keep that premise in mind I explain.

Generation 1 - The first generation never got past the prototype stage, if I remember correctly there are about 5 or 6 in existance. They were shaped like the RS-4, and had a 1/4" thick maple top, and a mahogany back. They were also bound in ivoroid I believe that all of them had P-90's. It never went to production mostly because it was too similar to the RS-4, and almost as costly to make.

Generation 2 - The second generation also never got past the prototype stage. There are two in existance, both made from Alder. If I remember correctly 1 was yellow and one was candy apple. I believe they were also thicker than current. The bodies were made from 8/4 Alder, where as the current bodies are made from 6/4 Mahogany. I believe both are owned by forum members.

Generation 3 - Was the first mahogany slab based RS-2. It was a slab mahogany body (Both 1 and 2 piece bodies were made). It featured gloss finish, and two un-covered humbuckers. Other than the pickup cover being removed, the pickup is identical. Due to D'marzio's rediculous "Double Cream" trademark, there were no versions with double cream pickups. The colors were simple earth tones (Amber, Trans-Red, Black, Tobacco). There may have been a few made with P-90's but I dont remember.

Generation 4 - The RS-2 became a satin finish model, now with P-90's standard.

Generation 5 - A "cupped" forarm contour, and pickguard were added to the instrument. The forearm controur sort of forced your arm into one particular playing position. The pickguards were made from Black Acrylic, but some of the Amber guitars had faux tortoise pickguards (same material as on the acoustic). While we still offered the standard earth tones, fender-style pastels were added. New colors included TV Yellow, Sonic Blue, Daphne Blue, Seafoam Green, Gibson Gold. The pickguards were held on with specialty adhesive.

Generation 6 - A fairly radical change to the model occured. First the "Cupped" forearm contour was replaced with the cresent forearm contour (The new contour matches the one on the bakersfield and lancaster so as to provide uniformity to our electric line. The idea came from Seymour's Telegib). The control cavity was also changed to match the control cavity on the lancaster. The 3 way switch was moved down to the control pocket (Primarily due to the difficulty of drilling a 20" hole in a straight line through the body). The gibson style toggle switch was replaced with a fender 3 way rocker switch. We also moved to a single volume and single tone control. The new configuration allowed for multiple configurations (1, 2 and 3 pickup versions) in the same cavity). Other features included revised version of the soapbar pickups. The pickguard was changed to a screw-on pickguard as well. All serial numbers became black decals instead of cream (Purely a cost saving change as black costs about a nickel, the cream cost almost $2/ea).

Additional Notes:
- There are probably a few hybrids between gen 5 and 6
- The tuners changed from schallers/pings to klusons sometime around generation 4 but there was no definitive cross over point.
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Tio Kimo
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« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2012, 09:15:37 PM »

Matthew, I appreciate you taking the time to answer so thoroughly! And let me say, NICE job. This was my first exposure to the RS line and I absolutely love the guitar, and I'm pretty picky!  bowdown

So I clearly am looking at a Gen 3, as it is a 1 piece slab, gloss, trans red, uncovered buckers, Klusons. I saw elsewhere the electrical specs of PIO NOS caps, CTS pots, and have begun to read on the forum regarding your handwound p'ups.  What a practical and thorough approach to making a no frills top end instrument.

Do you have an idea of how many of the Glossy RS2's were produced before the next evolution?

This thread will hopefully be a resource for what I believe will be a benchmark guitar. I've seen the latest P90 version popping up quite a bit!
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« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2012, 09:36:57 PM »

It's only been a couple of years, but I already strain to remember it all :>

Generation 3 - Was the first mahogany slab based RS-2. It was a slab mahogany body (Both 1 and 2 piece bodies were made). It featured gloss finish, and two un-covered humbuckers. Other than the pickup cover being removed, the pickup is identical. Due to D'marzio's rediculous "Double Cream" trademark, there were no versions with double cream pickups. The colors were simple earth tones (Amber, Trans-Red, Black, Tobacco). There may have been a few made with P-90's but I dont remember.

Generation 4 - The RS-2 became a satin finish model, now with P-90's standard.

Additional Notes:
- There are probably a few hybrids between gen 5 and 6
- The tuners changed from schallers/pings to klusons sometime around generation 4 but there was no definitive cross over point.

Thank you for taking the time to write this up, Matthew!

Additional notes/memory joggers:

There were a few Generation 3/gloss bodied models with P-90 pickups at the end of the run. I almost bought a red one, and I've seen several others. But then I (special) ordered one in amber with satin on the body and neck. So I have a Gen. 3 with satin body and P-90's ... AND it also has the Kluson tuners. 

This special order *may have* sparked the idea to go all satin on the Generation 4 RS-2...  bigrin



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« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2012, 09:47:22 PM »


Generation 6 - A fairly radical change to the model occured. First the "Cupped" forearm contour was replaced with the cresent forearm contour (The new contour matches the one on the bakersfield and lancaster so as to provide uniformity to our electric line. The idea came from Seymour's Telegib). The control cavity was also changed to match the control cavity on the lancaster. The 3 way switch was moved down to the control pocket (Primarily due to the difficulty of drilling a 20" hole in a straight line through the body). The gibson style toggle switch was replaced with a fender 3 way rocker switch. We also moved to a single volume and single tone control.

The new configuration allowed for multiple configurations (1, 2 and 3 pickup versions) in the same cavity).

Other features included revised version of the soapbar pickups. The pickguard was changed to a screw-on pickguard as well. All serial numbers became black decals instead of cream (Purely a cost saving change as black costs about a nickel, the cream cost almost $2/ea).

 ohmy How awesome would it be to have an RS-2 with 3 P-90's on it (and a 5-way Strat style switch)...I sense another special order coming on...  drool
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« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2012, 10:05:32 PM »

ohmy How awesome would it be to have an RS-2 with 3 P-90's on it (and a 5-way Strat style switch)...I sense another special order coming on...  drool
Yup felt the same way  blush

Gen 7:



Gen 3:



Gen 1:

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« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2012, 10:10:58 PM »

ohmy How awesome would it be to have an RS-2 with 3 P-90's on it (and a 5-way Strat style switch)...I sense another special order coming on...  drool

<cough cough> forum guitar <cough cough>
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GA-ME
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« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2012, 10:45:47 PM »

Man, that Gen 3 really is understated elegance. If it had a 1 3/4 inch nut, I might be driven to thievery Joyce...
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Mikeymac
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« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2012, 10:54:11 PM »

<cough cough> forum guitar <cough cough>

I'M IN ... after seeing that Andrew has one - it really exists!!! Forum or not, I'm all in!
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« Reply #15 on: November 02, 2012, 10:55:25 PM »

Gen 7:



 drool drool drool drool drool drool drool drool drool drool
 drool drool drool drool drool drool drool drool drool drool

BTW - does it have a 5-way pup switch? How do the in-between (2 & 4) settings sound?
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SouthpawGuy
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« Reply #16 on: November 02, 2012, 11:53:15 PM »

drool drool drool drool drool drool drool drool drool drool
 drool drool drool drool drool drool drool drool drool drool

BTW - does it have a 5-way pup switch? How do the in-between (2 & 4) settings sound?

Here's a little booster for your imagination


 cop 


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Mikeymac
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« Reply #17 on: November 03, 2012, 05:04:14 AM »

SouthpawGuy .. now that was just CRUEL!!!  crying
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« Reply #18 on: November 03, 2012, 02:59:58 PM »

Andrew,

How do you like that wrap-around tail piece compared to your other two RS-2s with the TOM and stoptail piece?

Anyone else who has an opinion on this feel free to share as well.
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« Reply #19 on: November 03, 2012, 03:06:38 PM »

SouthpawGuy .. now that was just CRUEL!!!  crying

I had to go there, it's in my contract.   
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