Staff Pick Ngd (finally) - 3100m Blue Flame

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by Zipslack, Aug 4, 2015.

  1. Zipslack

    Zipslack Well-Known Member

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    I finally got my first Agile - 3100M Blue Flame that went on sale for $299. Got it in after 6 days.

    Box was in good shape and there was no shipping damage to the guitar. This one has single binding on the headstock and neck, triple binding on the body, is 1.75" thick at the edge, and weighs about 8 lbs. The weight is a plus for me since I'm not getting any younger and it's well-balanced. The binding has an aged, yellow tint that I really like - doesn't look like something that's brand new and shiny white. The body appears to be 3 pieces judging by the back and the neck is 1-piece. No finish cracks - neck is stable.

    Out of the box, the setup was very good: frets are well-dressed, action is good, intonation is set well, and the nut slots are cut properly. It plays great. The neck is comparable to the Epi necks (60's Slim Taper) - very comfortable. Not sure about the pickups yet. They seem hotter than typical PAF, but I need some time with the BJ-III and the silverface Twin to get the measure of them. I have a full harness/pickup set from an older model 3010SE that I bought off Ebay (the regular, non-marked pickups), so I have something to swap if I'm not happy.

    I'd like to say the fit and finish were great, but that's not 100% true. Overall, everything is great and there are no major flaws. The minor things that are "irking" me a bit are:
    - the flame top has a strange "swirl/streak" in the grain that shows up under proper lighting. It happens on both halves, so they are matched from the same veneer. Not a major thing - sort of adds a unique character. I'll give it a day or two to see if it bothers me or not.
    - there is a small patch spot on the fretboard. Overall the ebony FB is nice, but there is one spot where you can tell it was filled and not properly dyed. You can't feel it, so I'll probably just dye it to match.
    - there is a crack/indentation on the headstock. You can feel it, but it's located on the fleur-de-lis, so it's not very noticeable. Doesn't affect anything, but it is a blem. Once again, I could fill with CA and sand/buff, but not sure if I want to bother.

    Overall, it's looking to be a solid unit except for the minor cosmetic blems. Problem is, this was on sale and there are no more blue flame 3100M units left. I'm not sure how a replacement would be handled. Considering it was only $299, I'm not sure that I want to bother with a return and wait 2 weeks for the turnaround. Like I said, I can touch up and fix the headstock and fb blems easily, but I can't help thinking that my DBZ Imperial was the same price and had NO blems. However, this thing plays as good or better than anything else I've got. Now, if Kurt offered to swap it with a blue quilt.....

    Okay - obligatory pics.
    Notice the slightly "swirls" on the upper and lower bouts. The flame is still there, it's just a lighter streak - not sure what to make of it.
    Notice the 3 pieces - one is obviously lighter than the other 2, but no one sees the back.
    Fretboard spot - level and smooth, just needs touching up.
    Hard to see the indention because of the fleur-de-lis.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2015
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  2. cybermgk

    cybermgk Well-Known Member Supporting Member+

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  3. Rokdog

    Rokdog Well-Known Member

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    HNGD !!
    play it for awhile and perhaps contact Kurt as to your "irks"
     

  4. tkcrabby

    tkcrabby Active Member

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    Congrats on the NGD!!!! I'd LOVE to have it BUT then again, I LOVE blue. (y)
     
  5. toomanycats

    toomanycats Well-Known Member

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    If it's a player and sounds good it's probably worth keeping despite the minor flaws. Instead of returning it maybe ask Kurt for few bucks off.

    Despite the swirls the top is otherwise quite handsome.

    I believe that I was the first one to report a 3XXX with a three piece body back in December 2014. Guess it's now the new normal.
     
  6. snarph

    snarph Well-Known Member

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    For a blue guitar that is a sexy beast
     
  7. mighty_duck

    mighty_duck Well-Known Member

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    I'd definitely let Kurt know about the blemishes, you'll get an even better deal than the one you got.
    And with the few tiny blemishes, you don't have that "first nick" anxiety, and can just focus on playing that beauty until your fingers hurt.

    HNGD!
     
  8. warped

    warped Well-Known Member

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    I'd keep it and contact Kurt also. That's a handsome devil you got.
     
  9. dearlpitts

    dearlpitts Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    looks really nice
     
  10. Mark W

    Mark W Well-Known Member

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    Pretty sweet guitar. Love the flame. HNGD!
     
  11. MichaelR

    MichaelR Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Nice guitar !!!
     
  12. Gergo

    Gergo Well-Known Member

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    Beautiful guitar. I would keep it, and see if Kurt can refund you a little for the blemishes
     
  13. kungphugrip

    kungphugrip Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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  14. Zipslack

    Zipslack Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the replies. I'm still trying to decide if it's a keeper. It sounds good - probably just lower the pickups a little to dial it back some (they even make my silverface '73 Twin overdrive a little) and would want to re-wire to 50's control scheme. It really does play great and the action is pretty much exactly where I like it (nickel and dime at 12th fret, open). It still bothers me that this guitar made it out of the factory, though. After lurking/waiting for 2 years, I expected better quality. I just don't have that same feeling as when I got my DBZ or my G&L where you could "feel" the quality when you picked it up. Closer inspection of the top makes me think that something rubbed across the veneer during finish to cause the streaks, not an actual wood abnormality. Also, checking on the scale measure about 7.4 lbs. The balance is nice, but that is ridiculously low for mahogany AND maple, even with the thinner body. Makes me suspicious about the long-term stability and structural integrity of the wood.

    Maybe I should think about a swap for a 3010SE (wasn't there a post where Kurt said they were still made by the original plant?). I know it would be heavier and wouldn't have the maple cap, but they seem to be getting better reviews than the revised models. What say you, AGF people?
     
  15. shizengiggles

    shizengiggles Well-Known Member

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    It a pretty guitar even with its issues. The question is, "does it really bother you?" If it has already left a bad taste in your mouth, it probably always will in my experience. Contact Kurt and see if a little money back sweetens the taste. If not, return it and get something that makes you say..."Aaaaahhhhh!"
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2015
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  16. cybermgk

    cybermgk Well-Known Member Supporting Member+

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    I've had that, and it is usually certain blemishes or issues that made me feel that way. Had that with a inlay on an Epi, and it just never let me fully enjoy the guitar after that. Ultimateely traded/sold it for another Epi, an SG instead.

    LOT of things can make wood lighter or heavier. For Asian guitars, heavier means sometimes they didn't use fully dried wood. That would actually be a bad thing. Different aged trees, etc.

    But, not sure why folks dismiss the thinness as a contributor so much. NOW, I don't remember how much thinner the newer ones are.

    Lets take a 9 lb , 2" thick guitar. Lets now trim off 1/4" of it's thickness. That's a loss of 12.5 % of it's body weight. Simple calc, if we wrongly assume body is 100$ of total weight, puts that 1/4" taking away 1.125 lbs from that original 9 lb weight, which puts us in the 7-8 lb range (7.88 lbs). Naturally the neck, headstock, hardware all add weight, so that 1/4" is likely more like removing around a lb (just guestimating 1.1-1.2 lbs total for other than body weight on an LP type).

    If the thinner is more like 3/8" thinner, then that's even more weight taken off (18.75% less body weight). So, yea, actually the thinner body is going to make a noticeably lighter guitar that it would have been at 2" thick.
     
  17. cybermgk

    cybermgk Well-Known Member Supporting Member+

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    Yep.

    For me, I actually like the finish thing on the front. For me the Headstock inlay issue and the location and difference in color of the back pieces (with that color) might be the killers for me.
     
  18. funk-n-stein

    funk-n-stein Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    That's a great looking guitar. I love blue flame, but damn, I wish Kurt would offer them with a natural back/sides. Happy first Agile day!
     
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  19. Gergo

    Gergo Well-Known Member

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    I think $299.00 is an unreal price for a guitar with a maple cap and that you will unlikely find anything like that for that price again....BUT it is obvious that these issues with it are really bothering you, so instead of trying to convince yourself to keep it, just send it back and be done with it. Get your full refund when you can. Otherwise, you will have a guitar you are never going to totally bond with, and will probably get rid of eventually, quite possibly loosing money on the whole deal in the long run.
     
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  20. Gergo

    Gergo Well-Known Member

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    I agree 100%. A natural back and sides, or even black would be better. He did it with those Hawker Elites, so I guess those were from a different factory.
     
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