Gibson Guitar Board: J-45. Most says a dream to play on, is yours and if so how is it set up? - Gibson Guitar Board

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J-45. Most says a dream to play on, is yours and if so how is it set up?

#1 User is offline   Trigen 

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 12:25 PM

Hi there

Im a proud owner of a 5 month old J45 Standard that i just had to have for its sound. When i played it in the store it had some buzz at times so i asked to have the saddle raised a tad before i got it, he had taken it down a bit. I had a look inside and it was shimmed with paper so i took that out. The guitar felt pretty stiff to play on so after letting a luthier have a look but not really do anything besides changing the strings, she felt it was a bit stiff too. Better to wait for winter before getting a new saddle she said so that was cool! Anyways, i decided to poke the truss a bit and ended up on a pretty much straight neck. 003" relief or so at the 7th That pretty much did it, now it plays like an absolute dream and its buzz free even when i dig in, that in itself is amazing. Other than that maybe a tad lower on volume but i prefer that. Might have the Luthier make 2 saddles for winter so i can see how low i can go there too.

So im curious, is yours like an electric to play and if so how is it set?
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#2 User is offline   E-minor7 

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 02:15 PM

Hi Trigen - You made a good choice. J-45 Standards are excellent guitars and get a lot of applause on this Board.
My 2010'er now has a bone saddle and the action is all down - in fact ideal. Yes, you could call it close to an electric, but wider.
The neck, which I sanded a tad, generated severe cakes of black grease the first summer I had it and it's still not all over.
Never had that with other new Gibsons !? rather strange. How about yours ?

To place a piece of paper as a shim above the pick-up sounds amateurish. Wonder if you heard any difference when plugged in.
Glad to hear you found the right level and I predict the guitar will open several degrees from here - look forward to follow the process.
Mine btw. was remarkable compressed in the beginning - much more so than my pals older and gentler Historic Collection - and 7 years in some of that remains. Far freer (and normal) now.

Is it something you recognize ?


Enjoy the slope Gibson. If not already, you might soon be addicted.
You just can't keep coincidences down. .
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#3 User is offline   Trigen 

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 02:51 PM

Thanks for the Reply E-minor!

Ive been thinking about going bone too so i can hear what it sounds like, not 100% sure my local luthier has it but im sure it can be arranged anyway, everybody is raging about that!

Thankfully i haven't noticed any grease coming out of the neck but the summer this year hasn't been very hot and the guitar is only 5 months owned. I doubt i will see any though.

For the shim yeah, im a somewhat beginner guitar player (with a gibson!)and even i know not to do that. I actually checked it after a few days so i never tried it plugged in except for 10 seconds by the salesman in the shop. Good that i did!

As for the guitar opening up, i cant wait! It has a little bit i think but my ear isnt quite trained enough yet i believe. I've been on and off due to depression for 15 years or so but now that ive been diagnosed bipolar and on meds im actually able to keep going more than the 2-3 months of mania. Needles to say im very happy now that i can finally follow my dream and well i celebrate that with the warm sound of a J45. It can only sound better and better as it opens up over the months and years!
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#4 User is offline   zombywoof 

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 05:01 PM

View PostTrigen, on 10 November 2017 - 02:51 PM, said:


For the shim yeah, im a somewhat beginner guitar player (with a gibson!)and even i know not to do that. I actually checked it after a few days so i never tried it plugged in except for 10 seconds by the salesman in the shop. Good that i did!




Yes you can shim a saddle and leave it in and never hear any difference. You just need to do it properly which is to use an ebony strip. There are several places that sell kits for this. I have at least two guitars which have had these shims under the saddle for years.
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#5 User is online   ThemisSal 

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 06:27 PM

I have a J50 (blonde 45) from 2012. The UST pickup came out, a new bone saddle and nut made, and the action adjust definitely on the low side. I feel like my luthier immaculately perfected the nut slot height, the neck relief, and the saddle. No buzz, but plays so slick and low. I love it. Iím not looking for bluegrass volume. Itís so comfortable, that it is always the first guitar of five I reach for to learn songs or write.
Happy you love yours. Im in your nice and low camp.



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#6 User is offline   Jalex 

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 06:33 PM

I removed the pick-up from my 2012 J-50 replaced the saddle with bone and then went back to tusq. I like the sound of tusq better. I should probably lower the action on mine a little but I like the sound so much I don't want to mess with it.
2012 Gibson J-50
1963 Gibson Hummingbird
2011 GIbson J-185 New Vintage
2014 Taylor 512ce 12-fret
2017 Taylor 150e 12 String
Martin DX1
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#7 User is online   ThemisSal 

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 06:44 PM

James, any regrets on the 50?
Compares well to your other Gibby?
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#8 User is offline   Jalex 

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 06:55 PM

No regrets at all Sal. I'm very happy with it. It's got the most comfortable neck profile of any of my guitars. I would be quite happy if it was my only guitar. Mine feels very light in weight, how about yours?
2012 Gibson J-50
1963 Gibson Hummingbird
2011 GIbson J-185 New Vintage
2014 Taylor 512ce 12-fret
2017 Taylor 150e 12 String
Martin DX1
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#9 User is online   ThemisSal 

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 07:15 PM

Jalex said:

1510361709[/url]' post='1891708']
No regrets at all Sal. I'm very happy with it. It's got the most comfortable neck profile of any of my guitars. I would be quite happy if it was my only guitar. Mine feels very light in weight, how about yours?


Mine too. Like air. Iím guessing 4lbs tops. I think thatís the secret.
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#10 User is offline   Jalex 

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 07:20 PM

View PostThemisSal, on 10 November 2017 - 07:15 PM, said:

Mine too. Like air. Iím guessing 4lbs tops. I think thatís the secret.


yep that is my opinion also.
2012 Gibson J-50
1963 Gibson Hummingbird
2011 GIbson J-185 New Vintage
2014 Taylor 512ce 12-fret
2017 Taylor 150e 12 String
Martin DX1
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#11 User is offline   Murph 

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 10:01 PM

I replaced my factory tusq on my 2003 with tusq from Stewmac. Did it myself, took my time.

I prefer a somewhat high action so as to be able to dig in.
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#12 User is offline   Proclaimer888 

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 06:30 AM

Replaced the saddle with bone, as with the nut. Action is what some might consider a touch on the high end and does not play at all like an electric. I dig in at times and play fingerstyle and have no issues...I guest the guitar setup is kinda a balancing act to achieve best of worlds. I am using Monel Retro strings, 13s and tone is just killer. Not only does it sound badazz, it just feels good. Not sure if I will ever go back to 12s. I will get some measurements at 12 fret for reference.
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#13 User is offline   OldCowboy 

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 06:43 AM

IMHO, eliminating the pickup (unless you need it) is a good first step. Replacement saddle material is a rather individual choice, depending mainly on the result that makes your ear the happiest. Saddle height will also be affected mainly by your preferences about volume, sound, and comfort level. All that said, a bone saddle and medium string height make me happy. The idea of having 2 saddles is OK. I compensate for winter/summer variations by using slightly lighter strings on the summer w/the same saddle year round.
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#14 User is offline   generaldreedle 

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 12:23 PM

View PostJalex, on 10 November 2017 - 06:33 PM, said:

I removed the pick-up from my 2012 J-50 replaced the saddle with bone and then went back to tusq. I like the sound of tusq better. I should probably lower the action on mine a little but I like the sound so much I don't want to mess with it.



What was the sound difference that made you like Tusq better?
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#15 User is offline   tpbiii 

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 09:03 PM

We have four J-45s -- 43, 44, 45, 53. We set all of our guitars up very carefully using a very experience anal expert. There are a lot of things to consider. Neck pitch is the most important for tone -- if that is off the a neck set is required to get the best tone. The next thing is the whole neck-fretboard-fret plane situation. In the worse case, the fret board may need to be planed. If you are lucky, the neck relief may be set with a wrench. After that the frets need to be leveled and dressed. After all that, the action can set by shaping the nut and saddle.

We use ourJ-45s for ragtime, gospel, and backing up old time (fiddle) music. For that we use light 80/20 uncoated strings set at 5/3 at the 12th fret. The two other setups we use -- on other guitars and other types of music -- are 80/20 mediums set 6/4 for bluegrass and 80/20 x-light set 4/2.5 for bare finger folk stuff. The setup is identical for all, and all that is required to repurpose a guitar is a new saddle and a new nut. It is not quite a simple geometry problem because changing the string gages (tension) changes the guitar and that must be addressed cutting the saddle and nut.

Do that and they are all a delight to play.

Let's pick,

-Tom
Never criticize a musician until you have walked a mile in his shoes. Then you will be a mile away and you will have his shoes.
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#16 User is offline   Jalex 

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 07:25 AM

 generaldreedle, on 12 November 2017 - 12:23 PM, said:

What was the sound difference that made you like Tusq better?


Yes, I think the bone gave my J-50 a harsh, bright sound. The Tusq seems to be mellower and I prefer it. Of course everyone's ear is different as is every guitar. However my J-185 and Hummingbird both have bone saddles and sound great.
2012 Gibson J-50
1963 Gibson Hummingbird
2011 GIbson J-185 New Vintage
2014 Taylor 512ce 12-fret
2017 Taylor 150e 12 String
Martin DX1
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