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New J45 Standard Sound Question

#1 User is offline   Justbluefish 

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Posted 19 February 2019 - 09:57 PM

I got my new J45 Standard from Sweetwater and Iím not sure if I should be concerned about how it sounds.

I didnít have the luxury of going and playing and picking out a guitar, ordering one was my only option - so this is the first J45 Iíve heard in person but it doesnít sound quite like what Iíve heard in videos Iíve watched.

The guitar has nice tone overall but there is what I would describe as a higher pitched metallic ringing especially noticeable on the G B E strings while strumming open chords. The tone is a whole lot brighter, almost annoyingly, than I was expecting on the higher strings. It almost feel like I'm hearing a high pitched dog whistle like overtone when I strum those open strings.

The guitar was setup at Sweetwater before leaving with DAddario EJ15 Phosphor Bronze extra lights. It's what I've been using on my Epiphone DR100 for a while and I've had no problems with those strings, but is it possible this guitar just doesn't like them? Could it be something else? Could the guitar just be a dud?

The finish of the guitar is fantastic and the setup and playability is great. Iím just not sure why it sounds so bright, with this tinny or metallic ring, when all the review videos have it sounding very dark and mellow (which is what Iím after).

What do you think, does this seem standard for the J45 Standard?
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#2 User is offline   ksdaddy 

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Posted 19 February 2019 - 10:03 PM

I can only offer my two cents. Put mediums on it. 13-56. Yes, you may have to have the truss rod adjusted. Trust me. It may be a tish tougher to play but the tone improvement will far outweigh that.
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#3 User is offline   OldCowboy 

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Posted 19 February 2019 - 10:09 PM

Mediums are a good idea. Play a set 'til they need changed, then try a set of lights. Sometimes all you're really going to hear with x-tra lights is the strings, not the guitar, especially if the guitar in question needs to loosen up, as most will as you play them over time.

This post has been edited by OldCowboy: 19 February 2019 - 10:10 PM

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#4 User is offline   Buc McMaster 

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Posted 19 February 2019 - 10:13 PM

Many possibilities here. Using a pick? What kind, what tip? Strings can make a big difference. I like Martin Retros on my 45 for a thumpy, warm tone. It is true that some guitars just donít like a particular string........got to experiment. Iím not a fan of the tusq that used as nut/saddle material on the new 45s.......too hard and can add brittleness to tone.

Hope you find a solution. J45 can be a terrific instrument.
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#5 User is offline   slimt 

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Posted 19 February 2019 - 10:13 PM

I agree with the Meds.. But keep playing the guitar... break it in.. get a good set up on it as well... not all out of the boxes are set to everyones standards..
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#6 User is offline   E-minor7 

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Posted 19 February 2019 - 10:14 PM

Hey - and welcome.
To tell it straight we need to listen to this instrument before anything can be said.
If it would be possible to make a recording - some strumming/finger-picking or single-note playing etc. - and post it side by side with a couple of ideal sounding videos from the Tube,
the Board will be able to elaborate.
Else we'll just start shooting into the fog confusing more than clearing the issue.


Look forward to hear further from you
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#7 User is offline   QuestionMark 

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Posted 19 February 2019 - 10:35 PM

I concur. However, if you feel the jump to Mediums (13s) is too much for you from extra lights, try Martin Authentic Strings, 80/20 Bronze (not Phosphor Bronze) Lights (12s). Any tighter tension string than extra lights should make the guitarís sound less tinny, plus Bronze strings are less trebly/bright than Phosphor Bronze...at least from my experience. A set only costs about $7, so thereís very little cost. If you gain some result with them and want to take the approach further, then try Mediums. I also suggest 80/20 Bronze on Mediums (13s).

As the J-45 is an all solid wood guitar, over time it should mellow as the wood ages. But either way, I suggest minimally Lights (12s) or Mediums (13s). They should give the guitar more growl.

BTW, you might also just be hearing increased volume on the J-45 from the Epiphone you referenced. That increased volume of the extra lights on the J-45 may be what you are hearing, which may have worked on the thinner sounding Epiphone, but are magnified on the all solid wood J-45. Plus, a J-45 has a shorter scale than your Epiphone, which means less string tension and less string tension on extra lights can translate to very little tension and unfocused string sounds.

Sweetwater usually is really good with personally picking out good instruments for buyers. I suspect it is the extra light strings which are probably phosphor bronze to boot. However, I believe Sweetwater has a very good return policy if you are really unhappy.

Hope this helps. Keep us posted.

QM aka ďJazzmanĒ Jeff
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#8 User is offline   Larsongs 

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Posted 19 February 2019 - 11:53 PM

Expecting any Guitar to sound like the Videos or Records is wishful thinking. In most cases they been subject to complex Recording, Mixing & Mastering processes...

You're expecting to hear that live but it doesn't.

Strings make a big difference.. I'd start with the Strings the Manufacturer had on it to begin with & go from there.. Your favorite Strings from another Guitar may sound like crap on a different Guitar.

I recently tried a Set of Martin Retro Monel Rounds .012's on my Acoustic Electric Gibson Solid Top J-160E. I was pleasantly surprised how good they sound both Acoustic & Electric... Not being Gibsons or D' Adarrios. I've tried a lot of other Strings that were disappointing. These were recommended on another Guitar Forum...
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#9 User is offline   Bozz 

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Posted 20 February 2019 - 12:13 AM

I agree with everyone's comments about trying heavier strings. If the jump to Mediums is uncomfortable for you, try a set of lights. Your guitar probably came from the factory wearing a set of Gibson Masterbuilt 80/20 Lights (12/53). If you like D'Addario's. try a set of EJ16's. I've never thought they sounded thin on a J-45 as you describe your EJ15's.

Good luck
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#10 User is offline   jedzep 

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Posted 20 February 2019 - 04:59 AM

I don't even know why SWater's set up team would put 'extra lights' on a guitar of that substance w/o a warning, and packing a complimentary set of 13's in the case in anticipation of the inevitable disappointment. It might as well have been set up with nylon classical strings as far as waking up your guitar goes. Your J will pop with mediums on even if you have to drop the tuning a step (D-D) to ease the strain on your fretting hand.

I thought the recent post about a member who noticed his guitar had opened up after he had been parking it in front of his bass amp was a lesson in 'tonerite-eousness'.

This post has been edited by jedzep: 20 February 2019 - 06:45 AM

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#11 User is online   blindboygrunt 

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Posted 20 February 2019 - 05:35 AM

12's should be fine on a j45
It's what I've always used
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#12 User is offline   Morkolo 

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Posted 20 February 2019 - 06:12 AM

Not trying to be the negative one here but have you considered the J45 isn't the guitar you're looking for? Obviously I would suggest a string change to lights before you gave up on it, but maybe it's not the exact model you're looking for. Make no mistake I love mine, but I bought it while shopping for a Martin D28.
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#13 User is offline   billroy 

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Posted 20 February 2019 - 06:13 AM

View Postksdaddy, on 19 February 2019 - 10:03 PM, said:

I can only offer my two cents. Put mediums on it. 13-56. Yes, you may have to have the truss rod adjusted. Trust me. It may be a tish tougher to play but the tone improvement will far outweigh that.



Hi KSD - i'm assuming the truss rod adjustment would raise the string height a bit, hence the comment about 'a tish tougher to play' but how would this help with the tone? Rgds - billroy
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#14 User is offline   SirNed 

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Posted 20 February 2019 - 07:26 AM

I agree that heavier strings (at least lights if not mediums) should help. Also phosphor bronze tends to have a bright sound... plus brand new strings will sound brighter until their broken in.
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#15 User is offline   rustystrings 

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Posted 20 February 2019 - 07:40 AM

If you are looking for a warmer, mellower sound that doesn't have so much string "zing!" I would point you towards John Pearse Pure Nickel acoustic gauge strings, the 960L light gauge .012-.054 set. I went to them several years ago because I wanted a more consistent sound that had a more apparent wood and air tonality and didn't have the over-hyped top end of new phosphor bronze strings. I have really enjoyed the way they sound AND their surprising longevity. Here is a video I did a few years back using these strings on a J-45 Historic Collection, which is the 2005 ancestor of the Modern Classic that evolved into today's Standard, and if you turn it up loud enough the iPad mic used captured most of how the guitar sounds. I would NOT go to mediums on a J-45, because to my ear they constrict the sound.

I would not recommend extra light gauge strings on any guitar. I have always found them to be kinda thin sounding.
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#16 User is offline   CAMELEYE 

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Posted 20 February 2019 - 09:34 AM

Another vote for light nickels. On my J-45 I've been using Martin Retros and subbing a 13 for the e and a 17 for the b strings.
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#17 User is offline   the other side 

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Posted 20 February 2019 - 10:12 AM

I'm with the other guys here about putting different gauge strings. I see the EJ15 (Dadarrio) strings are "extra light" 10-47's. Way way too light for such caliber of a j45. I would recommend to start with 12-53's or 12-54's before you start doing any type of adjustments,especially the truss rod. The truss rod is for neck relief and not action. The j45's from Gibson come out with at least 12 gauge strings on them. Just curious if you asked Sweetwater to put the ej15's on there?
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#18 User is offline   Hall 

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Posted 20 February 2019 - 10:12 AM

And one vote for John Pearse 12s phos brz. I try everything and always come back to these on all my guitars, including two J-45s. *Give yourself and the guitar some time together. Good luck!
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#19 User is offline   rustystrings 

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Posted 20 February 2019 - 10:31 AM

View PostHall, on 20 February 2019 - 10:12 AM, said:

And one vote for John Pearse 12s phos brz. I try everything and always come back to these on all my guitars, including two J-45s. *Give yourself and the guitar some time together. Good luck!


Before I went with Pearse's nickel wound strings, these Jp phosphor bronze 12s were my string of choice for more than a decade on a variety of acoustics. They were about the ONLY string I could get to work when I had a Taylor 815C, they worked well on my old Guild GF-25C, and they were near magical on the 1960 LG-2 that I still miss.
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#20 User is online   dhanners623 

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Posted 20 February 2019 - 11:24 AM

Yet another vote for mediums. Martin Retros in particular. I know some people say lights on a J-45 are ok, but I've just always felt the slopes need mediums to move the top in any decent way.

I'd also recommend switching out the Tusq saddle for a bone one. I had a Bob Colosi saddle installed in my J-35 awhile back and it made a considerable difference. For one thing, the Tusq saddle was undersized and didn't fill the slot properly. It was leaning in the slot and wasn't making proper contact with the bottom. That problem somehow made it past the QC people at Gibson AND Sweetwater.

This post has been edited by dhanners623: 20 February 2019 - 11:26 AM

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