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Forum opinions on new gibsons quality and sound Forum opinions on new gibsons quality and sound

#1 User is offline   Madman_Greg 

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 05:05 PM

I posted this as I got asked via a PM from a fellow forum member

So I thought I would start the ball rolling for them, so hopefully the folks Stateside can comment this evening

What is your opinion on new Gibson acoustics - current to last few years - please mention models where appropriate

My own opinion is my J45 is top notch and sweet sounding and excellent quality, but with all instruments you have to try before you buy.

Thanks for replying in advance
Madman Greg

#2 User is offline   retrorod 

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 05:22 PM

I recently had the opportunity to make a trek (50-60 miles) to a couple of music stores. All had 2011 models. One had 4 Gibson acoustics. I liked the Blues King and the J45. The SJ was a little lack-luster. I can,t remeber the other model ...but it was not memorable!
The 2nd store, a Guitar Center, had maybe 8 acoustics. Did not get to try out the 'top tier'(could not reach them down,no assisatance) The Hummingbird Pro's played well as did the J45. Seemed like decent quality to me!
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#3 User is offline   57classic 

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 05:54 PM

I have a 2009 SWD Studio CE. It plays and sounds great. Powerful when you want it but sounds great fingerpicked too. Today I was in a store and played a J-185 Standard, J-185 TV and a J45 Custom. Understanding that none of these were set up I would say they all played and sounded nice. The TV was much livelier than the standard but the J45 Custom blew me away. I'm contemplating going back to that store and buying it. Beautiful fit and finish but what a sound.
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#4 User is offline   E-minor7 

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 06:10 PM

The yellow Bird I tried was like an un-opened Bird should be.

But the J-45 Custom and the Custom Firebird taken from the wall 3 weeks later were marvelous.

The sales-guy said : Gibsons never been better, as I left the building. He saw me smile and nod all my way to the pavement.

#5 User is offline   duluthdan 

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 06:16 PM

2010 J-45 TV - bought it
2012 Jackson Browne Signature Model 1 - bought it
Played a raft of Southern Jumbos, and at least a dozen Hummingbirds last week at Wildwood Guitars, they all sounded good, two of the birds were perhaps a little shy of expectations, but I think they were brand brand new. Played a couple of J-185s, but I've never really played Maple before so I couldn't give a good opinion, sounded Ok I suppose, but not my cup of tea. I had my search narrowed down to one SJ and one Bird, then I casually asked if they had any Jackson Browne's - end of story.
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#6 User is offline   michaeljohnr 

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 08:34 PM

2011 J45.

Hesitant at first but not a single regret.

It's an amazing instrument.
Gibson J45
A lonely, unoccupied second guitar stand.
A few Diamond Bottlenecks glass slides.
A capo or two.

#7 User is offline   gijs 

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 11:29 PM

2011 Bird, right out of the shipping box. Was a little shy, just like me, and now a year later already sounds much more lively. Not as much as my beloved previous Bird, but that one lacked bass, and that's what I like.
Also cool to see how the back and sides seemed a little orange-coloured at first and are now becoming brown. Thank god :-)

#8 User is offline   Motherofpearl 

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 11:49 PM

View Postduluthdan, on 11 April 2012 - 06:16 PM, said:

2010 J-45 TV - bought it
2012 Jackson Browne Signature Model 1 - bought it
Played a raft of Southern Jumbos, and at least a dozen Hummingbirds last week at Wildwood Guitars, they all sounded good, two of the birds were perhaps a little shy of expectations, but I think they were brand brand new. Played a couple of J-185s, but I've never really played Maple before so I couldn't give a good opinion, sounded Ok I suppose, but not my cup of tea. I had my search narrowed down to one SJ and one Bird, then I casually asked if they had any Jackson Browne's - end of story.

Try the firebird custom if you ever get a chance you will love it best maple guitar I've played if it was short scale I would have kept it!
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#9 User is offline   EuroAussie 

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 12:08 AM

True Vintage - Outstanding.

Standards, very good generally but have come a cross a few specific samples of poor sounding models, the HB and J-200 in particular in this regard. The Songwriter is the one model I've played which sounded outstanding no matter which one I sampled, very consistent.

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#10 User is offline   BluesKing777 

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 12:45 AM

I cannot help because I walk in the guitar shop with blinkers and head straight to the strings/accessories desperately trying to ignore the wall of guitars before buying strings.

I have some sickness. I have not played a guitar in a shop since I bought my Gibson J45 in November 2010. I cannot trust myself in a guitar shop....


#11 User is offline   pfox14 

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 05:18 AM

Was in a smaller shop not too long ago and got to play 3 new acoustics. L-00, J-45 and a L-1. I though all of them were very nice. Too expensive for my wallet, but worth the asking price I think. Gibson is turning out some really decent guitars these days IMHO.

#12 User is offline   Gruffchris 

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 05:49 AM


I've got a 2011 J-45 5* Custom shop, I don't know about how they match up with gibsons through the ages, but I'm happy and for me that's all the counts [thumbup]
J 45 5* LTD (Mystic rosewood)

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#13 User is offline   sjl200 

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 06:45 AM

I have a 98 SJ200, a 10 custom shop J45 , and an 06 me each one is a dream....but I must say the 06 Custom Shop J45 is beyond my expectations in every respect.It is my 'go to' guitar.. [biggrin]
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#14 User is offline   Buc McMaster 

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 07:22 AM

I see guitars as unique individuals, particularly those with a lot of hand work involved in their construction. Taken as a whole, Gibson Montana instruments are excellent. When particular individuals are examined some will be better than others within a model. Personally, I like the fact that the hand building of the guitars makes for these differences. It means that, unlike Taylor for example, you can find some really spectacular examples out there in the Gibson line. Instruments that are mostly machine-made can be very consistent from one to the next......the same level of quality. I like the hunt for the best example of a model, knowing there are differences.

#15 User is offline   ritchie69 

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 07:33 AM

I had several gibsons, I've always been satisfied in all respects, except once, I bought a brand new gibby that had some flaws that I didn't noticed, but then again, it happened only once, and honestly these things can my opinion on gibson quality and sound is absolutely positive.
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#16 User is offline   BigKahune 

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 08:13 AM

I've spent plenty of time browsing/playing new Gibson acoustics over the last few years. For me, about 70% of them fit the sound and feel I like. As for the other 30%, it's surely possible other players would find them a good fit. However, every now and then I've run across one that I couldn't imagine anyone one buying because the sound is so dead. Overall I think Bozeman has been doing a great job in recent years. There have been for a couple of finish and pickguard issues that have been discussed on the forum, but for me those are minor issues. In 2009 I purchased a new J-200. I checked various shops and eventually found one I was willing to drop the cash on. A beautiful guitar with no flaws. I made a couple changes - bone saddle, bone pins - and I was very happy with the results. I would add that it was a bit tight sounding on the low end and it took over a year to open up all the way. Not unusual for a Gibson.

13 Gibson CS Advanced Jumbo R/Spruce..O12 Gibson Southern Jumbo TV....O11 RainSong JM-3000 12
11 Martin 000-15M Elderly LE....................O10 Gibson ES-359......................o10 Rickenbacker 360/12
09 Jackson PC-1.....................................O09 Fender 52 Telecaster AVS..ooO08 Gibson SJ-200 (Colosi S/P)
08 Gibson Robot SG LTD........................oO08 Fender Am/Dlx Stratocaster.....08 Gibson Les Paul Push Tone
07 Epiphone Les Paul Ultra II.....................o07 Guild F412...........................O07 Taylor NS74ce
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#17 User is offline   Markini 

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 10:38 AM

Well I purchased a 2011 HummingBird off the wall at GC, excellent quality and sound projection. Just changed the strings no set up needed.
With that in mind I had played a Bird at Sam Ash that was a dud and in bad need of some loving and care.

Two weeks ago I purchased 2008 Canadian Gibson CSM, got a great deal. Nice tone, good quality, very easy to play. Strings buzz a little past the 12 th fret if I try an acoustic lead, but really not worth raising the action on. Reminds me of a Taylor but with that sweet Gibson tone.

Last weekend I played every Gibson acoustic , a few Taylors and Martins at GC and the one guitar that stood out from the rest was a 2009 Gibson HummingBird pro. (not really even close to a Bird, its also 25,5" scale) It reminded me of a D28 with a Gibson tone. Really nice guitar, the neck binding comes over the end of the frets, very well made. Surprisingly easy to play with a 25.5" scale. It had a few GC dings on it.

All three of these guitars are well built and ready to gig with.

Now that being said, 90% of the Gibsons were good guitars but about 10% had tonal and finishing problems which could be corrected.

Now Gibson;s electric guitars are a different story, can't speak for 2012 but I sure ran into alot soso LPs in 2010 and 2011.
The 2011 Custom Classic LP I purchased was flawless, I mean not a blemish, or tonal problem, or in need of a set up.Great guitar.

#18 User is offline   JohnnyReb 

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 10:53 AM

I think the biggest problem with Gibson today is the strings they ship with. They go through the terror of shipping and warehouses, hit the floor at the local GC, and add a few greasy hands from the local tire kickers and there dead. Other guitars handle deadened strings a little better but the dry thumpy nature of Gibsons really make them sound bad with dead strings. And then Larry curly and moe come into the store and play them, and go home and post on AGF that all the Gibsons they played today were duds. I really think Gibson should pursue coated strings to avoid this, and for those who hate coated strings at least it would be a short lived aggravation. Change them when you go home or before you leave store. How well do you think Taylor would sound laying around the store with dead strings??

#19 User is offline   Tiny 

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 12:07 PM

I think overall the quality of the instruments is great -- my 2010 J-45 sounds great to me. I haven't played many vintage guitars, so don't take it as a comparison to earlier models, but I think mine is an objectively good guitar.

I did play a bunch of J-45 standards, SJs, JB models, TVs, etc. in GCs before buying, and have to agree with other folks that the quality of in-store models is spotty. The dead strings are probably part of it, but the main thing that jumped out at me was that a number of the guitars were in bad need of a setup -- I found a lot of $2000+ guitars with action so high that I couldn't play up the neck past the 5th fret or so. It's not hard to imagine folks quickly putting the high-action Gibby down, picking up a fast, well set-up Taylor, and leaving thinking the Gibson is an inferior product. I don't mind one way or the other if other people want to bash Gibsons, as I'm happy with mine, but I think the company could do itself a real favor by making sure they put their best foot forward in terms of the models hanging on the shelf at music stores.

#20 User is offline   Mojorule 

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 03:32 PM

2011 Woody Guthrie Southern Jumbo. The range of sounds I wanted, the look I wanted, the feel I wanted. Just want more playing time!

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