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  1. jschmitz asked about good fitting pins for a j-45. Yes in stewmac you can buy ivoroid white ball pins which fit both my 2013 Hbird and my 2015 J-45 standard with no modifications what so ever. Also if you prefer ebony..Martin pins will fit perfectly with no modifications to pin or holes either. https://www.stewmac.com/Hardware_and_Parts/Endpins_and_Bridge_Pins/Waverly_Ivoroid_Bridge_Pins.html As for drilling bridge pin holes...I would never drill the pins holes larger, not even on a cheap guitar, let alone a Gibson. I have had much success reshaping and carving pins, both plastic, ivoroid and wood pins..for various guitars, with a very sharp, firm, pocket knife..carefully whittling slowly and evenly around the base upward toward the pin head. Keep checking as you go for fit so as not to over cut the pin making it too thin. It is tricky, tedious work I must warn you however. I worked for me.
  2. Here is what Gibson writes in Sweetwater about its advanced response neck on the J-45 M Light Cherry Burst acoustic with a cutaway.... Exceptionally smooth playability The Gibson Acoustic J-45 Modern Mahogany has an advanced-response neck profile that feels at home in your hand whether you're playing chords or single-note leads. As you play your way up the neck, you'll also appreciate the smooth feel of the 16"-radius rosewood fingerboard. With a neck that plays this smooth, and with the added convenience of a cutaway, you'll be able to play longer with less fatigue. I own a Gibson with the new Advanced Response neck, and the Slim Taper D on a Masterbilt also. I find the description above accurate..both are very playable..I have no trouble at all playing either, nor switching from one to the other. I find the Advanced Response neck a tad wider, and the fret board slightly flatter, and over all just slightly bigger. The flatter 16 inch radius is also very comfortable to me as well. If you want an slightly bigger neck, slightly flatter, the Advanced Response is the way to go. If you prefer thinner by just a bit, the sweet Slim Taper D neck will do it. I love them both. ....Hope this helps.
  3. I don't care for a guitar that is too loud when not miked. It hides the voice. And it forces constant monitoring of the amp for feed back while performing with an amp. I could use dynamics to control that of course, but why buy a guitar where this is a constant issue? My J-45 and Hummingbird almost play themselves, never overpowering the voice unless I play them to roar..and they can do that easily enough. A quiet puppy that stays quiet and knows when to to bark, that to me, is a guitar whose dynamics are built right into the model.
  4. The Gibson and J-45...and the Gibson Hummingbird..either or both. You hit the nail on the head! Buy them used and save a fortune. Here are two GC links to start looking for a good used one. These two guitars are icons in the Gibson family. You can't go wrong with either. They are great for rythem and strumming and everythiong else you throw at them. And if you happen to be a singer..they are even better. Hope this helps! https://www.guitarcenter.com/search?typeAheadSuggestion=true&typeAheadRedirect=true&fromRecentHistory=true&Ntt=used+J-45 https://www.guitarcenter.com/search?typeAheadSuggestion=true&typeAheadRedirect=true&fromRecentHistory=true&Ntt=used+gibson+hummingbird
  5. Here is a Masterbilt in "rosewood"..( Epiphone AJ-500RCE) (rosewood cut away) it is the same guitar as the aj45me in mahogany...except it is long scale and made of solid rosewood instead of Hog....and it does have cut away and electronics also. Yes shopping can be a thrill..so much to think about! Have fun!!! Remember rosewood sounds different than hog....More overtones in rosewood, but many are thrilled with that and desire it, while others prefer hog. https://www.guitarcenter.com/Epiphone/Masterbilt-AJ-500RCE-Acoustic-Electric-Guitar.gc http://www.epiphone.com/Products/Acoustic/Electric/Ltd-Ed-Masterbilt-AJ-500RCE.aspx
  6. I fell in love with the big beautiful Gibson AJ rosewood longscale, but quickly found it completely overwealmed the voice for singing. It is loud, beautiful, and rich sounding..but way too loud for singing in my view...had to sell it...bought a J-45. ....Heaven. And for the vocals...a Hummingbird just might be even better. I have both. Love them, adore them. They are like perfect children in a bad world.
  7. Pete yes it took 18 hours of hand buffing to bring the gloss out...but that might have been shortened considerable if I had a power buffer. My arms were sore for 2 weeks because the pressure is heavy and you must press hard to achieve the gloss. As for strings, I always prefer strings that bring out more treble and shine. 80/20 bronze are well know for doing just that..while Phosphor Bronze tend to sound darker. I use Elixir 80/20 nanoweb lights (.12-.53) on all my guitars, they stay sounding bright and clear for months and months, they cost more..but they can last over a year if your switching around guitars like I do. I have 5 guitars..you'll soon have three! You'll be switching around too. You have two great guitars..I LOVE the Epi pro. And the aj-220sce is outstanding for the price. But your Masterbilt will be your best guitar of the three. If sweet tone is what your looking for...short scale might be your best. Your Epi bird is short scale. Almost all Gibsons are short scale for that reason, even the $4000 Gibson Hummingbird is short scale. Very sweet and crisp and clear. The longer scale pushes out greater volume and base..often at the expense of sweet tone and crystal trebs.
  8. Igor, the difference is in the top wood. The 220 has a solid sitka spruce top with laminated sides....while the 210 is all laminated including the top. Solid sounds sweeter but are more costly...laminated is much more sturdy and cost less. Solid wood always cost more, so reflects in the price. The 210 comes with a case which likely can be part of it because the top is cheaper. I think both guitars are great sounding and very good deals. There may also be an upgrade in electronics. But both should work with an amp. Hope this helps!
  9. Pete, The difference in SOUND between the Masterbilt AJ-45me and the Masterbilt DR500mce ..to me is very great. The 500 was deeper, with a lot of resonance, and darker in sound..with less treble and more base..than the aj-45me. The 500 is louder over all by a little, the 45 just slightly quieter to accomodate for the human voice to "fit in" without overwealming it while singing. The 500 is a drednought model, slightly bigger in body...while the aj-45 is a round shoulder guitar and it just snuggles in your lap like a puppy. I sing a lot while I play...and I found the dr500 washed out my voice with the darker louder sound...while the 45-me played just as nice but I was able to not have to fight over it while singing. I would say the 45-me is sweeter in tone than the dr500 which is darker and very full. You epi bird is a sweet guitar, and excellent for singing, the aj-45 is even better, as it mocks one of the greatest guitar icons in the world since the biginning...the famous Gibson J-45 which is nothing short of a legend. Gibson produced the aj-45 to be very similar to the J-45. remember if looks are your thing..the aj-45 will NOT have a gloss finish, but the satin, duller flat finish..still very nice but NO shine on it anywhere. while the dr500 has a wonderful high gloss finish like your epi bird and aj-220. You might consider the Masterbilt aj-45me to be similar to the aj-45, but much richer in tone. The matt finish on the aj-45 has been buffed and polished on mine to a shine gloss on front and looks great but took hours and hours of hand rubbing. And by the way both of these guitars are sapele, a very close cousin of mahogany, also noted to compliment the human voice. If you do not sing, the dr500 might be your best bet. If singing is your thing, you need an guitar that will not upstage your voice in volume and tone. Let us know what happens..any more wuestions, feel free to ask! Hope this helps! You an order either from Sweetwater or from Guitar Center..see Sweetwater links below, where you can choose the ACTUAL guitar you are looking at. They are a good reliable company. The two models are below in separate links. https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/EMECVSNH3--epiphone-masterbilt-dr-500mce-vintage-sunburst https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/EME4VSSNH--epiphone-masterbilt-aj-45me-vintage-sunburst
  10. It was the tone that hooked me first, as well as the beautiful artistic look of Gibsons. The Gibson tone is unlike anything else in the world out there. It is unique. It compliments and supports the human voice in a way I have found no other guitar in the entire world does. And when I discovered the Gibson Hummingbird and Gibson J-45 models, there simply was no looking back. I had hit gold, and there I stayed.
  11. I believe the build quality is about the same as it has always beem. These are all sold wood guitars with bone nut and saddle. You might check the serial number inside the sound hole..if you see a number "23" in the middle of the serial number, it was made in Indonesia. And that is likely where it was made. You might also consider the masterbilt AJ-45me model, which is the Gibson J-45 knock off, and mine is quite good but it does not have a gloss finish, but a flat matt finish, which most do not seem to prefer. The two models you presently have. the Epi bird pro, and the 220sce, are both known to be good for singing. I previously owned the 500MCE and sold it as it overpowered my voice, but had a wonderful chocolate dark tone. Unfortunately it washed out my vocals, so I sold it for the aj-45me, which like your two guitars, is a fine singing guitar, and that solved that problem. But in general to answer you question, the 500MCE should have good build quality, sound beautiful, and at a reasonable cost. Being solid Sapele mahogany wood, it will definately require a good case to protect it from heat and humidity fluctuations. Expect it to need a good set up to play its best. Be willing to pay for the set up, it is well worth the cost indeed. All my Masterbilts needed a set up before they played and sounded their best, but that is true of ANY guitar no matter the cost. Best wishes. Hoped this helped!
  12. Congradulations! Looks like you got what you REALLY wanted, and its absolutely stunning!! The top and the burst look just heavely! What do you bet it sounds just as good too! Good for you!
  13. Great! Remember that if you do drive to GC for a try out..take the guitar you want to trade. They will trade and ship. They will also buy your guitar outright and give you cash...which you could apply to a later GC purchase of the sj-200, or trade your old guitar and have them order the new one right there on the spot, they will subtract the trade amount, and have the new one delivered to your home. I've done that many times! One small thing you might want to consider also here is that...the Studio series are all( "Flat sawn wood.") ..Most quitars are made of (Quarter sawn wood,) which is considered much stronger by many luthiers. The results of flat sawn wood and its strength over time is not not yet known. Quarter sawn wood can last several lifetimes....flat sawn wood...is a bit more uncertain.
  14. I had a 2019 J-45 Studio, walnut and sitka. It was very nice indeed. Beautiful built and great tone....but the walnut tone is different than maple or hog or rosewood tone. And that's where the main difference will be. Walnut to my ear, falls somewhere between mahogany and rosewood. It is brighter than hog, but has less overtones than rosewood. Maple is bright, and walnut will be a tad less bright but very rich sounding in my opinion. In the end I preferred my mahogany tone over the walnut tone and sold the walnut J-45. I did like the thinner body, much less imposing and lighter that the full size model. I see no reason why you would not like the SJ-200 Studio if you are willing accept the tone (slightly different) than Maple. And they are a great price. The burst models are exceptionally beautiful. Guitar Center sells them, and they allow 30 days to evaluate and return. Might be the way to go. Here is the GC link...nice that they deliver it to your door too since you are not near shops to find one and play it. Good luck. Hope this helps. https://www.guitarcenter.com/Gibson/SJ-200-Studio-Acoustic-Electric-Guitar-Walnut-Burst-1500000227830.gc
  15. Ahhh yes ...and a wonderful J-45 story it is! I also have a J-45 and adore it. Not because it's a Gibson, not because it's a J-45, not because it's beautiful, not because I got it at a good price, not because it plays so easy, and has action so low, notbecause it is an icon in the guitar world....No none of those! I love it because it just sounds so good. As you so aptly put it..an elixir from the Gods. That it is indeed. My J-45 is one of a pair of such guitars...the other Guitar is a Gibson Hummingbird. No singer on earth should be without a pair of these two special Gibson guitars. I've searched far and wide, over many decades to find the perfect guitar. Martins, Taylors, Guilds, carbon fiber, and a host of others. Fourty one guitars ago in all, bought and sold and traded in an endless effort to find that right guitar. Those guitars are all gone now. The J-45 and the Hummingbird are the two staples I have ended up with. I haven't found a better pair on earth that so fits my voice and feels so good, and which sits in my arms like an adored baby. Enjoy it.! You deserve it! You found the right guitar! You may find others that equal it, but you will never find one better. Best wishes!
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