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Posts posted by PatDie

  1. It wasn't my intention to have the exact same discussion again, and I should've mentioned from the start that I want to build on April's thread. Back then it was about what I should do about the choices I have, and I surely received many insightful thoughts about these certain sunbursts. I made my choice already but since then I can't look at a Gibson again without judging its appeal by its sunburst first (well, if it's a sunburst model).

    So I wanted to lift this topic from April to a different level where it's less about what I should pick, but how you perceive the whole thinking around aesthetics and tone. Why are minor details to some important and to others not at all? Just thought it was an interesting topic in general.


  2. Hey there,

    during my journey to find "the" J-45 for me I was surprised in how many varieties they come, not only speaking about tone, but also about they way the look. Very light and fairly dark bridges and fingerboards, very tight and very wide grain in the top wood, very light coloured sunburst on the back and sides (sometimes even a brownish tone just like the 50's versions) to very black ones. I know that many people don't think about this at all - because after all it's all about how it sounds. And I wish aesthetics wasn't so important to me, but it is. And since I really love the J-45 for its sunburst, I focus on the way it's sprayed very specifically - on one model it was actually a dealbreaker for me. In general I favoured those where there was an even and wide transition between the natural colour of the wood and the sprayed black colour. I disliked the ones where the transition was very sudden. So I would like to know if I just got a little crazy checking out so many different J-45's, taking the way the sunburst is sprayed too serious, or if there are also some things that'd be a dealbreaker for you, only because you don't like how it looks?

    Attached are a few examples I stumbled across:

    1: This one was visually the most appealing to me, but tone-wise it didn't stand a chance against the others.

    2: On this model the sunburst was off-center - for me that was a dealbreaker.


    3: Really loved this one, but I could imagine people wouldn't like how big the dark area is.


    No. 4 was very appealing to me, but no. 5 won in tone comparison. No. 5 would be an example of a sunburst I really don't like - with very sharp transitions. Even though I noticed how many old vintage Gibsons are sprayed this way.


    I could imagine someone else would think just the opposite.


  3. On 6/20/2020 at 5:50 PM, Sacdubro said:

    I'm interested if anyone has  had an opportunity to play a J45/J50 Original ?   Curious  about the neck shape profile and its playability.   Placed an order for a J50 waiting for it to be built. Gibson Bozeman team returned back to work a few weeks ago with backorders to fill.

    I had the chance to play a J45 50s version while I was looking for a keeper. The neck is thicker than on the J45 Standard, but not much. It feels rounder, just like a C profile. I really didn't mind it. Soundwise, I remember it being fairly loud, boomy and with singing trebles. A little less warm than the Standard, but a bigger dynamic range. Reminded me a lot of a Martin D-18 I played before. But then again, the next J45 50s could have been so different in its tonal character. Oh - and I ended up with a Standard 🙂


  4. It's certainly uplifting to hear that I'm not alone with this feeling. And man, it could certainly be worse after hearing what some of you guys have experienced. Thanks for sharing your stories! One day later and I can at least look at it again without wanting to punch myself instantly. I guess that is part of the journey. But I wouldn't have minded owning an all new and shiny guitar at least for a couple of weeks. Well, when playing it the tone makes (and always will) make up for it - and all the future dings and dongs to come. No more playing without a strap security lock though.

    Regarding "fixing" it, besides a cosmetic factor, do you think that if left on its own that dent could get bigger (the lacquer does have very small cracks ) or that the wood underneath could be affected by its exposure through the cracks of the lacquer (e.g. talking about moisture)? I would certainly let scratches be scratches, but with this one I want to make sure that it's not getting any worse. Maybe go see a luthier after all?

    Thanks again!



  5. Well, weeks and months of deciding between several J-45s, finally finding the one, being happy all over the place and the first best thing I do is... dropping it! I mean, what on earth?! I attached a strap to play comfortable while standing and that strap decided to detach at the back end soon after. The guitar went down quicker than I could realize it, landed top-first on the edge of a table - just before I instinctively catched it, preventing it from landing on the ground. What a way to welcome it to the family. The nitrocellulose lacquer has a visible dent, but as far as I can tell the wood is fine. Sure, you could say a guitar gets so many scratches marks along its life, but I'm utterly angry at myself for this one. Should I get it fixed? Should I just get over it? I guess I don't even know where this thread is going, I just needed to vent my anger. Hopefully I can laugh about it in the future.





  6. Hi folks,

    As I'm still debating whether I should keep the J-45 Standard VS that I ordered recently I talked to two shop owners who each have a 50s Original Series J-45 all new in their shops. They both told me they're not sure the J-45 Standard will be continued after all, as they have no confirmation from Gibson whatsoever to get another J-45 Standard VS again (despite Corona uncertainties) and they couldn't think of why Gibson would release a 50s model alongside when there is little differences despite optics.  On the Gibson website they're still describing the features of a "2019 model" in regards to the Standard J-45, being marked as sold out. And at least in the German market it seems like there is no J-45 Standard available in any shop anymore. Does someone know more than we do here in Germany?


  7. Thanks everyone! I have to say that I do love that sunburst look, and I really want to stick to it. And Lars 68, the look doesn't change when changing the point of view. But I managed to find two more J-45's that just arrived. I'll give them the same pair of strings (one is from 2018, and I still don't understand why some shops would givee their guitars with completely dull and worn out strings to a customer to try and test them) and have a comparison session once again. Maybe I just need to hear some more J-45s, develop a better feel and ear for what makes them a J-45 and what sets them apart from each other. If #2 still wins, that'll surely put my concerns about the finish in perspective.


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  8. Sorry, that wasn't 100% clear. Due to Corona lockdown I ordered these guitars from different shops. As this is supposed to be a guitar I will hopefully play for the rest of my life with I didn't mind the struggle. It's very easy to change the saddles on A J-45 and turns out it did make a noticeable difference in sound. Not everytime, but sometimes! But around 5 years ago when I decided between a Cole Clark and a Martin (both Grand Auditorium styles) a small shop I went to here in Germany changed strings as well as experiemented with different saddles for me to be able to figure out which one would be best.

  9. I'm currently searching for the right one, but 4 out of 5 were all decent so far, with one being fairly dull (no matter the strings and saddle exchanges) and one being exactly what I was looking for (except for some optical flaws). In general I would say each one is unique (they're mostly handmade after all), and that surely makes it worth it to compare a few. The models I compared were all from 2019 and 2020.

  10. 11 minutes ago, j45nick said:

    A sunburst finish may not really be for you. These are hand-done, and by definition will not necessarily be perfectly symmetrical.  

    If this is such an issue, you might want to consider buying a J-50 rather than a J-45. Either that, or just keep looking for that holy grail of perfect aesthetics and great tone, realizing you may be passing up a lot of great guitars because they do not meet a certain standard of visual perfection.

    A guitar is primarily a musical instrument you play, not something you stare at.

    You're the only one who can decide this.

    Maybe that is just what I needed to read. You can get really caught up in details while forgetting the bigger picture. Thanks for your input!

  11. Thank you for all your input! I sent back #1 and #3. But I'm still unsure whether that off center burst is something that will always bug me when looking at it, no matter how well it plays. I wish I was able to simply overlook it, but no matter the angle, I think it's very apparent:


    I found another dealer with a new J-45 Standard and asked for pictures. Well, here's another one with an off center burst, even though not as bad as with my current #2 (just compare the distance right and left between saddle and binding downwards):


    I'm not quite sure if it's just me minding that, but what's up with these off center bursts, Gibson? I understand these are all hand-done, and no two are alike. But shouldn't the burst at least be symmetrical?

    I guess it is like rustystrings said:


    Now - does the sound and feel of ANY of these grab you by the heart and not let go?  Do any of these three leave you feeling a little sad when it's time to put it back into the case?  Do any of them, when you play them, feel like they want to be your guitar?  I know, crazy anthromorphizing of a musical instrument, but do any of these three guitars create that sort of response within you?  If not, then they're all just guitars anyway, and odds are you'll keep looking

    I still have to make up my mind about #2, but it would certainly feel a little wrong to let such a pleasant sounding guitar just go. But it also feels a little wrong to spend that much money on a guitar that doesn't fit all three criteria: sound, playability AND aesthetics.

    Anyways, as the original post was all about deciding between three different guitars I guess this topic might be worth a different thread, where it's all about cosmetic inconsistencies vs. tone.

    Thanks again!

  12. First of all thank you for the warm welcome and great responses! I'm happy about receiving that much food for thought on the topic and maybe it will help somebody else in the future picking the right J-45. I reckon choosing a Gibson is all about looking past imperfections and if you put some effort in it, you might be rewarded with a sound no other guitar in the world could give you (That's at least how I'm staying positive about picking a Gibson guitar, haha).

    What I'm really taking away is that tone should always be above anything else - and that (while some guitars do open up eventually) you should never wait for a desired tone to maybe appear over time. Also, I took the potential tonal differences due to the age of the strings into account. At least that's what I thought: All three models were built between end of February and end of March 2020 and from the looks and feel, the strings on all three guitars were just as new and fresh as the guitars themselves. Yesterday, I started switching strings around and even experimented changing the saddles between the models. It didn't do anything on #1, it stayed too dry and lifeless - even for someone like me who doesn't like bright, ringing and bell-like overtones at all.

    Where it does get really interesting is changing things up between #2 and #3. It is quite hard to describe tone and I am really new to trying to put something I hear into words, but after changing strings and saddle (having a little height difference) between #2 and #3 I was quite surprised about the result: #3 kept its big volume; the body just vibrates by the slightest picking. But it did lack the woodiness and "thump" that I originally picked a J-45 for, instead the bell-like top end became very present. It reminds me a lot of a D-28 I played in a shop last year. Sure a great instrument for many and certainly a good instrument to be played where it's a lot about volume, but not what I'm looking for tone-wise.

    Well, I could've simply changed everything back to how it was and I'd still have #3 as the "winner". But it turns out that #2 just needed that change of a slightly higher saddle (which also fitted slightly better into the notch than the original saddle) and an (apparently) newer set of strings. It's not as loud as #3, but compared to the first testing it seems much more balanced, a little more punchier in the mids and the overtones just blend beautifully to a dry thump. It's a sound you'd like to hear when playing some folk-fingerstyle songs on a rainy November day in an off-grid cabin (Not sure if that makes sense 🙂). And here's the most important take-away: I like #2 with the new setup more than I originally liked #3. Now I'm making things complicated I guess. Turns out you only think you've heard the best sound until you hear something better? Or maybe comparing them back and forth is starting to mess with my ears (and mind).

    This leaves me wondering: The burst on #2 is certainly off-center. Should I even bother when tone is everything? I scrolled through J-45 pictures on google and found quite a few where the burst is not perfectly centered. Or should I keep hunting for the right one, especially since it seems like I haven't heard the real potential of a J-45? J-45s are not super easy to get here, most shops have 1 or 2 available in good times and at the moment there's a real shortage of J-45s available. Seems like the 2019 models are mostly sold out (with a returned one here and there to find) and more 2020 models should arrive some time in September. So if I decided to continue my search it would most certainly be a project postponed to fall.

    So maybe give it another shot and see if I can find THE one (looks, feel and sound all to my approval) out of the few left in the different shops? Don't mind the off-center burst? Or just stay with #3? Or just wait until fall? I'm really thinking out loudly at the moment, I guess I'll have to play #2 and #3 a little more and see where my gusto is taking me.

  13. Hey there,

    first off: I've been a silent reader for quite some time now and just recently signed up as a forum member. Happy to be here! Also, I'm not a native speaker, so I'm sorry for any spelling or grammar mistakes in advance.

    With my first thread I'm hoping to get some input to help me making a decision on a new guitar (I also posted on the Acoustic Forum, thought it might be good to get different opinions). After playing for some years now I've been saving up money to buy my dream guitar, the Gibson J-45 Standard VS, hopefully being able to play it a lifetime. I read a lot about potential inconsistencies along different Gibson models and as a guitar in that price range is quite an investment for me, I wanted to make sure to able to compare a few. With the current situation all major guitar shops are locked down, so I ordered three J-45's to give them a play.

    My first impression is that each J-45 is individual in looks, feel and sound, but none of them something I would consider being a bad guitar at all. Still, I'm very unsure what my priorities should be when picking one of these three guitars, so here's a quick wrap-up of the different characteristics of each guitar.

    The first one:

    Look and feel: Absolutely flawless, I really like the grain of the wood. Straight neck that perfectly plays up and down. The setup is perfect.

    Sound: If I didn't have any other J-45 to compare it with, I'd say it's good. Certainly dry, very warm, a decent punch, but the sustain and overtones are lacking a bit (even though I'm lookin for "that" Gibson sound). I could understand someone playing it and calling it dead. I'd say it's alright, but it could be a bit better.

    The second one:

    Look and feel: Straight neck, the setup could be a little better. A glue blob here and there, not perfectly flawless where the neck meets the body, but I guess I don't mind. Something that I find a little confusing is the off-center Burst. It's a little more apparent looking at it than assessing it on an (overexposed on purpose) picture, but the bottom of the body has much larger darker areas than the top. I'm really all about symmetries when it comes to design so that is an aesthetical issue for me, just not sure how significant this should be for my decision.

    Sound: It simply beats the first one. It brings all the tonal characteristics I've been looking for and shines a little more on the high notes. It's more versatile and sounds good strumming and fingerpicking.

    And the third one:

    Look and feel: Well, I didn't know there were J-45s with bridges and fingerboards this light. And I really don't like it. On the other hand, the top looks great and has a very vintage tone to it. Other than that, there are some glue spills again, a white colored stain on the bracing (visible through the soundhole) and a fairly high string action that would certainly need a proper setup.

    Sound: Clearly the winner of all three. It's full, warm, loud and punchy while still having this growl. It has beautifully warm overtones and just fills the room.

    And here's my dilemma: The "worst" sounding J-45 is the (subjectively) nicest looking one with a flawless finish and overall quality. The best sounding J-45 really puts me off when it comes to looks. I know you can darken Rosewood to a certain extend using fretboard oil, but I don't think it would get even close to the tone of the other J-45s. Also, I don't know if I should mind these minor issues related to the finish and overall quality.

    Some might say I should focus on what sounds best, but beside the finish issues aesthetics are a big factor for me that directly translates into the joy of picking up the guitar and jamming with it. On the other hand, it would certainly be stupid to pick the "worst" sounding guitar when you could have one that has so much more to it.

    What would you do in my position? Should I try getting used to the light colored bridge and fretboard of the third guitar? Is the burst-issue on the second guitar really not a big deal and therefore it might be a good compromise between looks and sound? Or should I hope that the first one will open up eventually? (even though this wouldn't seem right and it's questionable whether time will bring any improvement)

    Would love to hear your thoughts!


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