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Old Neil

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  1. (Posted this on the Martin forum but this is the Gibson forum after all...:D/ ) Had a very enjoyable time today comparing an Adirondack topped, hide glue braced J-45 TV versus 3 different SJ WG's. Firstly the TV: Lovely wide-grain adirondack, satin vintage patina sunburst and 'old ivory' colored binding and tuning peg heads. Light as a feather and no electrics installed. Lovely, felt like a genuine vintage already with the exception of a rather flat and shallow neck compared to what I was expecting. Still fast and comfortable. Setup could have been better though. Had very twangy/rattle in the top e and b strings. So much so I asked the shop to restring it as I thought the ball-end were buzzing from a poorly done initial setup. No difference. The shop then gave it a minor truss rod tweak. Better but still sharp and twangy with the rattle/buzz only in evidence if pushed a little harder. I am told that due to following vintage spec it doesn't have a compensated saddle. Well, IMO it needs one if that would fix the treble string thing. Overall sound wise though it was dark and deep and resonant. Very vintage tone already. With the aforementioned treble side issues it wasn't as balanced as I would have hoped. Overall it was a very lovable guitar with a great vibe. So much so that I wanted to love it more than I did. Not sure how the above issues could be fixed as I'm no techie but others may chip in if they wish. If the trebles stay thin though then vibe or not it wouldn't be for me. The 3 WG SJ's were all different, one even in spec! It had a completely different pick guard to the other two and different quality of fretboard wood. The best of the three was also the newest (2009 model). It wasn't as dark/old sounding as the TV but it was deep and rich with reverby sustain and presence. This surprised me as its a mahogany guitar with rosewood fretboard and bridge. Speaking of fret boards it was figured and beautiful (Madagascar RW I believe) with the SJ Hex inlays. Lovely! On the treble side was sparkling and thick which balanced out the bass and mids. Engaging and very loud but curiously not particularly typical of the Gibson short scale, slope shouldered sound to my ears at least. More like I've heard the sound of AJ's described. No bad thing of course, just surprising the lower tension scale could generate that sort of punch and clarity. Summary then: I wanted to love the TV as it felt as comfortable and familiar as a pair of old slippers. Convincing vintage vibe/tone/feel. I'm yet to be totally convinced though without a proper setup and testing it again. Shame about that on this level of guitar but not a total surprise from Gibson and probably an easy fix with a new saddle (?) done by a luthier. The particular WG SJ I mentioned was a very satisfying surprise. 'Just' Sitka over hog, (albeit with a radiused top) but punchy, loud, deep and sparkling all at once. Easy playability with a more chunky, satisfying neck than the TV too. It was the pick of the litter. Anyone have experience with these guitar models? EDIT to add: Just found this in the Gibson Forum archives that seems to suggest my J-45 dark and deep versus the SJ cut and punch/sparkle seems to apply to the actual vintage versions as well: "Can't speak to the newer ones but over the past 45 or so years I have played a whole lotta older J-45s and SJs and hands down the SJs always seem to be louder with a more woody sound and crackling edge. Makes absolutely no sense - must be the neck binding and board inlays. Ay any rate the J-45s all went bye bye." Gibson officiandos feel free to comment
  2. Thanks for that bit of detective work. The HC review is a special edition version with an adirondack top so I have to figure that in. Any newer owners/players? Are they that hard to come by?
  3. When enquiring about the 1942 Legend guitar a while back, some good comments came up in passing about the the J-45 TV. I would love to hear from those who either own or have played the TV particularly in regard to how the tone and neck feel compare to the standard J-45. Thanks.
  4. Welcome aardvark. I'm fairly new here too but I recognize your handle from the UMGF. Variety is fun. Is it true the neck is even bigger than the D-18 Authentic? Sounds a handful too far.
  5. Thanks for that. My youtube searches has got the guy who compares his standard (hog) J-45 with a Martin HD-28 (great clip) but nothing particular for RW or Koa J-45's. I'm probably leaning more to Hog as, although it might initially sound a little thinner, it should record and separate better in a mix. I'm more of a Martin guy experience wise (currently a lovely D-42) so I know that sound well. I'm still adjusting my ears to the Gibson acoustic tone but love the feel and 'vibe' of the 45's. BTW, are J-45's braced differently to AJ's? Gibson doesn't seem to print specs like Martin, Collings etc. If not, its hard for me to tell the (theoretical) difference between a J-45 RW and an AJ, small cosmetic changes aside. Happy to be enlightened by more experienced members here though...
  6. Impossible for me at least to hear even any two of these side by side let alone all together. Anyone had the opportunity to compare these. How would you describe the tone signature differences? Otherwise I assume they are identical in bracing and other spec.
  7. Thank you everyone for your warm welcome and prompt and helpful replies. Yes, the neck could be an issue as this is what put me off the Martin D-18 Authentic. Not sure if the Legend is similar in that regard but from your comments I suspect so. Next up, the True Vintage would be good if there were any to try where I live (I'm an Australian based in Stockholm, Sweden). I've got to play three different standard J-45's and noticed that they vary somewhat in tone from each other. I've been advised even by Gibson lovers to try before buying as they do vary a lot. This rules out online sales. Even with return policies reverse shipping internationaly could get expensive! Regarding reviews, there seems to be no shortage of standard J-45 and even a few RW J-45 reviews online (Harmony Central, e-pinions et al) but non for this or the True Vintage. I've managed to find a few discussions on this site that included these models however. So final question in a longish post ... , What is the difference between the True Vintage line and the Historic line of a few years ago?
  8. Hi guys and girls, lurker here but first post. Mostly a Martin guy but have owned a J-200 as my first serious guitar. Interested to hear about the Legend 1942 J-45 GIbson is offering now. No reviews available in my searches at least. Does anyone know how they sound, particularly in comparison with the standard J-45? Thanks, O.N.
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