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Everything posted by sbpark

  1. Hold on to the original pick guard even though you’ve replaced it. In the event that you ever parted ways with the guitar, sold it, etc., it would be nice to be able to return it to its original state or pass. It along to the next owner. It’s not like you’d be able to fetch a ton for that particular used pick guard, so just hold onto it.
  2. Sort of reminds me of an Eastman ES-20SS I had for a hot minute. Great guitar, well made, etc., but obviously had its own sound and although it looked very similar to a Gibson slope shoulder dread, it sounded nothing like one, which depending who you ask could be a good or a bad thing.
  3. I doubt the "flubber" guard was an attempt to address any potential issues. As mentioned, if the guard is applied over the finished the top the chance of any damage is really reduced. I went through two flubber guards on my J45 Standard and both started peeling off pretty fast. They plain sucked and have no regrets replacing them with a pick guard used on the new J45 Vintage models. Placing the pickguard onto the bare wood then applying the finish over the top is definitely an issue with Martins, evidenced by the famous "B-string crack" that often happens once that pickguard starts to shrink and pulls on the wood, sometimes cracking the top right near the B string or even bowing the top. The pickguard on my '75 D-28 was shrinking and peeling up and I had a shop replaced it. They carefully removed it, then applied lacquer over the bare wood underneath and made it flush with the surrounding lacquer, then placed the new pickguard over that. Luckily my guitar wasn't damaged from the shrinking pickguard, but many have been.
  4. I replaced the “flubber” pickguard with the OEM pickguard Gibson uses on he J45 Vintage.
  5. On the low E side, not the high E. 4/64 is pretty much average action on the high E side. Usually any lower is generally considered low on the high E, and anything above that is leaning toward higher action. Here's the factory "Final Checklist" from my Gibson AJ, and you can even see that the guitar shipped with 6/64" on the low E and 4/64" on the high E. Martin factory spec is 7/64" on the low E and 5/64" on the high E and many consider than a little on the higher side and usually bring it down a little.
  6. I never said I wanted or was expecting a "big booming voice" from my J45. Thats doesn't mean that the tone isn't going to change as you lower the action on it. But with that said, that wasn't my initial intention of the thread. I was focusing more on why J45 Standards seem to have this zingy B-string thing going on and how this may be related to the shallow angle/string break across the saddle may have something to do with it combined with the fact that the B string has a pretty low tension relative to the rest of the strings. On any of my other acoustics part and present (Gibson AJ, Waterloo WL14, Martin D-18, D-28, HD-28, D-35) I've never seen such a shallow angle where the B and high E strings breaks over the saddle at the bridge than I have on a J45 Standard, and this has been the case on three J45 Standards Iv'e owned, and all have exhibited that zing not he B string once I took the action to 4/64" on the high E side. The inherent lower tension of the B string, combined with the lower string tension because it's a short scale guitar combined with the shallow break angle across the saddle is, in my opinion what's causing this zingy B string. It probably wont be present when the guitar is new in the shop with a high saddle, but every time I've set up a J45 Standard to what most consider acceptable action (6/64" on the low E and 4/64" on the high E) that B string starts zinging. The higher action/great volume but harder to play thing isn't really a debatable thing. It's more a matter of finding where along that spectrum works for you, where you're able to find the combo of action vs. tone is satisfactory to you.
  7. Lowering the saddle on ANY guitar (I'm even including electrics in this statement, not just acoustics) will absolutely change the tone. I've noticed this the most with banjos, actually. Big reason why a lot of banjo players play with high action. The higher the action the more those things ring out.
  8. Did you work for Billy Bragg when he did the Tiny Desk concert when he was playing the J45 Standard?
  9. All the J45's I've owned in the last 5 years or so, be it several Standards, a couple True Vintage and a Vintage model have all been VERY consistent, if not identical with neck angle. I think that's one having that Gibson does consistently. I've had new Martins that are all over the place. I messed with the guitar today and found a Bob Colosi saddle I had in my toolbox and thing I found a nice compromise. Action is 6.6/64" on the low E and 5/64" on the high E with a VERY darn near straight neck. I think the every so slightly higher action on the high side combined withless relief (and thus providing a stiffer string) got that "B string zing" about 90%-95% gone and the guitar sounds so much better. I also tried out some Herco Gold picks just on a whim because I'm. Neil Young fan, and apparently that's what he uses and they somehow sound so much better than any other thin pick I've ever used before. I'm normally prefer a heavy or extra-heavy pick, but these Herco Golds are very nice and lush and still have a fat bottom end. I wouldn't use these picks for flatpicking, but for strumming they're very nice.
  10. Thats great that your "B-string zing" went away. I sort of have a theory about why that zing exists and I think it has to do with the angle of the string as it comes out of the bridge and breaks over the saddle. Both the B and high E strings have a very shallow angle as the string comes out of the bridge across the saddle. The B and E string tensions are pretty similar (at least they are with a set of D'Addario EJ16 strings). Given these two strings are the same/similar tension and the B string is obviously tuned lower than the E means it's actually looser than the low E. The lower tension paired with a pretty straight/shallow angle over the saddle on a J45 Standard may be the reason for the B-string zing" because the zing happens if the string is played open and at any fret. Maybe if the angle was sharper it would put more pressure down on the saddle and maybe not cause the "zing" anymore. The higher the action, the steeper the angle, resulting in more tension at the witness point on the saddle. I've been able to decrease almost eliminate the zing by raising the action a little.
  11. I've had a couple J45 Standards and they've all required me to set them up or have them set up by someone else the exact same way. Usually need just a smidge more relief. I usually like as little as possible, around 0.05", but the J45 Standards seem to sound best with 0.08"-0.10" relief and slightly higher action (6.5/64 on the low E and 5-5.5/64" on the high E) other wise I start getting a B and high E string ping or buzz. This has been pretty consistent on the three J45 Standards I've had. I've been through different string types, bone nuts and saddles, etc, and I will say this seems to be super consistent from one to the other. I've also had the guitar checked out and no high frets, issues with the frets or neck, etc. I'm guessing maybe it's just my playing style, but then again I've had other short scale guitars, like a Waterloo WL14 that had lower action, almost no neck relief and didn't seem as finicky as the J45 Standards I've had or the one I currently have. The B-string zing just tends to drive me nuts. Like I've said I've tried all different things, having new nuts made, ew saddles, checked witness points on the saddle, different string types and brands, and it's always there unless I give it just a little more relief and higher action.
  12. Some are good, some are bad and some are great sounding. You just have to get out there and find one you like, or roll the dice if you order one online that has a good return policy, but know that many online vendors will not only charge you return shipping, but also charge you what it cost to send you the guitar if you decide to send it back simply because you don't like it and there's nothing wrong with it structurally.
  13. Guess I'm int he minority but I'm not digging the sound. Maybe it's the way they recorded it, or maybe that's just the way Hummingbirds sound, and why I've never been drawn to them. All clack and attack. That and the narrow nut and price this thing is most likely going for make it even less attractive.
  14. I've always experienced this with J45's and 13's, but this particular one sounds fantastic with 13's. It already had a very big, growly low end and just sounds huge now.
  15. I also said I have a fire/tiger stripe guard on my AJ and it doesn't look like that. And the tort guards I have are actually translucent in spots. I even have a few spots on my "OEM Gibson "Vintage" J45 pickguard that I installed on my J45 Standard (after 2 of the OEM rubbery pickguards failed to adhere) that's downright clear in a few spots and have also made my own and never had this issue or have seen it on my AJ with a stock fire/tiger stripe guard.
  16. Was playing my two Gibsons (J45 & Advanced Jumbo) against a D-18 Standard today in a shop that was goin gout of business, comparing them to the D18 (they D18 was on "clearance", so I figured I'd give it a go). Although the D18 was nice, it didnt rock my world, but thought my two Gibsons sounded a little thin/trebly, especially the J45. A couple months ago I switched to D'Addario 80/20's (previous using D'Addario PB's) for some more clarity, but felt like the 80/20's were robbing both guitars of some warmth, and this was glaringly apparent played next to the Martin (but the Martin did sound a tad muddy to me). Went home and put a set of DR Sunbeams (13-56) on each of the Gibsons and was pleasantly surprised. I ordered the Sunbeams a very long time ago and decided against trying them out because I always thought they were bright strings, but was for sure wrong. They definitely aren't as zingy out of the pack as other strings when new, but there still is a touch of zing hiding in there. Hoping that goes away after a day or two, but these are for sure warm strings while still being very well balanced without losing clarity. I went ahead and put a set of the 13's on the J45 because of the round core knowing they should be more flexible under the fingers, and so far so good. I've always thought that 12's always sounded a little thin on the J45, while 13's have tended to "choke" the guitar a bit. Sunbeam 13's dont seem to choke the J45, that low end Gibson growl is still there while offering just a touch more tension than 12's, which works for me because short scale combined with 12's always felt a little too loose for me. This seem like a nice choice for both guitars.
  17. What model I meant? There are several incarnations of the AJ.
  18. Congrats on the D-28! I've never been able to bond with them. I had a 2012 and a 1975 D-28, and have played the new Reimagined version. D-28's always sound a bit tight/choked in the lows, and have unbalanced highs to my ear, and HD-28's (used to have one of those as well) was too scooped with a boomy bass and thin highs. My Favorite Martin dreads are the new D-35's and D-18's.
  19. The stock fire stripe pick guard on my 2012 AJ doesn't look like that, and I've replaced quite a few J45 pick guards (tort, not fire stripe) including one that was an OEM Gibson pickguard that is sued in the "Vintage" models and a couple of the thicker, rubberized pickguards that are used on the "Standards", and have even made my own from blanks and applied a 3M adhesive sheet to it (the blank and adhesive sheet bought from StewMac) and have never had any of them come out looking like the OP's. I've never had any pattern like that under the pickguard. To me the Op's doesn't look right. Looks like either air trapped between the pickgaurd and the finish, or even wood/finish that was ripped off when the previsions pic guard was removed, but I doubt that's the case given the uniform pattern.
  20. I was wondering when this wold start to happen. With the way Gibson was doing it before, I felt like they were sort of shooting themselves in the foot so to speak. I had seen several local shops drop Gibson in the last few years because of Gibson's unreasonable demands on Gibson deciding the minimum amount of inventory that a shop needed to carry to remain a Gibson dealer. Hopefully this is a sign of things changing for the better for both Gibson and the local shops.
  21. I've played my share of Martins that are so easy to play (my D-35 was so easy to play and had a huge voice), and I've played Gibsons that feel more like a wrestling match and sound like garbage. Goes both ways. I've owned two SJ-200's. One was amazing, the other seriously was a joke and sounded god awful. I'm not a fan of Collings. So what's my point here? You can't lump every brand into a category of automatically being dogs or amazing because it's all a matter of personal opinion. The guy who bought that SJ200 that I couldn't wait to get rid of absolutely loved it. Who am I to say he's wrong? I didnt start this thread to bash Martins, which is why I started the thread by saying that they're fine instruments.
  22. I've played several D'18's, including a really nice D-18 Authentic that a guy brought by when he was trying out my D-35. Sounds crazy but I'd still take my J45 Standard (that's been somewhat "heavily" modified" over that D-18 Authentic.
  23. Not bashing Martins at all. They make some fine guitars, but I just sold the last of the few Martins I had. Paired down to just two acoustics and ended keeping my J45 Standard and an Advanced Jumbo. I play the J45 99% of the time and it's just the one I reach for 99% of the time. I had a D-35 that almost gave the J45 a run for it's money. It was a beautiful sounding guitar, huge, rich, warm and clear sound, but not as versatile as the J45, and in some cases a little too powerful, but man did that D-35 sound good! Also had a 70's D-28 that I gave the works to before selling it (neck reset, refret, a couple loose back braces glued) and a '14 Custom Shop small body 12-fretter. Just never bonded with Martins like I did with my two Gibsons. The only Martin guitar I really do like and could see myself getting again would be a (relatively inexpensive) 000-15M. Martin really hit the nail on the head with that guitar. They sound amazing and won't break the bank, but for now it's just the J45 and AJ.
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