Jump to content
Gibson Brands Forums

What makes a J45, Hummingbird, AJ and so on?


Hairy Dave

Recommended Posts

Just wondering what you guys think about the many variations of each Gibson model? Recent posts by Wily (the multitude of J45's) and JC (music villa demos) got me thinking. What makes a J45, a Hummingbird, a Dove etc etc?

 

Is there merit in only producing J45's in mahogany, Doves in maple, AJ's in rosewood and so on? I have a J45 custom (rosewood) so I'm not put off by the variations - just interested in your take on it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dave ,

 

I don't consider myself a purist so I fancy all those variations .

I'm just happy Montana is producing great stuff .

I even like stuff like that L2 tribute that has the L1 body style but with 1929 L2 features .

But that's just me ... I know most people get pissed off when gibson fails to get a reissue right .The problem is unlike Martin who has been family owned and has keeped records from way back Gibson probably never kept too many records ... so it's hard to recreate something without having a vintage example to measure and examen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JC

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As a consumer, the variations don't bother me a bit. They give me all kinds of choices. OK, some of the variations, like that J-35 masquerading as a short-scale mahogany AJ, are grotesque and silly but so what? Customers appear to enjoy them. You can always opt for the standard versions or the exact replicas like the Legend line if you want traditional. To sum up, from a consumer point of view, I don't see the problem.

 

Whether all these variations are good for Gibson Acoustic is another question. My guess is that a great many permutations may well be more expensive for the company to produce than a few basic models. Much depends on what they are able to sell, and where the demand lies.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't mind the variations. I simply think the majority of variations deserve their own name and reputation. My questions revolve around: Just when is a Hummingbird no longer a Hummingbird. When is a J45 no longer a J45? If there are no limits, then the name means nothing.

 

I share your concern that some of the variations threaten to make the model designations seem meaningless. An AJ is supposed to be a long scale rosewood round shouldered dread. There was a model that was short scale and mahogany, basically a J-35, which on account of some cosmetic details taken from the AJ they were calling an AJ. That is what I termed grotesque and silly above.

 

Still, so what? Minor aberrations and eccentricities which actually fit in with a long history at Gibson of such oddities. I think sometimes we think everything should be discrete, models shouldn't grade into each other and so forth. Offends our sense of order. And yet, just look at the way we distinguish various colors by name. It's a continuous spectrum, there is no real dividing line between colors, the divisions are purely by convention and obey a sort of fuzzy logic.

 

Another point which I brought up in the J-45 thread is: most of these 'permutation' guitars are not the brain-child of some sophomoric genius at Gibson marketing; they are custom packages ordered up by music stores. For the most part Gibson acceded to the wishes of music stores rather than dreamed up this situation (at least I think that is the case).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well a J35 and an AJ are braced differently I'm sure along with all the others.

If you make an aj with a short scale it should be called just that? Kinda like Martin did with the D18ss.

So AJss lol I dunno.

Kind of funny got me thinking I don't recall anyone that follows this forum owning an AJ aside from wily.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jerry, I tend to agree with most of what you said, but still: When is a Hummingbird no longer a Hummingbird? The SJ and J45 are often described in this forum as being identical, aside from cosmetics (the Southern Jumbo being a bit fancier). Yet, the SJ has its own name and is not called a J45. Yet, you can change literally everything on other models and still call it the model name. Just doesn't make sense to me. Not debating the quality of the instruments. Bozeman is building some of the very best to be found. I understand the marketing scheme. I just think it makes it confusing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe it's not quite that simple - the SJ has individual tuners while the J-45 has strip tuners. The earliest SJ guitars were made from rosewood (some say to compete with the D-28) but that did not last and they are almost all mahogany.

 

If you read the old Gibson catalogs, they talk about how the level of trim, quality of wood, and quality of hardware increases as you go "up the ladder". From the very beginning Gibson offered the "same" model in several levels of trim to give customers options at many price points. The oval hole mandolin, A style, was available as A Jr, A-1, A-3, A-4. The catalog describes how the best wood was selected for the top models and then down the line. Just like BMW with 316, 318, 325, 330, M3.

 

The differences may be subtle (like the black stripe down the back of an SJ), but they are there.

 

Jerry, I tend to agree with most of what you said, but still: When is a Hummingbird no longer a Hummingbird? The SJ and J45 are often described in this forum as being identical, aside from cosmetics (the Southern Jumbo being a bit fancier). Yet, the SJ has its own name and is not called a J45. Yet, you can change literally everything on other models and still call it the model name. Just doesn't make sense to me. Not debating the quality of the instruments. Bozeman is building some of the very best to be found. I understand the marketing scheme. I just think it makes it confusing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

.

This thread topic posts up once in a while, but really, this kind of play with specs has been going on for years - square/slope, long-scale/short-scale, rosewood/hog, anything/koa, etc. The one thing consistent about Gibson is that it's inconsistent. I don't see that changing anytime soon and it doesn't bother me. However, I think differences from the specs that one would expect to see on a given model name should be indicated on the internal label - Montana does this sometimes (again, inconsistently). For instance on my AJ with adi top the internal label lists the model as "AJ Red Spruce"; and then no additional info on some earlier J-45 TVs - some labels just list the model as "J-45".

 

 

.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dave, Probably everything that could be said under the sun was on OWF's post several weeks back on the variations on the J45, even though it was meant to be humorous. But, in the spirit of beating a dead horse... I'm guessing there are thousands of permutations and combinations possible. Rather than thousands of individual names, or model numbers, I would prefer a system that categorizes them and then describes the variations. So, a guitar that is in the J45 family, but has these (Rosewood B&S, ebony fingerboard) variations. Cleaner than a "J12GTO". The only problem I have is the Guitar Center Hummingbird Pro.40yp.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One would like to say the body shape has to be the same to call it by the same name, but there are all sorts of precedent for changing body. The J-45 has been round and square shouldered. I think most of us were mystified and perhaps somewhat dismayed by a guitar with a songwriter body being called a hummingbird pro. All one can do is hope that saner heads with more respect for tradition will prevail at Gibson.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The weather here has been all over the place, so I have had a J45 Weekend!

 

 

Keeping the vintage Gibsons in their case until the weather stabilises a bit....

 

 

So more boom than the L guitars, but a great blues guitar with a slightly different sound that the Ls of course.

 

 

When I tried the J45 Standard in the shop a few years back, my head said: "Lightnin'". (And 'take it' of course). It is still good for that blues stuff, and getting better, but over the months and few years that I have played it, it has had a few 'dud' moments as it settles in. Now with a bit of hot weather, it has come out of the case smoking! I think it likes to dry out a bit, which we know is dangerous.

 

 

BluesKing777.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think about these things sometimes when I'm on the internet. If I think too much I develop an opinion about the rather absurd proliferation of guitars called J-45s. But when I'm not on the internet, I play my own Gibson, an OJ from the 2003 run. It has an adirondack top over mahogany, short scale with the bracing of an AJ. Big soft v neck, small vintage burst, and a belly down bridge. It's certainly not "authentic." Not an OJ. Not an AJ. Not a j-45. So what is it? It's a great guitar. One of the best I've ever played. And it's all Gibson in its glorious inconsistency. I don't know if this was made for someone in particular, or if the custom shop built a run with its odd set of specs. I do know its original; I've checked. I don't imagine anyone but the purist would object to the AJ bracing, that, I suspect, is the source of its mojo. I suspect that belly down bridge is undesirable to many. That's ok. It's not going up for sale.

 

P

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The weather here has been all over the place, so I have had a J45 Weekend!

 

 

Keeping the vintage Gibsons in there case until the weather stabilises a bit....

 

 

So more boom than the L guitars, but a great blues guitar with a slightly different sound that the Ls of course.

 

 

When I tried the J45 Standard in the shop a few years back, my head said: "Lightnin'". (And 'take it' of course). It is still good for that blues stuff, and getting better, but over the months and few years that I have played it, it has had a few 'dud' moments as it settles in. Now with a bit of hot weather, it has come out of the case smoking! I think it likes to dry out a bit, which we know is dangerous.

 

 

BluesKing777.

 

BK, Help! What does this have to do with the thread? Admittedly, the question has been asked and answered. Did you mean to post this to the thread asking that other time-worn question - "Do you keep your guitars in their cases when not playing them?" Or was there a weather thread I missed?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

BK, Help! What does this have to do with the thread? Admittedly, the question has been asked and answered. Did you mean to post this to the thread asking that other time-worn question - "Do you keep your guitars in their cases when not playing them?" Or was there a weather thread I missed?

 

 

 

 

 

Apologies to 40YP.....

 

 

I got interrupted as I was typing the earlier post and forgot my punchline/turnaround.

 

With the weather here - Victoria, Australia,( temperature over double what it was the day before, I was concerned about playing my vintage guitars which I have been playing a lot and posting a few tracks here, and decided to leave them in their cases and play my fairly replaceable but still loved 2010 Gibson J45. I had also played my beater guitar during the week when the weather was fluctuating a lot as well, and I didn't want to play that guitar anymore because it basically is a set of strings to play, but no tone.

 

So after playing the J45 for a lot of the weekend, I was going to state as my punchline in response to the thread that it didn't matter what the guitar was made of if it sounded, and played, good.

 

How's that?

 

 

BluesKing777.

 

 

FlatBaroque lives in Sydney, Australia - approx. 500 miles North of where I am, but the weather up there has been hellish with raging out of control fires all over the place.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Apologies to 40YP.....

 

 

I got interrupted as I was typing the earlier post and forgot my punchline/turnaround.

 

With the weather here - Victoria, Australia,( temperature over double what it was the day before, I was concerned about playing my vintage guitars which I have been playing a lot and posting a few tracks here, and decided to leave them in their cases and play my fairly replaceable but still loved 2010 Gibson J45. I had also played my beater guitar during the week when the weather was fluctuating a lot as well, and I didn't want to play that guitar anymore because it basically is a set of strings to play, but no tone.

 

So after playing the J45 for a lot of the weekend, I was going to state as my punchline in response to the thread that it didn't matter what the guitar was made of if it sounded, and played, good.

 

How's that?

 

 

BluesKing777.

 

 

FlatBaroque lives in Sydney, Australia - approx. 500 miles North of where I am, but the weather up there has been hellish with raging out of control fires all over the place.

 

BK,

If I had a nickel for every time I forgot a punchline, I'd be able to buy a beachfront condo.

If I had a nickel for every time I remembered the punchline, and no one laughed, I'd be able to buy the whole beach.

Sorry for jumping on your comment, should have known there was a point. 40yp

Link to comment
Share on other sites

being a gibson newbie, i hope to own one someday, makes things kind of confusing,

but i can understand that gibson marketing wants to sell more stuff, so by offering different flavors

of their popular models, someone who has a mahogany hummingbird, might want a rosewood or maple

but i thought that they should go for a J45 if they want rosewood, maple i dont know

which one corresponds to their Maple line.

 

as i am mostly a Martin guy right now, the D-18s are always Mahogany, for now, D-28s rosewood

but anything can happen.

Taylor is pretty straight foreward, as certain models usually have specific woods, unless

they are a limited or special run

 

guess you just can assume that certain models are made of particular woods anymore

 

 

 

z

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1382287688[/url]' post='1440356']

To me, if a J45 is not made with mahogany, it's not a J45.

 

That's like Martin building a D28 with Mahogany with 28 appointments and calling it D28 mahogany.. or D18 Rosewood... just doesn't sound right, does it?

 

I tend to agree with this in that the core specs of the wood species should follow the model history, and then other variations (bracing, bridge slotted headstocks or solid, tuners, trim, etc....) can be added/deleted from there to make it unique or "custom".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...