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J-29 vs. J-35?


Doug the Old Geezer

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Has anybody had a chance to compare these two models? I imnagine that there is a difference in sound due to rosewood v. mahogany. Other than video demos, I haven't heard too many comparisons. So now I have to choose between the J-15, J-35, J-29 or J-45 as to which ones sound and play the best. I don't know if I have enough GAS to go around, maybe BS. [sad]

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Has anybody had a chance to compare these two models? I imnagine that there is a difference in sound due to rosewood v. mahogany. Other than video demos, I haven't heard too many comparisons. So now I have to choose between the J-15, J-35, J-29 or J-45 as to which ones sound and play the best. I don't know if I have enough GAS to go around, maybe BS. [sad]

 

From the Video's I have seen so far, the J-15 might well be the nicest of the lot.

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Has anybody had a chance to compare these two models? I imnagine that there is a difference in sound due to rosewood v. mahogany. Other than video demos, I haven't heard too many comparisons. So now I have to choose between the J-15, J-35, J-29 or J-45 as to which ones sound and play the best. I don't know if I have enough GAS to go around, maybe BS. [sad]

 

 

I know Z is right, the real way to choose is to try them out, I am just gathering as much info from the folks (that's you) that have experience with any of these guitars, I also know the J-15 and J-29 haven't been out long enough to have too many people try them out. The other thing is I have no experience shopping for any guitars. I have an Alvarez AD60/12 and my cheapo Bristol 6 string by Blueridge, so before I light the match to my GAS flame, I want to make sure that I am getting the one that I want. I love the sound of Martin, but I also love the sound of Gibson acoustics when I hear them. I haven't tried one out for over 10 years (J-60 and D-28) and that's when I was just starting to play, so I didn't have the foggiest idea what I was doing, other than the unique sound that both of these great guitar companies build into their acoustics. So I am really appreciating the help you folks are providing me to help me make my decision. :)

 

Doug

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I have played all of these at Russo's this past week. I like the j15 better than the j35' which I find too tinny. The J29 is nice, but I think I would rather have a Martin D28 for a rosewood fix. Or the J45 custom.

 

Bottom line? J45 still ihas that tone for me. If I couldn't afford one new for about $1900, I'd try to buy a used on for $1300 or so. If I needed new as a criteria, then it would be the J15.

 

Happy hunting! I didn't mean to turn you off... I just know that I wanted to like the J35 since it came out, and I never dug it. And yet, others swear it is magical. That's why you really have to sit sown with these guitars and let them pick you.

 

Edit. I'm typing on an iPad... So forgive all the spelling errors and such.

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I have played all of these at Russo's this past week. I like the j15 better than the j35' which I find too tinny. The J29 is nice, but I think I would rather have a Martin D28 for a rosewood fix. Or the J45 custom.

 

Bottom line? J45 still ihas that tone for me. If I couldn't afford one new for about $1900, I'd try to buy a used on for $1300 or so. If I needed new as a criteria, then it would be the J15.

 

Happy hunting! I didn't mean to turn you off... I just know that I wanted to like the J35 since it came out, and I never dug it. And yet, others swear it is magical. That's why you really have to sit sown with these guitars and let them pick you.

 

Edit. I'm typing on an iPad... So forgive all the spelling errors and such.

 

Thanks for feedback, Sal. That's what I need is info. The nearest Guitar Shop for me is 50 miles, so I hope to get as much info as possible before I go try out the Gibsons and the Martins live. If I go to the Martin side, I am actually thinking about a D-18. But I am trying to keep an open mind. Every guitar sounds different. I always tell the story that the last time I went shopping for a 6 string, (10 years ago), I came home with my Alvarez 12 string (just loved the sound too much not to buy it). That is probably how I will shop this time, as well. [biggrin]

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I find it very disappointing that Gibson is going down the Martin road of diluting models to make less expensive incarnations of what people actually want to buy. A J45 is a great guitar, and making out of less expensive woods or with less binding etc. is not my idea of moving forward in guitar building. There is already a slope shouldered rosewood guitar in the Advanced Jumbo and the working man J45 met the market at the lower price point. I don't like the idea of Gibson craftspeople working on basic guitars made from lesser tone woods.

 

I own a Breedlove guitar that shows why this shouldn't be done. It was made in Bend, OR just like the other models, but it is an OM/SH made with the most basic wood and binding combinations the company ever tried. It was hand built, American made, and hit the US market at around $1000. Now I can appreciate that they might have been building this American Series to train new staff, or something to that effect, but they since sent low quality production to China where it basically belongs. This guitar I have has good trebles, but even as a 12-fretter it has stingy bass capacity and a midrange that is rather brittle. It is almost like a half build, half quality guitar - at half the price.

 

I think Gibson can find customers for their regular series guitars by offering options like financing instead of making less expensive models to deal with the economic climate. Going cheaper might make sense today, but those guitars will be around a long time lowering people's perception of the Gibson brand. When you think of Martin today, you might think of the standard models, but we all know people who own a Martin made with a laminated neck or oddball components like Micarta fingerboards and bridges. Making bad guitars just so people can more easily afford a good brand name is not the answer. It lowers the value of the brand.

 

Martin is lost. I hope Gibson doesn't go down the same road. Gibson acoustics are good guitars. At the price they sell for, they are amazing guitars. Don't add water to the juice.

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This same meme keeps coming up. Gibson is diluting its brand! Too many kinds of J-45! etc. OK whatever. Actually compared to Martin and Guild, for example, Gibson acoustic has done a good job of keeping their Bozeman made guitars at a uniform level of quality. They only have the one production line and everything is just variations on the same basic recipe. As for 'lesser tone woods' - who's to say? One man's lesser tone wood might be another man's holy grail.

 

Looking at Gibson acoustic historically, the current attempts to make more affordable models is right in line with previous Gibson moves. Just look at all the reduced binding l-0's and so forth that were produced to go after the lower end market, not to mention all the Kel Kroydens and other 'cheapo' Gibson brands. Don't knock it.

 

I find it very disappointing that Gibson is going down the Martin road of diluting models to make less expensive incarnations of what people actually want to buy. A J45 is a great guitar, and making out of less expensive woods or with less binding etc. is not my idea of moving forward in guitar building. There is already a slope shouldered rosewood guitar in the Advanced Jumbo and the working man J45 met the market at the lower price point. I don't like the idea of Gibson craftspeople working on basic guitars made from lesser tone woods.

 

I own a Breedlove guitar that shows why this shouldn't be done. It was made in Bend, OR just like the other models, but it is an OM/SH made with the most basic wood and binding combinations the company ever tried. It was hand built, American made, and hit the US market at around $1000. Now I can appreciate that they might have been building this American Series to train new staff, or something to that effect, but they since sent low quality production to China where it basically belongs. This guitar I have has good trebles, but even as a 12-fretter it has stingy bass capacity and a midrange that is rather brittle. It is almost like a half build, half quality guitar - at half the price.

 

I think Gibson can find customers for their regular series guitars by offering options like financing instead of making less expensive models to deal with the economic climate. Going cheaper might make sense today, but those guitars will be around a long time lowering people's perception of the Gibson brand. When you think of Martin today, you might think of the standard models, but we all know people who own a Martin made with a laminated neck or oddball components like Micarta fingerboards and bridges. Making bad guitars just so people can more easily afford a good brand name is not the answer. It lowers the value of the brand.

 

Martin is lost. I hope Gibson doesn't go down the same road. Gibson acoustics are good guitars. At the price they sell for, they are amazing guitars. Don't add water to the juice.

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Ah yes which is best???

 

Well I think it's all about what suits you best.

 

Before I bought My J35 I tried two J45's in the same shop and there were big differences between them both.

 

As I have said in other posts, playing Guitar, especially Acoustic Guitar is a very organic thing.

 

I used to be sold on my Eipi Hummingbird and then a Crafter but any Gibson that I have played, well there is just something more.

 

Guitars have character, you could try 20 of the same model and you would get 20 different sounds, but wander around guitar shops, its a great way to spend some time and play and play and play.

 

Sooner or later you will find a guitar that does exactly what you want t to do and well just feels right!

 

Andy

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Ah yes which is best???

 

Well I think it's all about what suits you best.

 

Before I bought My J35 I tried two J45's in the same shop and there were big differences between them both.

 

As I have said in other posts, playing Guitar, especially Acoustic Guitar is a very organic thing.

 

I used to be sold on my Eipi Hummingbird and then a Crafter but any Gibson that I have played, well there is just something more.

 

Guitars have character, you could try 20 of the same model and you would get 20 different sounds, but wander around guitar shops, its a great way to spend some time and play and play and play.

 

Sooner or later you will find a guitar that does exactly what you want t to do and well just feels right!

 

Andy

 

I am kind of bummed out. I had planned to drive to my nearest Gibson shop (50 miles) Saturday, take my Alvarez 12 string with so they could replace some frets and check it over for me and I was going to play some of their Gibson acoustics. I called ahead to make sure they were open and told them what I was intending to do. They told me they don't keep any Gibson acoustics on hand, only Taylors. They have Gibson electrics. [glare] They have changed their inventory since I was last in there, I guess. So now, if I want to try some out I would have to drive to Minneapolis, MN or Lacrosse, WI (120 miles). I am pissed. I probably will end up ordering a J-35 on line and making sure they have a good return policy in case I don't like it or I find a defect. [cursing]

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I find it very disappointing that Gibson is going down the Martin road of diluting models to make less expensive incarnations of what people actually want to buy. A J45 is a great guitar, and making out of less expensive woods or with less binding etc. is not my idea of moving forward in guitar building. There is already a slope shouldered rosewood guitar in the Advanced Jumbo and the working man J45 met the market at the lower price point. I don't like the idea of Gibson craftspeople working on basic guitars made from lesser tone woods.

 

I own a Breedlove guitar that shows why this shouldn't be done. It was made in Bend, OR just like the other models, but it is an OM/SH made with the most basic wood and binding combinations the company ever tried. It was hand built, American made, and hit the US market at around $1000. Now I can appreciate that they might have been building this American Series to train new staff, or something to that effect, but they since sent low quality production to China where it basically belongs. This guitar I have has good trebles, but even as a 12-fretter it has stingy bass capacity and a midrange that is rather brittle. It is almost like a half build, half quality guitar - at half the price.

 

I think Gibson can find customers for their regular series guitars by offering options like financing instead of making less expensive models to deal with the economic climate. Going cheaper might make sense today, but those guitars will be around a long time lowering people's perception of the Gibson brand. When you think of Martin today, you might think of the standard models, but we all know people who own a Martin made with a laminated neck or oddball components like Micarta fingerboards and bridges. Making bad guitars just so people can more easily afford a good brand name is not the answer. It lowers the value of the brand.

 

Martin is lost. I hope Gibson doesn't go down the same road. Gibson acoustics are good guitars. At the price they sell for, they are amazing guitars. Don't add water to the juice.

lol have to tell you my j35 isn't diluted at all. amazing guitar for a great price. you want Gibson to just make expensive guitars even if they can make 1 at a great price that these guitars are. as for martin- they are far more successful than Gibson ever will be. amazing the elitism that shows up on this board. might be the reason I never come here any more.

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lol have to tell you my j35 isn't diluted at all. amazing guitar for a great price. you want Gibson to just make expensive guitars even if they can make 1 at a great price that these guitars are. as for martin- they are far more successful than Gibson ever will be. amazing the elitism that shows up on this board. might be the reason I never come here any more.

 

Emmonsh, does your j-35 meet your expectations? Since I won't be trying one out before I pull the GAS valve. I was just wondering how it compares to anything else you might have owned or have played. [smile]

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A cupla problems IMHO on this sort of discussion.

 

Regardless, we're talking about a long trip and some substantial cash.

 

Yeah, I get eager too, but I'm in kinda the same boat in terms of work hours not matching the hours at the store that's something over an hour's drive that turns a guitar store expedition into kinda an all-day gig.

 

I refuse to pay more than $500 for a guitar, electric or acoustic, I ain't had a chance to play. As another guy noted here, each instrument is an individual. Our technique, string choice - it all is part of what makes a batch of wood into "our" instrument. One J-Something may grab you; another of the same model may not. I'm at the point I feel something ... different in each. Don't ask how or why, it just is.

 

The last archtop I bought is, I think, a decent way to make things work. I knew the store was getting in two archtops of different brands but "my favorite" dimensions and scale. I asked them to call when one came in. When they did, I asked them to put on my "standard electric" strings, and they did. The trip was less than 4 hours including messing with the guitar on different amps, paperwork, driving and even buying coffee for the road home. Just the drive normally would be 3. Asking a change of strings in the store would have added another 15-30 minutes.

 

If I hadn't wanted that box, I was well-prepared to pay for the strings and whatever, and waiting for the other "incoming."

 

My last trip there they had a cherry-looking Hummingbird for $1,600. It wasn't what I was looking for and I have plenty of similar-sized guitars for that kinda gig that work well with what I use them for. But were that my inclination, I would have had them restring it and then wring it out a while.

 

Some guitars you bond with, some you don't. Don't buy one that doesn't touch you.

 

BTW, I tend toward mahogany body guitars. Most sound better to me with what I do than equivalent shape rosewood. The next guy may say the opposite - and we're probably both correct and "right."

 

m

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. . . you want Gibson to just make expensive guitars even if they can make 1 at a great price that these guitars are. . . .

 

What I want is for Gibson to focus on what it does well, like building J45s, and stop trying to attract customers from other markets, like the $1200 market, because good guitars made of good woods by talented people can't be sustained at that price point. Somewhere, the quality of the wood, the workmanship or the finish will have to decline.

 

Gibson has Epiphone. Instead of lowering the standard of the Gibson by using more affordable components, it makes more sense to up the quality of Epiphone as they did with the Masterbuilt line.

 

You mention that Martin is more successful, and I think if we talk market share or dollar value sold or what have you, then yes they have a prestigious brand and are likely to continue for some time. Still, I believe a time will come when their laminate necks and Mexican labour (Not a race issue, an issue of experience levels) leave a legacy that makes their quality guitars less desirable.

 

If you feel a contrary opinion is offensive, you are right not to come here any more. This is a forum for discussion, which doesn't always mean agreement. You bought a J35 and you are happy with it. I have had the same experience buying guitars and being really happy - but where are they today? Sold. You need only look around for Advanced Jumbos in the trading section - great example of a nice Gibson that doesn't cut it for many players over the long term. You don't see as many J45s even though they are Gibson's finest model. I am confident that if you bought a J45 and a J35 on the same day, in about a year the J35 wouldn't get a lot of use. I could be wrong, and I am glad you like your guitar, but I am not going to be insulted and called an elitist because I share an opinion that these also-ran models are below the standard the company will want to be known for in the future.

 

In the 1970s, both Gibson and Martin focused on making guitars that wouldn't have warranty issues. They made guitars with thick tops and that sort of thing or braces like 2x4s and the net result was damage to the brands. I have a '77 Hummingbird in the family I think is a very good guitar, but it is the exception of what was made in that era and it has basically been retuned and reworked to the level it should have enjoyed at birth.

 

I am not trying to say your J35 is not a good guitar. I am saying Gibson shouldn't be making diluted models. Don't take it so personally.

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I think the term "diluted models" is a bit off target - and not because I think Martin made the correct decision to sell foreign-made particleboard guitars with their famed headstamp. But that's different from calling it "diluted model." Nothing against Mexico, either, and they've traditionally had a pretty decent guitar base, just not versions of what "we" are familiar with.

 

IMHO Gibbie made the correct decision in having a different name stamp on their line of less expensive imports. And Epiphones can range from playable laminated acoustics and bolt-on-neck electrics to some incredible values I would have loved to have had as options in the '60s and '70s at almost any practical price. That's such as a $400 Dot and a $700 Masterbuilt.

 

Fender, IMHO, is somewhere in between. I find the idea of MIM as horrid as the particleboard MIM Martins - Not because they're not decent enough guitars at their price points, but because it's not what one expects from an American icon. Squiers are incredible values too, but carry the different headstamp I find far more honest.

 

If you want to suggest "dilute corporate reputation," I think I'd agree. The guitars themselves ain't all that bad.

 

Now as for should "john smith" buy this or that Gibson model?

 

My schtick is playability. Each individual guitar made as are Gibsons in Bozeman, Nashville or Memphis, will have slight variations in feel in a given model. HenryJ himself sez that they are not and cannot be. I'm also an AE cheerleader.

 

All else being equal, if somebody sez "here's $3,000 you've gotta spend on a guitar," I'm most likely to spend over $500 of it just traveling to the nearest guitar store with a batch of Gibbie acoustics. Then... all bets are off which would make me best feel that it's helping me play my material. Since I'm almost 100 percent a fingerpicker, I'm not sure I'd go for any of the J-size boxes, but... any decision would await a day of driving a music store staff half nuts.

 

m

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