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J-35 vs songwriter


gwindy

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Hi,

 

I'm looking for your experience/wisdom!, I bought a J-35 last summer and was blown away with it. It was the most expensive guitar I've bought and after living with it for a few weeks prompted me to sell my 9 other guitars (cured me of GAS?)including Taylor, Breadlove (previous fav), Tanglewood etc etc

 

Living where I do and working like I do I don't get much chance to try new guitars to compare but I'm in a position to possible upgrade again. I love the J-35 and want to stay in the Gibson family, I love the sound and feel but sometime wish it had a bit more 'bling' hence I find myself lusting after a songwriter custom.

 

My question is would this be a worthwhile upgrade in sound/feel?

 

I wouldn't get chance to try before I buy but as every other guitar I've bought has been blind I'm comfortable doing this.

 

Is this guitar (or a standard songwriter deluxe) much of a step up from the J-35?

 

I really thought the J-35 would be the last guitar I bought but have a niggling thought I could do one step better (guess I'm not cured of GAS!)

 

I'm not looking for anything that the J-35 doesn't give me sound wise but I'm curious as to what moving up the ladder would give me?

 

thanks for any advice/experience

 

Graham

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All this guitar stuff is very subjective. We all hear things differently. I've owned one Songwriter and I sold it. I just couldn't warm-up to it. Beautiful instrument and lots of volume/tone, but it just wasn't me. That said, the guy I sold it to couldn't wait to get it and 5 years later he still has it. I totally understand the "bling" deal. I like fancy guitars, but there's more to this than looks or even sound. The guitar has to feel like it's part of you, an extension of who you are. Just going by model names, the J35 is more me than a Songwriter, but obviously, someone else will think differently. If I personally wanted a guitar with more bling than a J35, I'd look at a Hummingbird, used Dove, used J200 for example (all in the ballpark with a Songwriter as far as money goes). I don't know if the J35 comes in a sunburst, but even that would be an option for me........I've got guitars that are very plain, yet they are "me." I've also owned guitars with plenty of bling and I sold them. Just couldn't bond with them. Still, my Hummingbird, J150, and Dove have plenty of bling and I easily identify with them. It all depends...lol..........I digress, but the bottom line is that I personally wouldn't switch guitars simply for more bling. As much as I enjoy fancy instruments, there really is more to "needing" an instrument than looks and sound.

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I have come to the conclusion that there are more than a few people out there who tend to overthink the whole guitar thing. Only three things matter - how it sounds, how it feels, and can I afford it. To me the bets way to go about it is the route EuroAussie just took. You walk out the door not even thinking about buying anything and all of a sudden there it is just staring you in your face. No preconceived notions about what you think you should or should not buy. You just let your ears, fingers, gut, and pocket book make the call.

 

MissouriPicker is right on the money. Nobody can pick a guitar for somebody else other than maybe somebody whose style and taste you know well. I am also not a Songwriter fan as I prefer old school Gibson tone to new school Gibson tune. But then again, I also yet to find myself being able to cozy up to a new J-35. To me they are a bit bright sounding and I guess I just prefer the warmth of a J-45. And I love Plain Jane guitars. A tasty pear-edged burst is about as busy as I want a guitar to look. On the other side of the coin, I can guarantee that a good number of folks on this forum would get hold of my 1930s Oscar Schmidt jumbo and think to themselves that boy must be on puppy chow to love this thing.

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The J-35 is an excellent guitar if you find a particularly good one. I love mine and for me, it's much more about the sound, playability and 'fit' of a guitar than bling. MissouriPicker put it very well referring to a guitar feeling like an extension of us, as well as sound, feel, playability... the right fit. My Martin D-41 had PLENTY of bling, but I'm just not a bling type of person and there were other things about it that ultimately just didn't 'fit' me and my needs in terms of tone, etc. Just couldn't bond with it and much prefer my other guitars...all of which are minimal bling and maximum tone/playability/character. But we're all different and like different things.

 

You could also consider an AJ. More bling than the J-35 but not overboard, same slope shoulder shape, deeper tone, powerful with more volume. Stunning guitars. I had an AJ for a while and although I loved the aesthetics and basic tone on its own, it just didn't fit my needs for what I do playing Irish/Celtic in DADGAD. For me, the J-35 is a better tonal fit when playing with other instruments. But that doesn't mean you might not love it for your needs.

http://www2.gibson.com/Products/Acoustic-Instruments/Round-Shoulder/Gibson-Acoustic/Advanced-Jumbo.aspx

 

And the J-45 Custom (I'm considering this guitar)

http://www2.gibson.com/Products/Acoustic-Instruments/Round-Shoulder/Gibson-Acoustic/J-45-Custom.aspx

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I'm really considering one of the new J's 29, 35, but I wonder how hard it would be to add a do it yourself Sunburst like the J-45tv

 

any insight would be appreciated, how to apply - would a shaker can do it OK or what ????

 

Any negative or positive thoughts would be helpful....Thanks

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I'm really considering one of the new J's 29, 35, but I wonder how hard it would be to add a do it yourself Sunburst like the J-45tv

 

any insight would be appreciated, how to apply - would a shaker can do it OK or what ????

 

Any negative or positive thoughts would be helpful....Thanks

In the immortal words of John McEnroe... YOU CAN'T BE SERIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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I would hope not. But yeah, go buy a couple of cans of ReRanch and have at it. Make sure to post pics of what you hath wrought.

I've read posts at the Martin forum about using ReRanch with good results but I'm not a good tech to do it my self so it looks like 2 votes for don't do it :-)

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Yes, it requires a good, solid understanding of the process, technique, the particular products your using and experience in this type of work. It takes talent to do it right and make it look professional. Are you sure the posts on the Martin forum weren't regarding restorations? I read through the ReRanch site and the products are meant mostly for restorations. You'll notice all but one of the guitars in the gallery are electric since the necks can be removed...and the one acoustic was a total restoration where the top was replaced...nothing close to what you're considering. If you're talking about doing a burst on the top of a new J-35, you'd have to remove the bridge, pickguard, and it would be very difficult to do it properly with the neck attached. You'd have to really practice to get the right amount of spray in the neck area without it building up. And you'd have to know how to blend the spray into the top edge contours with no overruns on the sides, etc. UGGGHHHHH. I've refinished a couple tops during a neck reset, but would never attempt a burst on an already finished guitar.

 

Forget the J-35 or 29 and go for a J-45 or AJ with burst.

 

DC

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Yes, it requires a good, solid understanding of the process, technique, the particular products your using and experience in this type of work. It takes talent to do it right and make it look professional. Are you sure the posts on the Martin forum weren't regarding restorations? I read through the ReRanch site and the products are meant mostly for restorations. You'll notice all but one of the guitars in the gallery are electric since the necks can be removed...and the one acoustic was a total restoration where the top was replaced...nothing close to what you're considering. If you're talking about doing a burst on the top of a new J-35, you'd have to remove the bridge, pickguard, and it would be very difficult to do it properly with the neck attached. You'd have to really practice to get the right amount of spray in the neck area without it building up. And you'd have to know how to blend the spray into the top edge contours with no overruns on the sides, etc. UGGGHHHHH. I've refinished a couple tops during a neck reset, but would never attempt a burst on an already finished guitar.

 

Forget the J-35 or 29 and go for a J-45 or AJ with burst.

 

DC

You guys are making a lot of sense-It would take to much work to do, and I do not have to skills myself

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these are totally different guitars. if you like the J35 but want more flash then look for a Southern Jumbo. basically the same guitar but fancier. or maybe a J45 Custom. it's rosewood and a little different tone but in the same family and has more bling.

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I think the J-35 is a good looking guitar. I almost bought one last weekend, but I other things got in my way. My wife fell ill with a serious case of the flu and then the flu I had prior to her getting it pretty much kicked my behind until today..lol.... I love the banner headstock, vintage finish and fire stripe pick guard. I think it looks as good if not better than a lot of the bling models, in fact, I consider the J-35 to be blingy as well. It is mojo city.

 

 

Enjoy it,

 

 

Freddie

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I think the J-35 is a good looking guitar. I almost bought one last weekend, but I other things got in my way. My wife fell ill with a serious case of the flu and then the flu I had prior to her getting it pretty much kicked my behind until today..lol.... I love the banner headstock, vintage finish and fire stripe pick guard. I think it looks as good if not better than a lot of the bling models, in fact, I consider the J-35 to be blingy as well. It is mojo city.

 

 

Enjoy it,

 

 

Freddie

At first I wasn't sure I'd like the lighter mahogany, but now I love it...and the guitar. For a bit more bling you can always install pins with MOP dots and a custom blank truss rod cover with white trim. I just think it would take away from the vintage J-35 look Gibson was attempting to reproduce. The original J-35 wasn't a 'blingy' guitar, except some did have sunburst tops and it would be nice if Gibson offered a burst J-35, J-15, and J-29. Oh well...The J-35 is certainly more blingy than the Martin 15, 17, RS, and X series.

 

Bottom line, I'm just fine with the looks, sound, and playability of my J-35. This is a special one with a nice full sound...not thin at all, as some J-35s can be.

 

DC

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Add your own sunburst? I think if you wet sand the face and then do the bondo, then wet sand again and let it dry overnight. Then a coat or red lead, sand and then gray primer. Now you can spray on some sunburst. You might want to try a First Act guitar first, till you get the hang of it.

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GWindy, I think you've hit on a plan: Wait and See. You need to absorb and process more info (this is a good place) about Gibson acoustics. Body shape, overall size, differences in b/s tone woods. But, your ear hears different than others - so what you like, someone else might not - even if you have the same taste - because you have different ears. (inner, outer, bone structure, sinus shape and size, etc.) So, as has been suggested - you need to first look for a guitar that speaks to you. It isn't a logical progression, we all follow different paths. The feel and sound are most important. Looks is a distant third, honestly. Most players would prefer to sound good rather than look good. Trophy wives notwithstanding, you wouldn't want one who you weren't comfortable with when you weren't showing her off. There are lots of good Gibsons in the used market, which makes it possible to upgrade easier. After becoming an educated consumer based on the written word, do whatever you can to play others - even if they aren't Gibsons - so you know if you like a thump in the bass, or lots of sustain, or bell like ringing. Then, go back and see which Gibson model most closely matches the sound you like. Maple, Rosewood, Mahogany. You have to start somewhere. But - don't just move up to another model because it is supposedly a 'better' one, costs more and/or looks better. If you enjoy the journey, you have a good shot at enjoying the destination when you get their. G'Luck.

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  • 1 month later...

Hi

 

Just thought I'd update on this. I sold the J-35 (for not much less than they retail for in the UK - guess that's a good sign for anyone thinking of resale value).

 

It was by far the best sounding guitar I've owned BUT we had a weekend away with the opportunity to play with many many guitars (Martin/Gibson). I enjoyed them all and would have been happy with the sound of any of them but the sound and look of a j-45 custom stole my heart (and ear's) WOW is all I can say, needless to say its at home now and when I'm not playing it I'm sat looking at it!

 

What a sound, every note rings out - the difference between this and all the previous guitars I've owned is astounding. It would be difficult to explain to a none guitar player how one 'wooden' guitar can sound so different to another but im sure you all understand. I loved my J-35 and enjoying reading posts on any forum on them as they seem to have a real love em or hate em thing going on. It might be my ears or Im just not that fussy but I think all guitars in the +£1000 bracket should sound impressive, whether one sounds 'right' to the individual is a different thing. The difference between the J-35 and J-45 is vast, that's not to say the 35 is poor just so different (in my vague terms loser and jangler) the 45 tighter/control and even.

 

If you haven't guessed yet I love my J-45 for its sound and it's got all the bling I could ever want.

 

Graham

 

PS, after our guitar weekend away my Son ended up with a Martin HD35 - again what a guitar!

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I would say that if you are a singer songwriter, you may in the end, one day desire a Gibson Hummingbird. Over the years, having owned as many as 27 different high end guitars, Martin, Gibson, Taylor, Guild, RainSong etc....I have found the Gibson Hummingbird model to be the most compatible, and most complimentary, to the human voice. I know they are a LOT of money. But they do the job effortlessly, and smooth as butter. The Hummingbird does it all, and with class and style. Perhaps put that money aside...and save it..till you get enough for a Hummingbird! Good luck.msp_thumbup.gif

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Hi

 

Just thought I'd update on this. I sold the J-35 (for not much less than they retail for in the UK - guess that's a good sign for anyone thinking of resale value).

 

It was by far the best sounding guitar I've owned BUT we had a weekend away with the opportunity to play with many many guitars (Martin/Gibson). I enjoyed them all and would have been happy with the sound of any of them but the sound and look of a j-45 custom stole my heart (and ear's) WOW is all I can say, needless to say its at home now and when I'm not playing it I'm sat looking at it!

 

 

If you haven't guessed yet I love my J-45 for its sound and it's got all the bling I could ever want.

 

Graham

 

Graham -Interesting progression. I have a 1995 J45 Deluxe - an. even blingier Rosewood J45 than yours.

 

Great guitars, in the J45 tonal space, with a bit more depth and richness.

 

But I still hanker to complement (not replace) it with another mahogany J45/J35. The tone of my now gone FVG J35 still haunts me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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