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My First Gibson: J35


michaelnel

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Yesterday I bought my first Gibson. I have been playing guitar on and off for over 50 years, and have owned an awful lot of them, but honestly, this is the first time I have owned a Gibson.

 

I bought a J35 from Sweetwater. It's not in my hands yet, but Sweetwater shipped it yesterday and I should have it sometime in the coming week. I did a lot of research on it, and I think I'm gonna like it.

 

One thing.. I listened to the tonal differences between the J35 and the J45 on this youtube video (

), and at first wondered about the significant tonal difference, especially when they explained the bracing on the J35 should produce more bass. I sure didn't hear it in the video. The J45 sounded bassier all the time.

 

But then I noticed that Gibson ships the J45s with 12-53 light gauge strings, but the J35s ship with 11-52 ultra light strings. That's gotta make a difference in the tone right there.

 

Is the choice of 11-52s by Gibson because the J35 is more lightly constructed and not able to stand up to the additional tension of the 12-53 set? I normally use 12-53s (EJ16s), and I would like to put them on the J35 if it's up to it.

 

Thanks!

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From my experience, the J-35 can vary quite a bit from guitar to guitar, so I hope you get one of the good ones. BTW, after trying a BUNCH of different strings on my J-35, I just put Martin Tony Rice MTR13 on it and sounds fantastic. The monel strings don't color the tone like PB or 80/20, but bring out the natural woody tone with a nice, rich balanced tone. Really nice.

 

Tread lightly with EJ16s on the J-35 since it's an inherently bright guitar and EJ16s are possibly the brightest PB strings out there. They were very bright on my J-35.

 

Let us know how you like the J-35. Sweetwater is great to work with and unlike some other vendors, won't re-sell a returned guitar unless it passes their 55-pt inspection. So you can at least be assured of receiving a new guitar that hasn't been altered, returned, and re-sold, as I've heard some online vendors will do. Did you request one of the guys play a couple before sending and pick what they feel is the best one?

 

Fingers crossed! BTW, my recent J-35 purchase is my first Gibson as well, and I love it...except for the Element pickup which will be replaced soon.

 

DC

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Don't know why they would ship with x-lights. That makes no sense on a slope J. I think 12's should be fine. They can't be that lightly built.

 

The Gibson website actually say "lights" on the J-35, but then they say .011's. The J-45 specs also say "lights", but list them at .012's. I don't take every specification on the Gibson website as gospel.

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Don't know why they would ship with x-lights. That makes no sense on a slope J. I think 12's should be fine. They can't be that lightly built.

 

The Gibson website actually say "lights" on the J-35, but then they say .011's. The J-45 specs also say "lights", but list them at .012's. I don't take every specification on the Gibson website as gospel.

Mine came with lights and I've had no issues with the Martin Tony Rice MTR13 mediums. I don't normally use mediums on anything, but these sound and play fantastic on the J-35. I would think x-lights would sound very thin on a J-35.

 

DC

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I keep going back and forth wanting a J-45 TV and a J-35, I really love the look of both

 

as far as the Adirondack top being one of the main reasons for wanting the J-45 TV but I'm thinking the forward X bracing on the J-35 will balance out the differences in sound ???? but I'm not sure which will sound better the Sitka spruce or the Adirondack spruce top

 

Any opinions would be appreciated

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Did you request one of the guys play a couple before sending and pick what they feel is the best one?

 

No. I considered it, but it doesn't matter how it sounds to them, it matters how it sounds to me. My ears are so shot I likely wouldn't be able to tell the difference anyway.

 

And I can just imagine "Sorry, these all suck, we can't sell you one of this batch".

 

They do have 30 day return policy, if it has to go back, it will.

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I'd definitely switch to the lights. Extra lights, to my ears, tend to make a guitar sound tinny and too bright (of course, it's an in-expensive way to get that "Taylor" sound if one is into those kinds of metro-sexual tones..)...... Also, keep in mind that all these opinions on guitar tone are simply "that." The J35's quality is there. How good the tone is depends a great deal on how much you like what you hear. Enjoy your J35. If you like it, that's all that matters.

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I have 12's on mine with no issues whatsoever. It sounding better and better every day and was definitely the pick of the litter of the 5 that i played. For what its worth I also had a chance to play a new J-29 today and it couldn't hold a candle to my J-35! Congrats on your new purchase and enjoy.

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Congrats on the new J35, half of the fun is finding out what makes your guitar sound it's best to your ear's. I am running Martin SP's right now on my AJ and it sounds great. But I am going to try the TR Monel's to see what happens to the tone and play ability. So have fun when it gets to you and remember to post a couple pic's.

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I have played both J35 and J45 side by side in the local Gibson shop

J45 has more bass - that's what I hear.

Never mind what strings you put on a J35 it stays J35. msp_biggrin.gif

Same thing with the J45 msp_biggrin.gif

One more thing: I changed the tusk nut&saddle of my J35 with bone ones and the guitar SOUNDS BETTER AND DEEPER, but not like a J45 msp_tongue.gif

 

I changed the - ugly - sounding - to - me - L.R. Baggs Element with a K&K Triniti Mini system and it is now perfectly sounding plugged in.

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I put 12s on mine and they sound great. thomastik by far sound better than any I have put on and heck they are lasting as long as elixers did. definitely more bass with the 12s and thomastick strings. I also put a bone saddle and bridge pins from bob colossi on it. definitely a plus.

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EJ16s are Phosphor Bronze, 12-53.

 

Im fully aware of that. Still there are warm and bright sounding PB strings, and everthing in the middle. To my ears EJ16's sound both bright and thin, which would not be optimum on J-35 which is a bit bright and a bit on the thin side to start of with, so you'd want to beef and warm it up a bit. (uness youre a Taylor guy looking to get into Gibsons ..)

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I keep going back and forth wanting a J-45 TV and a J-35, I really love the look of both

 

as far as the Adirondack top being one of the main reasons for wanting the J-45 TV but I'm thinking the forward X bracing on the J-35 will balance out the differences in sound ???? but I'm not sure which will sound better the Sitka spruce or the Adirondack spruce top

 

Any opinions would be appreciated

 

Well, many of us here have a similar conundrum. What should I buy next? An AJ or a Songwriter? A Dove or an Sj200? KOA or Mahogany? Sounds like the price difference is not an issue, so...

I have owned neither but played them side by side in our local GC, as I hope you've been able to.

When you ask for free advice here, you get what you pay for !

I'd opt for the J45TV. Cost more because it's worth more. Will hold value for resale, or to pass on to a grandchild.

The 35 can sound lighter. The 45 is an icon, it looks "better" than the 35, holding aside personal preferences for natural vs sun bursts.

The 45 is probably little more solidly built.

As far as sound as it is affected by the tone wood on the face, you could get a better comparison if you compared the standard 45 to the 45 TV.

Many say they can hear a difference. I personally think strings and plectrum will have a bigger impact.

"IMHO, Expletives Deleted, To the best of my knowledge at this point in time. Your own mileage may vary. Do Not Try This In Your Own Home. "

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Im fully aware of that. Still there are warm and bright sounding PB strings, and everthing in the middle. To my ears EJ16's sound both bright and thin, which would not be optimum on J-35 which is a bit bright and a bit on the thin side to start of with, so you'd want to beef and warm it up a bit. (uness youre a Taylor guy looking to get into Gibsons ..)

 

With all the talk of the J-35 being voiced brighter than its kissing kin the J-45 I have started to wonder if the guitar is not a nod to the popularity of Taylors. Or maybe it was just Gibson did not want to recreate the sound of the J-45 thereby competing with themselves.

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