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J-15 getting better with age?


Randmo

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I've only been playing about two months, April 20th, I bought a new J-15. While at the store it sounded great, a few days after I got it home it seemed to sound quieter and dull. Brand new strings when I took it home but it Seemed I was always tuning it, so after about a week, I put new gibson 80/20's on it, kind of sounded the same. After a few days the strings seemed to settle in, volume,seemed to increase, tone seemed better, stays in tune and sounds awesome. Am I crazy or just impatient? It gets wiped down every night and sleeps in its case with a humidipak.

 

492eaf9c-d55f-4713-8f00-1d24e91a3962_zps5470851f.jpg

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There are several factors at work here.

 

First, the acoustics in the store certainly will be different from most homes.

 

Secondly, as a new player, you're likely to be holding the instrument differently even over short periods of time. I've been at it over 50 years and although the actual "playing 'hold' and geometry" obviously change from guitar shape to guitar shape, there are times I find myself holding a given instrument quite differently - and that's enough to change how one perceives the sound from an acoustic guitar.

 

There's another factor and I don't really know how to describe it. Regardless of one's skill level, the same guitar can "sound" different when played by different players. Part of it may be technique, part how one holds the instrument, part in how one perceives the sound whether playing it or listening to it. I tend to think that how one holds the guitar does play a role in it. I've mostly heard this sort of feedback from classical guitarists, but...

 

Also consider that as a new guitarist, your technique is making radical changes. Regardless of the instrument or the type of playing you are working toward, that itself will bring some change.

 

So... all I'll say is best of luck, and I've a bit of envy because the Gibbie is a far better instrument than I started on those years ago.

 

m

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There are several factors at work here.

 

First, the acoustics in the store certainly will be different from most homes.

 

Secondly, as a new player, you're likely to be holding the instrument differently even over short periods of time. I've been at it over 50 years and although the actual "playing 'hold' and geometry" obviously change from guitar shape to guitar shape, there are times I find myself holding a given instrument quite differently - and that's enough to change how one perceives the sound from an acoustic guitar.

 

There's another factor and I don't really know how to describe it. Regardless of one's skill level, the same guitar can "sound" different when played by different players. Part of it may be technique, part how one holds the instrument, part in how one perceives the sound whether playing it or listening to it. I tend to think that how one holds the guitar does play a role in it. I've mostly heard this sort of feedback from classical guitarists, but...

 

Also consider that as a new guitarist, your technique is making radical changes. Regardless of the instrument or the type of playing you are working toward, that itself will bring some change.

 

So... all I'll say is best of luck, and I've a bit of envy because the Gibbie is a far better instrument than I started on those years ago.

 

m

 

Excellent points and advice. There's also a matter of physiology and we, as humans, don't hear exactly the same day-to-day. Lots of factors involved such as weather conditions, temp, humidity, allergies, allergy medications, medications in general, barometric pressure, who knows. WE change.

 

I go through the same thing as the OP. I'll play a guitar...let's say my J-35... one day and it sounds incredible. Next day, same room, same strings, etc, it sounds different. Also, when playing in our homes, sound is reflected by our surroundings and a guitar can sound different, depending on where we're sitting and where the guitar is aimed. I play my guitars often while taking breaks at my desk in my home office, and as I turn and face different directions, I can hear a change in the overall sound. If I back way from my desk while still aimed at the 24" monitor maybe 4-5' away, I hear a different sound quality than when I swivel around to face an open area of the room with the walls much farther away. When I try a guitar in the acoustic room of a store, then take it into a smaller private room, it sounds different. Often, when trying guitars in a store, I'll play them close to an open, solid wall to hear the reflected sound more directly. The sink/counter/mirror area in my downstairs bathroom is basically enclosed by a wall and a cabinet on either side, and about 5' wide. I enjoy playing my guitars in that area at times just to hear the amazing reflected sound. :)

 

Good luck and just keep at it. I believe hearing a particular guitar differently on occasion is normal and there have been many similar posts here and on other forums. You're not alone. Try different strings on the J-15 and see what best suits your taste and enjoy the ride!

 

DC

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Randmo, you are not crazy.

And your Gibson J15 is not an ordinary thing, but a real all solid wood, high end, fine steel string guitar.

This is a livin' thing!

And yes, this one will sound better later on if :

1. You love her

2. You play much&well

3. You take good care of her

4. You love her...

5. You play much&well

6. You take good care of her

etc.

Welcome to this side of the world.

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Brings to mind what Leo Kottke once said about his Gibson B45-12. Some days it sounded great and others like there was an armadillo in there.

 

Sounds to me like you are just still infatuated with the guitar and the whole propsect of learning how to play.

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Sounds to me like you are just still infatuated with the guitar and the whole propsect of learning how to play.

 

I am, it drives me crazy! I try to learn something new every day and practice what I already learned.

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I've only been playing about two months, April 20th, I bought a new J-15. While at the store it sounded great, a few days after I got it home it seemed to sound quieter and dull. Brand new strings when I took it home but it Seemed I was always tuning it, so after about a week, I put new gibson 80/20's on it, kind of sounded the same. After a few days the strings seemed to settle in, volume,seemed to increase, tone seemed better, stays in tune and sounds awesome. Am I crazy or just impatient? It gets wiped down every night and sleeps in its case with a humidipak.

 

492eaf9c-d55f-4713-8f00-1d24e91a3962_zps5470851f.jpg

 

 

 

The guitar may need a little bit longer to age! A least a week or 2 more! Realistically 3 years to settle.

 

 

I play in all areas of my house. Outside is great for the sound going straight out that way, but if you want to do some 'dynamics' exercises, the computer I am on at the moment is at right angles to a cupboard, because I didn't want to move it, and this is great for playing VERY quietly to see how low we can go, so to speak - I can really hear the baseline tones of the guitar reflecting off the cupboard door, but I have to be careful not to play too loud and deafen myself.

 

 

Apparently Robert Johnson liked to play into a corner to hear the guitar differently.

 

 

All guitars are different - the old jumper I have on had a thread hanging down and before I cut it off, I noticed that when I was playing a small guitar, the thread was out of the way, but when I played a dreadnought - the thread was right in the middle of the playing side of the strings! This illustrates the arm angle on each guitar.....

 

 

 

 

BluesKing777.

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Heres an easy example you can do at home....

Different sound if you play sitting down and then standing up with a strap. Sitting, the back of the guitar is mostly open, some of it against your right ribs. Standing, it is hanging with the middle right on and muffled by your stomach. To illustrate, standing strum a nice full chord then lift the guitar away from your body and hear how much cleaner and fuller it sounds. Your guitar will take at least a year for the wood, glue and nitro to stabilize and to develop their own unique responsiveness to the range of notes you play. Two or three years if you play less often. G'luck!

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Seems to take a good 6 to 12 months for the wood to realize that its no longer a tree. Got the SJ brand new and struggled with a bit of disappointment now and then. Sounds fine now (17 months old), and really fine when it dries out a day or 2 on the stand.

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Heres an easy example you can do at home....

Different sound if you play sitting down and then standing up with a strap. Sitting, the back of the guitar is mostly open, some of it against your right ribs. Standing, it is hanging with the middle right on and muffled by your stomach. To illustrate, standing strum a nice full chord then lift the guitar away from your body and hear how much cleaner and fuller it sounds. Your guitar will take at least a year for the wood, glue and nitro to stabilize and to develop their own unique responsiveness to the range of notes you play. Two or three years if you play less often. G'luck!

Do you think a guitar really responsives to the range you play and the type music you play.

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Just as you need to warm up to get really going on playing, so does the guitar. Don't play for 15 minutes and put it back in the case- really hold onto it for awhile, an hour or more, and just keep playing. This is a weird thing but when I'm settling into a playing session I'll sometimes just rip-strum some chords as fast and loud as I can, just to wake the whole thing up and get some big vibrations rattling around in there. Might be placebo, but I think it warms up faster after a little abuse! Don't worry about it being some expensive thing that needs to be wiped and stored and talked to sweetly at night- pull the cord and let er rip!

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Do you think a guitar really responsives to the range you play and the type music you play.

 

Yes. But Not they "type" of music - an A bar chord on the 5 th fret is all the same to a guitar regardless of whether it's folk, Rock, or something in between. The wood, braces joints begin to learn the vibrations they experience and loosen up and respond over time. Imho

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This happens a lot and there are many explanations. The most revealing clue in this post is that he has a humidifier in the guitar. Most stores don't and the guitar was probably dehydrated in the store. This will cause the guitar to sound great. As a matter of fact the guitar will sound it's best just before it self destructs.

 

When he brought the guitar home he very wisely humidified it and when the guitar took in the moisture it didn't sound as good as it did in the store. When the top is humidified it gets a bit heavier and doesn't vibrate as well as a dry top. There is no solution to the problem. Drying out the guitar to make it sound better will only destroy the instrument. Just don't over humidify. Keep it as close to 42% as possible and all will be well.

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I'm using John Pearse 13-57 Pure Nickel wound I like the sound a lot. When I play melody the sound reminds me a lot like my 1961 Jazzmaster I think its the guitar to not just the strings, Very pleased with the strings but I will keep trying different ones. I think the nickel strings have a clear single coil sound.

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