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Fear of Regret: Did I Buy the Right Guitar?


fumblefingers

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Anybody else have this? If we were talking a $500 guitar, no biggie. But when it's over $2,000, I become a little pensive. As highlighted in another thread, I just purchased a brand new J-45 Custom. It is a BEAUTIFUL guitar, and something I have been looking forward to for years. I get excited every time I open that case and smell it. And, I love to play it. My worry comes from: Is this the best SOUNDING J-45 I could have purchased?

 

Buying online is somewhat scary. After reading as much as I possibly could about the J-45, there seems to be a large number of people who consider a lot of them "dead." Now, I'm going to be honest here, I don't even know what a "dead" guitar is. Perhaps somebody could help me out with that. I did say that I was a little surprised that the guitar was not a bit louder. However, it does have a beautiful, warm tone. I'm not really into "bright" anyway, like Taylors sound to me. I really love the guitar, but not having been able to compare it to other like guitars, there's a bit of apprehension, like maybe I didn't get a "good" one. Just thought I'd share my thoughts. Again, she's a beauty, and I do love having her in my hands. I cannot get over this guitar. It is so nice.

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Well, well, , , , , , , , , , well. . . First - congratulations on the guitar.

 

It's a dream come true and you enjoy having it in your home. The case, the smell, the look, the Gibson sound, , , but then there are second thoughts.

Is it 'good enough', is it the best. I immediately saw that as a healthy sign.

It speaks of a serious angle on the purchase and proves there were no rose-coloured glasses as case-candy when you got it.

 

fumblefingers - it's probably not the 'best' J-45 Custom on earth - because that guitar doesn't exist. But then is it good enough, is it loud enough.

Answer is that there is no way of telling before you yourself have tried a handful or more of these models (hog 45's and others too).

 

Can we judge a Balinese restaurant if we only visited 1, , , and by the way don't know anything about the Balinese kitchen. NO ! , , , ,

we can be glad we finally got a table, but the nuances are beyond our radar.

 

I'd say you likely have a very good acoustic within your 4 walls - simply because the standard from Bozeman is high these days and the inconsistency rumour basically belongs to another era. The same-model-guitars still differs from ex to ex - some louder, more bassy, compressed etc - but the majority of the 'contemporaries' are generally splendid.

 

Which means there are 2 things to suggest here :

 

1 - You give the guitar time to open up and show its true colours (perhaps get more volume on that account)

 

2 - You take every opportunity there is the play others and listen to as many as possible on the Tube.

 

This will slowly draw a realistic circle around your situation and only after that process, will you be able to see'n'hear clearly.

 

However, , , if you by now deep down feel that there is something wrong, something that keeps bugging you with disappointment, then an exchange one way or the other must be considered now. The Gibson MUST be like the dream you dream it is.

My advise in short : Be patient and give each other 3 to 6 months. The odds for you both are better than good. But be crystal when you make up your mind.

 

Don't forget to report what happens - there is an intense and exciting period in front of you. .

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Fumblefingers,

 

Beware of forums! You will hear all kinds of nonsense. The J-45 Custom is a fine guitar. If you like the feel and tone, then it is a good one. Do not second guess yourself, you have an awesome guitar. Many people would love to have that guitar.

Get off the forums for a while, play your guitar, then report by to us geeks what "YOU" think.

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I sold a guitar a long time ago because I thought it wasn't loud enough. I had second thoughts. My buddy had this Martin... Did I make the right decision? I sold it and didn't look back. Only I did. If I stayed with that guitar I would have saved a ton of money spent foolishly chasing some unicorn tone.

I have several guitars today... Five to be exact. I am lucky and blessed. But my main one? My Gibson SJ? I,love it because it is so very much like the one I sold years ago.

The Internet sucks. It makes everyone think there is always something better. YouTube videos. You know...

If you don't like your Gibby, be honest with yourself and move on. If you really do like it Do Not Sell It. Play it and make music. Don't make the mistakes I did!

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Buyers Remorse is very common. My guess is that it's especially common to us folks who aren't used to dropping a ton of money on something other than rent or doctor bills.

 

I went through the same phase you did--but I don't know your exact situation. However, I'm very glad I kept my Gibby and I love it.

 

Based on posts here in the forum, unless there is something blatantly wrong with the guitar--like it's missing its neck or something--I bet you'll love it too and it'll train your ears to hear subtle things you can't hear right now.

 

And I think about everyone who has posted here about their J-45 Customs loves them.

 

FMA

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Based on posts here in the forum, unless there is something blatantly wrong with the guitar--like it's missing its neck or something--I bet you'll love it too and it'll train your ears to hear subtle things you can't hear right now.

 

Hehe, , , you're right. Some years ago I bought a guitar - IT HAD NO BODY ! , , , and existed as neck, fretboard and headstock only.

 

Admit THAT caused some apprehensiveness. . .

 

 

 

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Can we judge a Balinese restaurant if we only visited 1, , , and by the way don't know anything about the Balinese kitchen. NO ! , , , ,

we can be glad we finally got a table, but the nuances are beyond our radar.

 

Haha! Great post, E-m7. A lot of good posts in this thread!

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Lotsa sage advice here, and humor too! I appreciate it. Big purchases tend to do this to me, especially when I read 9 out of 10 of these J-45's are "dead." Yeah, too much forum reading can be bad. [scared]

8 out of 10 ? I've played dozens and dozens of Gibson J-45s, never ran across one that I wouldn't have been happy to have. Not a one. You will experiment with strings, live through humidity changes, and come to know your J-45 as well as one knows their pet dog. They all have individual personalities, and that J-45 Custom has a reputation here of high regard. Rest easy- play the hell out of it. In my experience a brand new guitar takes 2 years to beginn to hit its stride, Martin and Gibson both.

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It sounds to me like you've answered your own question. There is no reason to doubt your purchase if it makes you happy and it sounds and plays great to you. Enough said. Congratulations. Your concern about "Is this the best SOUNDING J-45 I could have purchased?" is moot as you can never compare every guitar to select one - even if you go to the factory. Every time you post a question about your new guitar is less time playing your new guitar. The more you play it, the better it will sound.Hakuna Matata.

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8 out of 10 ? I've played dozens and dozens of Gibson J-45s, never ran across one that I wouldn't have been happy to have. Not a one. You will experiment with strings, live through humidity changes, and come to know your J-45 as well as one knows their pet dog. They all have individual personalities, and that J-45 Custom has a reputation here of high regard. Rest easy- play the hell out of it. In my experience a brand new guitar takes 2 years to beginn to hit its stride, Martin and Gibson both.

 

It was a little bit of hyperbole, the 9 out of 10 comment, but there are actually keyboard cowboys out there who have said that. I don't hold much regard for them, but the J-45 haters are prolific. Not sure why. Ahh, well, I love my guitar! [thumbup]

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Fumble Fingers.... since this is basically the same question you posted 10 days ago, I'll try to expand on my response back then:

 

You initially asked if you should return your J45C and get an H'Bird, your goal being more volume - since you love the tone of your J45C. You will get less volume and a different tone with an H'Bird, but the difference may be subtle since your frame of reference is playing a Korean guitar for 10 years. But, rosewood is brighter than mahogany - so the J45C is 'louder' than the standard J45.

If your priority was volume - you might have considered a Super Jumbo / Jumbo model - a J100 for example. The dealer who told you 'FIVE percent of the J45s sound dead" would have steered you in that direction if he thought that was your first priority. And of course, your J45C has an LR Baggs Element system which is outstanding. An amplifier may be all you really need if you want more volume. G'Luck.

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My J-45 was the first acoustic guitar I bought. I'm still a beginner so I'm not as versed in the different sound nuances that the professional and seasoned musicians on this forum can gleen from listening and comparing guitars. I acquired a lot of guitars in a short amount of time and I find that I love the sound of all of them. All sound different, even to my untrained ears but I wouldn't trade any one of them. Enjoy your J-45. It's a wonderful guitar.

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Geez, if I listened to opinions on forums I would probably not own half the guitars I do. Think about it, you are listening to the opinion of somebody you do not know from Adam and whom for all you know has never been closer to the guitar being discussed than the pages of a Sweetwater catalog.

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My J-50 is not the best guitar I own. I sometimes wonder the same questions asked by the OP. One day I'll play it and it blows me away. Two weeks later I think about selling it and continuing the search. But, I've become emotionally attached to it. There is just something about how it feels and how it sounds. The clincher for me is that the guys I play with have sat in with every guitar I own and they all say that my Gibson is the guitar that is the most ME. They also comment on how it cuts through the sound of the other instruments the best and how the sonic space it occupies is the most pleasant for the music we do, which is pretty much all original compositions. So whenever the doubts creep in about it I just ignore them and play on. I find playing on to be the best answer to a lot of things I confront at this point in my life. For the three or so minutes of the song at hand I just try and make the most perfect creation I can with the guitar in my hands and the limited abilities I have. Remember what Jerry Garcia said, written below.

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Since I started playing in 1978, I've owned more than 200 guitars, and played countless more. Buyer's remorse passes quickly, sellers' remorse not so much. My most recent case of buyer's remorse came when my classical guitar arrived. I knew it was a new instrument with a nasty crack (which I quickly repaired), and I knew it needed setup. The first evening I worked on it, I had my doubts - the nut slots were more suggestions than useable slots, and the bridge was way too high, and the strings were the unplayed originals that were still dead. It sounded lifeless and dull and wouldn't play in tune. I felt like I had made a terrible mistake - but I worked on it some more, restrung it, adjusted it some more. Then I played it and played it and played it over the next day and a half and then suddenly, it started WAKING UP. I played it and it decided to be a guitar and suddenly it was the loudest, most vibrant classical guitar I've ever encountered, with power that rivaled anything I had ever encountered, so loud under my bare fingers it felt like it was hungry and wanted to go eat a banjo for breakfast, with maybe a D-28 for dessert.

 

Just playing a guitar for a while does so much to change its sound. I cannot stress that enough. I fell in love with my J-45 when I took it off the wall of a Guitar Center. I obsessed about it for a month before I went back and bought it. Maybe a flicker of buyer's remorse, but I powered on through. Now, nearly eight years later, it is my all time favorite guitar ever. It never lets me down, and it produces all the sounds I hear in my head when I reach for it. This is despite the fact that I had to move the pickguard to where it belongs, despite the fact that the soundhole is too far toward the neck and the fretboard covers part of the rosette when it shouldn't, despite the fact that the fretboard really should be a touch wider and the neck a touch meatier - pffffft. I LOVE this guitar, I love playing it, and every single time I play it I am grateful to have it and to be able to play it. I can see owning other guitars in addition to it, but I cannot imagine another guitar taking its place.

 

Seller's remorse is another thing. Part of why I love my J-45 is that the neck feels like the neck on a 1960 LG-2 I let go of nearly 20 years ago. I still miss that little guitar - not a Banner Headstock, not a rare model, repaired cracks in the top, post '55 non-scalloped top braces, crooked Grover Rotomatic tuners, added pickup - no matter, I still miss that guitar because it was MINE and I wrote a lot and played it a lot and had I known then what I know now I would have kept it forever.

 

Play your new guitar for a while. Make it YOURS. Play it so much that who you are comes through when you play it, play it so much it feels like an extension of your arms - and then it WILL be the best sounding J-45 you could possibly have bought.

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I have got to agree with the above in that I know I have made far more mistakes selling guitars than buying guitars. But I have learned not make any rush judgements about which guitar to keep and which to bid a fond farewell to. At the moment I have been looking at my '46 LG-2 a bit askew. Reason is that early 1930s Oahu I snagged just sends the Gibson scurrying for cover. So while my early recation was it may be time for me and the LG to part ways I have to remind myself there is a reason I chose that LG-2 over quite a few others and why it has hung around as long as it has.

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Really appreciate all of the positive replies, and the good laughs many of you have provided me. For those who are "confused" by my post, I'm sorry you don't understand. All I can say is this is the biggest guitar purchase of my life, and may very well be the only time I spend this much money on a guitar. THAT is why I feel it is so important to get it right. I have a lot of other responsibilities in my life, and so new guitar funds are not available often. I really wanted to make the right purchase decision.

 

I think part of the volume issue has to do with this crappy house I'm in right now and the fact that places like Guitar Center's sound room allow for a much better listening experience. I am actually constructing a small outbuilding where I will play the guitar a lot this coming year. It will be essentially be 12x16 with solid hardwood floors, and lots of wood on the walls, etc. I expect the acoustics to be a lot better. Again, many thanks for all the thoughtful replies. I really appreciate all the great information here.

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If we listened to forum opinions on Gibsons, i doubt if any of us would own one. I can't tell you how many times I have heard negative comments on Gibson acoustics sounding like they are stuffed with socks. My favorite guitar is my Hummingbird TV. Let some tell it, its the ugliest and most dead sounding over priced guitar that they have ever played.

 

 

Gibson J-45 's don't project like say a Martin D-18. The shorter scale and round shoulder design produces a much sweeter and rounder tone. If you are looking for a punchier and more projecting tone, a Gibson AJ might be worth considering.

If you want to stay with mahogany, try to find a Gibson Original jumbo reissue . Or if you want that Martin tone, well a D-18 might be a good choice.

 

Play what you like, and like what you play is what I always say. No two guitars of the same model will sound the same. You have to judge each one individually on its own merits. Im sure it will open up in time with lot of playing. It might not gain that much volume, but if you like the way it sounds, keep it. The J-45 is a good all around guitar. Enjoy it for what it is and it will bring you years of pleasure.

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