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Mediums on a 12 Fret Southern Jumbo


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I just got my Southern Jumbo 12 fret. I've only played it for a half hour but so far i'm a little underwhelmed. I'm thinking it could be because i'm used to mediums on my dreads. Has anyone made this change on a Gibson? I want to give it a fair shot during my return window. I do have some fairly expensive dreads so it might not be a fair comparison. I have a Santa Cruz D12 and a Martin D28 Authentic 1937. Maybe I just need to warm up to it.

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I've always used D'Addario EJ-17s( mediums) on my guitars. When I got my J-15 last year it came with 80/20s lights. I love those strings on that guitar. This year when I got my SJ12f, it came with the Gibson Masterbuilt 80/20 lights. They are awesome on the SJ12f.

 

I still like the EJ-17s on my J-200 though. Anything lighter seems way too thin.

 

You may just be used to a more substantial string. I've become a fan of lights, especially 80/20s.

 

I may try the EJ-17s on my Southern Jumbo.

 

I'm digging the light 80/20s right now.

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At a newly opened Guitar Center stocked with freshly minted guitars... despite being in the specially designed and constructed high end acoustic room, where the sympathetic vibrations from 30+ guitars can make a guitar sound like more than it's best; every one of those new guitars sounded as tight as a drum. Maybe a little playing time might help your 12 fret. Do you have other mahogany Gibsons to compare to? With the same strings? Those other guitars you mention must sound nice. What's the wood on the Santa Cruz? Scale length? Slot head? Nothing captures the Gibson jumbo sound like a Gibson, with that simple mahogany fundamental sound.

 

Where you at? I'd better come over & check out that 12 SoJo, you know, just to make sure it's ok ; ).

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JW: I have mediums on the J-45 Legend, but it has quite a bit of beef to it with a rather massive neck - it carries that ext rat tension well, and plays nicely. I've tried mediums on my other short-scale Gibsons, J-45 TV, the SJ I used to have, and the JB I used to have. The JB also had a fuller neck, and it lived nicely with Mediums tuned down half a step. The others seemed to really get choked by the heavier strings. I do wish you luck with that new 12 fretted - could it be that your frame of reference has become that Martin Authentic? That might be an extremely hard toe-to-toe match up for any guitar.

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I've never played the Santa Cruz, but the '37 D-28 Authentic is a totally different animal from a 12-fret mahogany J-body Gibson. It's a bit of an apples and oranges comparison.

 

Modern short-scale Gibsons seem to be optimized for 12's (lights) rather than 13's (mediums). I use DR Sunbeams, which are .012's like Gibson Masterbuilt lights, but have a .054 low E string, rather than the lighter .053 of the Masterbuilts. That tends to give just a tad more punch in the bottom end to the typical hog slope-J.

 

I used mediums on my old J-45 for years, but frankly, the guitar and I are both getting a bit old, so we both find lights a little easier on our old bodies and fingers.

 

I don't think it's realistic to expect a similar volume or tone from your SJ that you get out of the D-28. Unless you have already changed strings on the SJ, I would suggest that you do that first to make sure you are judging the guitar fairly.

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If you are worried about string tension try some round core strings, like the DR Sunbeams mentioned above. They will have less string tension than the usual hex core. The DRs mentioned above are 12s but it should not be a problem to try 13s.

 

 

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I'm not comparing it as much to my Martin D28 Authentic as much as the Santa Cruz D12 since they are fairly similar except for the SJ has an Adi top and the D12 has a sitka top. I tried puttng the 13's on which helped but not enough. The D12 is heads and tails above the SJ. It's way more responsive and has nearly double the volume. The D12 cost twice what the SJ cost so maybe this shouldn't be a surprise. It's not that the SJ is a bad guitar but it's just not in the same league as the Santa Cruz. I'll be sending the SJ back.

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JW - Sorry to hear the 12 SJ didn't float your boat. Guitars cane like that. In my experience new guitars with Adi tops demanded a longer break-in period of me, but I rarely strum or play loud. That SC 12er sounds like an excellent instrument.

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I feel like this is one of the issues when buying a guitar unseen and unplayed. There's a lot of pressure on that guitar to meet expectations. Plus, who's to say the guitar they ship you is the one you'd pick of that model. I've learned the hard way. I had a Hummingbird, a 1952 J45 and a Southern Jumbo that didn't meet my expectations. The vintage J45 I played ahead of time but over time I couldn't justify keeping it. The other two were mail order. Fact is, I have played Hummingbirds, J45s and SJs that I've liked. It just wasn't the ones I owned (my late '60s Bird is much more to my liking). You've done the right thing sending it back. No point waiting to see if she grows on you. I tried that and it never worked. Gibson are fickle beasts. I want the one Tony All-Thumbs says is the best he's ever played.

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Smurfbird, I completely agree. That is the problem buying site unseen. It's kind of a necessary evil in most locations though. The D12 is the only guitar i've bought at an actual guitar place. I'm sure if I gave it a while the Adi top would maybe open up but I don't think there is any way it will compare to D12. My D28 A has an Adi top it's a cannon. In hindsight, I got caught up with the great reviews here and then Tony's glowing review saying it was the best Gibson he ever played. I've learned a valuable lesson again that the grass is not always greener.

 

 

 

I feel like this is one of the issues when buying a guitar unseen and unplayed. There's a lot of pressure on that guitar to meet expectations. Plus, who's to say the guitar they ship you is the one you'd pick of that model. I've learned the hard way. I had a Hummingbird, a 1952 J45 and a Southern Jumbo that didn't meet my expectations. The vintage J45 I played ahead of time but over time I couldn't justify keeping it. The other two were mail order. Fact is, I have played Hummingbirds, J45s and SJs that I've liked. It just wasn't the ones I owned (my late '60s Bird is much more to my liking). You've done the right thing sending it back. No point waiting to see if she grows on you. I tried that and it never worked. Gibson are fickle beasts. I want the one Tony All-Thumbs says is the best he's ever played.

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Jw, I'm sorry your so jo 12 fret didn't work out for you. You've got some awesome guitars in your stable.

I played a so Jo 12 and my impression was different. In fact, I'm craving one of these now that I've played it. It had a deeper voice than I was expecting since it's so new, having been built a couple of months ago. There seems to be a substantial tone boost from it's 12 fret geometry. Typical strong fundamentals across the strings and lots of head room when strumming. Fingerstyle with a thumb pick produced a big bass thump, not too far from what I've heard on early 50s J-45s. I know the Adi top will come alive with time, just as my Martin OM did.

Btw, the nut width measured a full 1 3/4" with 2 3/16" string spacing at the bridge. The neck was smaller than I expected, but it's still a handful With a C profile. Fit and finish was much better than what I've seen on new J-45 Standards. I like the neck binding and the little nubs covering the fret ends. Hats off to Gibson for this limited run and it wouldn't surprise me if they come out with another batch of 12 fretters before too long.

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I installed Elixirs on my SJ 12 and then put the original 80/20s back on. It might be my hearing loss but the Elixirs sounded too warm. They also raised the action a tad and it wasn't from an increase in the relief. I put the caliper on the original strings and they were 11s. Maybe they thinned out since they're supposed to be 12s. I changed the 2 treble strings to 12 & 16 and they sound stronger. I might try Elixir nano 80/20s after a while but I like the way it's sounding now.

Side note, I'm wondering how long to let the finish cure before using some Virtuoso polish. It was built in Feburary so I figured I'd better give it some drying time first. Advice?

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New here and just wanted to say I have had my 12 Fret SJ for 5 days and it sounds amazing. Better than a killer 2001 J-45 I had and at least as good as a 12 fret Martin that some fool traded me three guitars for. It still has the stock strings which are not great but the guitar sounds good so I will wear them out. I like light strings but then these old fingers have been playing for 50 years plus. My other Gibson is a Blues King L00 I got of CL 4 years ago. It also has a pickup so it gets gigged more often than other guitars. But the new SJ is perfect for fingerpicking and backing up fiddle players, both are among my favorite past times for pleasure.

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I am experimenting with Sunbeam mediums on my SJTV (14 fret), but I am tuning a half step down. It's weird. I am so paranoid about harming my baby.

Richer tone. Sounds more 'old timey'. And sunbeams have less tension if I recall. They feel great. I still think that the best strings on my SJ are the Masterbilts, and Martin MSP4100s. PBs in general are most pleasing to me.

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New here and just wanted to say I have had my 12 Fret SJ for 5 days and it sounds amazing. Better than a killer 2001 J-45 I had and at least as good as a 12 fret Martin that some fool traded me three guitars for. It still has the stock strings which are not great but the guitar sounds good so I will wear them out. I like light strings but then these old fingers have been playing for 50 years plus. My other Gibson is a Blues King L00 I got of CL 4 years ago. It also has a pickup so it gets gigged more often than other guitars. But the new SJ is perfect for fingerpicking and backing up fiddle players, both are among my favorite past times for pleasure.

 

 

See you at mess Willie. I like Southern Jumbos, but was asleep at the wheel on this 12 fret run. Enjoy your new guitar!

 

steve

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