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7enderbender

Looking for the right J45

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Hello there,

 

I've been reading here and else where but that seemed to generate more questions than answers, so bear with me. I'm interested in a new acoustic guitar to replace my old Ibanez that I'm falling back on for when I need an acoustic. I want to incorporate acoustic sounds more, both live and for recording so I need something better I think. What really triggered it was that a friend recently left me his Martin D-45 at my house for a few days. Big mistake. So after that I started looking around and listening to more details. Acoustics, for the most part, have been a afterthought in my playing. I have some outstanding electrics and know a lot about that realm but never paid much attention to the acoustics as long as they were easy to play, had a cutaway and could be plugged into a PA...

 

So after listening to some of the better demos (Acoustic Letter and such) and trying some in the local stores I'm leaning towards the Gibson sound now. Martins are of course great but almost to pretty and better suited I think for solo artists or singer/songwriter style with the fuller range - whereas the Gibson seems to be maybe better in a band setting and for recording. The J45 seems to fit the bill. They certainly look nice and are great to play (for me as a Les Paul player among others).

 

But then it seems to get complicated. I think I want to go new or recent on this one. As much as I like my vintage pre CBS strat but an old acoustic seems to be even more involved. I think that basically opens up Standard vs TV vs Custom. Call me crazy but I think the standard sounds best. And I don't like the look of the TV to be honest. The Custom I tried was kinda meh. Setup on the Standard I played at one store could have been better.

 

Plus I'm not sure if I like the closed Grover mechanics and the black nut. Those can be changed of course. But I suspect there are specific years and models that are more what I'm after. I think I saw some used 2005 Custom Shop versions of the J45 that had the right look but I haven't played one. And on the Gibson website I can't find ANY J45 Custom Shop guitars that are current/new.

 

Any input and suggestions appreciated.

 

Thanks

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the answer, of course is that you need to handle a bunch of them and see which one speaks to you. If that's impossible, we can try to help... but that would be best. Where are you located?

 

-Keith

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Being in the "Greater Boston Area", you have many, many shops to go to! Has somebody been holding your hand all thru life?? Of all the forums to have help make up your mind, the lowest "herd mentality", along with the acoustic forum, would be this one. Make up your own mind! You can always listen to the "sales people" on this forum and others that will help you spend your money. For gosh sakes, wake up!

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Wow. Tough crowd.

J45s and Southern Jumbos are pretty similar, so you may like top open your search to include them. They come standard, and also in "True Vintage" variety, as well as many others. Legend. Historic. New Vintage. I have a feeling you may like the look and feel of late model Historics, as they are. Blind boy grunt on this forum has one I think.

There are literally over 50 J45 varieties. In general, True Vintage do not have pickups, but you van add them afterwards. I added a K&K to my SJ True Vintage. I also changed the tuners to Golden Age relic tuners for the look I liked.

I have seen J45s with mahogany backs, Koa, walnut and even rosewood. I have seen them with Sitka tops, Adi, and even mahogany as well. If you like crispest, you probably want Adi. If you like a more mellow tone, you may like hog top. Sitka is kind of in the middle.

It's hard to make generalizations about the variability between guitars of the same model, but I will say that I tend to like them lighter. Sweet water shows their online inventory for example, and they list the weights.

Have fun with your search!

I would listen to MoDoc... He sells Gibsons from Alabama, and if you can't find a way to try them out, he is a great resource, and source. Other great places to buy online are Wildwood in Colorado, and Fuller's in Houston.

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Yeah, it is a tough crowd!

 

 

The J45 Standard you tried caught your ear, same here! So perhaps go back and play it some more, bearing in mind a setup from a trusted pro is a great start to acoustic ownership.

 

 

My local genius added a handful of magic dust to my Standard a few years back when I bought it, and it has held those settings very well. It can really give you that 10%!

 

 

 

BluesKing777.

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Being in the "Greater Boston Area", you have many, many shops to go to! Has somebody been holding your hand all thru life?? Of all the forums to have help make up your mind, the lowest "herd mentality", along with the acoustic forum, would be this one. Make up your own mind! You can always listen to the "sales people" on this forum and others that will help you spend your money. For gosh sakes, wake up!

 

 

Wow. Thank you so much. I wouldn't have thought that you can go to stores and try out guitars. And it's not like I hadn't pointed out that I had started doing exactly that already (with my somewhat limited time as I need to work for a living). It's not that I came back with a somewhat specific question about the somewhat confusing range of a multitude of models that Gibson sold as the J45 over the years. I've been living under a rock for the last few decades and have never bought a guitar in my life and had always people in forums and sales people tell me what to buy. I've never driven cross country to hunt down the right 5-digit instrument before, unlike you dear sir has probably ample experience with. People always held my hand during all the easy decisions in my life as you can imagine, most certainly during such excruciating First World decisions as how to blow the next 2-3 thousand bucks.

 

Gee, I hope not everyone here is as rude as this guy. All I wanted was some help narrowing down the models available with the specs that I liked best so far. Help from some friendly folks preferably who know more about acoustics than I do as I've never paid much attention to them before. My bad if I haven't been clear un that.

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Wow. Tough crowd.

J45s and Southern Jumbos are pretty similar, so you may like top open your search to include them. They come standard, and also in "True Vintage" variety, as well as many others. Legend. Historic. New Vintage. I have a feeling you may like the look and feel of late model Historics, as they are. Blind boy grunt on this forum has one I think.

There are literally over 50 J45 varieties. In general, True Vintage do not have pickups, but you van add them afterwards. I added a K&K to my SJ True Vintage. I also changed the tuners to Golden Age relic tuners for the look I liked.

I have seen J45s with mahogany backs, Koa, walnut and even rosewood. I have seen them with Sitka tops, Adi, and even mahogany as well. If you like crispest, you probably want Adi. If you like a more mellow tone, you may like hog top. Sitka is kind of in the middle.

It's hard to make generalizations about the variability between guitars of the same model, but I will say that I tend to like them lighter. Sweet water shows their online inventory for example, and they list the weights.

Have fun with your search!

I would listen to MoDoc... He sells Gibsons from Alabama, and if you can't find a way to try them out, he is a great resource, and source. Other great places to buy online are Wildwood in Colorado, and Fuller's in Houston.

 

 

Thanks. That helps. Yes, that is I think what I have narrowed it down to: no Martin (at this point) and no Taylor, don't want to make this more complicated by exploring other brands, J45 is my favorite type of sound so far, Gibson short scale and neck feels "at home" (for an acoustic), I like the look of the newer models, not the banner or the old style font, I need a good pickup system (I'm fine with the factory installed one, sounds good enough for my needs), would prefer a white nut and more traditional tuners though instead of the Grovers on the Standard.

Again, I think there is a 2005 model from the Custom Shop that I'm curious about but haven't been able to locate yet (and other than the Martin1940 dude thinks there aren't really that many brick and mortar guitar stores left around here).

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Wow. Thank you so much. I wouldn't have thought that you can go to stores and try out guitars. And it's not like I hadn't pointed out that I had started doing exactly that already (with my somewhat limited time as I need to work for a living). It's not that I came back with a somewhat specific question about the somewhat confusing range of a multitude of models that Gibson sold as the J45 over the years. I've been living under a rock for the last few decades and have never bought a guitar in my life and had always people in forums and sales people tell me what to buy. I've never driven cross country to hunt down the right 5-digit instrument before, unlike you dear sir has probably ample experience with. People always held my hand during all the easy decisions in my life as you can imagine, most certainly during such excruciating First World decisions as how to blow the next 2-3 thousand bucks.

 

Gee, I hope not everyone here is as rude as this guy. All I wanted was some help narrowing down the models available with the specs that I liked best so far. Help from some friendly folks preferably who know more about acoustics than I do as I've never paid much attention to them before. My bad if I haven't been clear un that.

 

 

Most are much better. He is just an angry old man who loves to tell everyone that new guitars are junk, his old ones are the only good ones, and us "kids" (under 50) don't know anything because we aren't as old as him. Then he throws in a few more personal insults and innuendo. Just read his old posts. He does that, and then everyone ignores him. The rest of the folks are pretty friendly and helpful though!

 

As for J45s..... the TV is one of the best and most consistent. If I had to buy one without playing it, that's the way I would go. There are tons of great limited models out there, so they are always an option. I think an adi top is almost always worth it too. The TV and most limited runs will have it. I know you said you don't like the look of the TV, but maybe it will grow on you! Haha. The adi takes a little longer to sound sweet too. If you like the standard then don't worry. It has a great sound and you may just be lucky.... don't have to spend the extra. I really would suggest spending a little longer looking though. Play tons more. Since you are just getting into the nice acoustic realm, take your time. Learn all you can and tune your ear to them like you have electrics. Get to that sort of comfort level and see what speaks to you.

 

I don't know any dealers in your area that I would endorse. It doesn't mean there aren't any though! Hopefully some more people will chime in with better answers to that question.

 

 

Keith

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Wow. Tough crowd.

 

 

Well thankfully it isn't that way very often. :)

 

This is truly one of the most helpful forums on the net 99% of the time. I'm no expert on the J45's as I just bought myself a used J45 Custom a few months ago. If you can try some out locally please do that because, for me & most of us here (I think), we know it's the right one when we hold it in our hands. This is a big investment and the only one that has to be satisfied in this purchase Sir - is YOU.

 

If you can't find one locally that really feels right to you, do as others have suggested and seek out those dealers that will allow you to easily return/exchange until you find the one for you! Enjoy yourself, there's no rush here. And when you do find "the one", may it bring you decades of great music and enjoyment!

 

And of course we love guitar porn here so if you could post some pictures after the fact - we would love that. Welcome to the Gibson forum! [thumbup]

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Being in the "Greater Boston Area", you have many, many shops to go to! Has somebody been holding your hand all thru life?? Of all the forums to have help make up your mind, the lowest "herd mentality", along with the acoustic forum, would be this one. Make up your own mind! You can always listen to the "sales people" on this forum and others that will help you spend your money. For gosh sakes, wake up!

 

Wow !!! I thought I was the resident jerk. I bow to your expertise. I guess your name says it all.

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Don't panic hogeye , you're still up there with the best of them ;-)

 

 

I do indeed own the j45 historic , like Sal said.

My favorite guitar ever no contest.

The pickup is the fishman , made before they went with LR baggs stuff. It's a piezo pickup so what more can anyone say. Does it's job. No soundhole controls which is a b1tch and something to think about depending on what you'll be using it for.

Guitar sounds like it should.

I wouldn't be as nervous as folk will tell you to be about ordering one.

Only thing I'd be watching for (apart from the obvious straight neck and so on that any guitar would need checked out) would be the saddle and the break angle of the strings. Make sure there's enough there to work with for a set up. If u like a low action. I'm not that worried about having a tall saddle but some gibsons start with very little. So, insist on pictures of that department if ordering from afar.

 

 

 

Of course you should 'try em all' as will be pointed out no end.

 

Best of luck. Pm me if you have any questions about this model.

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Hey 7enderbender, pay no attention to marty1940, he got issues.

 

The other folks who responded know their stuff. Sal, Hogeye, BlindBoy and Modoc are good folk.

 

For the record, I look forward to Hogeye's posts.

 

Sorry, didn't mean to leave out the Reverend, he seems to have a killer J-45 Custom.

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1433467360[/url]' post='1664143']

Wow. Thank you so much. I wouldn't have thought that you can go to stores and try out guitars. And it's not like I hadn't pointed out that I had started doing exactly that already (with my somewhat limited time as I need to work for a living). It's not that I came back with a somewhat specific question about the somewhat confusing range of a multitude of models that Gibson sold as the J45 over the years. I've been living under a rock for the last few decades and have never bought a guitar in my life and had always people in forums and sales people tell me what to buy. I've never driven cross country to hunt down the right 5-digit instrument before, unlike you dear sir has probably ample experience with. People always held my hand during all the easy decisions in my life as you can imagine, most certainly during such excruciating First World decisions as how to blow the next 2-3 thousand bucks.

 

 

Is that sarcasm? Haha!

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Just my personal experience

I currently have a J45 Legend, J45 TV, J50, SJ (Dwight Yoakam), and have recently had a J45 Custom RW and a J45 standard. Each have their plus and minus but agree with Keith on the TV model. Buy from a 5 Star dealer. They usually get the better guitars and have a liberal return policy. I've bought Gibsons from Bailey Bros, Rainbow Guitars, The Music Outlet, Wildwood, Sam Ash, Chicago Music Exchange, Musicians Freind, and Guitar Center. Shop them all, get your best deal and buy with confidence. Some are easier to deal with than others. PM me if I can help

Dave

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Greetings 7enderbender,

 

As I reside in the Boston area myself (Salem, Ma), I can attest that it was very difficult to find a decent source of Gibson acoustics in this neck of the woods. I am in my mid sixties, and I can recall many guitar shops in Boston, and Cambridge that are alas, long gone. The local Guitar Center stores that I have visited have very little to offer, and most of the guitars have been noticeably neglected. The Music Emporium, in Lexington (a very reputable shop) stopped carrying the Gibson line a couple of years back. So, I certainly understand the difficulty you face in getting your hands on a quality Gibson in this area.

 

I am relatively new to the forum myself, and I've recently purchased a new J-45 (Wine Red Limited) from Wildwood Guitars, in Colorado. As has been stated by others here, there ARE ample sources of fine Gibsons where you can buy with confidence. I have to say that it is such a pleasure to play this guitar (it has SO MANY voices).

 

I wish you well in your own search for acoustic bliss!!!

 

David

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Greetings 7enderbender,

 

As I reside in the Boston area myself (Salem, Ma), I can attest that it was very difficult to find a decent source of Gibson acoustics in this neck of the woods. I am in my mid sixties, and I can recall many guitar shops in Boston, and Cambridge that are alas, long gone. The local Guitar Center stores that I have visited have very little to offer, and most of the guitars have been noticeably neglected. The Music Emporium, in Lexington (a very reputable shop) stopped carrying the Gibson line a couple of years back. So, I certainly understand the difficulty you face in getting your hands on a quality Gibson in this area.

 

I am relatively new to the forum myself, and I've recently purchased a new J-45 (Wine Red Limited) from Wildwood Guitars, in Colorado. As has been stated by others here, there ARE ample sources of fine Gibsons where you can buy with confidence. I have to say that it is such a pleasure to play this guitar (it has SO MANY voices).

 

I wish you well in your own search for acoustic bliss!!!

 

David

 

 

Thanks neighbor,

 

I live one town over and you are right - given the population and vivid music scene it's kind of sad to see how few stores are left really around here. And nothing against Guitar Center by the way, especially the Danvers location. But indeed the choices especially to try out Gibsons are a bit more limited. And it's really kind of ironic that the guy up there in the thread accused me of not going to try stuff out since I spent a good portion of my last summer stopping in various locations across the country when hunting down my latest Strat (checking things out in Oklahoma, Nashville, New Jersey, ended up buying in New York City). I don't want to go to the extremes for this one and I have no intentions on going for anything very valuable or vintage on this one. It serves a different purpose and a nice sounding, solid new or recent instrument will be just fine.

 

And I like going into a store as informed as possible - yet still being open to just listening and feeling what's in my hand. Thanks everyone to the input so far.

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There's some really great advice here. I'll say that after being on the same quest for a while, I kept coming back to the same J-45 Standard. I've had it for a year now and couldn't be happier.

 

A couple variations within the Slope world that I learned to listen and feel for were Forward Shifted Bracing (J-45TV, J-35...), and the larger round neck profile (J-35, J-29, some reissues...). I also was taken aback at how much difference the rosewood models sounded... much more snap and headroom in a good way, though I still prefer the mellow warmth of mahogany J-45's.

 

Eventually I swapped out the tuners for TonePro's white buttons, removed the Baggs, and put in a bone saddle with a K&K. It just sings.

 

Best of luck!

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Wowee, 7enderbender, how have you managed to slip it to so many, mainly me, and the one trying to upstart me for being some what honest, none other than self proclaimed #2 jerk, Hogeye. Try as he may, He or she will have to be around much longer than my 73 years to gain that #1 spot.

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Martin, help me understand. Your first post implies virtually everyone on this forum is a jerk. In your last post, you proclaim yourself as the #1 Jerk. So - do you see the ironic inconsistency here, or are you off your meds again?

7bndr, You've not mentioned money being a criteria for selecting from the J45s being kicked around. You've not said you are going to spend more time on your acoustic than your electrics. It sounds like you are just looking to raise the bar in the somewhat limited use you've made of your Ibanez. If that's the case, a TV, Custom or signature model might be more than you need. If you found a Standard you like, you should seriously consider it. You've already done the hard part in narrowing it down this far. G'Luck.

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Of all the forums to have help make up your mind, the lowest "herd mentality", along with the acoustic forum, would be this one. Make up your own mind! You can always listen to the "sales people" on this forum and others that will help you spend your money. For gosh sakes, wake up!

Great answer. Love it. And so true. Now watch the herds, and the sales people in here attack!

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