Jump to content
Gibson Brands Forums

Difference between a J-45RW and a AJ


Paul E

Recommended Posts

Since there are no Gibson dealers around here I was wondering if anyone could tell me if there is a great sound difference between the J-45RW and the AJ? Are the both braced the same? I know the scale length is different, but the body shape is the same. I'm doing research for my next Gibson, I have a J-45RW, CJ-165, and a Blues King. It's either a AJ or a square sholder Gibson.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The body shape is the same (slope shoulder) & yes, the AJ is longer scale but there are other some subtle differences:

 

*AJ has a different bridge shape & set-up (bridge plate).

*I believe the body dimensions, especially the waist, are slightly different.

*The soundhole might be slightly smaller. Not sure, would have to run down & check my references.

*I believe they may have shifted some modern J-45 models to AJ-like bracing, but believe when they first did the AJ RI they very closely matched the original vintage ones, and they are not the same as J-45s. So a check w. Gibson on different available models might clear this up.

 

The original AJ's were designed to be a top-flight guitar, high end jumbo model and were. The J-35 back then was the more standard counterpart, the J-45 followed a bit later. The J-45s were/are/can be great, but were of somewhat different build. I say this as a long-time J-45 lover.

 

I own an AJ RI and have played J-45 RWs and owned/played a number of mahogany J-45s and their ilk (still have two old ones). IMO, the AJ is going to be a louder, punchier guitar than a typical J-45 RW...but the J-45 RW is quite enough, as it is.

 

Gotta add that not all AJ RIs are great. Mine is, to me & others who've heard it, but I've tried out others that were just good.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Typically the J-45 is short scale (24.9 or something) and AJ is long scale (25.5 or something). If you like playing a blues king you may prefer the feel of a J-45 (depending on which blues king you have, some were long scale but most recent ones are short).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As an owner of both, my advice is quite simple: If your primary use is instrumental music, get an AJ. If you are a singer, go with the J45 in some incarnation - I wouldn't excuse the mahogany models.

 

The AJ demands presence and even played with a light touch this responsive model is front and center in almost every style of music. It is a cannon, not a guitar. If you want to smash someone between the eyes with a note on your D string, the AJ is the way to go.

 

I play my AJ every day. It is my favourite guitar, despite owning many other tone monsters. I particularly love it for finger style as hammer-ons fly off the top like little bullets of energy. The AJ is like a hyperactive dog - all bark, all the time.

 

Here is Mark Knopfler playing his AJ (with a pickup) on the song Baloney again. Even with his fingertip playing (no nails, no thumb pick) and a very soft touch, this guitar sings through the keyboard and the voice.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Stubbee nails the specs; Jinder and BC the punch. If I may take the conch for a minute, for fingerstyle blues or any Doc Watson kind of thing, the rw j45 might not be the best choice. The high notes arent going to snap the way they do on an AJ--or sing like a mahogany j45. Id wager either of those would be better for your purposes. Of those 2, the punchy AJ has that thump going that works well of rags and Piedmont blues. The hog j45 is more of a glassy high end, good for Texas and Delta blues.

 

Feel is also an issue. The long scale has a tighter string, like the BK. The J45is looser.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't personally speak about the J-45 other than to say, those that have them love them... but the AJ is one I know and love. I play mostly fingerstyle and had stayed away from Dread size guitars for years as none ever sounded good with the type of music I play. That was until I had a chance to play my AJ.... WOW, it is a fingerstyle monster. I am not typically a "loud" player, but even with a subtile touch, the AJ sound explodes out of the soundhole and envelops a room. As much as I love my Taylor's which are basically fingerstyle machines, I get the most compliments when playing my AJ and it has become a real go to guitar for me in DADGAD, Drop D, Open G and many of my standard tuned songs. Most of my friends that play, grab the AJ when they walk into my guitar room without a second look at my Taylors. Don't get me wrong, there are some songs I play that the Taylor's excel at, but the AJ keeps creeping into their space and I am hesitant to stop it! =D>

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was going to ask this same question…only thing now is how would an OJ compare with these two? I’ve long suspected that an OJ would be a sort of happy medium between a J45 and an AJ.

I wish our store here (now owned by Long and McQuaid) would stock more Gibsons…I’d love to try out an AJ.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I’ve long suspected that an OJ would be a sort of happy medium between a J45 and an AJ

 

Not far off bass. The Adi top gives OJs (&J35s) more headroom (can play harder before breaking up) and more punch.

One difference, tho. Those OJs are dry. Strong fundamental without a lot of coloration, unlike the ring of an Aj or jangle of a J45. Definitely a killer blues box, crosses that Piedmont-Dleta border.

 

Heres Frank fotusky on an adi J35 reissue. Similar the OJ.

Arrangement for me (delta) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVrGWU-V-F8

Sally get your liquor (Piedmont) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abr9Q2X2CNE

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Old Guy- (If indeed you are an "old guy"....), I fingerpick a lot- and I would much rather have a J45 than an AJ. The AJ is way too bright for my taste in music. The shorter scale of the J45 gives it a nice 'thump' that works great for old time and blues.

I've yet to drink the AJ Kool aid.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Old Guy- (If indeed you are an "old guy"....)' date=' I fingerpick a lot- and I would much rather have a J45 than an AJ. The AJ is way too bright for my taste in music. The shorter scale of the J45 gives it a nice 'thump' that works great for old time and blues.

I've yet to drink the AJ Kool aid.[/quote']

 

You should hear an AJ with a good set of Phospher Bronze strings.... nothing I would call "bright" but then again, I play Taylors too and some people think they are all too bright. I personally keep Elixir Nano PB's 12-54 gauge on all three guitars and love the difference in tone and only my small body sitka top/maple backed Taylor 612C sounds bright to me, but that is how I like it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wouldn't buy either one unless:

 

I had a chance to play the guitar before purchasing

 

or

 

A pre-arranged trial period exists in which the instrument could be returned if you're not satisfied with the guitar (you would be out the cost of shipping).

 

Don't get me wrong, in my opinion this rule applies to most guitars. It's just that I've played examples of both models you are inquiring about that struck me as total duds. That said, I'm guessing that you could find great examples of either model that you would connect with and would work well for you.

 

Gotta play 'em to know for sure.

 

Guth

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...