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Help with a purchase decision


seamonkey

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Hi. I'm looking at a couple of guitars on line, and having a hard time deciding. One is a 1990 J45 Natural (it has tulip tuners which seems a little odd) The other is a 1998 Early J45. I can't afford both...Thoughts? Thanks, Rick

 

also...

 

i've added a 2007 True Vintage to the mix. Thoughts? it's listed at the same price as the Early and the Natural. Which will sound less like my AJ? the Adi TV, the Sitka Early J45, or both?

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Hi. I'm looking at a couple of guitars on line, and having a hard time deciding. One is a 1990 J45 Natural (it has tulip tuners which seems a little odd) The other is a 1998 Early J45. I can't afford both...Thoughts? Thanks, Rick

 

also...any thoughts on price?

 

For starters, a natural J-45 is usually a J-50, except for a few times in history when Gibson seemed to forget that and for some reason called it a J-45. Probably for marketing reasons. J-45s are regularly sunburst guitars except for those unusual (odd) times in history. So, if you are looking for a J-45, you might want to stick with J-45’s that are sunburst. On the other hand, if you like the natural finish of the J-45, you might want to expand your search to include J-50s, which are, as mentioned, natural finish J-45s.

 

Hope this makes sense and is helpful.

 

QM aka Jazzman Jeff

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All other things being equal, I would go for the Early J-45, but all things usually aren't equal. Condition, playability, and tone will tell you which is the right one for you. I would assume the two guitars are similar in price, and similar in condition.

 

The 1990 could have the Fullerplast finish rather the nitrocellulose lacquer. The 1998 is definitely a nitro finish, which is preferable by most accounts.

 

Edit: Since you've added the TV into the mix, that would probably be my choice, all things being equal. Any of these guitars should sound quite a bit different from a 'bird and an AJ. The TV should, on paper, be the most different, but it will depend on the individual instruments.

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I had a ‘97 Early J45. One of the lightest, most responsive and best sounding acoustic guitars I’ve ever played. I’d LOVE to own another one day. I sold mine a VERY long time ago to pay for the deposit on the first place me and my ex wife lived in together.

 

I don’t believe in regrets, but I wish I’d never had to part with that J45.

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That said, I’d definitely try both. Early ‘90s Gibsons are becoming more and more desirable here in the UK because of the build and tone. I have a 1990 Hummingbird, natural finish, paddle neck joint and fullerplast and all, and the thing is just perfection. Sounds jaw-dropping and plays wonderfully. Songs fall out of it and it records so well I worry it’s going to drop me and head off for a solo career 😂

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I had a ‘97 Early J45. One of the lightest, most responsive and best sounding acoustic guitars I’ve ever played. I’d LOVE to own another one day. I sold mine a VERY long time ago to pay for the deposit on the first place me and my ex wife lived in together.

 

I don’t believe in regrets, but I wish I’d never had to part with that J45.

Hi. I actually PMed you because you seemed to love the Earlys. How do you think it would compare to a True Vintage?

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That said, I’d definitely try both. Early ‘90s Gibsons are becoming more and more desirable here in the UK because of the build and tone. I have a 1990 Hummingbird, natural finish, paddle neck joint and fullerplast and all, and the thing is just perfection. Sounds jaw-dropping and plays wonderfully. Songs fall out of it and it records so well I worry it’s going to drop me and head off for a solo career 😂

 

Ha! Thanks!

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For starters, a natural J-45 is usually a J-50, except for a few times in history when Gibson seemed to forget that and for some reason called it a J-45. Probably for marketing reasons. J-45s are regularly sunburst guitars except for those unusual (odd) times in history. So, if you are looking for a J-45, you might want to stick with J-45’s that are sunburst. On the other hand, if you like the natural finish of the J-45, you might want to expand your search to include J-50s, which are, as mentioned, natural finish J-45s.

 

Hope this makes sense and is helpful.

 

QM aka Jazzman Jeff

 

Very! I do like the natural, but now i've thrown a 2007 True Vintage into the mix. they're all the same price and i won't be able to try them

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True Vintage is the one. All of mine and my wife's Gibson guitars are TV or Custum Shop with Adirondack tops which IMHO are the best!

Mine:

2007 J 200 TV

2012 Sheryl Crow Southen Jumbo

Hers:

2015 J 45 VOS

2012 L 00 TV

BTW all of these guitars have K&K pickups with preamp that I installed which are also IMHO the best!

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It depends on the tone you like. For example, the True Vintage will have a brighter tone compared to the '90 & '98 J45's, due to the Sitka tops which will be smoother. Check to see if the TV is an Adi top. It may be Sitka also - they made them with Sitka in '07 but later switched to Adi. The '90 & '98 will be more broken in as tops are older, so I'd pick one of those.

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It depends on the tone you like. For example, the True Vintage will have a brighter tone compared to the '90 & '98 J45's, due to the Sitka tops which will be smoother. Check to see if the TV is an Adi top. It may be Sitka also - they made them with Sitka in '07 but later switched to Adi. The '90 & '98 will be more broken in as tops are older, so I'd pick one of those.

 

Thanks! i have an AJ, so the more difference the better!

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Thanks for all the advice. It turns out the TV is Adi, which I'm not that familiar with. Part of my dilemma (a good one to have i guess) is that i like my guitars to sound different from one another, largely so i can rationalize having them. SO... i want a new guitar to sound as different from the AJ and the Bird as possible, so would that be the Aid TV or the Sitka Early 45? Thanks for your patience. First world problem for sure! Cheers

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It depends on the tone you like. For example, the True Vintage will have a brighter tone compared to the '90 & '98 J45's, due to the Sitka tops which will be smoother. Check to see if the TV is an Adi top. It may be Sitka also - they made them with Sitka in '07 but later switched to Adi. The '90 & '98 will be more broken in as tops are older, so I'd pick one of those.

 

 

Paul. Which one will sound less like an AJ?

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In your boots with no possibility to hear the guitars I would prefer the 98'er over the 1990.

Have no direct experience with J-45's from those years, but my 1996 Dove is excellent.

 

That said, I don't believe you can go wrong with the new TV.

Take the 07, seamonkey.

 

thinking i will!

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Bear in mind that as excellent an instrument as a J45 TV is, it has the same forward shifted bracing as your AJ. The Early J45 has the bracing in the standard position but has thin vintage style back bracing, which helps with the weight and really makes the back vibrate against your stomach when playing-great tactile feedback for the player...or at least that was the case with my Early.

 

It’s a real shame you can’t audition them before putting the money down, as with all guitars (that aren’t Taylors) they do vary in personality from guitar to guitar.

 

Some years ago, I had an artist endorsement deal with Gibson and myself and my two bandmates all bought new J45 Modern Classics (the forerunner to the current Standard) with our artist discount. Of the three, my friend Simon’s was dark and rich and plummy, almost like a Rosewood guitar, Gavin’s was light and zesty with a gorgeous chime to the top end, and mine was really balanced-somewhere in the middle of the other two. They were so different that we could record or play live with all three and they would blend beautifully, without being a big samey mush. To be honest, anyone would have been happy with any of the three, but the differences were interesting. We tended change guitars a lot during a gig so we rarely played all three at once (it looked a bit too “band uniform”!) but when we did, it was a lovely blend.

 

If I was in your position, I’d buy the Early due to the different bracing, but the TV is one hell of a guitar. Stellar instruments, generally. The 1990 is likely to be excellent too, and will be the one to most readily increase in value as the early Bozeman reissues are becoming very sought after as I mentioned previously. A guitar dealer friend of mine predicts they will be the next boom acoustic, and will readily buy anything from ‘89>’98 that comes in a tan case with purple lining.

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The tan case alone sells for 2/3 hundred on eBay.

I’d love one but not at that price

 

My Hummingbird has one, along with the odd foam wedge headstock support thing. It’s been well gigged in the past and has a ton of AAA passes stuck on it...tempted to clean it up and eBay it though if it’s worth that much! I could put it in a Hiscox Liteflite for half that. I kinda like the tan box though.

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Bear in mind that as excellent an instrument as a J45 TV is, it has the same forward shifted bracing as your AJ. The Early J45 has the bracing in the standard position but has thin vintage style back bracing, which helps with the weight and really makes the back vibrate against your stomach when playing-great tactile feedback for the player...or at least that was the case with my Early.

 

It’s a real shame you can’t audition them before putting the money down, as with all guitars (that aren’t Taylors) they do vary in personality from guitar to guitar.

 

Some years ago, I had an artist endorsement deal with Gibson and myself and my two bandmates all bought new J45 Modern Classics (the forerunner to the current Standard) with our artist discount. Of the three, my friend Simon’s was dark and rich and plummy, almost like a Rosewood guitar, Gavin’s was light and zesty with a gorgeous chime to the top end, and mine was really balanced-somewhere in the middle of the other two. They were so different that we could record or play live with all three and they would blend beautifully, without being a big samey mush. To be honest, anyone would have been happy with any of the three, but the differences were interesting. We tended change guitars a lot during a gig so we rarely played all three at once (it looked a bit too “band uniform”!) but when we did, it was a lovely blend.

 

If I was in your position, I’d buy the Early due to the different bracing, but the TV is one hell of a guitar. Stellar instruments, generally. The 1990 is likely to be excellent too, and will be the one to most readily increase in value as the early Bozeman reissues are becoming very sought after as I mentioned previously. A guitar dealer friend of mine predicts they will be the next boom acoustic, and will readily buy anything from ‘89>’98 that comes in a tan case with purple lining.

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My Hummingbird has one, along with the odd foam wedge headstock support thing. It’s been well gigged in the past and has a ton of AAA passes stuck on it...tempted to clean it up and eBay it though if it’s worth that much! I could put it in a Hiscox Liteflite for half that. I kinda like the tan box though.

 

 

https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.co.uk%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F272989861707

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All other things being equal, I would go for the Early J-45, but all things usually aren't equal. Condition, playability, and tone will tell you which is the right one for you. I would assume the two guitars are similar in price, and similar in condition.

 

The 1990 could have the Fullerplast finish rather the nitrocellulose lacquer. The 1998 is definitely a nitro finish, which is preferable by most accounts.

 

Edit: Since you've added the TV into the mix, that would probably be my choice, all things being equal. Any of these guitars should sound quite a bit different from a 'bird and an AJ. The TV should, on paper, be the most different, but it will depend on the individual instruments.

 

thanks. i put an offer on the Early, so we shall see. it's part of a collection and is essentially new old stock, but was a 2k higher than the TV... i've had some people tell me the Adi would be more like the AJ... what would be your reasoning?

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thanks. i put an offer on the Early, so we shall see. it's part of a collection and is essentially new old stock, but was a 2k higher than the TV... i've had some people tell me the Adi would be more like the AJ... what would be your reasoning?

 

Essentially, we are chasing our tails here. As Jinder has pointed out, you can take three different versions of what is nominally the near-exact same guitar, and they may all sound somewhat different from each other. We can't really give you much in the way of valuable input on this. Your ears would tell you in five minutes of playing which of the three J-45 versions fills the gap in your collection the best.

 

Any of these J-45's should sound somewhat different from the long-scale, rosewood AJ, even though they share the same body style. The exact differences are almost impossible to forecast, since we don't know what your AJ is like, or what these particular J-45 variants are like

 

There have been lengthy discussions of both AJ's and J-45's here, and the takeaway is that without playing them side-by-side, with the same strings on them, it's almost impossible to say how much difference there will be between the guitars you are looking at, and the guitars you already own. Some AJ's are big and booming, great flatpickers that will hold their own in a bluegrass jam, others are quieter and more balanced. Few J-45's are what I would call loud boomers, but some will make you sit up and pay attention with great articulation and clarity, whether strummed, flatpicked, or fingerpicked.

 

Adi tops generally have a dryer sound than sitka, but that's just a generalization, and may not apply to any two particular instruments. The differences may not show up clearly until the guitars are 20 years or more older.

 

How would you describe the sound of your 'bird vs your AJ, and what tonal difference are you seeking?

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