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sbpark

J45 Standard Overhaul!

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Finally finished all the changes to my J45 Standard. It's been a bit of a wild ride for this one. I bought it brand new, and after several months decided to downsize and never fully bonded with and sold it locally. Told the guy if he ever decided to sell it to contact me first. Well, almost a year to the day he wrote me, and because I was sans J45 at the time I bought it back. Felt like I made a mistake and put it up for sale AGAIN! Well, this time all I got were ridiculously lowball offers and it sat for sale locally for months. I had been through several J45's, including a couple Standards, a couple of TV's and a V that left me pretty disappointed. As time passed and this current J45 didn't sell, I really began to appreciate the thunderous low end, and the magic that happened after I put on some 80/20's (same thing happened with the 80/20's for my AJ, btw!) I said to myself, what the heck, and decided to commit and turn this one into my own. No going back after this one because there's no way I'd ever recoup what I would end up putting into it. Here's what I ended up doing to it:

 

- Kluson 3-on-a-plate tuners to replace the gaudy, heavy Rotomatics. I did this mod myself and previously started a thread explaining how I did it. (Funny, I don't mind them on my D-28 and D-35, but they just don't look right on the J45).

- Black truss rod cover (purely cosmetic)

- Bone nut (purely cosmetic, and prefer the look of the white bone over the black Tusq. I'm not one to hear crazy differences in "tone" with different nut materials, plus once you fret a note the point is moot.

- Bone saddle

- New pickguard to replace the rubber/flubber pickguard that just wouldn't stick. (I replaced it with an OEM Gibson guard used in the new Vintage models and installed it myself after I brought the guitar home from the shop earlier today).

- Removed the stock LR Baggs UST and installed a K&K Pure Mini pickup

- Set of bone bridge pins from Bob Colosi (I ONLY did this for cosmetic reasons and always hated the Tusq pins. I always thought the top of the pins looked way to flat and squashed.)

- PLEK (Yes, I know Gibson PLEK's these from the factory, but for whatever reason there was something slightly off with the frets. I forgot to ask when I picked up the guitar about what they ended up determining, but I was always getting a buzz on all strings strings, even with slightly higher action despite messing with different amounts of relief in the neck, and it happened as you played up the neck and it wasn't a nut slot issue, action wasn't super low, etc. This was a tough pill to swallow because it wasn't cheap to have done, but it plays perfect now and all the previous issues are gone, so whatever they did worked and I'm very happy with it).

 

I picked up the guitar from the shop this afternoon and loving it. Props to the guys at Gary Brawer's shop in San Francisco. They do amazing work, and every time I've ever brought them a guitar or bass it's always come back perfect. They're real professionals.

 

Compared to the way the guitar sounded before, here's what I'm hearing...the guitar is a but more touch-sensitive, a deeper low end and an authoritative thump (the guitar already had this characteristic before, but there's just a little more of it now), it's clearer and even maybe a little louder. Plus I really do love the way it looks now. I feel like the changes I made were very tasteful and they actually do justice to the guitar and it isn't over the top at all.

 

Here are a few pics:

 

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Edited by sbpark

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Nice job. It looks great. How did they resolve the string buzz problem?

 

I think it had some high frets way up the fretboard. I know they PLEK these at the factory, but I swear the last few frets were a bit high. Plus, the PLEK is only as good as the person operating it, and it was a brand new guitar when it was PLEK'd, so maybe things changed a little since, the guitar settled, etc. Who knows. All I know is the problem is gone now. I had them PLEK the guitar, which is basically a fret level and crown, it's just done by a human operating a computer instead of someone just doing it the old-fashioned way by hand.

Edited by sbpark

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Even though rotos work great, I really like the white button tuner options better. I have the Stew Mac Golden Age restoration tuners on my J50, but I also have found the Kluson tuners work best.

 

I will likely be doing the same thing with my new purchase.

 

Anyone want to buy Gold Rotos?

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I would say you did everything for the right reason - aesthetics because with the exception of the saddle not much else is going to have any appreciable impact when it comes to sound or response. So while I agree that while Rotomatics might be fine when it comes to function, they just look so wrong on a J-45. I do not worry as much about nuts old plastic or ebony ones. And I do go with bone as a replacement although I hate doing it myself - between the sanding and smell it reminds you of the dentist office. Never changed out a TRC unless it was not there to begin with or the tips where the screws go in are broken.

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It certainly looks sharp, and the improvements appear to have been worth it, sound-wise.

 

And yeah, when it comes to a guitar's aesthetics, I'm with you. If it doesn't look just right, it's gonna bug me. Yes, I know the sound is what's important, but I just get to a point where I obsess over whatever it is that doesn't look right and it keeps me up at night.

 

All in all, with all the troubles in the world, it's a pretty stupid thing to keep you up at night, but it happens.

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Hey! Good to see you here. This IMO is exactly what a standard J-45 should look like. I wish Gibson would do this to all the Standard series J-45's. It is time for a change.

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Good looking guitar and of course it will sound good.

 

Have a 2017 standard J45 and have see that sbpark has replaced the pickguard, Have the same problem with the "flubby" one installed on the guitar. Does anybody know it there is store selling J45 replacement pickguards of higher quality in Europe? Would be easier to order.

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Just an update...this guitar is pretty amazing.

 

It's light as a feather after swapping out the Rotomatics and getting rid of the UST with the internal 9v battery. It has sustain for days and rings like a bell, and has become a very responsive guitar. It's fuller, clearer and way more resonant and has much more complexity to its overall sound.

 

The one thing ai've always been unhappy with when it came to J45 Standards were how they sounded "wet" or a little dull or dampened. I also always felt like there was something weird going on with the B & E strings on J45 Standards that just didn't sound right, like they were balanced correctly with the other strings/the tone was just off in a way I can't describe, but am not hearing any of that after the changes. I really can't attribute the improvement in sound to any one particular change that was made, but I'm guessing it's a combination of the sum of it's parts and maybe it's a culmination of all the things that were done, some being more influential than others.

 

I feel like I've come full circle in a away. My first "nice" acoustic was a J45 Standard several years ago, and in that time I've acquired a few other Gibsons and Martins that have come and gone, and now this J45 is my favorite. I still love my AJ (use it mostly for fiddle tunes and neither of my Martin dreads can touch it), and also have a little 00-18 12-fretter that's perfect for fingerpicking, but this particular J45 is really all I want to play at the moment.

Edited by sbpark

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sb...

 

I actually ordered these... not the Klusons. Gotoh Vintage style 3 on a plate...

 

https://www.stewmac.com/Hardware_and_Parts/Tuning_Machines/Solid_Peghead_Guitar_Tuning_Machines/Gotoh_Vintage-style_3-on-Plate_Tuners.html

 

The conversion bushings are wrong (3/8). They have two larger sizes at Stewmac... and I cant measure my holes right now. I can later, but on the off chance that you know the answer, are the correct bushings 10mm or 10.5mm?

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Dare I say you should stop talking about it and start playing it. ��

 

I can play and post about it, don't you worry!

Edited by sbpark

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sb...

 

I actually ordered these... not the Klusons. Gotoh Vintage style 3 on a plate...

 

https://www.stewmac.com/Hardware_and_Parts/Tuning_Machines/Solid_Peghead_Guitar_Tuning_Machines/Gotoh_Vintage-style_3-on-Plate_Tuners.html

 

The conversion bushings are wrong (3/8). They have two larger sizes at Stewmac... and I cant measure my holes right now. I can later, but on the off chance that you know the answer, are the correct bushings 10mm or 10.5mm?

 

 

Wrong in what way? Too big? Too small? The bushings that come with the tuners won't fit. They'll slop around because of the holes left by the Rotomatics. That's why you have to buy the conversion bushings separately. What tuners are on your guitar now? Something different than Rotomatics perhaps that require a different size conversion bushing?

 

The bushings I purchased were definitely the 3/8" conversion bushings from StewMac (just checked my order history) and they fit my guitar (2017 J45 Standard). They just required a small bit of reaming to press-fit them in, which is how they are designed to work. They aren't supposed to just drop right in or be loose because that can cause rattles. They're supposed to be press-fit.

 

Here's the StewMac link: https://www.stewmac.com/Hardware_and_Parts/Tuning_Machines/Tuner_Parts/3_8_Conversion_Tuner_Bushing.html

Edited by sbpark

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I bought the 3/8 bushings. way too small for the hole.

 

 

What tuners are you swapping out? I just took a screen shot of this off the StewMac site:

 

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Maybe you need these, but seems a little strange if your guitar has Rotomatics. They're a little larger diameter.

 

https://www.stewmac.com/Hardware_and_Parts/Tuning_Machines/Tuner_Parts/10_5mm_Round_Conversion_Bushings.html

 

hGjXYf3.png

Edited by sbpark

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