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New J45 Standard Sound Question

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I got my new J45 Standard from Sweetwater and I’m not sure if I should be concerned about how it sounds.

 

I didn’t have the luxury of going and playing and picking out a guitar, ordering one was my only option - so this is the first J45 I’ve heard in person but it doesn’t sound quite like what I’ve heard in videos I’ve watched.

 

The guitar has nice tone overall but there is what I would describe as a higher pitched metallic ringing especially noticeable on the G B E strings while strumming open chords. The tone is a whole lot brighter, almost annoyingly, than I was expecting on the higher strings. It almost feel like I'm hearing a high pitched dog whistle like overtone when I strum those open strings.

 

The guitar was setup at Sweetwater before leaving with DAddario EJ15 Phosphor Bronze extra lights. It's what I've been using on my Epiphone DR100 for a while and I've had no problems with those strings, but is it possible this guitar just doesn't like them? Could it be something else? Could the guitar just be a dud?

 

The finish of the guitar is fantastic and the setup and playability is great. I’m just not sure why it sounds so bright, with this tinny or metallic ring, when all the review videos have it sounding very dark and mellow (which is what I’m after).

 

What do you think, does this seem standard for the J45 Standard?

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I can only offer my two cents. Put mediums on it. 13-56. Yes, you may have to have the truss rod adjusted. Trust me. It may be a tish tougher to play but the tone improvement will far outweigh that.

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Mediums are a good idea. Play a set 'til they need changed, then try a set of lights. Sometimes all you're really going to hear with x-tra lights is the strings, not the guitar, especially if the guitar in question needs to loosen up, as most will as you play them over time.

Edited by OldCowboy

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Many possibilities here. Using a pick? What kind, what tip? Strings can make a big difference. I like Martin Retros on my 45 for a thumpy, warm tone. It is true that some guitars just don’t like a particular string........got to experiment. I’m not a fan of the tusq that used as nut/saddle material on the new 45s.......too hard and can add brittleness to tone.

 

Hope you find a solution. J45 can be a terrific instrument.

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I agree with the Meds.. But keep playing the guitar... break it in.. get a good set up on it as well... not all out of the boxes are set to everyones standards..

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Hey - and welcome.

To tell it straight we need to listen to this instrument before anything can be said.

If it would be possible to make a recording - some strumming/finger-picking or single-note playing etc. - and post it side by side with a couple of ideal sounding videos from the Tube,

the Board will be able to elaborate.

Else we'll just start shooting into the fog confusing more than clearing the issue.

 

Look forward to hear further from you

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I concur. However, if you feel the jump to Mediums (13s) is too much for you from extra lights, try Martin Authentic Strings, 80/20 Bronze (not Phosphor Bronze) Lights (12s). Any tighter tension string than extra lights should make the guitar’s sound less tinny, plus Bronze strings are less trebly/bright than Phosphor Bronze...at least from my experience. A set only costs about $7, so there’s very little cost. If you gain some result with them and want to take the approach further, then try Mediums. I also suggest 80/20 Bronze on Mediums (13s).

 

As the J-45 is an all solid wood guitar, over time it should mellow as the wood ages. But either way, I suggest minimally Lights (12s) or Mediums (13s). They should give the guitar more growl.

 

BTW, you might also just be hearing increased volume on the J-45 from the Epiphone you referenced. That increased volume of the extra lights on the J-45 may be what you are hearing, which may have worked on the thinner sounding Epiphone, but are magnified on the all solid wood J-45. Plus, a J-45 has a shorter scale than your Epiphone, which means less string tension and less string tension on extra lights can translate to very little tension and unfocused string sounds.

 

Sweetwater usually is really good with personally picking out good instruments for buyers. I suspect it is the extra light strings which are probably phosphor bronze to boot. However, I believe Sweetwater has a very good return policy if you are really unhappy.

 

Hope this helps. Keep us posted.

 

QM aka “Jazzman” Jeff

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Expecting any Guitar to sound like the Videos or Records is wishful thinking. In most cases they been subject to complex Recording, Mixing & Mastering processes...

 

You're expecting to hear that live but it doesn't.

 

Strings make a big difference.. I'd start with the Strings the Manufacturer had on it to begin with & go from there.. Your favorite Strings from another Guitar may sound like crap on a different Guitar.

 

I recently tried a Set of Martin Retro Monel Rounds .012's on my Acoustic Electric Gibson Solid Top J-160E. I was pleasantly surprised how good they sound both Acoustic & Electric... Not being Gibsons or D' Adarrios. I've tried a lot of other Strings that were disappointing. These were recommended on another Guitar Forum...

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I agree with everyone's comments about trying heavier strings. If the jump to Mediums is uncomfortable for you, try a set of lights. Your guitar probably came from the factory wearing a set of Gibson Masterbuilt 80/20 Lights (12/53). If you like D'Addario's. try a set of EJ16's. I've never thought they sounded thin on a J-45 as you describe your EJ15's.

 

Good luck

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I don't even know why SWater's set up team would put 'extra lights' on a guitar of that substance w/o a warning, and packing a complimentary set of 13's in the case in anticipation of the inevitable disappointment. It might as well have been set up with nylon classical strings as far as waking up your guitar goes. Your J will pop with mediums on even if you have to drop the tuning a step (D-D) to ease the strain on your fretting hand.

 

I thought the recent post about a member who noticed his guitar had opened up after he had been parking it in front of his bass amp was a lesson in 'tonerite-eousness'.

Edited by jedzep

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Not trying to be the negative one here but have you considered the J45 isn't the guitar you're looking for? Obviously I would suggest a string change to lights before you gave up on it, but maybe it's not the exact model you're looking for. Make no mistake I love mine, but I bought it while shopping for a Martin D28.

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I can only offer my two cents. Put mediums on it. 13-56. Yes, you may have to have the truss rod adjusted. Trust me. It may be a tish tougher to play but the tone improvement will far outweigh that.

 

 

Hi KSD - i'm assuming the truss rod adjustment would raise the string height a bit, hence the comment about 'a tish tougher to play' but how would this help with the tone? Rgds - billroy

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I agree that heavier strings (at least lights if not mediums) should help. Also phosphor bronze tends to have a bright sound... plus brand new strings will sound brighter until their broken in.

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If you are looking for a warmer, mellower sound that doesn't have so much string "zing!" I would point you towards John Pearse Pure Nickel acoustic gauge strings, the 960L light gauge .012-.054 set. I went to them several years ago because I wanted a more consistent sound that had a more apparent wood and air tonality and didn't have the over-hyped top end of new phosphor bronze strings. I have really enjoyed the way they sound AND their surprising longevity.

, which is the 2005 ancestor of the Modern Classic that evolved into today's Standard, and if you turn it up loud enough the iPad mic used captured most of how the guitar sounds. I would NOT go to mediums on a J-45, because to my ear they constrict the sound.

 

I would not recommend extra light gauge strings on any guitar. I have always found them to be kinda thin sounding.

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Another vote for light nickels. On my J-45 I've been using Martin Retros and subbing a 13 for the e and a 17 for the b strings.

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I'm with the other guys here about putting different gauge strings. I see the EJ15 (Dadarrio) strings are "extra light" 10-47's. Way way too light for such caliber of a j45. I would recommend to start with 12-53's or 12-54's before you start doing any type of adjustments,especially the truss rod. The truss rod is for neck relief and not action. The j45's from Gibson come out with at least 12 gauge strings on them. Just curious if you asked Sweetwater to put the ej15's on there?

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And one vote for John Pearse 12s phos brz. I try everything and always come back to these on all my guitars, including two J-45s. *Give yourself and the guitar some time together. Good luck!

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And one vote for John Pearse 12s phos brz. I try everything and always come back to these on all my guitars, including two J-45s. *Give yourself and the guitar some time together. Good luck!

 

Before I went with Pearse's nickel wound strings, these Jp phosphor bronze 12s were my string of choice for more than a decade on a variety of acoustics. They were about the ONLY string I could get to work when I had a Taylor 815C, they worked well on my old Guild GF-25C, and they were near magical on the 1960 LG-2 that I still miss.

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Yet another vote for mediums. Martin Retros in particular. I know some people say lights on a J-45 are ok, but I've just always felt the slopes need mediums to move the top in any decent way.

 

I'd also recommend switching out the Tusq saddle for a bone one. I had a Bob Colosi saddle installed in my J-35 awhile back and it made a considerable difference. For one thing, the Tusq saddle was undersized and didn't fill the slot properly. It was leaning in the slot and wasn't making proper contact with the bottom. That problem somehow made it past the QC people at Gibson AND Sweetwater.

Edited by dhanners623

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If a guitar can't be fixed or adjusted in a simple way, I'm typically out-of-luck. That said----I'd definitely try the suggestions about using heavier strings. Extra Lights (to my ears) have a very thin and tinny sound. Of course, guitars vary on sound, but that's how I tend to hear extra lights. Try some lights. More tension may solve the problem. If lights don't solve the issue, try some mediums.-----------Just my opinion and that doesn't make me right and someone else wrong, but I don't think extra lights "do justice" to a J45........I hope you get the issue solved and really start enjoying what is likely a super guitar. [thumbup] [thumbup]

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Thanks for all the suggestions.

 

Today I tried putting on some heavier strings. I installed some D'addario EJ16 12 gauge strings. The guitar does sound better, but it's not perfect. I'm still getting that werid metallic resonant sound. I would describe it almost like a Sitar kind of overtone. I did notice that when I don't play any open strings, as in the case of an F Barre Chord, it sounds fine. Perhaps there is something wrong with the nut? Has anyone experienced what I'm talking about before?

 

Thanks

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Thanks for all the suggestions.

 

Today I tried putting on some heavier strings. I installed some D'addario EJ16 12 gauge strings. The guitar does sound better, but it's not perfect. I'm still getting that werid metallic resonant sound.

Thanks

 

 

To me, new strings have that weird metallic sound until you play it out of them over a couple days...

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Its hard to tell from a forum conversation

But you might do well to check the tuning posts and pegs for loose screws

Perhaps truss rod cover screws

And the end pin Jack socket if there's a pickup in the guitar

Lots have had a vibration from a loose nut on the inside of the fitting

You'll need skinny arms

 

 

Initially I thought you didn't like the sound of the guitar but your sitar like comment made me think it may be something buzzing somewhere and resonating

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