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J-45 First string change


jschmitz54
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I brought home my J-45 about two weeks ago and am adjusting to the size. It’s bigger than other guitars I’ve owned.  I’m a 1.5 year beginner  but have a few insights and questions.

This guitar has a big bold woody sound that I’m really starting to appreciate. We had some dinner guests last night who have been after me to play my guitar for them. I’m loath to do this as a beginner and find it intimidating. I did it anyway. I also have a Martin GP35E and this is the guitar I started to play. After a while they ask to see the J-45 so I played it for them. All attendees said they preferred the J-45 sound over the Martin. I’m so comfortable playing the Martin and familiar with the sound it surprised me they preferred the J-45. They commented on the bigger bass and more volume.  I had the guitar strung with John Pierce 720ML. These are a medium / light combination. 
Today I changed strings and seeing others that recommended Martin Retro MM12 lights I put a set on the J-45. Im not sure what to say about these strings. At first I thought I didn’t like them but then I played them more and really started to like them. I’m not sure if they are brighter or maybe louder but I think they’re pretty cool sounding. Are there any others that have used these strings on a J-45 that could give their interpretation of the sound. I’d also appreciate any other string recommendations you might share.

After two weeks, paying more attention to my posture while playing I’m really starting to appreciate this guitar. Sometimes things just start to feel right, it reinvigorates me to learn and play more, nice!

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Strings are a personal preference, and as long as you like them, your good to go. On my Gibson J-45 I use Elixir nanoweb 80/20 lights (.12-.53) they last long and they warm up after several hours of play, then they last me for a year or more.  Your doing GREAT! YOU are going to be a great player..count on it, you have the guitars that will highlight the best of your talents for sure! Best wishes!

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I've got a J45 as well ('18 Vintage) and experimented with a number of strings.  My personal preference is PBs 13 - 54.  Martins are my typical, but D'addario are fine.  Tried the Martin retro but never bonded with them (they actually had to come off w/in a couple of days).   Also 80/20s were good, going to give them another shot - but never had a 'wow' moment with them.

One thing that i've never heard mentioned is the look of strings as well.  I couldn't get used to the 'all nickle' look of the retros...  wound strings should be brass, and the hi e and b should be nickle.  I can live with the hi e and b being brass also, but don't like it.  It doesn't change the sound, but does make an impression when I'm looking at it.  It's also all personal preference.

Regardless - you have an awesome guitar, whatever you put on it will be really good - so enjoy the journey of finding what you like.

 

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I have a 2003 J-45 Rosewood body/ebony bridge and fretboard.

Bac k when I got it I was simply using the same .60 Tortex picks that I used playing electrics in working/gigging bands for decades. I used Elixir 80/20's on it.

As I morphed into an ALL ACOUSTIC player and also picked up mandolin my pick choice began to get thicker and more dense. This caused the tone to get darker and as an intricate lead player I felt I was losing some definition and tried the Gibson Masterbuilt 80/20's and just loved them.

Gibson recently changed their signature strings to be a COATED string which I now don't like. So I found out who made the Masterbuilts for them.

I now use GHS 80/20's and just love the sound. PB doesn't work for me. I also own a J-15 (walnut back/sides) and they work the same way giving a tad better definition to the solo lead work.

Here's wishing you the best.

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jschmitz54; Glad you're enjoying your new J45. It sounds like you have the perfect pair of guitars now. For strings, I like  Martin MA540T Lifespan Treated Phosphor Bronze, light gauge strings on mine. For me, these really sound good on the J45. Have fun with the new guitar!

Edited by TomPhx
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4 hours ago, Murph said:

I have a 2003 J-45 Rosewood body/ebony bridge and fretboard.

Bac k when I got it I was simply using the same .60 Tortex picks that I used playing electrics in working/gigging bands for decades. I used Elixir 80/20's on it.

As I morphed into an ALL ACOUSTIC player and also picked up mandolin my pick choice began to get thicker and more dense. This caused the tone to get darker and as an intricate lead player I felt I was losing some definition and tried the Gibson Masterbuilt 80/20's and just loved them.

Gibson recently changed their signature strings to be a COATED string which I now don't like. So I found out who made the Masterbuilts for them.

I now use GHS 80/20's and just love the sound. PB doesn't work for me. I also own a J-15 (walnut back/sides) and they work the same way giving a tad better definition to the solo lead work.

Here's wishing you the best.

My instructor started me off with 1.0 thickness picks and I’m very content with that. He uses picks up to 3.0. When I’ve tried those I felt like I was playing with a rock. He’s a very accomplished player so I’m sure there plenty more to learn in that regard for me.

I've tried light picks and they seem to make a lot of noise against the strings and reduce control so I  think I get what you’re saying.

Is your J a custom ? I don’t remember seeing these with ebony fretboards and bridges.

Thanks for your response.

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John Pearse Pure Nickel 960L light gauge .012-.054 has been my choice for barehanded, no-plectrum playing for several years now, replacing John Pearse phosphor bronze in the same gauge.  I am not convinced that bigger, heavier, thicker strings are the best choice - the lower tension nickel strings seem to vibrate better and the guitar just sounds fuller this way.

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