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derek R

Where do I start

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I mainly play electric guitars,I’m not even that good considering I’ve been playing for a few years now and had lessons.

I have always had acoustic guitars about,i had a really nice Simon and Patrick acoustic which I gave to my son and bought a Martin acoustic thinking it was an upgrade,which it is,but it doesn’t have the same sound as the Simon and Patrick.

So now i think i may want to move on to a Gibson acoustic,so where do i start,i was thinking along the lines of a j45 or a hummingbird.

I’m open to suggestions,i feel that the Martin acoustics fretboard is too narrow and the sound is too dark,I’m looking for something easier playing with a more open sound and going by reviews and reading these forums and other forums i think a Gibson acoustic might be the way to go and hopefully inspire me to practice more than i do now and put in the effort to really enhance my years of lessons and general knowledge of guitar playing,i do get that the best way is to play as many guitars as i can and being in a big city that is not really a problem as there are many guitar shops about,but i feel really inferior going into these shops and playing these guitars in front of other people because as i said earlier I’m not the best of player.

 The cost of a Gibson acoustic is not cheap and would be a big outlay for me but i feel the cost could be offset if it encouraged me to actually put in the time to pick up the guitar and practice,don’t get me wrong,I’ve spent the same sort of money on my Gibson electric guitars so at the end of the day I can cover the cost.

 The main type of music I’m interested in playing is mainly rock/blues/rock blues,just really what most of us listen to,play,so as i asked where do i start.

Any feedback/suggestions/help would be really helpful as i really don’t know what type of Gibson acoustic i would be best looking at,considering my skill level and musical talent,i mainly play chords/rhythm type guitar just now and that is mainly what I’d be doing with the acoustic.

thanks again in advance.

derek r

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The Gibson and J-45...and the Gibson Hummingbird..either or both.  You hit the nail on the head! Buy them used and save a fortune. Here are two GC links to start looking for a good used one. These two guitars are icons in the Gibson family. You can't go wrong with either. They are great for rythem and strumming and everythiong else you throw at them. And if you happen to be a singer..they are even better. Hope this helps!

https://www.guitarcenter.com/search?typeAheadSuggestion=true&typeAheadRedirect=true&fromRecentHistory=true&Ntt=used+J-45

https://www.guitarcenter.com/search?typeAheadSuggestion=true&typeAheadRedirect=true&fromRecentHistory=true&Ntt=used+gibson+hummingbird

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I would stick to the standard versions of either model, as opposed to one of the many variations.  Mahogany in other words. Makes re-sale easier.  Not that you buy a guitar with the objective of selling it!   When you read reviews and hear of the wonderful tone, etc. they invariably are talking about 'hog back and sides - although other woods have their attraction. My J45 is koa, and I love it. Koa is a cousin to Mahogany.   Rosewood is well thought of too.   Used is obviously cheaper, but not without risk.  If you get a good one from a reputable dealer with some form of written warranty, you're OK for awhile, but still  you don't get the Gibson Warranty.  Having been to your fair city, be mindful of the humidity in your home, especially in winter with the dry heat. If you don't keep your guitar in a 'safe space'  with a range between 40 and 60% relative humidity, you will be courting disaster - warranties will be useless.  Acoustics are much more delicate than Electrics. If you keep it out, you'll tend to play it more.  If you hang it on a wall, make sure it's an interior one.  Otherwise, you seem to have selected the two iconic models most everyone here (it is a Gibson Forum after all) would agree are superlative. And, it is probable either guitar would get you to practice more.  I felt, when I got my first  'good' guitar, I owed it to the guitar to practice.  I realized I needed to change my priorities though to free up the time I was wasting on other things.  G'luck.  Keep us posted!   

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I think a good place to start would be a used 2000+ era J45.

Then get friendly with a Gibson repair tech and get everything up to par....

If that guitar suits you, all good, but hang around this forum and you know.......start tapping in wall hangers for the birds and small units! Plus!

 

BluesKing777.

 

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8 hours ago, derek R said:

i do get that the best way is to play as many guitars as i can and being in a big city that is not really a problem as there are many guitar shops about,but i feel really inferior going into these shops and playing these guitars in front of other people because as i said earlier I’m not the best of player.

Consider yourself fortunate to have those resources available as many brick & mortar guitar shops have bitten the dust over the past few decades. My suggestion would be to not worry about what anyone else thinks and take advantage of what your city has to offer. Guitar shops are full of people who don't let a lack of talent get in their way of trying out guitars while enjoying the process. Getting your hands on the  very models that you are considering is far more informative than any words that can be shared here. In addition to experiencing the tone, you'll get a feel for "the feel" of each guitar. I'd also suggest trying a few other models in your price range just to see if anything else might tickle your fancy.

Sometimes you just never know what will truly appeal to you. Years ago I stopped by my neighborhood acoustic guitar shop (now gone) just to browse as I so often did back then. I had a habit of running my thumb across all six strings of some of the guitars hanging on the walls just to experience a bit of their tone and get a feel for how resonant they were. I've never been very enamored with Taylor guitars and this shop did not carry them, but they did have a used one hanging up for sale that day. Even though it was well over a decade old it looked practically brand new and was priced surprisingly low. So I went ahead and checked it out. I was caught off guard at how good it sounded. Then I pulled it down off the wall and played it — it played really nicely. Finally I compared it with a few other guitars in the store and realized that it sounded better to me than anything else in the store at twice the price and then some. I ended up buying the Taylor and still have it today. It is the one guitar that I leave hanging up on the wall, ready for me to play on a whim most of the year. (In the wintertime when it is not being played it stays in it's case along with an Oasis humidifier just like the rest of my acoustics.) 

I'm not advising you to go out and buy a Taylor guitar. But I would advise you to go to some of your local guitar shops to experience as many Gibson guitars for yourself as you can.

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3 hours ago, BluesKing777 said:

 

I think a good place to start would be a used 2000+ era J45.

Then get friendly with a Gibson repair tech and get everything up to par....

If that guitar suits you, all good, but hang around this forum and you know.......start tapping in wall hangers for the birds and small units! Plus!

 

BluesKing777.

 

What the Blues King sez here.....

You can't go wrong with a mahogany J-45. It's the most basic Gibson tone and feel. Try  several if possible. Several different neck styles (shape, nut width) have been used in modern times, so if you don't like the first one, keep looking.

Be aware that different strings result in dramatically different voices on the J-45, or almost any guitar, so what may be a dud with one type of strings comes alive with another.

Enjoy the hunt!

And they do work for rock 'n roll. If Buddy Holly were still around, he would vouch for that. But plenty of others who are still with us could say the same thing.

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11 minutes ago, jedzep said:

Curious as to which Martin is making you think you need another 'beginner' guitar. 

 

Don't think he said he's looking for another beginner guitar.  Just doesn't like the Martin.  Maybe he bought one that had issues, or was made in Mexico. They're not all stellar, and he's entitled to his opinion. He's been playing for years, and may realize that low end Martins are equivalent to $300 Epiphones.  If a guitar doesn't make you want to play more -  most agree it makes sense to move it on and get a different one, look for an upgrade.  Like a J45 and an H'bird would be.  He might, however, need to challenge his guitar teacher after a couple of years of lessons - to get him to a point where he would feel comfortable sitting in a guitar store and not feeling badly about his playing. 

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11 hours ago, jedzep said:

Curious as to which Martin is making you think you need another 'beginner' guitar. 

Nowhere did i say my Martin was a beginner acoustic guitar,as i said I’ve had acoustic guitars about for years,my Simon and Patrick was a really nice guitar which I gave to my son who plays a whole lot better than me,the Martin is an expensive guitar which i thought might involve me more in the acoustic side of playing,it’s not doing it for me so I’m thinking a Gibson acoustic might give me more of a sound closer to the sound i have in my head as to what an acoustic should sound like,more like the one i gave to my son,also more playable as in the width of the fretboard and space between frets,the Martin just seems to be tight,if that’s a thing.

Im just asking for some guidance as to the type of Gibson acoustic guitar i should be looking at to help me along the path of acoustic playing,as far as i can tell Gibson acoustics are quite bright in their sound which is what i think I’m looking for,maybe the Martin was a mistake and i can trade it in against a Gibson,maybe I’ll keep the Martin and buy a Gibson,I’m just on here asking for some advice as to what accomplished acoustic players think would be the best fit for what I’m looking for and trying to achieve with my playing.

Again thanks in advance for any thoughts or advice 

Derek r

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Sorry, Derek.

You were implying that you were somewhat a beginner by saying you felt inferior playing in public and referring to yourself as 'not that good.'  I was asking what model Martin you were talking about, not denigrating it as a beginner guitar. 

You're the beginner, by your description. You'll have to discover and nurture your own touch no matter what brand you play.  Anything  you can do to inspire more playing time will make you a better guitarist.

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I would certainly go out and play as many as you can lay your hands on. We can all give you examples of what are all good guitars, but to really get that bonding moment you really should go and try them. I have played a lot of guitars, being a person that frequently has GAS, the moment I picked up my J-15 it was just right, and I had played a lot of them over the years since they first came out.  Everything about it just feels amazing and inspiring, to me it is truly better than any other J-15 that I have tried.  Find what Gibson speaks to you. 

I have found that most of the martins i have played needed a good set up, as the action they ship with is generally high. And that is never fun nor inspiring.

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2 hours ago, derek R said:

 I’m thinking a Gibson acoustic might give me more of a sound closer to the sound i have in my head as to what an acoustic should sound like,more like the one i gave to my son,also more playable as in the width of the fretboard and space between frets,the Martin just seems to be tight,if that’s a thing.

Im just asking for some guidance as to the type of Gibson acoustic guitar i should be looking at to help me along the path of acoustic playing,

First off,  please understand that I am sympathetic to the situation facing you. But you should know that in reality you likely aren't all that different than most people who hang out online on guitar-related forums. You only need to pay attention to how often others are buying and selling guitars to realize that you are not the only one who has yet to figure out what exactly makes you happy and remain fixated on your playing. For many it can be a real crap shoot finding a guitar that makes them want to keep playing once the honeymoon period with a new guitar has worn off. Also try to keep in mind that when it comes to the path of acoustic playing not everyone is hiking on the same trail.

Based on your comments above regarding the fretboard and fret spacing I would be curious to know that specific Martin model it is that you own. It sounds as if you would prefer models featuring a long scale length. As far as fretboard width is concerned, that  can be tricky. Not only does the nut width come into play, but so does the string spacing at both the nut and the saddle. In addition the neck/fretboard profile can also have a considerable impact on how a guitar plays and feels. These are amongst the reasons that I recommend seeking out guitar shops in your area. to play a variety of different Gibsons for yourself. Even if it feels stressful to play in front of others, chances are you'll be glad you did if you end up finding the right guitar for you. Good luck!

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Yea, if the Martin fretboard is too 'tight' then you certainly dont want to make it 'tighter'with a short scale j45 or hummingbird....

 

And if the Martin is too 'dark' , perhaps a maple guitar or maybe not even a Gibson,  but maybe a taylor I would consider quite a 'bright'guitar 

 

 

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On 11/9/2019 at 7:07 PM, derek R said:

I mainly play electric guitars,I’m not even that good considering I’ve been playing for a few years now and had lessons.

I have always had acoustic guitars about,i had a really nice Simon and Patrick acoustic which I gave to my son and bought a Martin acoustic thinking it was an upgrade,which it is,but it doesn’t have the same sound as the Simon and Patrick.

So now i think i may want to move on to a Gibson acoustic,so where do i start,i was thinking along the lines of a j45 or a hummingbird.

I’m open to suggestions,i feel that the Martin acoustics fretboard is too narrow and the sound is too dark,I’m looking for something easier playing with a more open sound and going by reviews and reading these forums and other forums i think a Gibson acoustic might be the way to go and hopefully inspire me to practice more than i do now and put in the effort to really enhance my years of lessons and general knowledge of guitar playing,i do get that the best way is to play as many guitars as i can and being in a big city that is not really a problem as there are many guitar shops about,but i feel really inferior going into these shops and playing these guitars in front of other people because as i said earlier I’m not the best of player.

 The cost of a Gibson acoustic is not cheap and would be a big outlay for me but i feel the cost could be offset if it encouraged me to actually put in the time to pick up the guitar and practice,don’t get me wrong,I’ve spent the same sort of money on my Gibson electric guitars so at the end of the day I can cover the cost.

 The main type of music I’m interested in playing is mainly rock/blues/rock blues,just really what most of us listen to,play,so as i asked where do i start.

Any feedback/suggestions/help would be really helpful as i really don’t know what type of Gibson acoustic i would be best looking at,considering my skill level and musical talent,i mainly play chords/rhythm type guitar just now and that is mainly what I’d be doing with the acoustic.

thanks again in advance.

derek r

 

Hello Derek

i can relate to what you said about feeling inferior going to shops and play, i went through years of feeling this way, and add to it that im a woman and everytime i used to go to a shop they would assume i was looking for "something for my boyfriend". It just takes a little bit of courage to pick up the guitar and just play whatever you want and dont care what other are playing or may think of you. We are all of different levels of learning so there's gonna be ppl that play better than us and the other way around, and its all good.  like try it one time, and next time it will be less harder, i promise 😃

If you are looking for a specific sound its very important you try out the guitars for yourself, we can all recommend models but ultimately you are the one to pick one...i would throw in also to check out some Taylors, my taste in acoustics are Alvarez, Gibsons and Taylors (in no specific order)

 

good luck!

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If I was in your shoes I would get a used J-15. I think this model stacks up to the J-45 quality in terms of overall tone and performance, unlike the studios and the like the released last couple years.

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You didn't mention what Martin model you had? If it was a quality D-28 they're very hard to beat. Actually, they are the Bar that most Guitars aspire to.

But like everything, taste is subjective.

I agree that quality J45's are quite nice Guitars.. Though I really like my Vintage Sunburst Solid Top Gibson Bozeman Masterbilt J-160E. And also agree about sticking with a popular Maker & Model.. In case you want yo sell it down the road...

By the way, with regard to how dark or bright an Acoustic sounds can be pretty well controlled by the Strings you use..

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If a Martin is too dark for you, try a J185. Loads of dynamic range and a sweet, bright top end. A J45 is generally dark and rich and chocolatey. Gibsons aren't particularly associated with brightness-I would say that Taylors are a far brighter guitar by nature-but a J185, Dove, SJ200 or other maple Gibson will give you a big, bold bottom end and some of the treble you are looking for.

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2 hours ago, Jinder said:

If a Martin is too dark for you, try a J185. Loads of dynamic range and a sweet, bright top end. A J45 is generally dark and rich and chocolatey. Gibsons aren't particularly associated with brightness-I would say that Taylors are a far brighter guitar by nature-but a J185, Dove, SJ200 or other maple Gibson will give you a big, bold bottom end and some of the treble you are looking for.

 

Just when you thought you could peg something, they alter it! My Taylor Grand Pacific 717E Builder's Edition V-Class is designed to be a darker, more vintage sounding Gibsony, Martiny  - Taylor with a chunky neck! Still very 'clear' and defined but not 'bright' like other Taylor models. My 2005 Dove is very 'clear' as well! (And works beautifully through the supplied Baggs Anthem pickup, occasional rattle on certain notes from the control thingy). Perhaps some people don't get along with them as your playing needs to be a bit more precise with 'nowhere to hide'?

Derek still hasn't told us what his Martin is after a few have asked... unclear!

 

BluesKing777.

 

 

Edited by BluesKing777

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Lots of sweet Gibson models, but I’d suggest one of the J45s or a Hummingbird.  Get a good setup on the guitar and have a blast.  Lots of folks don’t want to spend the money on a setup after spending so much on a guitar, but the setup is damn important.  Just because a guitar cost a lot of money doesn’t mean it’s easy and comfortable for everyone to play.   A Gibson acoustic with a setup that “you” like is a butt-kicker of a guitar.....Just my view.  doesn’t make me right and someone else wrong.

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Sorry i haven’t been on,and thanks for all the replies and suggestions,so much to take on and think about.

 The Martin guitar in question is a 000-15M Streetmaster, i bought this guitar new,i had played it in the store for about an hour along with a few others,i know i said I’m not confident about playing in front of other people as i don’t think my playing is where it should be after the amount of years and lessons ive taken but the store was quiet that day and i had a chance to strum a few guitars and i thought it was the best of what i tried and i was looking to replace the guitar i had given my son.

Thats been about a year now I’ve had the guitar at home and it’s not inspiring me to pick it up and play it the way i thought it would,the sound just isn’t what I want,i just thought Gibson acoustics sounded brighter on videos i watch and music i listen to so as i asked originally where do i start regarding a Gibson acoustic as all my other guitars are Gibson’s.

Looks like i’ll just have to bite the bullet and brave the stores and try a load of guitars to find what I’m looking for,preferably a Gibson 

cheers Derek r

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Mahogany is a 'quieter' wood compared to a spruce top. I own a 20+ year old 000-15 and don't expect it to do anything other than it was built for, giving me a tone I love for certain songs and styles.  For a brighter tone I own a different guitar. 

A bigger Martin dread in the price range of the Streetmaster would be the D16. I'll bet you'd get the bright tones equal to any Gibson J for significantly less dough.  Don't forget to have another player try it so you can hear it from the vantage point in front of the guitar.

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2 hours ago, derek R said:

Looks like i’ll just have to bite the bullet and brave the stores and try a load of guitars to find what I’m looking for,preferably a Gibson 

I truly think that this is your best option. A few thoughts...

I see that your 000 Martin actually features a long scale neck. If the fret spacing on that guitar feels tight to you then I'm guessing that you might have a hard time with any short scale guitar. But again, actually playing the guitars is the best way to find out. This will also give you a good idea of how the neck profile, nut width and string spacing (at the nut and saddle)  of a guitar suits you.

I can relate to being nervous playing in front of others as I have that problem myself.  I just consider the uncomfortable feeling to be part of the price I pay when it comes to finding those guitars I've considered spending my money on. Keep in mind that no one in the store has any idea how long you've been playing for.  Just do your thing and focus on the guitars themselves.

I would suggest that you take your Martin along with you as a point of reference given that you are very familiar with how it sounds (not to mention knowing what you do and don't like about it.)  You will likely find that some shops might tend to make guitars sound better in general than others. By taking along your Martin you will get a  better feel for how this is impacting your impressions of the guitars you try out.

Hey, you're getting to go out and geek out on guitars, try to enjoy it and good luck!

Edited by Guth

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Assuming your fingers haven't gotten fatter since you acquired your Martin, there are 4 reasons that might make a person feel fretting a chord, fingerpicking, and/or dancing/shredding on the frets  is 'tight'.  One is the length of the neck. Long neck gives you more space between the frets, short neck gives you less string tension. A related consideration -is the strings you use (Medium of Light) and the 'set-up' (is string height too high? .A third possible issue is the profile of the neck - is it round like a baseball bat or flat like a board?  There are several shapes and thicknesses, but all are within a fairly manageable range - with a profile between a "C"  and a "V".  The fourth is the width of the fretboard a la how wide the nut is.  And, one would hope, the bridge pin spacing reflects that to the centimeter.   If possible, while in the shop, pick up and experience  the contrast between the spacing of strings on a classical guitar and then on on a mandolin !   Folks play both.  Or, you could just search the internet for nut widths on long necks until you find several of the widest to look to play test.   I'm guessing the difference in distance between any two strings on the widest acoustic, VS the narrowest nut acoustic - will only be around a millimeter.    I plagiarized the following from   sixstringacoustic.com  

"The Most Common Nut Widths on Acoustic Guitars. Acoustic guitarstypically have a nut width between 41mm (1.61") and 47mm (1.85"). The most common or the standard neck width on acoustic guitars is 44mm (1.73" or more commonly referred to as 1 ¾ inches)."  

I'm thinking tone and general 'feel'  of your Martin, compared to the guitar you'd bonded with and gave to your son -   might be the issue. 'Sellers Remorse'.   As Guth said - enjoy the journey.  And, at least half the other customers in the shop don't play as well as you on average. Plus, they're more worried about finding the right guitar than how well you play.  

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I think you just need a baseline to get started...   

  • Either J45 / Bird for the rock, blues- rock sound (if you can ignore your concern about the Martin neck being cramped)
    •  also IMO the J45 is more rockish than the bird, but both are awesome
  • If you want a dread, but want a wider fretboard (1.75) find a jumbo re-issue on reverb ($3200 +/-)
  • Or want a wider fretboard, but don't mind it not being  a dread, save a little money and go small body.  I believe there's quite a few with fat necks - but others would have to weigh in.

FWIW - I got a J45 and have gotten used to the neck, (was used to a wider neck on previous guitar) but it took awhile...  now that I'm used to it - I love it.  I would have started with the jumbo re-issue if I had known of them.  Also - I think you bond with guitars in different ways, if your an aficionado (really know what your looking for...  maybe 5% of the population) then you play one and if it rings out just how you hope you know it.  Most of us wont pick up on those nuances but sometimes we play something and it just feels right, but don't know really why - but there's an immediate bond.  But also if you have something that you did not have that feeling at first and - but you play frequently - what feels right can evolve.

Good luck, just go get something...  buy from a reputable dealer and enjoy!

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