Jump to content
Gibson Brands Forums

They made every J45... but not this one... I think


Salfromchatham
 Share

Recommended Posts

Excuse me gents for I need the diversion.

Random thought .... I have a Martin D15, a J45-TV in the shop, and also my main gigging guitar- a Takamine P3DC. The Takamine sounds way better unplugged than it has any right to. NEX shape (kind of like a Martin 0000), hog back and sides, and a satin cedar top. That got me thinking.

Did Gibson ever make a J45 with a cedar top? I bet it would sound flipping fantastic. It’s a soft wood, so it won’t be driven hard like red spruce... but mine has a growl. It is so pleasing. 

 

I bet a J45  with a cedar top would sound glorious. I mean possibly Holy Crap glorious.  Been done? What do you think?

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Never heard of one, but James Taylor has a rosewood back'n'sides James Olson with cedar top. 

Think it's his favorite guitar, both in the studio and on stage. 

I sometimes wonder if my re-topped (and re-necked) 1966 CW got cedar - but don't know how to tell/check. The look is so peanut-butterish and tight grained.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, E-minor7 said:

Never heard of one, but James Taylor has a rosewood back'n'sides James Olson with cedar top. 

Think it's his favorite guitar, both in the studio and on stage. 

I sometimes wonder if my re-topped (and re-necked) 1966 CW got cedar - but don't know how to tell/check. The look is so peanut-butterish and tight grained.

 Many cedars are distinctively aromatic (just like mahoganies and rosewoods), with different cedars fairly easily identifiable by their smells. You might try sanding a patch on the inside of the top and seeing what it smells like.

After working with wood for more than 50 years, I can pretty much walk into a shop and tell what wood is being used just by the smell of the sawdust.

Of course, if you smoke a lot, your sense of smell may be compromised. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My guess is that all things being equal, spruce tops produce a brighter and  snapper sound than cedar.  Then again, I miss the day wen you walked into a music shop wanting a J45 and the only choice you had was did you want a burst or natural top version.

Edited by zombywoof
Link to comment
Share on other sites

30 minutes ago, kidblast said:

hey I have a Taylor Grand Symphony with a cedar top and hog back and sides,  just sayin..........

That’s nice. what are your impressions of it?

I can see ‘Woof’s thinking of how the cedar top might make for a less snappy guitar, but the Epiphone AJ500rc 12 fret I  just recently liberated was the loudest acoustic guitar I’d ever played- the wife of the guitar’s previous owner made him get rid of it for that very reason (purportedly). but in the case of the Epi, it might also been a function of the long scale length, body size, satin poly finish, rosewood, and/or the cedar. 

The your-basic configuration of the standard J-45 is just fine with me, however, you know… Bozeman is now doing customs again, so if you really do wanted a cedar top…

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 minutes ago, 62burst said:

That’s nice. what are your impressions of it?

play-ability is second to none.   it comes to life when ya play it,  very much like something like a J200 will.  The cedar top takes some of the edge off that "taylor" snap.  it's a great finger picker.

This was a pure impulse purchase in 2006.   We had gone away for the weekend with my son and his wife.  (Burlington Vermont) College town, with a large music store.  My son was there doing recording sessions for songs his band was doing, and decided to order a DW drum kit from this store, They gave him a good deal.  He stopped in to put some money down on it and check the order.  I was wandering around and played a bunch of guitars,, then I picked up this one, and it just knocked me out.   I wasn't leaving the store without it.

Edited by kidblast
Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 minutes ago, kidblast said:

play-ability is second to none.   it comes to life when ya play it,  very much like something like a J200 will.  The cedar top takes some of the edge off that "taylor" snap.  it's a great finger picker.

. . . 

The Vermont find is a perfect example of one of the best ways to find a guitar… just stumble across it, as opposed to being on a mission with a list of specs.

As far as the nature of a cedar top and that Epiphone, I should make a correction- not necessarily a matter of loudness, but rather of touch sensitivity and dynamics. i’m sure that guitar has a loudness limit (‘never searched for it, personally), and would load up faster than a mahogany topped guitar. 

not just “loud“, but breathy, with quick dynamics.

Edited by 62burst
Link to comment
Share on other sites

34 minutes ago, kidblast said:

   it comes to life when ya play it,  very much like something like a J200 will.  

Can you elaborate a little bit, what's a guitar coming to life like / mean (is it when you're really laying into it, it comes to life)?    Maybe give thoughts to your J200 vs a J45 or something.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It may mean something different for everyone. 

for me;  it is how the back will resonate against your body, you can feel it.  It feels "lively"  while playing it.   It's hard to describe beyond that.

They had 2 other Taylor Grand Symphony guitars on the rack.   rosewood/spruce and spruce/maple.  Neither of those guitars felt and sounded like that one.   In fact the maple one was disappointing, as I thought it would have been a canon.   As I recall none of these had pickups, (I know mind did not, I installed a matrix in it a few years after I bought it.)

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have played cedar topped steel stringed acoustics in the past including a couple of Lowdens. I recall that they were very responsive for fingerpicking and the tone was agreeable but it has been a couple of decades since doing (so that is about all that I can remember).

1 hour ago, 62burst said:

The Vermont find is a perfect example of one of the best ways to find a guitar… just stumble across it, as opposed to being on a mission with a list of specs.

Agreed. This thread makes me think of my experience with the Taylor guitar that I purchased. It features an englemann spruce top over a mahogany back and sides. Englemann is characterized as being responsive to a light touch without much headroom. The guitar I ran across is both responsive to a light touch and has a surprising amount of headroom, more than ample enough for my needs. Historically Taylor guitars have held little appeal to me and englemann spruce was not on my list of desirable features in a guitar. It is surprising that I even checked the guitar out in the first place but I am glad that I did. It is easy to make generalizations about guitars, but in my experience it always comes down to the individual guitar.

34 minutes ago, kidblast said:

It may mean something different for everyone. 

for me;  it is how the back will resonate against your body, you can feel it.  It feels "lively"  while playing it.   It's hard to describe beyond that.

They had 2 other Taylor Grand Symphony guitars on the rack.   rosewood/spruce and spruce/maple.  Neither of those guitars felt and sounded like that one.   In fact the maple one was disappointing, as I thought it would have been a canon.   As I recall none of these had pickups, (I know mind did not, I installed a matrix in it a few years after I bought it.)

You are describing what I refer to simply as a resonant guitar. To me, this is one of the requirements when it comes to the gems of the acoustic guitar world. In my experience one of the strengths of maple is it's ability to project so it tends to come across louder to the audience than it does to the player.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 minutes ago, billroy fineman said:

cedar, go figure.  Sound aside - I do believe it's a softer wood, so for longevity sake - may be more suited to finger pickers.

Cedar for sure is soft.  I think the biggest difference in this particular guitar as i compared to the other two was the Mahogany back and sides.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, E-minor7 said:

Good advice - will definitely follow. Though insecure 'bout what to expect. 

Or. . . stick a fingernail into it.   .   . under the top/ on the inside, that is. It (cedar) is such a soft wood. ‘Bet the color on the inside of that old suspected guitar top has oranged-out a bit if they did use cedar for the re-top. Grab us a pic.

Cedar would probably make a very interesting J-45.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The relative hardness of spruce versus cedar depends on the species of each.

Caveat: I have no idea what species to cedar is typically used for guitar soundboards.

Here are a few Janka numbers (a measure of surface hardness) for several cedars and spruces. A larger number means a harder surface.

Spanish cedar (not a true cedar, apparently)  600

Western red cedar       350

Alaskan yellow cedar   580

red spruce     490

sitka spruce    510

Engelman spruce  390

Another number that would be of even greater use would be either elastic modulus or tensile modulus (measures of stiffness), but I haven't found those yet.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have an Epihone Masterbilt with a cedar top and rosewood sides from the mid 2000's.  It's long scale, has 12-frets, a slotted head stock,  fat v-mahogany neck, old-fashioned no-belly bridge, and a round shouldered dread body (though it has a wider waist than a Gibson, like if Gibson and Martin had a baby; this was before Epiphone started using the true Gibson slope shape).  It has  a lovely sound: very dynamic, rounded tones which compress pleasantly at high volume. And it can really produce some volume! The guitar is very sensitive--ideal for finger pickers beyond my abilities, I'm sure.  I'm fortunate to have more than my share of great sounding Gibsons (12-fret Rosewood Stage Deluxe, J-45 Legend, Fullers RI 1939 J-35, etc.) and this one's right up there. Gibson has no real tradition of building with cedar, but I don't see why a cedar topped J-45 or AJ wouldn't sound great.

Red 333

EDIT: I see 62Burst has written about the very same model in his post above.

 

 

 

Edited by Red 333
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, j45nick said:

The relative hardness of spruce versus cedar depends on the species of each.

I would guess that there is a fair amount of variation even within the same species as well.  When it comes to tone, people tend to generalize (myself included at times) with respect to various woods or specific guitar models. But it's always nice if you can "try before you buy" when it comes to acoustic guitars because you just never know. Often the most eye opening (ear opening?) guitars are those we would never have encountered were we to rely solely upon what we read on the Internet. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, Guth said:

I would guess that there is a fair amount of variation even within the same species as well.  When it comes to tone, people tend to generalize (myself included at times) with respect to various woods or specific guitar models. But it's always nice if you can "try before you buy" when it comes to acoustic guitars because you just never know. Often the most eye opening (ear opening?) guitars are those we would never have encountered were we to rely solely upon what we read on the Internet. 

 

I'm assuming that when they determine a Janka number, they test a number of samples and come up with a distribution of hardness numbers. Then if the distribution looks normal, they take a mean value.

You're right. Individual pieces of wood will certainly vary from whatever the Janka number is. The Janka number is just a general point of comparison

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...