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gibpicker

Which Gibson Dread?

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I currently have an Epi Masterbilt AJ500M that I really love, but I’m looking to add a Gibson dreadnought to my stable. But as luck would have it, every guitar shop anywhere near me is shut down so instead of playing a bunch of guitars, I’m trying to make a decision based off of YouTube videos, past playing experiences, and hopefully some advice from this great forum. 
 

As mentioned I really like my AJ500, and ultimately what I want is something with a similar tone but just, well, upgraded. I know the AJ has a longer scale but not really sure what Gibson it would ladder up to tone wise. I’ve played a number of J45s over the years and am thinking that likely be the one to go with, but am curious about the other models I have less experience with. Have heard a lot of great things about J15s, though I worry they might be a bit too warm. I really like the crispness I can hear from the J35s, but have heard they can get tinny when you dig in strumming. Been a while since I’ve played a Hummingbird but I also remember them having a nice sound. Any opinions on what might be a good fit?
 

In terms of use, I’m looking for something that’s a great strummer - I don’t really flatpick and have an old LG-2 that I do most of my fingerpicking on. I play a good mix of solo “singer songwriter” shows and low key folk full band shows (acoustic, lead electric, soft drums, bass). Looking forward to any thoughts, thanks. 

Edited by gibpicker

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Hi - you obviously have experience with playing and listening closer to acoustics. I'd say you know too much for advice. The nuances in the models in front of you are too many and too subtle for us to make sense by talking certain Gibsons up. In other words you must try them all, , , as many as possible. And the handful you line up is a good place to start.                                                                 Throw yourself after everything that calls you - and don't delay if one particular guitar blows your hat off. Take it home - it may be gone tomorrow.  

Not trying to underplay you post - but what you read is the best I can. The hunt will be good fun - and if you absolutely must buy now during the crises, remember to get a deal that enables you to return the thing. Aaahh, an idea 💡 = if you can, then get 3 home, let's say a J-45, an Advanced Jumbo and a Hummingbird. Enjoy yourself indoors for a week before sending the 2 lesser guitars back - then keep the home-romance goin' with your chosen one.  

Good Luck gibpicker - do send us a postcard

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Id suggest J-15 if on a budget or a J-45 True Vintage with some years on it if willing to spend a bit more. Both are superb guitars.

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Appreciate the replies! I may have to just wait until shops start to open back up...we'll see if I can do that or if my GAS makes me do something more impulsive.

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4 minutes ago, gibpicker said:

Appreciate the replies! I may have to just wait until shops start to open back up...we'll see if I can do that or if my GAS makes me do something more impulsive.

That would be the wisest, believe me. There are so many variables and corners to investigate and finding (buying) a new high-end guitar - your first - is a serious quest (move). 
CU later

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If you’re intent on getting a Gibson (and that’s the right direction to go) play a few if you can.  They’ve all got their own tone.  They won’t be identical to your EPI AJ, but neither will another EPI AJ.  I don’t think you can go wrong with any of the suggested guitars in this thread.   Long scale, short scale——each has its own attributes.  I gave my son my 90’s Gibson AJ, then ended-up getting a short scale Koa AJ.  Don’t know if it’s really an AJ.  It’s not Rosewood and it’s not long  scale, BUT, it is a beast.  Just get yourself a Gibson dread and I suggest you’ll be real happy with it.  Good luck and have fun in the hunt.

Edited by MissouriPicker

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It's hard to fault a J45 of any description. Just a great, great all-rounder. 

I love my Maple AJ, it's loud as hell and has immense presence and bass, but isn't as refined as a J45.

I love my Dove, too, which is much more mellow and refined than the AJ, but doesn't have the classic midrange that a J45 has. 

I've owned four Hummingbirds and still have my 12 string Bird. They are a tremendous instrument but aren't as old-timey and warm as a J45. 

I have the use of a 1967 J45 which belongs to a good friend and is on long-term loan to me. That has the warmth, the old-timeyness, the midrange and the refinement that a J45 has, because it is one! It's stupendous. If I had to pick one Gibson dread, it would be a J45. 

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I had owned Gibsons through the years and lived by the creed, "Never buy a Gibson you haven't played." They just always seemed to be idiosyncratic guitars, and sound and quality varied widely from one year to another.  But in 2016, I bought a J-35 through Sweetwater and was stunned by how good it was. Just an excellent guitar. (And I'd have to take issue with your comment about hearing that they can "get tinny when you dig in strumming." There's not an ounce of tinniness in mine, anyway.)

As others have noted, though, it is hard to go wrong with the current crop of J-45s. They are good, solid, iconic guitars.

We're always happy to help you spend your money....

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On 4/6/2020 at 7:50 PM, E-minor7 said:

That would be the wisest, believe me. There are so many variables and corners to investigate and finding (buying) a new high-end guitar - your first - is a serious quest (move). 
CU later

 

Yes, do wait if you have not played any of the ones you are eyeing...wise move

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Gbpkr,    Conventional Wisdom always  recommends  'Play It Before You Play It."     I'm going to play devils advocate for The Road Not (often enough) Taken. 

     I'm guessing if you randomly bought a  standard J45 or H'Bird online - you would find it significantly 'better' in tone than your Epi.  Strings will affect it a little, but not as much as your going to a 'high-end' guitar.  These two are wildly popular for a reason.  ( And as Jinder said - the J45 is probably overall most respected)    And, as far as tone, it changes!  It gets better over a year or two of playing!   And some keep getting better, like his '67.  Depending on where you live,  your financial resources and your patience  -  you might find you are 95% happy with what you buy sight unseen.  On the other hand,  if you take the other path - you might find it takes you months to find 'the one'.  You may pass on one and then realize you wish you'd gotten it - to find it already gone.  Then you settle for the next best one, and always remember 'the one that got away'.   Em7' s suggestion of ordering 3 at a time is great, if not potentially costly if you are paying for a lot of shipping and insurance.   If you order one, have it delivered, play it 2 or 3 days , pass on it and return it and then order another one -then trying to remember how the third one back felt and sounded -  you might find this linear approach not nearly as good as if you could travel to Music Villa in Bozeman and play a dozen side by side in the same day.    Those who 'scientifically'  have studied decision making have found the best decision makers do not wait until they have 100% of the information they would like.  Often, by that time, the opportunity has passed, and having made No Decision - was in effect a decision  to pass on the opportunity.  Rather, it is those who can subjectively gauge when they have about 80% of the info and most of the critical info, and are then are 'decisive'.    You know you want a Gibson Dread.  You're halfway there already !  G'Luck. 

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Decide what you want.   Dry tones for strumming and rhythm, or Bright tones for finger picking, or versatile.

There are true vintage models but also J-35 and the walnut gits they make are pretty versatile, they can pick and strum with amazing consistency.  The j-15 can do many styles well, it has most of the volume of a rosewood back without overpowering as much when strummed and finger picks fantastically.

But. there is also a series of original 50s and 60s Gibsons out right now that sound and play really good.  The 50s j-45s are like 2600 right now and the 60s versions are 2500, they are actually cheaper than the Standard j-45s with more classic looking appointments. So, yeah, you can get the true vintage models on the used market, but these original 50s 60s gibsons terrific!  Now,  a player like me who prefers a thinner nut width can get a 60s j45 for only 2500! 

Of all the guitar woods, i believe maple is the hardest to describe.  Its a beautiful sounding tonewood, the Dove and the Guild 250 and the Taylor 600 series all make fantasic gits are varying prices and i believe it definitely miscast as a "bright" tonewood.  it just shifts its focus and while seemingly brighter than j-45 its nowhere near rosewood, closer to a walnut with a more flashy bottom, less bass but sparkle, its so dang hard to describe lol.  

When the virus ends, try several gits and a few maples while you are at it!  The guild 250 is like 500us dollars, and has a solid spruce top and flamed maple (laminate) back with a pickup, pretty sweet deal for the price.

Obviously, budget constraints can effect your choices, but if money was no object, id take a Dove before anything, including a j200.   Good luck in your search.

 

 

Edited by Gibson Artist

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