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J45 vs Southern Jumbo

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Are there tonal differences between the J45 and the Southern Jumbo or is it really the different fret inlays?  If there are differences, what would I notice?

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From my understanding , which is limited, the primary differences between a mahogany J45 and a mahogany Southern Jumbo are cosmetic.   Of course, there are a few variations of the SJ and literally dozens of the J45, so tonal differences can be all over the place and they all depend on who is doing the listening.  If you can play several good guitars (hopefully Gibson’s), pick the one that calls your name.  The one you keep going back to.  Don’t get all wrapped-up in what are considered tonal/wood/bracing/ glue/etc. differences.   Get the guitar that is comfortable to play and you feel can be an extension of who you are.....  Anyway, that’s what I try to do.....Good luck in your hunt!

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It's my opinion a southern jumbo is a blinged out J45 (understatedly blinged in a very good way).  The big tonal differences will come more across the different models within each of those (i.e standard, vintage (with a baked top), rosewood etc...).  I know these can be found on a J45, not sure southern jumbo

 

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Any tonal differences are largely a function of the fact that guitars are individuals. Over time, there have been a multitude of variations on both the SJ and the J-45. As has been mentioned, things such as cooked versus un-cooked tops, as well as differences in material such as Adi versus sitka tops, and scalloped versus un-scalloped top braces, will create far more tonal differences between guitars than whether a guitar is an SJ or a J-45.

I have two J-45s  and an SJ, all mahogany bodies and sitka  tops. As I've said before, they are clearly siblings, but not identical triplets. There are no tonal differences that you could ascribe to any one of the then being an SJ rather than a J-45.

The basic design of the guitars is the same. The primary differences between the SJ and the J-45 of the same body and top materials are cosmetic.

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13 hours ago, jw3571 said:

Are there tonal differences between the J45 and the Southern Jumbo or is it really the different fret inlays?  If there are differences, what would I notice?

Didn't you just pull the trigger on a new 60's Hummingbird? Need something else to keep it company, I suppose. ; ) . 

re: the SJ's- wasn't there some discussion about bridge pins being located further back on either the SoJo or the J-45?

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I can't speak very well to the models after about 1955, but I have paid a lot of attention to one I have and to many others I have auditioned.

IME, in terms of basic materials and structure, the two models were basically identical except for decorations from mid 1943 to 1955.  Now Nick makes the most important point -- just because the guitars were manufactured identically does not mean they sound the same -- there are always audible differences, but still there are overall properties that apply and evolve.  In that regard, however, there is a definite evolution in tone properties over time.  There are reasons for this -- materials and structural properties evolved -- but the SJs and J-45s evolved together.  The general evolution since 1943 has been to physically stronger instruments resulting in a reduction in acoustic power -- but not too much.

There are three J-45s and three SJs in this picture -- SJ: 43, 43, 54 and J-45: 43, 44, 53.  One SJ is RW -- the first batches were, but that stopped in 1943.

wwvLZ6a.jpg

 

All of these are demoed here.

Best,

-Tom

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39 minutes ago, 62burst said:

 

re: the SJ's- wasn't there some discussion about bridge pins being located further back on either the SoJo or the J-45?

That's not consistent for either model, as far as I can tell. My SJ, for example, has the belly-down (Martin style) bridge that was common in the Banner era, so the pin and saddle placement relative to the bridge edges is somewhat different from the "standard" belly-up J-45 bridge for the same scale length. 

There are slight differences in distance from pin centers to back edge of saddle between the guitars, but it really is not significant. Break angle of the strings over the saddle might create differences, but that is more the result of differences in neck angle and saddle height than it is of pin and saddle placement.

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I have a J-45 True Vintage and a Southern Jumbo True Vintage, both from the late 2000's. They are braced differently, and they do sound different. Two identically braced guitars can sound different, and two differently braced versions should certainly so. It's up to the listener how important those differences are.  To me, the differences between my J-45 and SJ TV's are small and more interesting than important, though not small enough to not prefer this particular J-45 over that particular SJ.

Red 333

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13 hours ago, 62burst said:

 

re: the SJ's- wasn't there some discussion about bridge pins being located further back on either the SoJo or the J-45?

Yes, there was a long discussion about this with photos and everything.  When I was shopping for one and compared the J45 and the SJ, the SJ had a more clear tone.  I bought the SJ because it was a little crisper-. Very happy with my choice.  I think Southern Jumbos are kind of forgotten but they do seem to sound different than the J45, for whatever reason

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