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PatDie

Gibson J-45 vs. Gibson J-45

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2 hours ago, Salfromchatham said:

ive swapped too many guitars, convincing myself that tone of A was lacking, and Tone of B was glorious. i ran out of letters.

im older than i used to be. my ears are too. i simply dont know what sounds great anymore, so i just play what i have more. why am i saying all this?

But Sal the 5th of Chathamshire, haven't you reached the point where one no longer are supposed to hear with the ears, rather the entire inner system activated when playing.  

Without realizing it yet. . 

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No. 2, please.  The off-center burst will be visible only when the guitar is on a stand being displayed - you won't see it while you're playing, and neither will an audience, because your right arm is gonna cover that.  If the tone is there, it will only get better, and the volume will grow as time passes and you play it.  ALSO - look at the sinking/cross-graining effects on No. 2's top running roughly below the ends of the bridge on both sides.  I have yet to play a guitar with that sort of tight, close grain and that sort of feathery sinking that WASN'T an awesome guitar.  No. 1 has that wide grain we associate with Adirondak Red, which is fine if you're chasing a pre-war sound, but the overwhelming majority of J-45s we have listened to in our lives that have shaped the aural picture we carry in our heads of what a J-45 should sound like were built postwar, with Sitka.  Period.  No. 3 would be a good choice too, but if you prefer the TONE of No. 2, that settles it.

Now - does the sound and feel of ANY of these grab you by the heart and not let go?  Do any of these three leave you feeling a little sad when it's time to put it back into the case?  Do any of them, when you play them, feel like they want to be your guitar?  I know, crazy anthromorphizing of a musical instrument, but do any of these three guitars create that sort of response within you?  If not, then they're all just guitars anyway, and odds are you'll keep looking,

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Sorry, double post!

As an aside - No. 3 is the oldest, most vintage looking of the three - smaller, darker burst almost like an Original Jumbo, and the lighter bridge and fingerboard DO recall the banner guitars with coffee wood parts ...

 

Edited by rustystrings
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If #2 sounds best, I wouldn't care if the burst was inside out and back to front...the wonky burst just makes it more unique. I'd spend a bit more time with them before you commit...easy to go crazy with this stuff 🙂

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Thank you for all your input! I sent back #1 and #3. But I'm still unsure whether that off center burst is something that will always bug me when looking at it, no matter how well it plays. I wish I was able to simply overlook it, but no matter the angle, I think it's very apparent:

XQUu9Ny.jpg?1

I found another dealer with a new J-45 Standard and asked for pictures. Well, here's another one with an off center burst, even though not as bad as with my current #2 (just compare the distance right and left between saddle and binding downwards):

c56f9nl.jpg?1

I'm not quite sure if it's just me minding that, but what's up with these off center bursts, Gibson? I understand these are all hand-done, and no two are alike. But shouldn't the burst at least be symmetrical?

I guess it is like rustystrings said:

Quote

Now - does the sound and feel of ANY of these grab you by the heart and not let go?  Do any of these three leave you feeling a little sad when it's time to put it back into the case?  Do any of them, when you play them, feel like they want to be your guitar?  I know, crazy anthromorphizing of a musical instrument, but do any of these three guitars create that sort of response within you?  If not, then they're all just guitars anyway, and odds are you'll keep looking


I still have to make up my mind about #2, but it would certainly feel a little wrong to let such a pleasant sounding guitar just go. But it also feels a little wrong to spend that much money on a guitar that doesn't fit all three criteria: sound, playability AND aesthetics.

Anyways, as the original post was all about deciding between three different guitars I guess this topic might be worth a different thread, where it's all about cosmetic inconsistencies vs. tone.

Thanks again!
Pat

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3 hours ago, PatDie said:

Thank you for all your input! I sent back #1 and #3. But I'm still unsure whether that off center burst is something that will always bug me when looking at it, no matter how well it plays. I wish I was able to simply overlook it, but no matter the angle, I think it's very apparent:

XQUu9Ny.jpg?1

I found another dealer with a new J-45 Standard and asked for pictures. Well, here's another one with an off center burst, even though not as bad as with my current #2 (just compare the distance right and left between saddle and binding downwards):

c56f9nl.jpg?1

I'm not quite sure if it's just me minding that, but what's up with these off center bursts, Gibson? I understand these are all hand-done, and no two are alike. But shouldn't the burst at least be symmetrical?

I guess it is like rustystrings said:


I still have to make up my mind about #2, but it would certainly feel a little wrong to let such a pleasant sounding guitar just go. But it also feels a little wrong to spend that much money on a guitar that doesn't fit all three criteria: sound, playability AND aesthetics.

Anyways, as the original post was all about deciding between three different guitars I guess this topic might be worth a different thread, where it's all about cosmetic inconsistencies vs. tone.

Thanks again!
Pat

A sunburst finish may not really be for you. These are hand-done, and by definition will not necessarily be perfectly symmetrical.  

If this is such an issue, you might want to consider buying a J-50 rather than a J-45. Either that, or just keep looking for that holy grail of perfect aesthetics and great tone, realizing you may be passing up a lot of great guitars because they do not meet a certain standard of visual perfection.

A guitar is primarily a musical instrument you play, not something you stare at.

You're the only one who can decide this.

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11 minutes ago, j45nick said:

A sunburst finish may not really be for you. These are hand-done, and by definition will not necessarily be perfectly symmetrical.  

If this is such an issue, you might want to consider buying a J-50 rather than a J-45. Either that, or just keep looking for that holy grail of perfect aesthetics and great tone, realizing you may be passing up a lot of great guitars because they do not meet a certain standard of visual perfection.

A guitar is primarily a musical instrument you play, not something you stare at.

You're the only one who can decide this.

Maybe that is just what I needed to read. You can get really caught up in details while forgetting the bigger picture. Thanks for your input!

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So we have a winner, , , , so far. To put it straight, this burst doesn't represent a problem, but should be seen as character. However, ,  if it keeps annoying you, there's a chance the bug won't disappear. As you (like many of us) obviously are mesmerized by the magik-of-bursts, this may continue to mean to much for comfort. The saying is that Gibsons are inconsistent, but in a situation like this it must be underlined that they aren't so inconsistent that you can't find another which takes it all home for you.  

I btw. find 'inconsistent' too strong a term - similar models often comes out different, yet like nuances of the same main-theme. And many will be almost identical. 

In other words : I look forward to hear about #4. 👁️👁️

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I've seen a couple of videos of the hand-spraying of the burst.  The guy that use to do it was considered an artist by many here.  People, sunrises, sunsets,  among other things - each one is  different. The burst may be symmetrical, but the fading shaded on one side  - or visa versa - depending on the angle the spray hit.   Sometimes, different tints were used.  My J-45 has a barely noticeable touch of red.    The only 'asymmetrical'  thing I can't buy - is those guitars with an odd shaped sound hole in the upper bout. People, sunrises, sunsets,  among other things - each one is  different.  Like Nick said, I think,  if this burst sticks in your craw - then a Gibson burst finish may not be for you. Get a natural !  

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9 hours ago, PatDie said:

 

c56f9nl.jpg?1

 

The burst pattern on this guitar would not bother me one bit, and I'm picky. I think it is fine, and within tolerance for a hand sprayed instrument. However, the runout would bother me. Runout is when the split down the middle can be seen clearly. It happens when the wood is not perfectly quartersawn, and the two halves reflect the light differently. It's only cosmetic, unless it is extreme, which is not the case here.

Lars

Come to think of it, maybe the runout is what causes the uneven burst look, since it makes the light reflect differently. The right half is darker, and might this also be why the dark areas are wider on the right. If the guitar is turned upside down, does the look change?

 

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53 minutes ago, Lars68 said:

Come to think of it, maybe the runout is what causes the uneven burst look, since it makes the light reflect differently. The right half is darker, and might this also be why the dark areas are wider on the right. If the guitar is turned upside down, does the look change?

An interesting question, Lars. . . especially when considering the surface that's being finished:

hRKlpZF.png?1

. . . maybe someone with a guitar with a sunburst finish that is currently going guard less (like Mr E's Hummingbird, Ms. May) could snap a pic- same lighting angle, but turn the guitar 180°.

In either case, OP Patrick might make peace with his decision, especially considering how the use of spruce sets with little grain runout might allow a guitars to be made, rather than be destined for a less-than-musical fate.

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On 4/29/2020 at 8:28 AM, rustystrings said:

Now - does the sound and feel of ANY of these grab you by the heart and not let go?  Do any of these three leave you feeling a little sad when it's time to put it back into the case?  Do any of them, when you play them, feel like they want to be your guitar?  I know, crazy anthromorphizing of a musical instrument, but do any of these three guitars create that sort of response within you?  If not, then they're all just guitars anyway, and odds are you'll keep looking,

 

To expand on what rustystrings said, I'll add this:

Surely pretty much everyone here digs guitars. Most all of us likely dig Gibson guitars in particular. But we definitely don't all tend to like exactly the same guitars or even the same Gibson's for that matter. Only you can know what it is in a guitar that appeals to you. What might appeal to me or anyone else would hardly seem to matter by comparison. What defines the difference between a guitar and THE guitar for you is likely different than it would be for me or someone else.

Generally speaking though, whenever you happen upon THE guitar, you'll know it and won't need to confirm it with anyone else. If you are searching for a guitar then don't sweat all the details quite so much. If you are searching for THE guitar then you'll know when you're done looking, but it might take some time. There's nothing wrong with either approach. Look at how many guitars some members go through compared to others who might only own one single guitar for their entire adult life. One way or another, everyone manages to find their own way through the guitar gauntlet.

 

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Thanks everyone! I have to say that I do love that sunburst look, and I really want to stick to it. And Lars 68, the look doesn't change when changing the point of view. But I managed to find two more J-45's that just arrived. I'll give them the same pair of strings (one is from 2018, and I still don't understand why some shops would givee their guitars with completely dull and worn out strings to a customer to try and test them) and have a comparison session once again. Maybe I just need to hear some more J-45s, develop a better feel and ear for what makes them a J-45 and what sets them apart from each other. If #2 still wins, that'll surely put my concerns about the finish in perspective.

Pat

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