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Which Gibson acoustic to get?


rocky_raccoon
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Hi 

I recently bought a Martin HD28 however I have been GASsing  for a Gibson to go alongside it..

Having sold a few items I am very lucky to be in a position to buy a Gibson - I will only have two acoustics the Martin and the new Gibson and I want to have two distinctive sounds. 

I am thinking of either getting a J50 (or similar variants J45, SJ etc) or saving a little more to get Country Western Supreme (or a Hummingbird)? 

Which guitar will accompany my Martin well? 

 

 

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49 minutes ago, TomG76 said:

Can I turn the question back on you?

How do you like the HD28? 

 

An absolute joy - everything you'd expect of a Martin. Big Boomy an Bassy overtones and the build quality is very high. 

I like to play acoustic blues so need that mahogany sound hence me looking around for a Gibson to accompany the MArtin

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To be honest, they are both new-ish guitars (<5 years) and probably haven't fully opened up or played in yet. Add to that, I don't have the best ear so I might not be the best judge of sound quality. If you blindfolded me, I would probably struggle to tell any of my acoustics apart. The reason I bought a couple of Gibson acoustics was because I wanted them, not really because I thought they sounded significantly different. Having said all that, I would say that the Martins are a little more bassier and the Gibson Hummingbird tends towards the mids a little more. A better ear than mine would certainly be able to tell the difference. Part of that would be the strings though; I use Martin Clapton Mediums on the D28 and Martin Monel Lights on the Hummingbird.

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Hummingbird or J-45/J-50 is the choice. (not necessarily in that order)

Though different they both represent the 2 main counterpoints to the M : Mahogany b&s and short scale. Plus of course versions of the quintessential G-voice.

For some reason I'm almost sure no one will suggest Dove. It's a possibility too, but somehow a step further out.  

 

 

P.S. - Been zooming a little on the HD-28s recently. They are among the strongest and finest acoustic guitars on the planet. You are on the right track. 

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1 hour ago, rocky_raccoon said:

 

An absolute joy - everything you'd expect of a Martin. Big Boomy an Bassy overtones and the build quality is very high. 

I like to play acoustic blues so need that mahogany sound hence me looking around for a Gibson to accompany the MArtin

 

Nice.

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Rocky-Raccoon,

I was in a similar situation 3 years ago. Saving some money I wanted to have a really good, classic acoustic guitar after 40 years with quiteplayable, but cheaper acoustics. The first "good" one was a Martin D28 as I always wanted to have the sound I have heard on so many records. As there was some money left, the second one was a Gibson J45. I thought this would be enough to have two of the most iconic instruments.  

However - a Hummingbird followed - and many more ...  inlcuding a HD28 (built in 2016). Meanwhile I have much more Gibsons than Martins, but this is due to my preference of dreadnoughts and D41, 42, 45 is out of my financial range, I am not so in OO or OOO models.

I am following E-minor7 - a perfect partner to the HD28 would be a J45 / J50 or a Hummingbird. Then you can play Beatles AND Rolling Stones.

My HD28 is a fine guitar. As all of my Martins it is flawless. Everything was perfect just out of the case, but I have to say that I like the relatively high string adjustment as Martins sets up guitars. I play it with Martin Monel strings (medium) at the moment, but I have used 80/20 bronze Martin strings too, both works. The Monel strings cut a little of the high end. My  HD28 has the typical "bathtub equalizer" sound which a Martin should have - and as expected even more pronounced than my D28.

I wish you luck to find the Gibson you will like. But be careful, if you start with Gibsin acoustics it can get an unexpected momentum 🙂

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I would say that if your limit is two acoustic guitars and one of them is a Martin D-28, then in my opinion, the other HAS to be a J-45. The balance of the universe will not be right until it is so. Why complicate matters?

Lars

 

Edited by Lars68
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6 hours ago, rocky_raccoon said:

Hi 

I recently bought a Martin HD28 however I have been GASsing  for a Gibson to go alongside it..

Having sold a few items I am very lucky to be in a position to buy a Gibson - I will only have two acoustics the Martin and the new Gibson and I want to have two distinctive sounds. 

I am thinking of either getting a J50 (or similar variants J45, SJ etc) or saving a little more to get Country Western Supreme (or a Hummingbird)? 

Which guitar will accompany my Martin well? 

 

 

A month ago in your other thread, after 3 pages of discussion, you seemed to indicate you had narrowed it down to an H'Bird or a Sheryl Crow.  What changed? 

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I am focusing this reply based on your statement that you want a Gibson with a very different tone/sound than that of the Martin.  All of the Gibsons suggested are great guitars, but some are more comparable to the Martin you already have.  The J15 will be the Gibson model most different in sound quality from your Martin, in my experience.  It has a real "punchy"  mid range and excellent volume.  It is very reasonably priced too, so there is very little to regret.  Try one out.  I bought it to have a completely different sound from my Taylor, and it sure does.  The Taylor is now mostly reserved for fingerpicking and the J15 for flatpicking.  Now I just need your Martin HD 28 to have 3 completely different sounds!  Have fun with this.

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9 minutes ago, 6shooter said:

I am focusing this reply based on your statement that you want a Gibson with a very different tone/sound than that of the Martin.  All of the Gibsons suggested are great guitars, but some are more comparable to the Martin you already have.  The J15 will be the Gibson model most different in sound quality from your Martin, in my experience.  It has a real "punchy"  mid range and excellent volume.  It is very reasonably priced too, so there is very little to regret.  Try one out.  I bought it to have a completely different sound from my Taylor, and it sure does.  The Taylor is now mostly reserved for fingerpicking and the J15 for flatpicking.  Now I just need your Martin HD 28 to have 3 completely different sounds!  Have fun with this.

 

6shooter - interesting alternative. For me the classic D28 / J45 - pair covered the two standards I always wanted to have, especially as J45s look cool and they appear in many videos of musicians I like. Even the J45 sounds totally different to a HD28/D28. Had never tried a J15, but they seem to be quite popular. 

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Well, you have an HD 28, so you have the long scale/rosewood/dread trifecta there. We'll leave aside the Martin vs. Gibson inherent sound for now, which is not inconsiderable. 

A Hummingbird is short scale/mahogany/dread. So, out of the three factors, two are different.

A J-45 is short scale/mahogany/jumbo, so a difference of 2.5 factors, maybe. 

An SJ200 is long scale/maple/super jumbo, so a difference of two factors. 

An L-00 is short scale/mahogany/L-00 shaped, so a difference of all three factors. 

And so on. Maybe you can look at it like that. 

Of course, a Martin D28 is designed to be a loud instrument that can dominate other instruments in particular settings, of course it can do a lot more than that. 

A Gibson J45 is not designed to do that, so it will be quieter, less resonant (still pretty resonant) and have a sweeter sound. Be aware it might take you a little while to acclimate to the strengths of the Gibson vs. the Martin- the Martin is designed to overwhelm and blow things away. It took me a while to listen to the sound of a Gibson as opposed to the volume of Martin guitars- nothing wrong with Martins, of course. But the ear tends to immediately associate louder things with sounding "better", and it took me a while to unlearn that. 

My own advice is that Gibson has a few absolutely legendary guitars- the L-00, the J-45 (which is a J-50), the Hummingbird and the SJ-200. They also have a great amount of other very wonderful guitars, but if you don't know what you want, don't overthink it- just get one of the legends because they are legends for a reason. 

Good luck! Hope this helps. 

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5 minutes ago, Larry Mal said:

Well, you have an HD 28, so you have the long scale/rosewood/dread trifecta there. We'll leave aside the Martin vs. Gibson inherent sound for now, which is not inconsiderable. 

A Hummingbird is short scale/mahogany/dread. So, out of the three factors, two are different.

A J-45 is short scale/mahogany/jumbo, so a difference of 2.5 factors, maybe. 

An SJ200 is long scale/maple/super jumbo, so a difference of two factors. 

An L-00 is short scale/mahogany/L-00 shaped, so a difference of all three factors. 

And so on. Maybe you can look at it like that. 

Of course, a Martin D28 is designed to be a loud instrument that can dominate other instruments in particular settings, of course it can do a lot more than that. 

A Gibson J45 is not designed to do that, so it will be quieter, less resonant (still pretty resonant) and have a sweeter sound. Be aware it might take you a little while to acclimate to the strengths of the Gibson vs. the Martin- the Martin is designed to overwhelm and blow things away. It took me a while to listen to the sound of a Gibson as opposed to the volume of Martin guitars- nothing wrong with Martins, of course. But the ear tends to immediately associate louder things with sounding "better", and it took me a while to unlearn that. 

My own advice is that Gibson has a few absolutely legendary guitars- the L-00, the J-45 (which is a J-50), the Hummingbird and the SJ-200. They also have a great amount of other very wonderful guitars, but if you don't know what you want, don't overthink it- just get one of the legends because they are legends for a reason. 

Good luck! Hope this helps. 

 

Same observation - starting with the D28 and playing the J45 1 week later I was a little "disappointed" by the J45 - which has changed after some days. As LarryMal writes - the mighty sound and volume give the first impression "louder ist better" - as for guitar pickers playing electric guitars, too  🙂

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I have a Martin HD 28 VTS (aged top), and a Southern Jumbo, a Guild Maple Jumbo, and a Gibson Nick Lucas Maple.  I also am trying to learn blues fingerpicking.  Of all the pairs, the Martin and the Southern Jumbo are the most similar (they are different though, don't get me wrong), but if you want something with a really different sound I'd consider a Maple Gibson like a j 200 or a dove.  

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Not disagreeing with any of the above, and specifically echoing some of it, I'd say this: the chances of you being unhappy if you get a good J-45 or J-50 are vanishingly small.

It's a wonderful guitar. Warm, easy to play, and has a tone that no other brand can replicate. It's true that it's a workhorse, but in a way that undersells it. Yes you can play all kinds of music on it, but it's a really special instrument.

Some people find that songs pour out of it, too. It's a superb songwriting tool.

It also seems that the 2020 models are a cut above. Mine already sounds several years older.

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