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J 45 Lemon ?

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Hi All,  first time poster. Would really appreciate your opinion please.  Got the J 45 2019 walnut ( GC exclusive) and it's nothing like the warm tone I was imagining., especially with Walnut. Tinny and metallic and rather unpleasant TBH. Brought it in for a Platinum Set-up and it came back worse. They put on some Martin light strings and now the D string has a fret buzz that wasn't there before. Did I just  maybe just get a lemon?? ( was on sale for $1999 regular $2999) .

I did use it for 2 months before bringing it in. I thought it maybe had an intonation issue but the Low E string is still off ( on 212th fret intonation test) after tune up. GC says they'll swap it out for another if I wish. Worth it or is this just the way a J45 sounds and it's the wrong guitar for me ?  I bought it to accompany me singing - light rock style. Thanks for your replies !

Edited by CWG
misspellings
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I would never trust a big box setup. Three things combine to make up a good set up....  A proper neck angle (adjusted with the truss rod), a proper saddle height (maybe the bottom needs shaving), and proper nut slot heights.

 

The Guitar Center guys think they can do it all with the truss rod.   I bet your neck has a weird angle.

That neck needs to get set to minimal relied - or close to flat...   then move on to the saddle.  If they shaved it too much, if at all, there is a chance a new saddle might have to be cut. But none of that should be done until the guitar has been humidified properly for a week.

In essence the right setup will make your guitar PLAY COMFORTABLY and solve most intonation issues. The tone? That is subjective.... Cant help you there. I can say I have a J-45 Studio which is walnut back and sides and I love its tone.

 

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Thanks Sal. Is it normal for a 3k guitar to require that much precision tuning? Seems to confirm my fear that I  have  a lemon because other,  cheaper guitars I have played fine out of the box ?

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My approach would be to ask GC to get in a replacement so you can A/B between the two in store. If the replacement isn't a significant improvement, ask for a refund. 

Walnut should be a broad spectrum tonewood, with deep, throaty bass and a bright, articulate top end, along with some sweet overtones in the mids. I had a J15 which I loved. It could be that yours has neck angle issues as Sal mentioned...could you post some pics of the bridge/saddle, a shot down the neck, top profile etc so we can have a look?

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I would lock in a trade arrangement immediately.  Get something that sounds like what you’re after right out of the gate, rather than hoping you can somehow coax it into the zone.

Best of luck in finding one that works for you!

 

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I would have to say it is not a Lemon! !...but a Walnut! ! !  ....I owned one and it was very nice but distinctly brighter than my Hog J-45 standard...a significant difference in tone is what I am saying. Mahogany has a warm rich thick tone...walnut is a bit brighter, lighter to my ear,  and falls somewhere between mahogany and rosewood in terms of tone.

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I got hosed (no pun intended) every time I dealt with Guitar Center find a real guitar store and repair shop like Norm's (if that's even still possible) you'll be much better off.

Norm seems to be having a hard time like all of us.

https://www.tmz.com/2020/08/17/normans-rare-guitars-danger-closing-documentary-post-malone-machine-gun-kelly-slash/

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Walnut is a unique sound and may not be to your liking. Besides the price, what made you choose it? Sounds like you would be happier with a mahogany or maple for a more mellow sound. It’s all subjective to what you like. 
Unless I know the guitar tech actually knows what he’s doing, I would limit him to changing strings. A good setup on a new guitar requires checking for high frets and neck twist, setting the neck relief, checking and correcting the nut slots and adjusting or replacing the saddle.  And while doing this, setting the action to your preference. My local GC had an actual luthier in house for a few years. That was great. Since then it’s whoever is available and I haven’t seen one that I would allow to touch any of my guitars. 

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It's pretty nice that they would swap one out for you at this later stage in the game. You've had it a couple months, if I read it correctly.

A very nicely done setup can do wonders, but it's not an alchemy craft. It's more of an act of bringing out the best the guitar has to offer.

I guess I lean towards the exchange route at this time. It might be your last chance to do it. If it's anything like here, the GC employees seem to last as long as a set of Martin Marquis (silked) strings. The next one in line may not be so kind.

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15 hours ago, Salfromchatham said:

I would never trust a big box setup.

 

I understand the sentiment, but it's a little unfair to make such a sweeping generalization. My local Guitar Center had someone very talented doing repairs and setups. My 1974 J-50 became unplayable back in 2013 so I talked to him about it and was convinced he knew his stuff. He avoided a neck reset by planing down the fretboard, doing a re-fret and fixing a few other things. Cost a lot less than I expected and he did a fantastic job, the guitar never sounded that good before - even in 1974 when it was new. Also did a great setup on my 2008 J-50. He had his own business building custom guitars and only worked at Guitar Center for awhile, wish he hadn't left. I would have taken another guitar to him, but his shop is quite far away, in Pennsylvania. Guitar Center must have paid pretty well for him to commute that far.

Haven't checked for awhile, but Guitar Center used to have short "resumes" of their people on the individual store websites. Now I do agree that you shouldn't just blindly trust some guy in a big box store, but don't paint all of them with a broad brush either. 🙂

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21 minutes ago, Boyd said:

 

I understand the sentiment, but it's a little unfair to make such a sweeping generalization. My local Guitar Center had someone very talented doing repairs and setups. My 1974 J-50 became unplayable back in 2013 so I talked to him about it and was convinced he knew his stuff. He avoided a neck reset by planing down the fretboard, doing a re-fret and fixing a few other things. Cost a lot less than I expected and he did a fantastic job, the guitar never sounded that good before - even in 1974 when it was new. Also did a great setup on my 2008 J-50. He had his own business building custom guitars and only worked at Guitar Center for awhile, wish he hadn't left. I would have taken another guitar to him, but his shop is quite far away, in Pennsylvania. Guitar Center must have paid pretty well for him to commute that far.

Haven't checked for awhile, but Guitar Center used to have short "resumes" of their people on the individual store websites. Now I do agree that you shouldn't just blindly trust some guy in a big box store, but don't paint all of them with a broad brush either. 🙂

Sounds like my GC in Florence KY. When Jamonn Zeiler was there I would and still do to this day trust him on anything. He’s also built me a custom L00. 

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To know if this individual guitar was a "lemon" you would have to have enough experience with the walnut body J45s to be able to identify their characteristic  voice.  Then you have to throw in the fact that you can take three players and each will hear something different if for nothing else because of the way they approach a guitar, the amount of attack in that approach and such.  But if a guitar sounds thin or steely from the get go, while you can nudge it in a different direction a bit, short of re-voicing the bracing there is not much you can do to significantly change it.  

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Not sure of your frame of reference and therefore the context of your question.   You say:   "it sounds 'tinny metallic & unpleasant...  not at all warm'   compared to other cheaper guitars you've played out of the box."     Brand new light strings, a different pick...  that could make it sound 'tinnier'.    Did GC actually lower the action? Shave the saddle?  Check the nut slots?   Unlike cheap guitars,  higher end makers usually ship them a little higher since it's easier to lower and zero in than raise.  If you got a "Platinum Setup", they should have shown you the string/fret clearance before and after.      Not knowing what guitar you currently play and are use to, or how long you've been playing - it's hard to answer the very general question  'Is this guitar a lemon?'     Sort of like someone who is use to driving a 15 year old Yugo,  asking if their new Ferrari is too .... loud, fast or responsive on the curves!    Some of the  previous comments suggest the same. Your best bet is to bring it in to your GC,  to take them up on the  exchange.  But get that  same model and sit down and play it to see if it sounds different than your new one.    THEN, compare it to some  of those cheap guitars.  If those still sound better -  you didn't get a lemon.  You just saved $1500 !   G'luck. 

 

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Yeah... circling back.  My guess is that guitar had been at that GC for a while, and not properly taken care of.  buzzing... not humidified... maybe the neck warped from being in a prolonged state of neglect, if that is in fact the case.

Yeah - see about a swap in person, so you can play the replacement

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Gibson does not have lemons.  Sometimes a few bad choices.   Alot of the issues are more with the stores that take in these guitars to sell.    

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3 hours ago, slimt said:

Gibson does not have lemons.  Sometimes a few bad choices.   Alot of the issues are more with the stores that take in these guitars to sell.    

Sweeping statements like yours should always be fact-checked before being posted. Yes this is an electric guitar, but a Gibson is a Gibson, and a lemon is a lemon.

RBSinTo

 

https://reverb.com/news/mysterious-video-shows-bulldozing-of-hundreds-of-gibson-firebird-x-guitars

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11 minutes ago, RBSinTo said:

Sweeping statements like yours should always be fact-checked before being posted. Yes this is an electric guitar, but a Gibson is a Gibson, and a lemon is a lemon.

RBSinTo

 

https://reverb.com/news/mysterious-video-shows-bulldozing-of-hundreds-of-gibson-firebird-x-guitars

And that was a bad choice. 

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25 years from now. That Firebird x might be a sought after guitar. I know a few leaked out.        Who knows.  I wont be around then.   
 

All it will take is one important person in music   , to make it important.    

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12 minutes ago, slimt said:

And that was a bad choice. 

And if you try hard enough, you can rationalize virtually anything.

RBSinTo

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47 minutes ago, RBSinTo said:

And if you try hard enough, you can rationalize virtually anything.

RBSinTo

Yup

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12 hours ago, RBSinTo said:

Sweeping statements like yours should always be fact-checked before being posted. Yes this is an electric guitar, but a Gibson is a Gibson, and a lemon is a lemon.

RBSinTo

 

https://reverb.com/news/mysterious-video-shows-bulldozing-of-hundreds-of-gibson-firebird-x-guitars

It would appear QC  stopped those guitars from being sold.   A   'lemon'  is different than a  manufacturing reject that never ships.  Sometimes we get stories on the internet and here  of people who bought a Gibson which has issues, and after they are asked some questions - it turns out they bought it from a third party, not a licensed dealer. No wa of knowing if guitar was kept in someones trunk or on their back porch.  Like many companies with approved distributors Gibson has expectations that their dealers will inspect incoming guitars for manufacturing defects that might have slipped by their own QC and for shipping damage. They also expect them to take reasonable care of them while in their inventory or on the floor.  I would assume if one is 'scratched and dented' it is discounted and sold with that understanding.   No one here has anyway of knowing what, if any, issues may exist with the OP's  tinny sounding guitar. 

But, yes, of course, you are right.  A company that makes and sells hundreds of thousands of products does sell 'lemons'.  It's a statistically inevitable fact. 

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1 hour ago, fortyearspickn said:

It would appear QC  stopped those guitars from being sold.   A   'lemon'  is different than a  manufacturing reject that never ships.  Sometimes we get stories on the internet and here  of people who bought a Gibson which has issues, and after they are asked some questions - it turns out they bought it from a third party, not a licensed dealer. No wa of knowing if guitar was kept in someones trunk or on their back porch.  Like many companies with approved distributors Gibson has expectations that their dealers will inspect incoming guitars for manufacturing defects that might have slipped by their own QC and for shipping damage. They also expect them to take reasonable care of them while in their inventory or on the floor.  I would assume if one is 'scratched and dented' it is discounted and sold with that understanding.   No one here has anyway of knowing what, if any, issues may exist with the OP's  tinny sounding guitar. 

But, yes, of course, you are right.  A company that makes and sells hundreds of thousands of products does sell 'lemons'.  It's a statistically inevitable fact. 

Thank you. That's all I was looking for. 

RBSinTo

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