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Everything's about tone, but let's talk about looks


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Hey there,

during my journey to find "the" J-45 for me I was surprised in how many varieties they come, not only speaking about tone, but also about they way the look. Very light and fairly dark bridges and fingerboards, very tight and very wide grain in the top wood, very light coloured sunburst on the back and sides (sometimes even a brownish tone just like the 50's versions) to very black ones. I know that many people don't think about this at all - because after all it's all about how it sounds. And I wish aesthetics wasn't so important to me, but it is. And since I really love the J-45 for its sunburst, I focus on the way it's sprayed very specifically - on one model it was actually a dealbreaker for me. In general I favoured those where there was an even and wide transition between the natural colour of the wood and the sprayed black colour. I disliked the ones where the transition was very sudden. So I would like to know if I just got a little crazy checking out so many different J-45's, taking the way the sunburst is sprayed too serious, or if there are also some things that'd be a dealbreaker for you, only because you don't like how it looks?

Attached are a few examples I stumbled across:

1: This one was visually the most appealing to me, but tone-wise it didn't stand a chance against the others.
dcx3Xtp.jpg

2: On this model the sunburst was off-center - for me that was a dealbreaker.

YPJImqG.jpg

3: Really loved this one, but I could imagine people wouldn't like how big the dark area is.

x6VTFQB.jpg

No. 4 was very appealing to me, but no. 5 won in tone comparison. No. 5 would be an example of a sunburst I really don't like - with very sharp transitions. Even though I noticed how many old vintage Gibsons are sprayed this way.

0jgWZG6.jpeg

I could imagine someone else would think just the opposite.

Cheers,
Pat

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If you're not in a hurry to own a guitar, you can be as picky as you want, whether it is looks or tone.

Didn't we have this same discussion with you a year or so ago?

Edited by j45nick
added additional thought
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ReHelo PatDie - I know any sage would say everything moves in cyclysses. Is this what you try to confirm with this thread. 

Or were just you inspired by the 'We have all been here before'-dialogue in that other thread a few days ago. 

Third option You liked the response and attention of the first round so much that you simply want to launch another. 

 

Anyway - why not roll it all again. "You cannot bathe in the same river twice."

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Here's my forth of 4 post from the first April thread :

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

 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. 👁️👁️

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

And now we even got a 5th 😊 

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1 hour ago, E-minor7 said:

ReHelo PatDie - I know any sage would say everything moves in cyclysses. Is this what you try to confirm with this thread. 

Or were just you inspired by the 'We have all been here before'-dialogue in that other thread a few days ago. 

Third option You liked the response and attention of the first round so much that you simply want to launch another. 

 

Good job finding that. I wonder how many of us would have the same answers after some passage of time. . . my weighting of the priorities of the top 3 or so things that would be sought in a next guitar would most likely change, but with current events, it's more about a comfortable smaller guitar at home that doesn't have to keep up with louder instruments in a big setting. Looks might be an attention grabber at a jam, or maybe they'll inspire you to pick it up and play, but occasionally, if not by accident, good sounds can fall out of a most homely guitar.

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1 hour ago, 62burst said:

Good job finding that.

Very easy - Sherlock just clicked Mister Hosts name and got straight to the basic-site where the April thread was visible. 


About the 5 sunbursts above of which 3 were presented in the spring, I'd say that they are so relatively similar that it wouldn't be factor if one of the 45s sounded and felt (let's never underestimate feel) right and clearly stood out. Then again PatDie is PatDie.  

Regarding heading into some theme-labyrinth - in this case the art of bursts - I think it's a healthy ability to be able to drop everything else and just zoom and zooom and zoooom.                                  At some point all normalities are transcended and from there something else starts. To drive one's senses over the limit in order to find new insight and cognition is exciting.                                              Only if getting anesthetized by the hypnotic maze and suddenly no longer being able to find the way back out, things become problematic.                                                                                                                            Then you're stuck within circles till falling to the ground in exhaustion - and will thus qualify as theme-zoom-casualty.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A jinxed soul lost in an unfathomable gallery of blind stagnated passion. 

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It wasn't my intention to have the exact same discussion again, and I should've mentioned from the start that I want to build on April's thread. Back then it was about what I should do about the choices I have, and I surely received many insightful thoughts about these certain sunbursts. I made my choice already but since then I can't look at a Gibson again without judging its appeal by its sunburst first (well, if it's a sunburst model).

So I wanted to lift this topic from April to a different level where it's less about what I should pick, but how you perceive the whole thinking around aesthetics and tone. Why are minor details to some important and to others not at all? Just thought it was an interesting topic in general.

Pat

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1 hour ago, PatDie said:

It wasn't my intention to have the exact same discussion again, and I should've mentioned from the start that I want to build on April's thread. Back then it was about what I should do about the choices I have, and I surely received many insightful thoughts about these certain sunbursts. I made my choice already but since then I can't look at a Gibson again without judging its appeal by its sunburst first (well, if it's a sunburst model).

So I wanted to lift this topic from April to a different level where it's less about what I should pick, but how you perceive the whole thinking around aesthetics and tone. Why are minor details to some important and to others not at all? Just thought it was an interesting topic in general.

I see and follow that idea.

Overall aesthetics, components like tuners, guards and not least top'n'side hues are highly important to me.                                                                                                                                                                                                Details, fx. nuance of tulips, guard-edges, tortoise pixels or not-pixels, strap-knobs, , , , and not least exact nuance of burst are too.                                                                                     Still - if they are within my basic frame of preferences - I wouldn't let them overrule the sound and feel of the guitar when choosing.                                               

There are so many factors in play and luckily we can modify our way forward here and there. Not when it comes bursts though, , , unless we invite the sun and a lot of time. 

Something tells me that your experiences and fine-tuned deep dive into the sea of bursts will give you a lot of expertise.                                                                                                                                                                                 Maybe you are about to be the Burst-specialist of the Board. 

No matter what speak up and share your knowledge and values. "Every nerd is a force". 

Edited by E-minor7
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When it comes to the looks department my 1932 L1 grabs the gold ring.  When viewed under a strong  natural light the shading just pops.

L1020141.jpg

I am also partial to my 1920 L1.  The combination of the reddish mahogany varnish finish, mulit-layer rosette, celluloid pin tailpece, and intricate inlay on the headstock make this guitar a work of art.

1920-Gibson-L3-Murphy-Bed.jpg

Gibson-L3-Rosette-2.jpg

Gibson-L3-Tailpiece.jpg

 

 

Edited by zombywoof
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1 hour ago, zombywoof said:

When it comes to the looks department my 1932 L1 grabs the gold ring.  When viewed under a strong  natural light the shading just pops.

L1020141.jpg

I am also partial to my 1920 L1.  The combination of the reddish mahogany varnish finish, mulit-layer rosette, celluloid pin tailpece, and intricate inlay on the headstock make this guitar a work of art.

1920-Gibson-L3-Murphy-Bed.jpg

Gibson-L3-Rosette-2.jpg

Gibson-L3-Tailpiece.jpg

 

 

Is that a rub mark on the L3? Thats a deal breaker for me. 😁.   I like  it 

 

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I like the bursts that Gibson puts on their guitars.  For me, I don’t see anything wrong with the sunbursts in the original post.  Gibsons are not sprayed-on by a machine.  Human beings do the spraying and each one is a little bit different from the others.  We all have our likes and dislikes and that’s how it should be.  Some bursts are bigger, some lighter, some darker.  For myself, I don’t want my J45, Hummingbird, etc. to be identical to the guy next to me.  If the guitar feels good to me, sounds like I like a guitar to sound, and meets the my standard for a Gibson burst, then I’m happy.

Edited by MissouriPicker
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I care a lot about looks in terms of burst color and pattern, runout or not, grain width and pattern, pickguards, tuners etc etc.

I tend to hate labels (and carefully remove them on vintage replica guitars). Also not a fan of bright white binding and white tuner buttons. I've always thought belly-up bridges look wrong, yes even on Birds..

Well, I like what I like and so do all of you too... 🤪

Lars

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23 minutes ago, Lars68 said:

I care a lot about looks in terms of burst color and pattern, runout or not, grain width and pattern, pickguards, tuners etc etc.

I tend to hate labels (and carefully remove them on vintage replica guitars). Also not a fan of bright white binding and white tuner buttons. I've always thought belly-up bridges look wrong, yes even on Birds..

Well, I like what I like and so do all of you too... 🤪

Lars

So Lars, you think the standard modern Gibson bridge as seen on the J-45 and many others--the belly-up bridge--looks wrong? What bridge look is acceptable? Only a rectangular bridge? Only the Martin -style belly-down bridge?

 

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59 minutes ago, j45nick said:

So Lars, you think the standard modern Gibson bridge as seen on the J-45 and many others--the belly-up bridge--looks wrong? What bridge look is acceptable? Only a rectangular bridge? Only the Martin -style belly-down bridge?

 


Just prefer the look of a staight or belly down bridge, that’s all. When a guitar is placed in a stand, the body shape is like a drop of water hanging down. The standard teardrop pickguard is  the same. A belly down bridge flows  in the same direction, while a belly up bridge, on the other hand, appears to defy gravity and flow in the opposite direction. 

There has to be some kind  of order in this weird old world 🤪

Lars
 


 

 

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1 hour ago, jedzep said:

Couldn't it be a smaller profile, Nick?  Guess you don't see it as clumsy looking.

Unfortunately, I don't have a Gibson with one of the current versions of that bridge to measure for comparison to older bridges.

I only have two modern Gibson acoustics, and both have vintage-style bridges: one a 1930's rectangle, the other a banner-era SJ belly-down. Interestingly, the proportions of the banner-era belly-down are not identical to the late-60's belly-down used by Gibson for a brief moment in time. I also have one of those, which I removed from a 1968 re-top and replaced with a 1948-style belly-up like the one that was originally on that re-topped J-45.

The "original" modern Gibson belly-up bridge (let's say, the bridge that came in on the J-45 in around 1948) is 1" (25.4mm) across the ends of the wings, about 1.44"  (36.5 mm) across the belly,  and 6" (152 mm) wide.  ( I have this bridge in it's original form and a repro replacement bridge done for me a few years ago)

I have no idea what the analogous dimensions are on the modern belly-up bridge. Bridge shape and size is pretty far down my list of evaluation criteria, provided the bridge is historically correct. Maybe my bias is towards  historical  accuracy, rather than pure esthetics.

 

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42 minutes ago, j45nick said:

Unfortunately, I don't have a Gibson with one of the current versions of that bridge to measure for comparison to older bridges.

I only have two modern Gibson acoustics, and both have vintage-style bridges: one a 1930's rectangle, the other a banner-era SJ belly-down. Interestingly, the proportions of the banner-era belly-down are not identical to the late-60's belly-down used by Gibson for a brief moment in time. I also have one of those, which I removed from a 1968 re-top and replaced with a 1948-style belly-up like the one that was originally on that re-topped J-45.

The "original" modern Gibson belly-up bridge (let's say, the bridge that came in on the J-45 in around 1948) is 1" (25.4mm) across the ends of the wings, about 1.44"  (36.5 mm) across the belly,  and 6" (152 mm) wide.  ( I have this bridge in it's original form and a repro replacement bridge done for me a few years ago)

I have no idea what the analogous dimensions are on the modern belly-up bridge. Bridge shape and size is pretty far down my list of evaluation criteria, provided the bridge is historically correct. Maybe my bias is towards  historical  accuracy, rather than pure esthetics.

 

My '14 J-45 std. measures 6" x 1" x  1,5/16" .

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