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LG-1 vs. J-45


jibberish
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Size-wise, how does the LG-1 compare to the J-45?

If a vintage J-45 costs too much, would an LG-1 be the next step down? (I know its not apples to apples, both not dreds)

I guess what I'm getting at is: If a 1959 J-45 costs $5k...and a 1959 LG-1 costs $2.5-3K...and both are sunbursts, and you think both sound awesome...what differences might one find that do not appear to the naked eye?

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Basically, the LG1 is the Toyota and the J45 is the Volvo, especially a J from that time period and earlier. There's little comparison beyond the tuners and the burst.

The next step 'down' from a J45, might be an LG2, which is the same smaller than J size as the LG1, but is built with a superior bracing geometry.

Edited by jedzep
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15 minutes ago, jedzep said:

Basically, the LG1 is the Toyota and the J45 is the Volvo, especially a J from that time period and earlier. There's little comparison beyond the tuners and the burst.

The next step 'down' from a J45, might be an LG2, which is the same smaller than J size as the LG1, but is built with a superior bracing geometry.

So, size-wise, what is the hierarchy (and yes, I am only talking about sunbursts)?

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Waay overpriced, simply put.

I guess hierarchy is a usable word. The J is for jumbo, so it is larger and more valuable by far. 50's era great condition LG1s have a market value in the $1200 range. while a similar year J would run 4X as much.

Players know there certainly IS a reason for the difference.

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1 hour ago, jedzep said:

The next step 'down' from a J45, might be an LG2, which is the same smaller than J size as the LG1, but is built with a superior bracing geometry.

Having just come in form spending about two hours playing a Harmony Sovereign I would say there is nothing superior about the X brace geometry. 

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If this is about buying a vintage guitar, with the focus on vintage, the J-45 will cost more; the LG-2 will cost a little less, but accent on the little, because over the last 10-15 years their value has gone up.  It is fair to consider those two guitars as essentially siblings - the J-45 has the jumbo body while the LG-2 is a grand concert guitar in width and depth.  They use essentially the same neck and similar bracing patterns, depending on the year.  They do not SOUND the same however, especially when you are playing them.  The J-45 has a lot more presence and a lot more focus on the low mid-range, while the LG-2 projects really well in a focused kinda way with more focus on the upper mid-range, at least when you are in front of them and listening.  When you're behind them and playing them, the sound difference is noticeable.

The LG-1 from 1947-on (and its all mahogany variant the LG-0) share the neck, but are radically different, and sound that way.  The tops are thicker and ladder braced with spruce bridge plates.  The usual phrase bandied about is "they're good for blues," which is kinda true - and to my ears they have a certain Gibson arch top DNA in their sound, but maybe that's just me.  The LG-1 would NOT be my go to if I couldn't afford a vintage J-45.

If I wanted a J-45 and I couldn't afford one from before 1965 - my arbitrary cutoff date because changes to neck width and headstock angle - I would go looking for a good deal on a Bozeman-built J-45.  In fact, that is exactly what I did, and I couldn't be happier - and in that case I would say go play a bunch of J-45s built between 1989 and the present until you find one that grabs you.

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2 minutes ago, zombywoof said:

Having just come in form spending about two hours playing a Harmony Sovereign I would say there is nothing superior about the X brace geometry. 

And there is a lot of truth in the above statement.  If you want more of a jazz or blues or old-time string band sound, the LG-1 might be the ticket - but it will NOT sound anything like the J-45.  I know that when I started playing all the books steered everyone towards not just x-brace, but MARTIN DREADNOUGHT X-braced guitars.  Same with the music stores.  There was a certain bluegrass bias that I saw a lot of when I started playing, and I would have been a lot happier had I discovered LG-2s earlier in life, or listened to more styles of music that would have prepared me to enjoy LG-1s and other ladder-braced guitars as bringing something different, but not inferior, to the party.

 

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I had an LG1 for a few decades up until 5 or 6 years ago.  Currently have a J45.  As JedZep said -  Toyotal vs Volvo.    I loved my LG1.  It was my first good guitar and my only guitar for, well 40 years or so.  And, with the ladder bracing - it does excel in a very uncrowded, particular niche tone-wise.  But they don't call the J45  "The Workhorse"  for nothing.   If it is an 'either or'   question - there is no question but that the j45 is superior all round.   But,   since the difference in $ between the 'vintage'  50s   LG1 and J45 seems to be a limiting factor - you can get a really nice mint condition used Bozeman J45  built in their 'golden age'  for the $2500.   Then,  if and when you are still jonesing for a 'vintage' J45,  you may find your bank account and the stars are aligned. 

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1 hour ago, fortyearspickn said:

I But they don't call the J45  "The Workhorse"  for nothing.   

I have gone through Kalamazoo catalogs and sales literature  and while there are numerous references to the J200 being called "The King of the Flattops" I have not  found anything where the  J45 was  referred to as a "workhorse."  It is generally described only as a popular priced jumbo.  Does not mean the nickname did not exist only  that I cannot find it.   My guess is the whole "workhorse" thing is pretty much a Bozeman marketing creation.

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23 hours ago, jedzep said:

Basically, the LG1 is the Toyota and the J45 is the Volvo, especially a J from that time period and earlier. There's little comparison beyond the tuners and the burst.

The next step 'down' from a J45, might be an LG2, which is the same smaller than J size as the LG1, but is built with a superior bracing geometry.

 

To elucidate further.....there are hundreds of Toyotas and Volvos.......small body guitar lover and aficionado here .......... I suppose my Cargill Custom deep body 00 is perhaps a...BMW?

Then my poor old 52 LG1 is a 60s Toyota Crown 😁:


4963n7th.jpg

 

 

And my 2002 would be a used Volvo S70 😁:


Click here to see a large version

 

But reading between the lines of the OP, the motivation (or is that motor-vation? ha!)  is to buy a Gibson vintage model without perhaps stumping up for the big one. When LG1s were first made, there wasn't the pure amount of choice you have now....a cheapie used Eastman small body? for example.

Anyway, I used my busted looking, bowed neck needing reset, split top and back 1952 Gibson LG1 for Open tuning bottleneck slide.....

...and it it not one thing like my 2002 Gibson J50!

 

BluesKing777.

 

 

Edited by BluesKing777
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Hah! Thanks for that breakdown and sage comparison, but I took the original question as a more innocent philosophical wondering by perhaps a novice player about why one model was considered a higher end and priced instrument than the other.  Everyone knows I'm a ladder-brace denigrader, and not that good a guitar player.

The group of players you belong to, where a cigar box strung with dental floss can be made to sound good, can't weigh in at that level. The car pics are great, though.  I dumbed it down...for myself, of course. Wish I could make 'em all sound good.

https://jakewildwood.blogspot.com/2021/04/1954-guild-f-30-000-size-guitar.html

Edited by jedzep
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36 minutes ago, jedzep said:

Hah! Thanks for that breakdown and sage comparison, but I took the original question as a more innocent philosophical wondering by perhaps a novice player about why one model was considered a higher end and priced instrument than the other.  Everyone knows I'm a ladder-brace denigrater, and not that good a guitar player.

The group of players you belong to, where a cigar box strung with dental floss can be made to sound good, can't weigh in at that level. The car pics are great, though.  I dumbed it down...for myself, of course. Wish I could make 'em all sound good.

https://jakewildwood.blogspot.com/2021/04/1954-guild-f-30-000-size-guitar.html

 

Too kind but untrue, JZ!

I need the absolute excellent very best guitar I can get my hands on....and that is the trick! It doesn't have to be good looking. 😆

 

BluesKing777.

 

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47 minutes ago, jedzep said:

Never assumed different. Keep it up.

That's a cool old Guild, right?

 

I have never been near any kind of Guild that I remember - they never made it this far south, I guess!

But I have seen Jake's blog a bit and he does seem to know his stuff... you can repair guitars though.

 

BluesKing777.

 

 

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OK then.  Here is a good demo.  First two J-45s -- 44 and 45 -- and a bare finger 67 Martin D-35 to keep it grounded.

 

 





Here is a 59 LG-1 (also followed by a 46 LG-2 and 42 LG-1) doing the same song.

You should be able to hear it.

Best,

-Tom

Edited by tpbiii
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21 hours ago, zombywoof said:

I have gone through Kalamazoo catalogs and sales literature  and while there are numerous references to the J200 being called "The King of the Flattops" I have not  found anything where the  J45 was  referred to as a "workhorse."  It is generally described only as a popular priced jumbo.  Does not mean the nickname did not exist only  that I cannot find it.   My guess is the whole "workhorse" thing is pretty much a Bozeman marketing creation.

I wasn't necessarily suggesting that the label, which I've heard for decades, mostly here,  came from Kalamazoo.  Just a quick, cliche-ish word based on the fact that J-45s SEEM TO BE  more prevalent than any other single model when you look at youtube, performances,  singer songwriters, etc.  Sort of the F-150 of guitars.   Maybe the term evolved from that other term  "Working Man's J45"   from the simpler, burst-less model that Bozeman produced for a few years around the turn of the century.  But, i'm sure some marketing dweeb had a hand in it!   

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I play a J50 because quite simply it is my favorite jumbo out there.  Second choice is a Harmony Sovereign H1260.  Which brings me to why I no longer even look at LG1s.  When it comes to ladder braced guitars there are others I like a whole lot better.

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