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My 2021 "Banner 1942 J-45" CS Historic Journey


BoSoxBiker
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The guitar I'm writing about is my 4 month old Gibson CS J45 "1942 Banner" Historic collection with baked Adi top. Some might remember my frustration boiling over when a factory replacement NGD (July 5th) turned into getting a shipped too soon stinking, sticky mess make my Migraines worse day. It had been shipped in the heat of the Summer not 3 weeks after it's serial # derived date. A week in the truck, too. I was not pleased.

So fast forward 4 months. 6 weeks at the shop (set up, saddle, inspection, drying some more, etc) 4 weeks on a stand at home and another 4 weeks in my playing rotation.  It was dry, not sticky and not stinky. Cleaned up rather nice-like. I've not done any sort of polishing. The problem was that it sounded ticked off alternative brand 314. Imagine, if you will, a Cicada landing on a badminton racket on the deck and then finding itself being flung across the yard lacrosse style. It made an angry, petulant tantrumed induced noise not heard since I ever-so-happily traded in my 314 years ago.  That's what this J45 was sounding like to me. I decided enough was enough after my wife looks over at me and says something like, "It doesn't even sound pretty like the others do."

I decided I was gonna clean it up and post it for sale. That very day, not 3 hours later, we waltzed into the Bourgeois booth at the world of Bluegrass Festival in Raleigh. I fell head over heals over a slope-D with baked Adi and Sinker Hog B&S. Mission accomplished. Now to move the J45. Got home, cleaned her up and changed the strings. It got worse. 3 days later I gave up and replaced the Martin Flex Core 80/20s with something I knew to help tame bright guitars. DR Sunbeams. Took a couple pics and posted it on CL.

Well, that lasted two days - Tops. This J45 and I bonded big time. I mean, Holy Smokes, did this ever change. Five sets of strings before trying some good ol' DR Sunbeams. Sounded less worse right away, much better the next morning and again the second day. Two weeks later, now 4-1/2 months old, wow! The video below is kind of what I was expecting and getting nowhere close. Those folks were not wrong on the Love Dove or the SJ-200 Prewar, so why this one? turns out mine just needed time and .... just the right set of strings?

The bad thing though is that it might cost me my D41. A store is making me a sound clip of a $6k Bourgeois Slope-D, and now I don't want to sell my baked J45 to help pay for it. I could (and do) have worse problems, I guess. 🙂

 

 

Edited by BoSoxBiker
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  • BoSoxBiker changed the title to My 2021 "Banner 1942 J-45" CS Historic Journey
1 hour ago, BoSoxBiker said:

The guitar I'm writing about is my 4 month old Gibson CS J45 "1942 Banner" Historic collection with baked Adi top. Some might remember my frustration boiling over when a factory replacement NGD (July 5th) turned into getting a shipped too soon stinking, sticky mess make my Migraines worse day. It had been shipped in the heat of the Summer not 3 weeks after it's serial # derived date. A week in the truck, too. I was not pleased.

So fast forward 4 months. 6 weeks at the shop (set up, saddle, inspection, drying some more, etc) 4 weeks on a stand at home and another 4 weeks in my playing rotation.  It was dry, not sticky and not stinky. Cleaned up rather nice-like. I've not done any sort of polishing. The problem was that it sounded ticked off alternative brand 314. Imagine, if you will, a Cicada landing on a badminton racket on the deck and then finding itself being flung across the yard lacrosse style. It made an angry, petulant tantrumed induced noise not heard since I ever-so-happily traded in my 314 years ago.  That's what this J45 was sounding like to me. I decided enough was enough after my wife looks over at me and says something like, "It doesn't even sound pretty like the others do."

I decided I was gonna clean it up and post it for sale. That very day, not 3 hours later, we waltzed into the Bourgeois booth at the world of Bluegrass Festival in Raleigh. I fell head over heals over a slope-D with baked Adi and Sinker Hog B&S. Mission accomplished. Now to move the J45. Got home, cleaned her up and changed the strings. It got worse. 3 days later I gave up and replaced the Martin Flex Core 80/20s with something I knew to help tame bright guitars. DR Sunbeams. Took a couple pics and posted it on CL.

Well, that lasted two days - Tops. This J45 and I bonded big time. I mean, Holy Smokes, did this ever change. Five sets of strings before trying some good ol' DR Sunbeams. Sounded less worse right away, much better the next morning and again the second day. Two weeks later, now 4-1/2 months old, wow! The video below is kind of what I was expecting and getting nowhere close. Those folks were not wrong on the Love Dove or the SJ-200 Prewar, so why this one? turns out mine just needed time and .... just the right set of strings?

The bad thing though is that it might cost me my D41. A store is making me a sound clip of a $6k Bourgeois Slope-D, and now I don't want to sell my baked J45 to help pay for it. I could (and do) have worse problems, I guess. 🙂

 

 

From my perspective, the DR Sunbeams are a no-brainer match for a mahogany Gibson slope-J.

I have three of them: two 1950 J-45s, and a 1943 SJ re-issue. Since I discovered Sunbeams may 5-6 years ago, that's all I use on those three guitars.

They get used on a couple of other guitars as well, but not consistently.

 

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2 hours ago, j45nick said:

From my perspective, the DR Sunbeams are a no-brainer match for a mahogany Gibson slope-J.

I have three of them: two 1950 J-45s, and a 1943 SJ re-issue. Since I discovered Sunbeams may 5-6 years ago, that's all I use on those three guitars.

They get used on a couple of other guitars as well, but not consistently.

 

That all makes sense.

I've now tried them on 4 out of 5 now. They are my #1 the the J45 and might be the #1 be for the Dove after trying them last  month. They calmed my old SJ-200 Standard and my D41 down a little too much. Such a dramatic difference on the J45, though. 

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I used to use the Sunbeams and was always taken by the feel of a string wound on a round core combined with a short scale neck. But over the years I grew to prefer Newtones.   I do still keep a couple of sets of Sunbeams on hand though.  The thing is though on my old guitars I never found a string which had the kind of impact on sound the OP is talking about.  While different strings may nuance sound, I never ran across any which dramatically impacted  a guitar's voice or response to the point it would transform the instrument  into a keeper.    Oddly the only guitar I own which is picky about strings is also the only newish guitar in the house - my 2013 Fairbanks Smeck.  At 3 pounds 14 ounces it is heavier built than say my 1942 J50 which may factor in.  I only play with my fingers though and found the Fairbanks needs a brighter sounding string.

Edited by zombywoof
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Interesting BSB. by the way a friend of mine over in Rocky Mount  has a slope D hog Bourgeois that i have played a few times. Not sure if that what you reference in your post. I have not played a version of your J45 never even seen one around here but based on my experience with the Bourgeois I strongly suspect I would prefer the J45. Enjoy.

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2 hours ago, philfish said:

I was going to try Sunbeams on my 45TV for a change from the nickel bronze I've been using for awhile, then a sale on the nickels shows up I order 6 sets.

Then this thread, it's back to Sunbeams. I guess it's all about timing

I've tamed some brightness down with the D'Add NB's (Nickels) in the past.

1 hour ago, zombywoof said:

The thing is though on my old guitars I never found a string which had the kind of impact on sound the OP is talking about. 

Me neither. I've had some improvements and let-downs with strings, but never like this. I'm now 3 for 3 on baked top guitar sounding better after 4-6 months. Just as with the strings, nothing to this extent.

1 hour ago, J185cat said:

Interesting BSB. by the way a friend of mine over in Rocky Mount  has a slope D hog Bourgeois that i have played a few times. Not sure if that what you reference in your post. I have not played a version of your J45 never even seen one around here but based on my experience with the Bourgeois I strongly suspect I would prefer the J45. Enjoy.

They are differently voiced, that's for sure. I contacted Bourgeois to find out what I was playing a few weeks back. They sent me a link with the build sheet and pics. Turns out it also has Banjo Killer bracing despite not being called a "Banjo Killer". A custom built just for the World of Bluegrass show before going out west. They sold them all to a store who has subsequently already sold it to their customer.

FWIW, most Banjo Killers I've heard online I have not liked. Some were just bad recordings in bad rooms, but not all of them. Just too much volume burst for me. Non-BK slope-D's have sounded better online.

So, all of that said, this J-45 is staying put.

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On 10/28/2021 at 9:35 AM, J185cat said:

Interesting BSB. by the way a friend of mine over in Rocky Mount  has a slope D hog Bourgeois that i have played a few times. Not sure if that what you reference in your post. I have not played a version of your J45 never even seen one around here but based on my experience with the Bourgeois I strongly suspect I would prefer the J45. Enjoy.

A little update - that Bourgeois sound sample did do it for me. It sounded like a really nice guitar, but wasn't really the same as what I played in town. Further investigation reveal two things. The baked Adi top on m J45 and on that Bourgeois were both on the bright side of the spectrum. Second, the one I played had extra scalloping one the Soundboard as they were making a Banjo Killer minus the back bracing, long scale, etc.  The actual Banjo Killer itself, fwiw, is not something I would want based on the majority of the sound samples I've heard.

There are some before and after examples online of a D-18 getting it's braces scalloped. The "after" has a looser bottom end in the tone that's fairly obvious. Not sure I can post here. That sound difference is what would be ideal for me in a slope, personal preference-wise. Online examples of a Collings CJ-45 T or a Santa Cruz VJ Custom show that depth and looser bottom end sound.  That's some serious high rent district that's out of my ballpark on a few fronts. Something to look at when/if the guitar world gets back to normal. I know what would happen, though. I'd miss the bark of my J-45 baked adi for what it is. Plus this J-45 will open up more and more.

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I am hooked on Martin retro monel mediums on my historic J45 Banner 1942, but I’ll try sunbeams next, just to see.  Thanks!

On 10/28/2021 at 8:34 AM, philfish said:

I was going to try Sunbeams on my 45TV for a change from the nickel bronze I've been using for awhile, then a sale on the nickels shows up I order 6 sets.

Then this thread, it's back to Sunbeams. I guess it's all about timing

I tried D’Addi NB, but I am hooked on Martin retro monel mediums on my historic J45 Banner 1942.  Longer they’re on, the better they sound.  I’ll try sunbeams next, just to see.  Thanks!

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