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Are J45s a beginners guitar?


G McBride

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Wow what a response you guys and gals did to the J45 post. I couldn't resist asking again so that more could post great things about the J45.

 

I am pleased to be an owner and player of a couple of great Gibson acoustic guitars and a J45 is one of them. I have been playing over 40 years and don't consider myself a beginner anymore.

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IMO the point is arguable....

 

Some rich parents spoil their children with expensive instruments...who may go on to be great musicians

 

Others start at the bottom and steadily work their way up

 

Each have their + and - aspects

 

Same for returning/beginning adults......

 

V

 

:-({|=

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I started on an electric LP copy, it was horrible, stupidly high action, neck like a bow, rubbish fretwork. If I'd had a J45 at the beginning I might feel differently about what constitutes a beginners guitar, but the J-45 is miles above what I would consider a beginners guitar for most people.

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Thing is, when you're a beginner you don't know the difference! Unless you are shown what's good and what's bad in guitar construction, setup, etc. you don't have a clue that the guitar you have to start with is any different than any other guitar out there. I started on a Harmony Stella that my brother had tossed in the closet a few years before. I don't remember thinking the Stella was a piece of crap. I remember how hard it was to play but I didn't know there was better to be had. From a perspective nearly 40 years down the road, certainly the Stella was a piece of crap!

 

Many, many beginners give up guitar, discouraged with their first instrument (using the term loosely!) not knowing there are differences. J-45 as a first guitar? Well, sure.....I'm in!

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I started on a Framus 12er, strung with six strings. It was better suited for archery than music. To this day, I still play with a "death grip" on the neck. I wonder if that's the reason my frets wear so fast. I now have three J45s.

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Come on...If a person can afford it then always get the best and chances are you will not be disappointed.

If I'd of had the money when I was a beginner driver I would have gotten that Boss 429 Mustang. Same with a guitar. I bought an Egmond 12 string($50) and what I got from that guitar was tired bloody fingers...but I also got a lesson in perseverance. But even then I knew I wanted a fine instrument ....someday. my tag line is ....Gibson, it's worth the wait....if you have too! [thumbup]

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Landola.jpgMy first western was a Landola from Finland*.

I had seen and tried it in the little shop in my then hometown and was crazy about it. The steel strings and that black pick guard made me burn. Was lucky enough to get it for X-mas and instantly my playing grew. My favorite chord then – an E-major - taken on that guitar just sounded, , , well simply MAJOR and sent me somewhere else – oh Lord did I ever return. One of the songs I managed to fly was the Donovan version of Universal Soldier. Small wings were growing - That guitar told me I had a chance to go down the acoustic road. It encouraged and opened a door in my young life.

Some years late I sold it and got a dreadnought Morris. A kind of D-28 copy, but with bindings on the neck (not the headstock) and adjustable bridge. Now things were serious – I started to busk. Remember carrying a plate cross my room when a fork slipped though the air directly towards the top lower bout. Uaaakk, this happened at an early stage. Welcome to world of severe dings ! Learned to live with it and played on. . .

 

The guitar is now in the hands of one of my old friends. He borrowed it when I upgraded and had it fixed a long time ago. Funny to think it's vintage now – A VINTAGE MORRIS. It may be a bit uneven and demanding to grab – I had it in my hands in December - but it still works, , , and still got a place in my heart. . .

 

 

 

*this one found on Finnish eBay

 

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I bought a J-45 back in my early 20's when I was still a beginner.

 

I grew up around nice Gibson and Guild acoustics but my first guitar that was MINE was a birthday present. A Fender acoustic. Rarely played it. When I moved out of the house I finally got into playing and the first one I bought on my own was an all black Takamine. Decent guitar but one year later I sold it and bought the J-45. Our childhood exposures stay with us a LONG time. To this day I am an unapologetic Gibson fan who believes the old motto that "Only a Gibson is good enough".

 

Being around great guitars spoiled me and ever since I am not satisfied playing average run of the mill assembly line guitars.

 

A Gibson can be a great "beginner" guitar. If you can swing it why not learn on something great.

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Landola.jpgMy first western was a Landola from Finland*.

I had seen and tried it in the little shop in my then hometown and was crazy about it. The steel strings and that black pick guard made me burn. Was lucky enough to get it for X-mas and instantly my playing grew. My favorite chord then – an E-major - taken on that guitar just sounded, , , well simply MAJOR and sent me somewhere else – oh Lord did I ever return. One of the songs I managed to fly was the Donovan version of Universal Soldier. Small wings were growing - That guitar told me I had a chance to go down the acoustic road. It encouraged and opened a door in my young life.

Some years late I sold it and got a dreadnought Morris. A kind of D-28 copy, but with bindings on the neck (not the headstock) and adjustable bridge. Now things were serious – I started to busk. Remember carrying a plate cross my room when a fork slipped though the air directly towards the top lower bout. Uaaakk, this happened at an early stage. Welcome to world of severe dings ! Learned to live with it and played on. . .

 

The guitar is now in the hands of one of my old friends. He borrowed it when I upgraded and had it fixed a long time ago. Funny to think it's vintage now – A VINTAGE MORRIS. It may be a bit uneven and demanding to grab – I had it in my hands in December - but it still works, , , and still got a place in my heart. . .

 

 

 

*this one found on Finnish eBay

 

 

That Landola looks exactly like my first Western, which was a Marlin from Korea.

I think that when you start with a low budget guitar, you can appreciate it more when you play on more expensive guitars later on.

 

Stijn

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.

Beginning guitars don't have to be of the so called "entry level" variety - inexpensive, no worries if it gets damaged. I've seen some guys with "entry level" beginning guitars that are a total nightmare of poor craftsmanship, inadequate playability and "bleeding" fingers. Learning can be much easier on a well made instrument that has fine playability, sound/tone, and responds well to learner's changes/improvements in technique - something "entry level" guitars often can't provide, making it more difficult for the learner to understand and learn certain nuances of technique.

 

A beginner should have a guitar they feel comfortable with. And there's no reason why that guitar couldn't be of the "high end" variety - expensive, high quality materials and finely crafted.

 

If a beginner wants a more expensive, high quality guitar, they should get the best one they can afford - they deserve the best learning experience possible.

 

Having said all that, the J-45 would be a wonderful instrument to learn on - a high quality guitar, made of quality materials, finely crafted with great sound/tone.

 

A lot of players that started out on some inexpensive "entry level" guitar would say what Wily said above - "I WISH my first guitar was a J-45"

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A beginner should be able to buy any guitar he/she can afford, keeping in mind that they may try learning and quickly come to the conclusion that they're no good at it or don't enjoy it. If those people have bought something like a J-45, then we more-experienced players can then buy their guitars, cheaply.

 

I taught myself to play on my brother's old Stella. In my late teens and 20s, I suffered through plenty of so-so guitars; probably the best of the lot was a Takamine F-360. My first quality guitar was a Martin D-35S, and since then, I've been fortunate enough to own (and later sell or trade away) some fairly decent guitars by Martin, Guild, Gibson, Bourgeois and Larrivee. The one I keep coming back to, though, is the Gibson J-45. There's just something about the sound that I can get out of a good '45. It may not be the guitar for everybody, but it is the guitar that sounds best for the kind of stuff I do. I've got other guitars (and am having one built for me as we speak) but the only one that passes the "911" test is the J-45: If the house was on fire and everyone was safe but I had time to grab one guitar, it would be my '98 J-45.

 

So I consider myself fortunate in that regard. There are times when I pick up the J-45 and get the excitement that a beginner feels, and it makes me feel like I'm discovering the guitar all over again. So yeah, in that regard, the J-45 is a beginner's guitar.

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I think that when you start with a low budget guitar, you can appreciate it more when you play on more expensive guitars later on.

 

 

 

I'm not sure beginners know how to really appreciate a high end guitar. They're too busy learning and just getting things kinda right. Every new step is a victory that sounds and feels good in itself.

 

Give a 12 year old a dinner from the finest French chef and some diffuse sense of quality will seep in - the real art of the cooking will remain less understood and the kid would be just as happy (if not more) with a trunk of spaghetti under sweet ketchup and meat-sauce.

 

It makes sense that the levels gonna rhyme. I see value in climbing the stairs - 'The journey is everything' as they say. . .

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How about a $14 finger killer from mail order. It was so bad that I got a converter nut and bar but it sounded so bad Hawaiian style

that I didn't learn much there either. My first semi decent guitar was a Framus. Then when I was 21 a HB . Sold it 25 years later.

 

Now that I have my new J-45 set up with EA's favorite stings and a couple of Tonerite treatments I feel like a beginner again.

All I want to do is play bass runs and listen to that Gibby bark.

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My first guitar was a "Montana" dread. It was Asian made and ran me about $200. I learned a few chords and took a few lessons and bought myself a J-45 RW. I was hooked from that day on. Sold the Asian guitar to a guy at work and never looked back. I own a few Gibbies and love them.

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I had to start with Washburn that had an action so high you could fit a 747 under it
Love it. My first guitar cost $5.00 back about 1967-68. A very nice friend was selling it & my buddy Duke--didn't play--said "how can you go wrong for $5.00?" Well, you can go about five bucks wrong. Action was probably 1" at fifth fret. A no-name guitar that struggled w. a 1st position C triad. Out went my Jimi Hendrix illusions...

 

Next I sequesterd my younger brothers Harmony Rocket--fine axe!--and got my first flattop, a Gibson Hummingbird, in '71-'72. Posted here on it before as it was my main guitar for nearly 20 years.

 

I bought a $5.00 guitar because I was poor & didn't know any better. IMO a beginner should buy whatever they can afford & if they have good advice it won't break the bank if they quit. I've sold several nice guitars to beginners & it's a joy to see 'em become cherished 'heirlooms'. A little Guild has been around the world w. a girl who became a physician, another Guild was featured in a boy's HS graduation picture & a Yamaha was played for me last week by a friends son & to be honest, I forgot I even owned that one. That kid is getting good BTW.

 

I don't care what anybody buys except myself and hope all beginners can get a good guitar--whether $5.000 or $5-gazillion--as it is their business, not mine. Tone is far less of a consideration when learning than plain old playability.

 

Oh, BTW the J-45 is great from the first note to the last.

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Well, it would be one darn lucky beginner !

 

I had to start with Washburn that had an action so high you could fit a 747 under it (thanks Gilliangirl) :-)

 

My first steel-string was the Washburn Lyon that I still use when the kids are too bouncy for me to feel safe with the SJ. After 15 years I can really say that it has improved with age, in terms of sound and playability. It's plywood, so the tonal improvements shouldn't really be noticeable. And I've done strictly nothing to enhance the playability. I used to find the action high, and now I don't. Not as easy for me as the Gibson, but it's the scale length more than the action that hurts. Haven't adjusted the truss rod or saddle though. Nor would I say that my playing has improved. Perhaps my hands just got stronger.

 

My first guitar of all was a second-hand, full-size classical which my parents bought me for Christmas when I was seven, and which still lurks somewhere in their house. It was very quickly replaced as my main guitar by a 3/4-size which fitted me better, and then by a somewhat better BM full-size. So I don't understand how it came to have so much fret wear. Full-on grooves in the frets, which tend to cut the strings to shreds. Truly, none of my other guitars has anything like as much fretwear, and they've all been played more over the years.

 

My first electric was a black Hondo LP copy with a duff 14th fret. Apart from that fret it sounded amazing. How did they squeeze so much sustain from plywood?

 

Obviously, I'd have liked it if prices in the 1980s had made Ramirez classicals and Gibson Les Paul Standards (or even Studios) guitars for beginners. I've kept all my guitars to date except for the 3/4. So by now I'd be sitting on a serious fortune. Instead of which I have two really nice Gibsons and a collection of cheap things which would fetch about a fiver at a car-boot sale. That includes my Epiphone Casino, sadly.

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