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AJ vs. J-45 TV


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Hi all,

 

Some may have been following my travails in purchasing in other threads and rather than tack this onto the end of an aging thread, I thought I'd start fresh. I bought a 2005 AJ a few weeks back. I have really been enjoying it. Love the sound, love the look, etc., but when I was out shopping I was really in the market for a J-45, but the examples they had in the local--and even not-so-local--stores were not the best. I played the AJ and really was blown away.

Now as I reach the end of my 30-day return window, I'm going through my last gasp of deciding; I have until Saturday to decide to keep the AJ or go with something else. I guess I'm still jonesing for a J-45. This is a big decision for me. I can only afford to get a guitar like this every couple years and I want to be sure get what I want.

 

I just saw a 2011 J-45TV advertised used for slightly less than I paid for the AJ. I haven't had a chance to play a J-45TV and was wondering if any out there had thoughts on a comparison between the two. I know they won't sound the same. I'm thinking more playability, desirableness, etc.

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Hi all,

 

Some may have been following my travails in purchasing in other threads and rather than tack this onto the end of an aging thread, I thought I'd start fresh. I bought a 2005 AJ a few weeks back. I have really been enjoying it. Love the sound, love the look, etc., but when I was out shopping I was really in the market for a J-45, but the examples they had in the local--and even not-so-local--stores were not the best. I played the AJ and really was blown away.

Now as I reach the end of my 30-day return window, I'm going through my last gasp of deciding; I have until Saturday to decide to keep the AJ or go with something else. I guess I'm still jonesing for a J-45. This is a big decision for me. I can only afford to get a guitar like this every couple years and I want to be sure get what I want.

 

I just saw a 2011 J-45TV advertised used for slightly less than I paid for the AJ. I haven't had a chance to play a J-45TV and was wondering if any out there had thoughts on a comparison between the two. I know they won't sound the same. I'm thinking more playability, desirableness, etc.

if it's new try it out ... it won't have the logo messed up by climate changes either so give it a try if you are really not sure :D.

 

 

JC

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I'd say that it really depends on your personal preferences.

 

If you're truly satisfied with the AJ, then I would advise you to think twice before returning

it. On the other hand if the mahogany tone and short scale are what you are really after then you might never bond with the AJ .

 

I own an example of each and appreciate both for what they are. In general, I've found the tone of the AJs I've played to be much more consistent than the J-45s (as you've already experienced), including the TVs . It might take a while to find a J-45 that blows you away. On the other hand, if you do return the AJ I'm guessing you'll have an easier time finding another one that you like.

 

All of the above IMHO and all that

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Play the J 45 TV and if you really like it go for it. i really like the 45 TV, but i also like the AJ. The 45 is a bit more versatile IMHO. Bring a set of strings with you when you try the 45 as the strings may be dead, you can change them out and get an idea for what it really sounds like. Good luck! Keep us up to date.

JM

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The one big problem I have is that the TV is in California and to get it here(Iowa), I have to put $$ down. The only way I have the $$ to put down is to return the AJ.

 

What I really want to do it have an example of both and play them for a bit before deciding, but I can't afford that.

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I think your answer lies in your initial post: you're blown away by the AJ. Be satisfied with this. Make great music with it and enjoy the craft instead of thinking about being with another guitar.

 

The good news with this strategy is that you can always get a 45 in a few years (God knows Gibson will never stop making them).

 

Hone the craft of making great music, not the craft of buying great guitars, and you'll be much happier.

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I think your answer lies in your initial post: you're blown away by the AJ. Be satisfied with this. Make great music with it and enjoy the craft instead of thinking about being with another guitar.

 

The good news with this strategy is that you can always get a 45 in a few years (God knows Gibson will never stop making them).

 

Hone the craft of making great music, not the craft of buying great guitars, and you'll be much happier.

 

I agree with sternfan

just think if you give the AJ back and cant find another that you like as well [scared]

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About the 'blown away' aspect of this. That may or may not mean anything. We can play something in the store and be impressed by it but get home and find it doesnt wear well. Like that pair of snake skin Tony Lamas in the back of our closet that you never put on because you really like your nikes......

 

..which is really no help because Im not sure if you know if either a J45 or an AJ will 'wear well.' Do you have the experience that says, "yeh J45, really that's it." Or was the original impulse a concept: "I think I shall have a J45." Was the AJ-blown away experience for real or momentary infatuation? We here cant answer those questions. You will have to, or try.

 

Having been there before, I recognize a fellow suffer. It's about the state of wanting and it may not be all about the guitar.

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It is of course an entirely personal decision, nobody anywhere can decide for you.

 

I've owned a number of J-45/SJ's/J-50s over the years and it is one of my favorite models of any make. I think I've had three or four SJ's ranging from a '44 to mid-'60s, four or five J-45/J-50s from a '51 to the modern models, maybe more than that. Also a few vintage Gibson Hummingbirds, L-series etc. Never owned a True Vintage reissue J-45 though have played some.

 

All that said, I have a 2003 AJRI that I bought new and it is my main flattop and I still have a '52 J-45 that's been with me for at least ten years. A good AJ is, in my book, like a good J-45 on steroids. It does sound a bit different but has a huge amount of Gibson tone, sounds like a good Gibson, and though it perhaps is a bit tougher to play than a J-45 due to the longer scale that is a non-issue to me as I've also owned a few Martin dreads over the years. Nobody complains much about their long scale. Any guitar set up correctly should be fun to play.

 

I love J-45s but if I had to have just one Gibson guitar I'd do the AJ. It's just a bit more versatile in my book, more power but sings sweetly when you throttle it back.

 

Gotta add here that though I used to buy/sell a bunch of guitars I never did the '30 day try out period' and maybe am glad I didn't. That is a long time to allow indecision to creep in. The guitars I've had that I were not quite 'right' usually spent a year with me messing with strings etc. a little bit before deciding they really were not what I wanted.

 

Good luck and hope you find something you can enjoy w/o doubting your choice. It is a very good thing to just have a good guitar and play it.

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I think your answer lies in your initial post: you're blown away by the AJ. Be satisfied with this. Make great music with it and enjoy the craft instead of thinking about being with another guitar.

 

The good news with this strategy is that you can always get a 45 in a few years (God knows Gibson will never stop making them).

 

Hone the craft of making great music, not the craft of buying great guitars, and you'll be much happier.

 

This is the answer!!!!!!!!

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Great job Guth did !

1st time I've listened to your soundclips

What model guitar did you record them on ?

They sound like martin OM42 ? or just J45 TV ?

 

Hi gotomsdos,

 

Are you referring to the sound clips accessible via my signature line?

 

If so, the guitars used are as follows:

 

Backcountry - Advanced Jumbo

Corn On The Cob - J-45 TV (Open D tuning)

Percolation - Martin 000-18GE

Rumble Seat - Advanced Jumbo

View From Tabor - Martin 000-18GE

Walking Nick - J-45 TV

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Hi gotomsdos,

 

Are you referring to the sound clips accessible via my signature line?

 

If so, the guitars used are as follows:

 

Backcountry - Advanced Jumbo

Corn On The Cob - J-45 TV (Open D tuning)

Percolation - Martin 000-18GE

Rumble Seat - Advanced Jumbo

View From Tabor - Martin 000-18GE

Walking Nick - J-45 TV

Yes, from your sig.

Glad to know 2 clips use J45 TV ... I'll take them down to my disk, can I ?

You know, I searched almost all of J45 TV vids on youtube, but only just a few out, most are J45 STD and vintage J45, so if you know anywhere with J45 TV clips, just let me know, thank you in advance...

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Glad to know 2 clips use J45 TV ... I'll take them down to my disk, can I ?

You know, I searched almost all of J45 TV vids on youtube, but only just a few out, most are J45 STD and vintage J45, so if you know anywhere with J45 TV clips, just let me know, thank you in advance...

 

Sure, feel free to download them. As far as other clips go, I don't really have any suggestions. You might try a Google Videos search to look for content beyond just YouTube.

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Guth,

 

Very nice stuff on your site. And helpful because you have the 2 guitars I'm talking about on there.

 

I'm curious, what's your signal chain on the recording. Might help me understand everything I'm hearing there.

 

Again, great playing, nice tunes. I'm interested in working up my fingerpicking chops to something similar. What'd you work on to learn?

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Guth,

 

Very nice stuff on your site. And helpful because you have the 2 guitars I'm talking about on there.

 

I'm curious, what's your signal chain on the recording. Might help me understand everything I'm hearing there.

 

Again, great playing, nice tunes. I'm interested in working up my fingerpicking chops to something similar. What'd you work on to learn?

 

My signal chain is pretty simple. I use a Sony PCM-D50 flash-based field recorder with its built in mics. I dump the Sony's .WAV file to my Macbook and convert it to a lo-res .MP3 file via iTunes for posting to the web. Usually I'll open the .WAV file in Audacity (freeware) to clip off the extra dead space at the beginning and end of the track before the .MP3 conversion, but I don't apply any processing to speak of.

 

I originally started fingerpicking because I wanted to learn to play country blues style music. That turned out to be a wonderful genre to develop some basic fingerpicking chops.

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I don't want to tell you what to do, but consider the old adage: "A bird in the hand is better than two in the bush." You like the AJ. You have no idea what the J-45 TV will sound like in your hands to your ears.

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My signal chain is pretty simple. I use a Sony PCM-D50 flash-based field recorder with its built in mics. I dump the Sony's .WAV file to my Macbook and convert it to a lo-res .MP3 file via iTunes for posting to the web. Usually I'll open the .WAV file in Audacity (freeware) to clip off the extra dead space at the beginning and end of the track before the .MP3 conversion, but I don't apply any processing to speak of.

 

I originally started fingerpicking because I wanted to learn to play country blues style music. That turned out to be a wonderful genre to develop some basic fingerpicking chops.

 

Wow, nice sounds for that set up (not that it's not a nice set up, just nice job recording). And revealing for me. I'd say after listening that the AJ seems more articulate while the J-45 has more....soul, color...I dunno. And I'd say I prefer the AJ sound one against the other. What are your thoughts?

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Wow, nice sounds for that set up (not that it's not a nice set up, just nice job recording). And revealing for me. I'd say after listening that the AJ seems more articulate while the J-45 has more....soul, color...I dunno. And I'd say I prefer the AJ sound one against the other. What are your thoughts?

 

The setup isn't too bad, but the fact that they are good sounding guitars (at least to my ear) doesn't hurt.

 

In general, I'd agree with your assessment of the AJ when compared to the J-45 and vice versa.

 

One thing that is interesting is that the guitars don't strike me quite the same when I 'm just playing for myself. The AJ sounds more articulate in the recordings than it does to my ear when I'm just sitting around and playing, be it on the couch, or sitting in front of a reflective surface. The J-45 on the other hand actually sounds more articulate to my ear in person than it does in the recordings. But the recordings are what they are and both guitars were recorded pretty much the same way.

 

The AJ is a real fun guitar to play because of it's power and seemingly unlimited headroom. It's a very punchy guitar. However I truly love the tone of my J-45 and it just has a certain feel to it that appeals to me — more to do with the responsiveness than any particular specifications such as scale length, etc.. It's my number one: if I could only keep one guitar, I'd hang on to the J-45. On the other hand, if something happened to the J-45, I'd still be more than happy with the AJ.

 

Honestly, I really dig them both.

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I originally started fingerpicking because I wanted to learn to play country blues style music. That turned out to be a wonderful genre to develop some basic fingerpicking chops.

 

Guth, what strings are you using on the AJ and the J-45? Your J-45 has a really nice voice.

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