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I have wanted a J-45 since I enjoyed a terrific backup / rhythm player who was playing one at a fiddle camp in Montana I attended 10 or 15 years ago. I loved the sound of that guitar (I'm sure a lot of it was his playing, but I can't buy that part).

 

I am getting to the point financially where buying a new J-45 is feasible, and I am likely to do it soon.

 

But I do recall Gibson having somewhat of a spotty reputation for quality over the years. How is the quality on the current stuff coming out of Bozeman?

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I have wanted a J-45 since I enjoyed a terrific backup / rhythm player who was playing one at a fiddle camp in Montana I attended 10 or 15 years ago. I loved the sound of that guitar (I'm sure a lot of it was his playing, but I can't buy that part).

 

I am getting to the point financially where buying a new J-45 is feasible, and I am likely to do it soon.

 

But I do recall Gibson having somewhat of a spotty reputation for quality over the years. How is the quality on the current stuff coming out of Bozeman?

 

Perhaps the best in their history, overall. On the whole, we have been experiencing a new Golden Age in Gibson acoustics recently.

 

Of course, every instrument has an individual quality, so try as many as you can to find the one you like best. Ask the dealer to change the strings if you must, too--Gibsons do not always have fresh strings in stores, and suffer for it. While the Standard line is very, very good, the True Vintage models are usually something very special. Seek those out, if you can.

 

Let us know how it goes! Good luck.

 

Red 333

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You gotta' play a few to determine which sounds best. Big store shopping is best, I guess. Nothing can compare though, to a nice old seasoned vintage J45...'58 or older. If you have a few grand to afford it, you can find a well played/cared for gem.

 

Was the guitarist you saw at the camp playing a new one?

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You gotta' play a few to determine which sounds best. Big store shopping is best, I guess. Nothing can compare though, to a nice old seasoned vintage J45...'58 or older. If you have a few grand to afford it, you can find a well played/cared for gem.

 

Was the guitarist you saw at the camp playing a new one?

 

Sorry, but my memory isn't that clear, but I think so, because I remember that the case looked pretty new. Mind you I was a fiddler at the time so I did spend much of the time watching and listening to the fiddlers he was accompanying. But I had owned some Martins by then and was most familiar with the Martin sound, and I remember this J45 sounding so much different than what I was used to.

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.

Welcome.

 

We just had a discussion on the subject quality. Over the last few years overall quality is very good. There will always be some some variance from guitar to guitar so it's best to sample enough that you can form a good idea of what is pleasing to your ear and preferences.

 

Good luck with your hunt.

 

 

.

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Its very good these days. Some sound better than others, but very few dogs out there, really.

 

Compared to Martin where there was a huge thread on the AGF about shonky Martin quality (3/4 new Martins apparently need repair work) in this case Gibson is doing great.

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You can check out how my 2010 J-45 standard sounds in a clip on this page...I'd say 95% of new ones I've played(a few in Sydney,a lot in Japan on holiday,a lot in the US on holiday,had a similar quality of sound...that is to my ears...great sound!

If you are in a position to play first I can't see you buying anything that will disappoint.

Even buying on Ebay I reckon chances of satisfaction will be high.

I don't worry much about cosmetics so i'm not a great student of finish quality...but that seemed generally fine in my cursory examinations.

Good luck.

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I would not buy new, given the rapid depreciation. A guitar that is 2-5 years old should have little or no wear, and you can probably buy it for about 30% off the new street price. The only thing you are missing is the warranty, but I've never had need for warranty work.

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I have two Bozeman Gibsons: L-OO Legend and Fuller's 1943 SJ re-issue, and they are both as well built as any guitar I own. Maybe I'm lucky, but these two are great. The SJ has a small rough spot in the finish on the top of the headstock (on top of the ogee), but other than that, it's just about perfect. Tone is superb.

 

The L-OO Legend is perfect, both in construction and tone.

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I've currently got three Bozeman guitars. Hummingbird, J45, J150. All three are killer guitars. No two Gibsons are alike. There's a lot more personal, human handwork that goes into making a Gibson than is applied to their primary competitors. Takes more time to make a Gibson. Some Gibsons are good, some better, some great. As suggested, play all the Gibsons you can. Likewise for any other brand of guitar. If one is looking for a pristine, one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter guitar, there are quite-a-few really good ones out there. Not a thing in the world wrong with them, except, they are not Gibsons. I'm not saying that Gibsons are the best guitars in the world (although when you consider their history, staying power, and quality, they're right there with the best), and they're definitly not priced for a lean budget, and "Yes," they're all different, but that's why they're Gibsons. If you've got the bucks and sincerely want one, I'd play every Gibson I could and enjoy the hunt. Let us know what you decide. [thumbup]

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I have 10 Bozeman acoustics--J-45 Legend, J-45 True Vintage, J-45 Vine, Southern Jumbo True Vintage, Fuller's 1939 J-35 Reissue, Advanced Jumbo, Maple Short-Scale Advanced Jumbo, J-160E Standard, J-160E Peace, and J-185 Vine. Some have a flawless build quality, some less so: cosmetic flaws here and there, and signs of handwork, etc. Each is individual, but each meets my criteria for the kind of instrument I want to play--one that has THAT Gibson sound, an almost indescribable quality that I prefer to other fine and well-made brands and models. So by my personal standards, Bozeman Gibsons are great, and well worth attaining. I think most objective people who have played Bozeman Gibsons, especially in the last few years, will also agree that they have been making fantastic guitars. Until recently, Bozeman was blessed to have a modern Lloyd Loar at the helm in the person of Ren Ferguson.

 

Sure, you will find naysayers, or those whose only experience with a Gibson has been with one of the hit or miss models of the late sixties and seventies, when Gibson acoustics truly were inconsistent. But don't listen to them, or to me: listen to the guitar. Hope you find one you connect with, and inspires you to play.

 

Red 333

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No disrespect intended but calling Ren a modern day Lloyd Loar may be going a bit far. Guys like Ted McHugh who invented the adjustable truss rod or Guy Hart's shop of the late 1930s that came out with the Super 400, SJ-200, J35, J45 and others as well as the folks at Martin and elswhere pretty much changed the world and every guitar made today owes something to them.

 

I would say though that Bozeman has the best build quality since the period from the late 1940s through the early 1960s. It is also my impression that generally the woods used are of a better quality then what you used to get. With the exception of guitars like the J-200 and SJ which for whatever reason Gibson reserved the best wood it had for, most of the Adi on the early guitars and Sitka Spruce on the later ones looks to be what we would classify as common grade at best.

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Michael,

 

Congrats on your upcoming purchase. I can add nothing to the above .... all rings true.Having bought several (and played dozens and dozens) iof Bozemans in my life but especially in the last 1 1/2 years, I can point out what is important (IMHO) in the above:

 

First play as many Bozeman Gibsons as you can .... travel, go to every shop in your area ..... play, play, play .....

 

 

Second, buy the TV if you are buying new .... I've not heard a bad J45TV ...... It'll cost you $300 more but worth EVERY penny ....... well played Bozeman J45s can be excellent values also.

 

Third, after purchase and taking it home to live with and, if you are unsatisfied, don't give up on a Bozeman Gibson .... work with it (change string types and sizes) ... be sure to get a real professional set up .... air your porblems on this forum and you'll get options. If you are finally dissatisfied (this happened to me on a recent purchase) save some more, sell the one you don't love, try with another Gibson.

 

Good luck and welcome to the forum!

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I have wanted a J-45 since I enjoyed a terrific backup / rhythm player who was playing one at a fiddle camp in Montana I attended 10 or 15 years ago. I loved the sound of that guitar (I'm sure a lot of it was his playing, but I can't buy that part).

 

I am getting to the point financially where buying a new J-45 is feasible, and I am likely to do it soon.

 

But I do recall Gibson having somewhat of a spotty reputation for quality over the years. How is the quality on the current stuff coming out of Bozeman?

 

 

I had the same concern but when I received my J45, all that went out the window.

 

The guitar is flawless, the tone is great and it plays extremely well.

 

I would not hesitate to buy another Gibson acoustic.

 

VERY happy with mine.

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One more thing... A new guitar will sound good. But these Gibsons sound better as they're broken in. Depending on lots of variables, it may keep on improving for a year or more and sound as much as 30 % better than when you opened the box. If, in your travels you see a Hummingbird or an AJ, you might give them a whirl. Even though you lust after a J45 which is the iconic Gibson acoustic, there might be a model you come to love more.

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I've owned a number of Gibsons since rediscovering the brand in 1994. Up until that time, I had the opinion of Gibson acoustics that had been formed in my teens in the 1970's - that they were lacking.

 

Since then, I've owned a J200, a Star Studio, and am on my third AJ. I've had no issues at all with any of them.

 

I think these days, there are a lot more issues w/Martins, if the people on UMGF are to be believed.

 

IMO, Ren Ferguson got the Bozeman operation up and running right from the beginning. In their early years, they underwent a lot of nitpicking/naysaying by Gibson haters whose opinions were formed during the previous bleak decades of Gibson acoustics. IMO, the Bozeman Gibsons from any era are all pretty good guitars - this isn't to say that they didn't put out some dogs, but probably not at a significantly higher rate than any other respectable maker.

 

Of course, this is all just one guy's opinion, I'm sure there are others.

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  • 4 months later...

I have a Studio J-200 that was made last June in Montana. I bought it from Europe as I play left handed and don't have too many options. It sounds good but workmanship and materials are spotty at best. The plain maple back is discolored and ugly. I could have returned it but shipping would have been very high and the fact that there would be no guarantee that another would sound as good made me decide to keep it.

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I must have test drove 50 or 60 Gibson acoustics over the last few years. What I ended up with after many trials and tribulations were 3 fantastic guitars.

 

2003 HB, 2010 HBTV and a 2009 HB Pro. Sweet tones, easy playability and gobs of tone. The 2003 HB is flawless in looks and construction. The 2010 TV has one minor dimple the size of a pinhead and the 2009 has a little wear on top of headstock from hanging in the store.

 

Incidently I have owned 5 Martins, now I am down to one. (traded up to the Gibsons)

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