Jump to content
Gibson Brands Forums

New Advanced Jumbo review


Recommended Posts

So after an 8 week wait I finally got my hands on my new AJ that I bought off a chap on the AGF. My work coleague brought it with her from Chicago to our Tallinn gig.

 

So, where to begin .... firstly, as we all know, this guitar really PROJECTS ... yes, its loud, but more importantly the AJ harnesses the rosewood power, the compression of the slope shoulder design and really focuses the sound.

 

First thing that I noticed is how very light this guitar is, almost feather light and significantly lighter than my SWD, whos heavy weight is a pet peeve of mine with that model.

 

The next pleasing thing is for the first time the rosewood overtones dont drive me nuts, and the AJ is what I always wanted from a rosewood dread. In other words rather than splashing the overtones like crazy or getting too bass heavy (think Martin) the AJ design harnesses the absolute power and richness and delivers in s straight line with all full force.

 

I think its the only rosewood dread which I could play for hours without getting overtone fatigue.

 

In terms of shape, for a 10 year guitar, and a players guitar its almost like new. Couple tiny dings here and there, a few scratches, a little chekcing and thats about it.

 

In terms of tone, as expected its a fingerpicking delight. It is incredibly responsive and makes it much easier for a fingerpckin' novice like me to get my way around the neck, you just have to touch it. (unlike the Hummingbird which really needs more attack, and I think it better suited to experienced pickers)

 

Flatpicking it is an absolute winner, again because of the projection and reponsiveness. And it is a good strummer but is at her best when strummed without too much force, just let her glide ...

 

Ive A/B'd all day this guitar against my SJ and of course there is a A LOT of similarity, but as per the design the AJ takes the J-45 core and just delivers more volume, projection and responsivness.

 

I feel it will be come my favourite fingerpicking guitar but still not compete with the SJ as they are just different enough to have their own identity in the stable.

 

String wise it came with new Daddario PB lights and to me they sound good. Because the overtones are controlled and its not muddy I feel PB's will be more suited than 80/20's which are the prrferred strings for the SWD, due to its splashy overtones, and the 80/20's get the fundamentals back. But I look forward to experimenting with strings.

 

So overall very happy to have Buddy Miller's ex, its a well played in 10 year old monster, with a rich, focused tone that seems to to demonstrate the best of what rosewood can achieve.

 

Here is a quick sample I put together, starting with our favourite Thomann Bluegrass / Country jingle, some arpeggio pickin in the Stone Love in Vain style, a bit of a strummy original composition. And finally three country blues pieces. Appologies for the crummy pickin' but Im just a novice in this genre.

 

cheers !

EA

 

IMG_4113.jpg

 

Cousins together.

 

IMG_4116.jpg

 

Best played at 720p

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Great looking and great sounding rig - glad it survived the trip. Any chance you'll try a set of 80/20 13s on this instrument, tuned down a half-step? Looks like a superb addition - does it have a PU in it yet? Congrats on the new acquisition. [thumbup]

Link to post
Share on other sites

Great looking and great sounding rig - glad it survived the trip. Any chance you'll try a set of 80/20 13s on this instrument, tuned down a half-step? Looks like a superb addition - does it have a PU in it yet? Congrats on the new acquisition. [thumbup]

 

Cheers Dan, I will definitely give 80/20's a run to see how they compare, will report back. When I played a few tracks with the AJ in Tallinn I used my portable Fishman rare earth blend and was very happy with the tone, so will probably continue to use this pickup if I take her out of the man cave for a run !

Link to post
Share on other sites

Congrats on the new guitar.

 

Just wanted to say, i put some d'addrio PB's on mine last week, they sound fine but not as good as the 80/20's (that you recommended), so I think you may be in for a pleasant surprise.

 

Edit = it was late when i posted this, didn't even realise there was a video, she sounds great.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Beautiful! Same year as my AJ and looks identical.

 

A word to the wise-the AJ is THE most sensitive guitar to string choice that I've ever met. Different strings can make it sound like a totally different instrument.

 

Mine virtually spat the D'Addario PB 12s off as soon as I'd put them on-deeply disappointing and thin sounding.

 

I had a good run with Martin 80/20 12-54s, used them for a long time and they REALLY suit the AJ, but found myself gigging out of town and in need of a new set of wires, happened into a guitar shop which had a gigantic selection of strings-the staff were raving about Martin Lifespan SP PBs, so I bought a set on a whim...

 

And there it was...the grail tone, the strings that my AJ had been searching for all along-amazing fat top end, warm mids and dry, punchy bass, no sharp "new string" tone, they get straight to the sweet spot and stay there forever...usually until I break one!

 

It's probably down to the quirks of my AJ, my ears and my fingers, but these strings are just beautiful on my guitar.

 

Let me know what you settle on pickup wise. I find my AJ to be insanely feedback prone live, whatever pickup I use, feedback buster I employ, EQing I do etc...the thing just wants to moan and groan at me at anything other than low stage volume.

 

I'm too attached to the AJ to not tour with it though, so I just make sure the monitor guys keep it way down low if I'm playing through the house system. It's worth the sacrifice!

 

One last point, how damn fine is the neck on AJ? Most comfortable neck I've ever come across. I'd swear it was a little wider than 1.725" but I've yet to lay a Vernier on it. All I know is I can play all day and not get tired of that neck...or tone, for that matter.

 

It may take you a while to tame your AJ (it took me six months to fully get the best out of mine) but when you do, you'll see that it can do anything at all-such a versatile and dynamic guitar. Great for writing, and they record brilliantly too. If you're heading into the studio, stick a set of Martin 80/20 12s on it a couple of months before, and gig/play/abuse them until they're absolutely knackered, then stick a stereo pair in front of the AJ...guaranteed unearthly, dark-chocolate-and-rock-salt tonal heaven.

 

Enjoy!

Link to post
Share on other sites

What I don't understand is why Advanced Jumbos aren't more popular - Gibson keeps bringing them in and out of production as a regular model every few years, it seems like, so they must not sell enough to keep it as a regular standard model. But in the meantime, all the boutique guys like Collings, Bourgeois, H&D, Santa Cruz and all sorts of other luthiers all make AJ clones as a regular item. People obviously love the design.

 

And they are such killer all purpose guitars, the Gibson equivalent of a D18 or D28. I'm on my third one. The first two were standard models, just really great all around guitars, not too expensive, and now my third is a 2006 Luthier's Choice that is really almost unbelievable that I bought used about 2 years ago.

 

Anyone have a guess at why Gibson seems so ambivalent about AJs, why they start and stop making these?

Link to post
Share on other sites

What I don't understand is why Advanced Jumbos aren't more popular - Gibson keeps bringing them in and out of production as a regular model every few years, it seems like, so they must not sell enough to keep it as a regular standard model. But in the meantime, all the boutique guys like Collings, Bourgeois, H&D, Santa Cruz and all sorts of other luthiers all make AJ clones as a regular item. People obviously love the design.

 

And they are such killer all purpose guitars, the Gibson equivalent of a D18 or D28. I'm on my third one. The first two were standard models, just really great all around guitars, not too expensive, and now my third is a 2006 Luthier's Choice that is really almost unbelievable that I bought used about 2 years ago.

 

Anyone have a guess at why Gibson seems so ambivalent about AJs, why they start and stop making these?

 

 

They disappear from the Gibson website but I don't think they ever stopped making them. Right now it's the AJ pro on the site but there's no shortage of standards at the dealers. I don't think them missing from the site necessarily means they aren't in production. Of course if I'm wrong please correct me

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks guys, strings seem to be quite an interesting topic relating to the AJ. I will probably give Martin SP 80/20's a go next followed by Martin SP PB Longlifes. The Martin 80/20's sound really good on my SWD and the Longlifes are oustanding on my 00-15 and very good on the Furch, but both of those are mahogany b/s guitars.

 

I definitely dont want teh AJ to sound too bright as I like the warmth of teh rosewood right now, without going muddy, which so far hasnt been the case and these are on standard Daddario PB's which go dead pretty quickly from my experience.

 

Strings are always a fun, cheap experiment.

Link to post
Share on other sites

FWIW, I found that the D'Addario PBs were by far the brightest strings I've tried on my AJ.

 

The 80/20 Martins bring out a thick, chocolatey warmth without being muddy-they chime and bark without ever being too wooly or thin. The SP Lifespan PBs edge it by a hair, for me, though.

 

Great to see so much love for the AJ in this thread! I'm a big fan of how it manages to be lush yet dry tonally. Awesome.

 

If I had any funds beyond 25p and half a flapjack, I'd be hunting for an OJ reissue to keep the AJ company. I absolutely love that dry, old-timey OJ tone...but that's something for another thread ;-)

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

The 80/20 Martins bring out a thick, chocolatey warmth without being muddy-they chime and bark without ever being too wooly or thin. The SP Lifespan PBs edge it by a hair, for me, though.

 

 

 

Now, that sounds very tasty Jinder, on both fronst ! And youre right, the Daddario PB's are very bright, probably along with Elxirs the brightest PB strings Ive come across.

 

I will also try DR Sunbeams and Pyramid PB's as these are my main go to strings.

Link to post
Share on other sites

They disappear from the Gibson website but I don't think they ever stopped making them. Right now it's the AJ pro on the site but there's no shortage of standards at the dealers. I don't think them missing from the site necessarily means they aren't in production. Of course if I'm wrong please correct me

 

I think the AJ is a Musician's Friend/Guitar Center/Music 123 exclusive, and always in yearly production for them. Various runs and special versions are available to Five Star dealers, too, but on a less consistent basis.

 

Red 333

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...