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FDP Forum / FDP Unplugged - Acoustic Instruments / Time for a new Gibson J-45 thread?

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reverend mikey
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west Omaha, east NE

The real Rev of the FDP
Jul 22nd, 2016 08:17 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I did a search for the J-45 - newest thread and comments to come up are around 2011.

I just ordered a (lefty) standard J-45 (hog b/s) at my local dealer; should be here next week.

What I'm curious about is - has the build, materials and tone on these improved or gotten worse since 2011? Anyone have experience with them over the past 10-15 years? How is Gibson Montana doing these days?

(Full disclosure: this is a supplement to my post in the Lefty Forum about this in an unrelated thread...)

(This message was last edited by reverend mikey at 10:21 PM, Jul 22nd, 2016)

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Eat. Sleep. Guitar.

Repeat
Jul 22nd, 2016 09:17 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Leave me alone!

I already have too many guitars!

Ragtop
Contributing Member
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The older the violin

the sweeter the music.
Jul 23rd, 2016 04:52 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

An old friend/roomie of mine had one from the early '70s. Good looking guitar, but he had nothing but problems with it. He ended up fighting with Gibson about the cracks and need for a neck reset, and they finally honored the warranty.

He finally sold it after 35 years. The buyer was a young guy in a folky/Americana type band who bought it for the look more than anything. So that guitar lives on, and I've seen it on YT with its new owner a couple of times.

I knew that guitar pretty well as I played it a lot. It was quite different than my only guitar back then, an Alvarez. My friend actually admitted that the Alvarez played and sounded better than his Gibson for about 1/4 the price.

But those were the bad years for Gibson. I know that a good J-45 is a fine guitar, an icon for all the right reasons.

(This message was last edited by Ragtop at 06:59 AM, Jul 23rd, 2016)

reverend mikey
Contributing Member
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west Omaha, east NE

The real Rev of the FDP
Jul 23rd, 2016 08:48 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Here's Buddy Miller playing his J-45 to good effect; I'm a big fan.

(Hang on for the mini-solo around 2:40.)

That's How I Got to Memphis

(This message was last edited by reverend mikey at 10:50 AM, Jul 23rd, 2016)

jhawkr
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Wichita, KS USA

It's all gravy from here on...
Jul 23rd, 2016 09:10 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I have a 2002 J-45 I purchased new at EM Shorts for $1,375.00. Very fine build quality. What will amaze you is how thin the back and top are which means it really comes alive in your hands. You will feel every note. It was good from day one but really opened up about 3 years in. One thing, it is very humidity-centric. Not enough humidity and the whole top will warp. You'll 1st notice the action getting a bit too high. That's when to check the humidity. I keep mine humidified year round as Kansas is a semi-arid state and it can really dry out a guitar. Other than being sensitive to humidity, no other issues. It's a great guitar and I value it right up there with my Martin 000-28EC, both short scale guitars. It's worth more now than when I bought it.

Ragtop
Contributing Member
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The older the violin

the sweeter the music.
Jul 23rd, 2016 02:29 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Nice link, mikey, I'm a fan too. Saw him with Emmylou Harris at the Lied in Lincoln a few years back.


And that is exactly how a good J-45 sounds.

reverend mikey
Contributing Member
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west Omaha, east NE

The real Rev of the FDP
Jul 23rd, 2016 08:37 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Yeah, don't know the history of his, but it's an older one - has a larger pickguard on it - assume that was standard back in the day?

Charlie Macon
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Austin, Texas

Yeeeehaaaa!
Jul 24th, 2016 06:44 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

My favorite guitar in the universe is my J45. jhawkr describes its liveliness very well, and I love feeling the notes beaming through my rib cage.

I recently took it to jam with my brother and a friend (Johnny Hardwick...voice of Dale Gribble on 'King of the Hill'). After playing bass for awhile, then switching to Danelectro DC, then Stratocaster....I plugged the J45 straight into the Vox AC15C1 and had a BLAST! A very powerful rhythm crunch, beautiful single notes and partial chords. I'm still smitten.

J45 (2005)

Charlie Macon
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Austin, Texas

Yeeeehaaaa!
Jul 24th, 2016 06:48 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Man, does time fly....cannot believe I bought it 11 years ago.

jhawkr
Contributing Member
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Wichita, KS USA

It's all gravy from here on...
Jul 24th, 2016 07:06 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Looks like mine Charlie! Except mine has a few nicks and bumps from run-ins with the grandkids. Taking mine out today with a friend to a friend of his that plays blues harmonica & sings. Dude went to school for 6 weeks in Memphis to hone his chops! Hope I can not embarrass myself! The J-45 will shine, no doubt!

larryguitar19
Contributing Member
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South Florida

larryguitar
Jul 24th, 2016 10:10 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Charlie--I have the same guitar and same year. It's my 'run out of a burning building' guitar.

reverend mikey
Contributing Member
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west Omaha, east NE

The real Rev of the FDP
Jul 24th, 2016 04:15 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Charlie, tell us about how yours has opened up over the years. When did you first start to notice the sound changing?

Thanks for the encouraging reviews... now I'm getting excited!

Viera
Contributing Member
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Santee CA

Poser extraordinaire
Jul 24th, 2016 04:41 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

There is something special about a good J-45, very sweet sounding with lots of oomph.

I had a J-45 TV for a few years and really liked it. Unfortunately it fell victim to thinning the herd. I missed that "Gibson" acoustic sound including the low end thump. I now have an Advance Jumbo. It's sort of a J-45 on Steroids. I prefer the longer scale and overall sound of the AJ, but I still miss that J-45.

(This message was last edited by Viera at 06:42 PM, Jul 24th, 2016)

reverend mikey
Contributing Member
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west Omaha, east NE

The real Rev of the FDP
Jul 27th, 2016 01:15 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Guitar arrived Tuesday. Drumroll, please...

>>>WOW

A few of my bad photos in profile...

reverend mikey
Contributing Member
**********

west Omaha, east NE

The real Rev of the FDP
Jul 27th, 2016 01:17 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

For some reason the rest of my post disappeared, but I've recovered it - here's the rest of my review:

Build looks very good. Materials are hard to judge on these guitars, because they're all covered up with a sunburst and dark stain. The top has an obvious line along the center seam - this has something to do with the grain of the spruce top. (see pics in profile)

But this thing sounds so good - the materials must be pretty decent - and well put together.

For reference - it has more presence and "liveliness" (for lack of a better word) than my Martin D-35 that is already a year old. They both sound great - the Martin is more "orchestral" maybe, but the J-45 just has more pure sound coming out of it...it's like it's more eager to give up the sound and make music.

If I had to choose between these two guitars today, I'd be keeping the J-45... it might just be the desert island acoustic that a couple of you have claimed.

Haven't plugged it in yet, but I've had this pickup in other guitars and it's been one of my favorites for under saddle piezo's... and just about everything can be made to sound good through my Venue DI and Fender Acoustasonic Jr. amp (one of the old, heavy, pre-DSP models).

Set up (Plek'd evidently) was very good out of the case. The sales guy tweaked the truss rod a little, and I might tweak it a little more later after it settles in, but the nut slots are cut properly (low enough, which I seldom see - even on Martins) and the fret work is very good; no buzzing and smooth along the fingerboard edge. neck is straight as an arrow with ever so slight relief. Love the nut width - just under 1.75".

Evidently it comes with 80/20 Bronze lights on it (there was another set in the case with all the other nice case candy) - those would not normally be my choice for strings, and I will try some others. But it really does sound excellent with these strings - I'm not feeling any need to go to mediums, except that I may change out the unwound B and E strings to a 17 and 13 to give them a little more thump and better feel under my fingers (the 12 and 16 just feel wimpy to me; but I sometimes use a 14 on the high E string just to really give it some power. I don't do a lot of bending on acoustic, so that works for me).

Speaking of case candy: a set of strings; a Gibson pick; a very nice leather key ring/pick holder; a round "Gibson Acoustic" sticker and the warranty card. No truss rod wrench; oh well, I have those...

That's enough for now... this has been an excellent experience so far; I think I'll be playing this guitar for a lot of years.

jhawkr
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Wichita, KS USA

It's all gravy from here on...
Jul 27th, 2016 01:19 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

The finish is a little cloudy.




Just kidding! Beautiful! Looks like new!

Viera
Contributing Member
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Santee CA

Poser extraordinaire
Jul 27th, 2016 03:34 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Nice review rev. I wouldn't sweat the center seam. Some of the best sounding acoustics I've heard weren't' very well book matched. IMHO, nobody does a better sunburst on acoustics than Gibson. Enjoy it!

Texican

Cypress, TX

I Dare To Be Different
Jul 29th, 2016 04:53 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Mikey, one of these days you & I need to sit down and compare your J-45 with my '04 J-45 Rosewood.

Ragtop
Contributing Member
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The older the violin

the sweeter the music.
Jul 29th, 2016 05:04 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Very sweet, congrats!

pombrio
Contributing Member
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USA

Jul 29th, 2016 09:46 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Here's my '02 J45 Rosewood au natural. I've been very pleased with it and it's never given me any problems.

Congrats rev mikey, that looks sweet. Wish I could've found one in sunburst but still love mine as is.

Enjoy

J-45 Rosewood in Natural

(This message was last edited by pombrio at 11:46 AM, Jul 29th, 2016)

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FDP Forum / FDP Unplugged - Acoustic Instruments / Time for a new Gibson J-45 thread?




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