Best Strings for a Gibson J-45?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by guitarplayer, Feb 15, 2009.


  1. guitarplayer

    guitarplayer Member

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    I recently bought a Gibson J-45 which has such a warm tone - I love it! I just replaced the stock strings (which I think are Gibson PB lights) with my all time favorite John Pierce PB lights. I've been using the John Pierce PBs for years on my Taylor 810 and have always loved them but I really don't like them at all on the J-45. They sound way too bright and the guitar just doesn't have the same warm tone. I know that new strings will sound brighter but I just don't think these strings sound anywhere near as good as the stock Gibson strings. Just wondering for those of you who have a J-45 what you've found to be the best string and gauge for that guitar? I never thought I'd suspect that a particular string would sound great on one guitar but not so great on another. :NUTS I appreciate any recommendations you might have!
     
  2. zombywoof

    zombywoof Member

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    I play a 1956 SJ which is just a duded up J-45 but the Bozeman-made Gibsons are by design a bit brighter sounding than their ancestors made in Kalamazoo largely due to the use of different bracing than the originals.

    You could try coated strings like the Elixirs or DR. These ain't to everybody's taste in terms of feel but they will mellow out the high end a bit.

    I like the DR Rares - which to my ear were very balanced sounding. Also Snake Oil 101's.

    You could also play around with saddle material - bone, tusq or whatever - but the differences will be pretty subtle.

    Personally, I like a heavier guage string and a bit higher action - cuz they drive the top better.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2009
  3. dazco

    dazco Member

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    Funny....i had a J45 i bought new in about '6 or so, and pearce were what sounded good on it ! i felt it needed the extra brightness. Guess it just goes to show how much wood can vary. Anyways, after i sold it to get a Larrivee i found the exact same problem with the pearce on my new guitar. the larrivee was too bright for those stings. I went thru a number of strings, and i was amzed that i ended up with a string i always thought were very mediocre....d'adarrio ! I never liked those on most other acoustics, but they were perfect for the larrivee. You might wanna try them. they have the advantage of being the easiest string to find too, plus as cheap as anything. You may also want to investigate the saddle and nut. I find that because new acoustics are usually quite dark sounding till they age and open up, the manufacturers tend to equip them with TUSQ or some other extremely bright material. Thats what my larrivee had. And it was rather bright and got brighter as it aged. I but bone in it at first but the tone was so dull i removed it and went back to the TUSQ. Once it had a few years on it tho it began sounding too bright and at that point i tried bone again and it was great. So you may wanna consider the saddle and nut material. It may be time to put bone nut and saddle in. Mine was much nicer with bone once the guitar had opened up after about 6-7 years. Anyways, D'adarrio may be just what you need. I like the 80/20 best, but i've been using phosphor lately because the 80/20 sounds better, but they are just right when almost new which means as soon as they die just a tad they are too dull. Phosphor is too bright at first but settle in and are just right and stay that way quite a while
     
  4. TanquerayCowboy

    TanquerayCowboy Senior Member

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    I've settled on Gibson Acoustic Guitar Premium Masterbuilt strings for my J-45. For me, they best capture that warm sound you describe.
     
  5. guitarplayer

    guitarplayer Member

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    Great advice! Sounds like you had a very similar experience with a different guitar. I've bought and sold a lot of electrics over the years and have used d'adarrio for years on all of my electrics and they sound great. I tried them once on my acoustic but didn't like them on the Taylor. I'll have to give them a try as well as maybe a bone saddle as well. Thanks!
     
  6. Ogre

    Ogre Member

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    D'Addario Phosphor Bronze. They are too bright for a few days, and then they are just right. Pyramids are also great, but expensive.
     
  7. WordMan

    WordMan Member

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    What gauge do you use? I have 12's on my J-45 and like how they brighten up the tone vs. 13's...I just think the lighter gauge is better suited to a Gibson-voiced acoustic - and it still gets plenty loud when I need it to be...
     
  8. sears

    sears Member

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    I use the pyramid 80/20 strings which don't have that phosphor bronze sound and also last forever. They're like $12 a set but you replace them much less frequently. They feel great too.
     
  9. OM Flyer

    OM Flyer Member

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    D'Addario .13s on my Adirondack-top J-45. Beautiful tone.
     

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