Gibson mahogany vs rosewood? Short scale vs full scale?

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by mistafeeze, Feb 2, 2012.

  1. mistafeeze

    mistafeeze Member

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    Looking at the J45 and AJ. I've heard that the rosewood and full scale on the AJ make the guitar much louder and "honkier." :) Supposedly the J45 is better suited for a "singing voice."

    Originally looking at a sitka/mahogany J45, but now considering the rosewood version. Anyone have both (or more) of these varieties and can tell me your experience?

    I like the simplistic look of the J45 but that's just aesthetics. However, I would like to try a short scale...thanks!
     
  2. Dotneck

    Dotneck Member

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    I have an AJ...it is pretty loud but I love the sound of it. Ilike to use itwhen I play at a church group that tends to have a lot of players...because it barks.

    I also like a short scale guitar (I have a J-185)...I expect that some day I'll get a J-45. Just get the one that speaks to you and don't act like you're denying yourself of the other. Get the other one later....

    :eek:
     
  3. lamenlovinit

    lamenlovinit Member

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    The AJs nickname was originally "The Martin Killer" back when it came out. They are completely apples and oranges. Both wonderful, and very attractive looking designs. Decide if you want a Gibson, or a Gibson that thinks it's a Martin. Either way you'll have a nice instrument with the Gibson headstock.

    As to rosewood or mahogany on a J45, I'm a mahogany guy pretty consistently. So it's easy for me. Mahogany vs. Rosewood is also a pretty easy decision. Sharper, more metallic on Rosewood, warmer, smoother on Mahogany.

    For me, generally for playing at Home Mahogany is going to "sound better" no matter where you play it. Meaning, it'll sound the same to you as the player whether you're in the bedroom, bathroom (yep, done it when I just couldn't away from visiting family), kitchen or Front Porch. Rosewood is much more, to me, sensitive to where you play it, and where you stand in relation to the guitar. Rosewood for me is for playing for others, whereas mahogany seems to let a more developed sound hit the player.

    All just opinion.
     
  4. vibrasonic

    vibrasonic Member

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    You might want to consider a D18. Hog and spruce 25.4" scale. Great guitars really good price also. The big house dealers generally will give you 40% off list = $1560 .

    Check out "My favorite guitars" they give 40% off list.

    Cheers
     
  5. lamenlovinit

    lamenlovinit Member

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    If you really want a Gibson, a Martin simply won't do. But in the world of "serious professional guitars" It's really hard to beat a D18 for the point where value and performance intersect. Heck the entire 18 series is spectacular. Though if someone is looking at a J45, I'd recommend the OM18, and if they are looking at the AJ, the D18.
     
  6. mistafeeze

    mistafeeze Member

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    Great feedback guys! Thanks for your input...I guess I missed a key bit of information to share. I own a Martin D-35 and I'm looking for a good companion for it. I love everything about it and I think it represents the authentic Martin sound. So I guess I'm looking for that authentic, woody Gibson sound and probably need to go after the J45 hog. Problem is, I don't have a place to check them out side by side...
     
  7. Ogre

    Ogre Member

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    On a J45, mahogany all the way. This is a classic guitar for a reason. Short scale, spruce top, hog back & sides. Play a few if you can, and one will speak to you.
     
  8. lamenlovinit

    lamenlovinit Member

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    No guitar center near you? I think any rosewood Martin would be a good stand-in for yours vs. a Gibby. Unless you are completely sold on the Gibby, you might want to try a Larrivee Mahogany L while you are there. Longer scale than gibby, but an exquisite fingerpicker. Also incredibly consistent production. J45s can be a little hit or miss. That's why I would always be patient, and buy a used J45 I could return off the internet. Some just sound right to you, and some don't. If it "don't" return it. Eat the shipping if you have to.
     
  9. Schroedinger

    Schroedinger Member

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    The standard J45 mahogany is an iconic design, and is the "Gibson" tone that most people think of. It's probably the most recorded acoustic guitar in history. It's worth getting on the road to somewhere you can play a few side by side. Make sure they all have new strings. If you play 5, one will be a clunker, three will be good, and one will leave the store with you. :)
     
  10. Dotneck

    Dotneck Member

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    That's just odd....some people like the Gibson sound and you certainly won't get it from a Martin....
     
  11. lamenlovinit

    lamenlovinit Member

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    Gee... I guess when you pull it out of context it might appear odd... However, looking at the full message, which is brief enough that it could have been quoted fully I said if you are looking a Gibson a Martin won't do.

    However, if someone switched from Gibson to Martin midstream, I definitely stand behind that statement. If they liked the J45 an OM would be a better choice than a dread. And if they liked the AJ a dread would be.
     
  12. Dotneck

    Dotneck Member

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    Didn't mean to misquote you...I just thought your advise was odd after reading what the OP wrote. He's wants opinions on Gibsons. He's comparing a J-45 and an AJ. He already has a D-35 and now would like the woody Gibson tone because he's got the Martin dread sound covered.

    That's why I thought it was odd to recommend either a Martin D-18 or OM-18.
     
  13. Ogre

    Ogre Member

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    Actually, a J45 is a dread. It is a slope-shouldered dread, which accentuates the mid-range frequencies. It sounds nothing like any OM. OMs are cool, but a entirely different flavor from any Gibson I have played.
     
  14. lamenlovinit

    lamenlovinit Member

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    Even Gibson calls it a round shoulder dread. Slope implies many more things about bridge placement and neck length. And the J in J45 stands for Jumbo. Nowadays most literature refers to it as the dreadnaught "Jumbo" line, but the fact is that the product line was the Jumbo. Check an old Catalog http://www.acousticmusic.org/userfiles/file/pdfs/historical-data/Gibson/Gibson%201942%20Price%20List%20BB.pdf. Like many guitar makers from the turn of the century onward, Gibson made bigger guitars hoping for more volume, and the J45 was labeled as a "guitar" while the J100 and J200 were called "super guitars". So to be accurate the J45 is a small Jumbo. It's also one of the prettiest designs ever in my opinion.

    Folks are really hung up on the OM statement I made. I didn't say that an OM is a J45 replacement. I did say that someone who likes J45s will probably like an OM more than a dread. I find J45s much more balanced than a dread. I find OMs much more balanced than a dread. Therefore a J45 lover, in my opinion, would be happier with an OM than a Dread.

    I only brought up the OM because I was responding to the post immediately above me who suggested a D18. I tried to draw some comparisons between the J45, the AJ, and the 18 series Martin products so the OP would understand the significance of the D18 suggestion. At the time he hadn't yet stated he had D35, and I personally had wrongly assumed this Gibson purchase would be his first guitar in that quality range.

    I hope that clears things up.
     
  15. mistafeeze

    mistafeeze Member

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    Been away for a while...sorry for the non response guys. Lamenlovinit...there are 2 Guitar Centers, but neither have what I'm looking for in used. And since my budget is used I'm kinda stuck shopping online. Either way, it seems like J45s are a bit rare on the used side and typically pull in top dollar so I'm not worried about recouping my money if it's not right for me.

    Quick update - found one on eBay that didn't sell so I contacted the seller. It's arriving tomorrow! I guess I should tell you all that I picked a late 90s J45 hog. I agree with many of the comments above and I came to that same conclusion. Based upon me looking for that Gibson sound and also already having a D35, the J45 hog is a match.

    Thanks for the feedback!
     
  16. lamenlovinit

    lamenlovinit Member

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    J45s are a classic. Just like a D-28. I wouldn't say they hold value better than other guitars, but it's REALLY hard to find a bargain as you found out. It's a J45! Somebody always wants one!:dude

    Best of luck on the new guitar! The shape. The scale length. They're just a fun and comfy guitar to play. I'm not sitting on the edge my seat when I play a J45. I just feel relaxed.
     
  17. lamenlovinit

    lamenlovinit Member

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    Yeah. Got that the first time you said it. Since you didn't get what I said, try reading Vibrasonics post right above me where he says

    You might want to consider a D18. Hog and spruce 25.4" scale. Great guitars really good price also. The big house dealers generally will give you 40% off list = $1560 .


    Does that make it more clear why I suggested an OM-18 as opposed to D-18 he suggested? Especially after I said quite clearly if you really want a Gibson a Martin won't do But if you do look at Martin an OM-18 is probably a better bet? And it was BEFORE the OP shared that he had a great Martin already?

    Whether you get the chronology of the thread or not, please don't say you find it "odd to recommend either a Martin D-18 or OM-18" again. We get that. You find it odd.
     
  18. bazooka47

    bazooka47 Member

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    I have a (1954) J45, and I am on my third AJ. I love them both.

    If I was forced (and I would have to be) to give one up, I would keep the AJ, because I don't sing all the time, and find myself flat picking a lot. If I were primarily a vocalist using the guitar for accompaniment (strumming and travis picking) I may very well choose the J45.

    I find the longer scale of the AJ to be easier to flatpick, is 'snappier', and produces more volume.

    My first AJ was a 90's production model. It was one of the best sounding dreds I have owned, but the neck was a shallow "C" shape. The next one I bought was a brazilian "Luthier's Choice", but it had a giant, chunky neck and a sitka top. The one I have now has an adirondack top, PERFECT neck shape, and hide glue bracing. It is a real 'lap piano'.

    I have a few other acoustics (including 3 from Collings), but I aways love to have a good sounding Gibson around.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  19. lamenlovinit

    lamenlovinit Member

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    Egads... The tigerstripe guard, the inlays... Me wanty!
     

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