My Gibson J-45 Journey, 7 Months In

Mr.Woody

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,513
Last year, I decided to buy 1 nice acoustic. I started looking at 12-fret Taylors, then I looked at Bourgeois, Collings, Santa Cruz, and others. I had decided I was going to get a Bourgeois OMC when the time came. In the mean time, a friend from church inherited a Gibson J-200 (Koa b/s) from a relative who passed away and asked me to take a look at it. Before that moment, I hadn't really considered a Gibson. I started looking at J-200's, which led me to the J-185 and asking the question: "What would be a great all-around guitar?" and "If you could only own 1 acoustic, what would it be?". The answer from several sources was resoundingly "A Gibson J-45".

So, my search began and ended at Chicago Music Exchange. I was able to compare the J-185 to the J-45 Vintage and the 1942 J-45 Legend. In the end, the Legend won out and I purchased it last August.

All I can say is that I didn't know what I was missing......You ever have those game-changing moments?

 
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Messages
399
I had a J-15 for a while. It was really nice for the price. I really want to try their new even cheaper acoustic the G-45, seems like a bargain. I tried a J-45, but it didn’t knock my socks off for the extra cost. Got a Taylor now, which is great, but I do miss a more traditional aesthetic if I’m honest.
 

Dashface

Member
Messages
5,354
I’ve always been a Gibson acoustic guy. When you get the right one they’re wonderful!

Congrats on finding an amazing J-45! Mine’s a ‘52 and I love it :D
 

boldaslove1977

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,662
My J-45 is an ‘05. I played a lot of J-45s while I was looking and I’ve never played a bad one.
Is this true?

I only owned one acoustic forever... a Takamine.

Got my first Martin last year. D35. Made me wonder why I waited so long.

During that search, I played a handful of J45s. Some were definitely better than others, although I don't know that I'd call any of them being really bad. But I know very little about J45s.

Some good deals to be had online, if you're ok buying sight unseen. And I just don't know enough about them to feel confident.

This thread isn't helping me resist the urge.
 

SRQGuitar

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,947
I too was looking at a Bourgeois, his L-OO, and wound up with a Gibson L-OO Vintage. I also played a J-45 Vintage and it was outstanding. I think Gibson Montana has been producing some great instruments.
 

Mr.Woody

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,513
I too was looking at a Bourgeois, his L-OO, and wound up with a Gibson L-OO Vintage. I also played a J-45 Vintage and it was outstanding. I think Gibson Montana has been producing some great instruments.
I agree. On the day I bought my Legend, it came down to between the Vintage and the Legend (I had already ruled out the J-185 on a previous visit), and it was mainly the larger neck and rectangle bridge that drew me in.
 

Steve Hotra

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
8,947
My J45 is an gnarly looking beast from '73. Apparently this is one of the 'undesirable' years with the double x bracing, but it sounds amazing to me.
My J45 deluxe is from the mid 1970's too.
It was a pawn shop rescue, out back together by 12 Frets here in Portland Oregon.
I love this guitar, sounds great through FOH, and plays well!
Full of scratches and a few cracks... like its owner !!
 

Guitarworks

Member
Messages
10,418
One of the best acoustics I ever played was a Gibson Advanced Jumbo with the 25.5" scale, arrowhead inlays and firestripe pickguard. It was just an audio cannon. And it felt really good. The folks in Bozeman did a nice job on it.

 
Messages
3,446
Is this true?

I only owned one acoustic forever... a Takamine.

Got my first Martin last year. D35. Made me wonder why I waited so long.

During that search, I played a handful of J45s. Some were definitely better than others, although I don't know that I'd call any of them being really bad. But I know very little about J45s.

Some good deals to be had online, if you're ok buying sight unseen. And I just don't know enough about them to feel confident.

This thread isn't helping me resist the urge.
Well, I wouldn’t buy ANY acoustic guitar I haven’t played first, no matter who made it.

J-45s vary like any acoustic guitar. Best one I played was a refinished 1950, but I didn’t want to spend $6K. Second best was the ‘05 I bought.
 

Mr.Woody

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,513
One of the best acoustics I ever played was a Gibson Advanced Jumbo with the 25.5" scale, arrowhead inlays and firestripe pickguard. It was just an audio cannon. And it felt really good. The folks in Bozeman did a nice job on it.

Wow, that's sharp looking! Bet it sounds great.

I did have a late 70's "J-45 Deluxe" with the squared shoulders, but it had a BUNCH of issues and I bought and sold it cheap.
 

Larry Mal

Member
Messages
1,665
I had a Martin 000-18 that wasn't quite doing it for me, so I traded it for a J-45. I already had a couple of Gibsons so I knew I liked them, but the moment I strummed the J-45 I was like, sure, if this could be my only acoustic I would be just fine.

Gibson makes great acoustic guitars, and like others on this thread, I feel it took me a long time to realize that. They have an undeserved bad reputation, but the fact is, they make excellent acoustic guitars that rival anything else anybody else makes.
 

majorminor

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,408
On a sales trip I found a good deal on 1995 workhorse J100 XTRA. Basically a J200 with mahogany back and sides and no bling. I play it up against some high end Martins and it’s incredible. Big fat warm and lush tone.
 
Messages
451
A good buddy of mine has one. It’s a dangerous guitar to play, you walk away thinking of selling everything you have to get one. Enjoy that beauty.
 

WordMan

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
7,246
I’ll play - I fell under the spell of J-45’s after living with a Taylor for over 10 years. So weird to pick up the other end of the tone spectrum when I saw one at a GC. I was just done - that plain voice that overdrives like a pedal when I drive it, so I compress the mids - oh man, that’s just it.

I had a new one for years while building a war-chest and learning about the market (I tell a story about my first vintage in that thread about Satisfying Acquisitions). But I finally was able to get a 1946 - just so amazing; I still can’t believe it. It is going to my son - it’s the guitar that transfixed him above the various others that passed through my hands. Every time I grab the big neck and look at the extra-thick headstock base, that thins up to the top of it, I know I’m about to have a great time.

Nothing plays like a J-45. Enjoy yours, OP! (They only get better with age.)
 
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