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Not Getting the J45 Dynamic Microphones
Old 1 week ago
  #1
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

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Not Getting the J45

Earlier this week, I tracked my fourth Gibson J45 in the last, maybe, year and a half. They all sounded kinda gutless and puny in the low mids. Hit them hard and they get thinner, not fatter. Like they had skinny strings on them, which they didn't. And they never seem to sound entirely in tune to me.

One of them belonged to a guy who was both making a documentary about the J45 and claimed to have loaned his J45 to Bob Dylan. That guitar was probably the second-most meh of the four.

There are a couple Youtube demo videos, one by Sweetwater with a J45 played by a Martin rep, and another Acousticletter one, that exhibit all the same symptoms.

Is it just me?

Last edited by Brent Hahn; 1 week ago at 04:12 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #2
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swafford's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Earlier this week, I tracked my fourth Gibson J45 in the last, maybe, year and a half. They all sounded kinda gutless and puny in the low mids. Hit them hard and they get thinner, not fatter. Like they had skinny strings on them, which they didn't.

One of them belonged to a guy who was both making a documentary about the J45 and claimed to have loaned his J45 to Bob Dylan. That guitar was probably the second-most meh of the four.

Is it just me?
Naw. My experience has been that a decent sounding J45's are hard to find, though weak ones are plenty (actually, I'd say that about all Gibson acoustics.) A good sounding J45 has a strong midrange, a present treble and a balanced bottom and lot's of headroom. Works OK for finger picking, works better for rhythm in a large band context, falls down at cross and flat picking.

When I wanted one, I bought a Bourgeois Slope D.
Old 1 week ago
  #3
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Without violating the terms of service, over at this other internet place that's a forum about acoustic guitars, there's a thread about J-45's where everyone talks about what I'm saying (except for the intonation part) only putting a positive spin on it. "Carves a hole for the vocal." "Thrash-resistant." That sort of thing.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
I love Gibson flat tops but I've never really been a big J45 fan.

My preference, of course, is '50s J-200s, but I also like hummingbirds, doves, and various of the smaller body guitars.

That being said, when you do run across a good J45 from the '50s or before it's really great - there just aren't very many of them.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Without violating the terms of service, over at this other internet place that's a forum about acoustic guitars, there's a thread about J-45's where everyone talks about what I'm saying (except for the intonation part) only putting a positive spin on it. "Carves a hole for the vocal." "Thrash-resistant." That sort of thing.
IMO a good J45 has an exceptionally strong fundamental so it doesn't so much as leave a hole for the vocal as have so little overtones as not to get in the way of anything - pluck a string and it dies an ignoble death. They are what I would call dry. "Thrash resistant" - another way of saying plenty of head room, I guess. I mean, some do, but not the guitar I would pick to pound. Maybe recent production is more consistent, most of the ones I've played were from the 50s and 60s. I have a friend who had a couple hits back in the 90's, could have any guitar he wants, still tours a constantly and stops by when he's in the area to hang out and pick a few with his 60's J45 that he loves so much. His sounds like sh!t to me, but he thinks it is the cats meow. >shrug<

At that other internet place that likes to talk about acoustic guitars you can read 15 page threads about picks or strings and conjure years of threads about humidity control and how your guitar is going to disintegrate over night unless you light a candle to Buddha and turn three times on your toes while waving your arms in a southwesterly direction. I mean...as the good lord says "Jesus, enough already."
Old 1 week ago
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Earlier this week, I tracked my fourth Gibson J45 in the last, maybe, year and a half.
I played every one that came through my music store for 5 years before I bought mine.

My dad has an early 60's J45 I was sort of referencing during try-outs.

The one I bought gave exactly the vibe I got from that guitar. I love it.
Old 1 week ago
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brockorama View Post
I played every one that came through my music store for 5 years before I bought mine.
So at the rate of one J-45 every four months, I should expect to encounter a really good one sometime within the next... how many years?
Old 1 week ago
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
So at the rate of one J-45 every four months, I should expect to encounter a really good one sometime within the next... how many years?
Michelle Obama's 2nd term. Hang in there
Old 1 week ago
  #9
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I love my J-45, I think it sounds sweet and wonderful. It has a dark and haunting quality to it, just enough sustain to be pleasant but not enough to bleed all over tracks, the notes are clear and present.

I'm a big fan of Gibson acoustics, I have four of them (a J-35, a Dove, a J-60 also). I think they all have strong and unique qualities about them, and if I could only keep one, it might be the J-45. I feel it's probably all the guitar I would ever need (that J-60, though).
Old 1 week ago
  #10
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TurboJets's Avatar
I saw Mark Stuart and Stacey Earle once at an intimate setting - unplugged. Mark played a J-45 and really made it sing. Whenever I've played one it doesn't sound nearly as good. Always thought it was just me.
Old 1 week ago
  #11
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Lots of Gibsons Martins and Larrivees, all sound pretty bad....Taylors too. Most acoustic guitars sound pretty bad tbh. I just played a 2016 L1 Blues Tribute though, it sounded amazing. I don't like big body guitars though anyway.
I recorded me playing the L1 in the humidifier room of the shop on my iphone, does it sound better than the J45 in studio?

That humidifiier room had really amazing sound to it though I have to admit.
Attached Files

Gibson Blues Tribute 2016 1928 2.mp3 (506.9 KB, 402 views)

Old 1 week ago
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WildOneTruss1 View Post
I just played a 2016 L1 Blues Tribute though, it sounded amazing.
Haven't played one of those, though I always loved the L1s. My first guitar was a ladder braced prewar 00 no name that probably came out of the Kalamazoo factory - huge neck, dark sunburst, hard to play, but a nice over all balance.

In my 20's I tossed that 00 in an old Harp case and strapped it to the inside of the sissy bar of a Yamaha Heritage 450, my backpack to the outside, covered them in a garbage bag and played public spaces from the Boston Commons to Jackson Square for 3 years. My butt was made of cement in those days.

I recently picked up the Waterloo WL-14L - Bill Collins' no frills take on the Kalamazoo ladder braced 00 guitars (L1, KG-14.) Wonderful 'V' neck and THAT sound only a good ladder braced guitar can produce - amazing boxy overtones, sort of tinny without being trebly and a midrange you think wants to slap you, but decides to tell you off instead. It's become one of my faves for fingerpicking and light flatpicking. That's it on the left, the no name is in the middle and the guitar that replaced the no name 30+ years ago - a '35 Martin 00-18. It also fit nicely in that old Harp case, fortunately I graduated to a '75 Volvo 245 I could sleep in.
Attached Thumbnails
Not Getting the J45-threedouble00s.jpg  

Last edited by swafford; 1 week ago at 12:14 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swafford View Post
Haven't played one of those, though I always loved the L1s. My first guitar was a ladder braced prewar 00 no nane that probably came out of the Kalamazoo factory - huge neck, dark sunburst, hard to play, but a nice over all balance.

In my 20's I tossed that 00 in an old Harp case and strapped it to the inside of the sissy bar of a Yamaha Heritage 450, my backpack to the outside, covered them in a garbage bag and played public spaces from the Boston Commons to Jackson Square for 3 years. My butt was made of cement in those days.
Woah! Amazing story! I bet that was alot of fun and you sound like a cool person!

Quote:
I recently picked up the Waterloo WL-14L - Bill Collins'
Woah those look cool! I never thought of the difference a X vs L bracing could make, but that makes sense, the geometry changes the harmonics sightly. Just thinking off the top of my head, I think a brace with right angle (Ladder) would be my choice. It just seems like it would create a punchier sound

Quote:
no frills take on the Kalamazoo ladder braced 00 guitars (L1, KG-14.) Wonderful 'V' neck and THAT sound only a good ladder braced guitar can produce - amazing boxy overtones, sort of tinny without being trebly
thanks for alerting me to the difference a bracing shape can make! I liked the neck on the L1 whatever it is, it was chunky but not too chunky...As soon as I picked it up I was like "ok, you have to just close your eyes and play this, don't look down"....the response of it was good.

Quote:
and a midrange you think wants to slap you, but decides to tell you off instead.
Oh that's funny!
Quote:
It's become one of my faves for fingerpicking and light flatpicking. That's it on the left,
Nice! I like that pickguard style. I don't finger pick any more I just hybrid pick right now.
Quote:
the no name is in the middle
Now that's a guitar!
Quote:
and the guitar that replaced the no name 30+ years ago - a '35 Martin 00-18. It also fit nicely in that old Harp case
Love that burst on there!
Quote:
, fortunately I graduated to a '75 Volvo 245 I could sleep in.
Well that's good! Definitely room to get a good night sleep!

I want a Lambourgini in Purple! Just because!
Old 1 week ago
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WildOneTruss1 View Post
I want a Lambourgini in Purple! Just because!
I'm holding out for a BMW Roadster.



But will have to do with my 13 year old Dodge Grand Caravan and much older BMW R75 motorcycle. Vroom vroom!

Definitely check out those Waterloos, pretty cool old school guitar vibes.
Old 1 week ago
  #15
Here for the gear
I find the J-45 to be night and day. I have one and I would describe it as warm. It doesn't have much presence but I don't think that is the intention of the J-45. I really do love how mine sounds and how comfortable it is to play. Whenever I see one in any store I will play it and I think the majority of them sound tinny. But when you strike gold with one you will know it!
Old 1 week ago
  #16
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Last night I saw (most of) an Emmylou Harris tribute show on TV, tons of artists, and it was like they were handing out J-45's at the door. Which maybe they were.
Old 1 week ago
  #17
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I've had a few come through my studio, I have a mid 60's Country and western myself too. What I find with all these guitars is they sound great to the person sitting in front of them but not so great to the player. this also means they record well of course.


MC
Old 1 week ago
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norbury brook View Post
What I find with all these guitars is they sound great to the person sitting in front of them but not so great to the player. this also means they record well of course.


MC
The only times I've heard them is in a recording context, other than when I'm back out in the live room moving the mic.
Old 6 days ago
  #19
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I have played a number of J45's some old, some newer. From my experience they seem fairly consistent and they always sounded good and the ones I recorded with were easy to record.

That said, I am sure there are some that are rather flat. With guitars there are always better ones, lousier ones and the average are somewhere in the middle.

For an example of a sweet J45 well recorded check out Russ Rarenberg's "When At Last". I can't remember what year his is - I seem to remember him telling me it was from the 40's. Anyway, he is a tone master and could make a plastic guitar sound wonderful so the deck is slightly stacked on this recording but oh does his J45 sound sweet.

I have one that was probably made about 10 years ago. It is certainly not as nice as Russ' but it sounds pretty good and it does record well and it also plays nicely.

And for full disclosure, my main acoustic is a 1939 D18 which fortunately also records well which many Martins do not.

I've always been lucky with guitars.
Old 6 days ago
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
The only times I've heard them is in a recording context, other than when I'm back out in the live room moving the mic.
Ah , OK, just re read your OP :D

I think musical and stylistic context is also relevant with recorded acoustic guitars. For me the J45 is a great rock and pop strummer and sits well in a rock/pop mix.


For solo acoustic or folk finger picking it wouldn't be my first choice.


MC
Old 1 day ago
  #21
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I have no doubt that there are lousy or boring J45's out there, but a good one is a wonderous beast. The reason I got mine is because we have one from the early 60s in the family, and it's also a fantastic guitar. But mine is even more amazing. It's easy to record. I can put just about any mic in front of it and get a keeper track. I'd never put an SM57 on another flattop, but it'll work on the J45 if that's all that's available. The mids will cut through like nothing else, except for maybe a real Epiphone archtop. I guess I can say categorically that a mahogany backed J45 sounds like a J45 to me, and that the rosewood backed J45s are some other kind of animal.

The unique thing it does tonally is it melds all the strings together. It's a powerhouse built for strumming out chords. Perfect for rock tracks, or when it has to be the whole rhythm section. Mine is a 1953, which is the last full year with scalloped bracing. It's a tone cannon with super rich mids. There is a limit on the output, where I can't play it louder no matter what I do. But at that point, it's roaring. One of the reasons is the fat C shaped neck. You can really clamp down hard on it and anchor the strings to the frets. The action is just slightly high at this point, so there's no trace of a buzz. I'll often use heavy flatpicks on it, like 1.5mm. I can use a thin flatpick on some flattops if I'm Travis picking, but the J45 seems to want at least a medium. (I only use heavy thumbpicks)

If I'm fingerpicking, I'll go with my OMC, which is more articulate from string-to-string. The J45 will fingerpick just fine, but it's not it's forte - especially higher up on the neck where the action is getting on the high side.
Old 1 day ago
  #22
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Originally Posted by kafka View Post
I have no doubt that there are lousy or boring J45's out there, but a good one is a wonderous beast..
I'd love to hear yours.
Old 23 hours ago
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
I'd love to hear yours.
I have a new mic to test, so I'll see if I can put together something that's not too embarrassing to share.
Old 20 hours ago
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kafka View Post
... not too embarrassing to share.
If I went by that criterion, I'd never post anything. :-)
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