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  #1  
Old 06-10-2009, 05:36 PM
duaneallen duaneallen is offline
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Default Gibson J-45 vs. Martin HD-28

Can anyone explain to me the difference in sound between these two. I have a Martin HD-28 that I love, but the smaller body of the Gibson is interesting to me. How would any of you characterize the difference between the two. Thanks.
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Old 06-10-2009, 05:41 PM
Brent Hutto Brent Hutto is offline
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I don't think a J-45 is smaller than a Martin dreadnought. It's a tiny bit wider across the lower bout (1/4" or so) and maybe a tiny bit shallower in the depth (1/8" or so) and about the same length overall. What dimension were you thinking is smaller?

Unless I have my Gibson models crossed-up which is entirely possible...
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Old 06-10-2009, 05:58 PM
Aaron Smith Aaron Smith is offline
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J-45 is roughly similar in size, with a shorter scale length. The scale length affects both playability and tone.
I've always been a Gibson guy but there are some amazing Martins out there too.
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Old 06-10-2009, 06:00 PM
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Brackett Instruments Brackett Instruments is offline
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Brent's right. The lower bout is a little bigger, the waist is a little smaller, and the shoulders are rounded. The J45 is a short scale, which lowers the string tension a little. Tonewise, to my ears a J45 is a little more mellow, and woody sounding than a HD28.
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Old 06-10-2009, 06:04 PM
Bikerdoc Bikerdoc is offline
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Both guitars sound wonderful. The Martin with the Rosewood back and sides vs the Gibson with the Mahogany back and sides produce very different sounds. The mahogany is a more mellow sounding wood (softer) than the Rosewood. If the J45 is smaller it's certainly not much and it's really not considered to be a smaller size guitar.


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Old 06-10-2009, 07:41 PM
ataylor ataylor is offline
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this isn't me. i wish it were because it would mean i would have both of these guitars. (someday)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_mnND7apwk

obviously not the same as getting out and playing them yourself. but the differences are evident in this little test. personally i think the martin sounds better for flatpicking and the gibson nails the folksy fingerstyle vibe. both great guitars and you can't go wrong with either.
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Old 06-10-2009, 08:56 PM
erivel erivel is offline
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Mahogany/Rosewood, Vanilla/Chocolate, Apples/Oranges...

Why don't you trying playing one and find out for yourself? Our words are no substitute for your ears.

BTW I own both and love 'em because they are very different from each other.
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Old 06-10-2009, 09:04 PM
duaneallen duaneallen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ataylor View Post
this isn't me. i wish it were because it would mean i would have both of these guitars. (someday)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_mnND7apwk

obviously not the same as getting out and playing them yourself. but the differences are evident in this little test. personally i think the martin sounds better for flatpicking and the gibson nails the folksy fingerstyle vibe. both great guitars and you can't go wrong with either.
Wow, this answers my question! Thanks.
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Old 06-10-2009, 09:14 PM
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Folkstrum Folkstrum is offline
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I definitely favor the Martin sound in that video. Much of it likely due to different back and sides. The Gibby is more mellow-not quite the "cut" or ring of that HD w/rosewood. I know by now I gravitate much more strongly to the rosewood sound. Personal pref. Doesn't mean one is better, one worse. Just different beasts altogether.
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Old 06-11-2009, 12:01 AM
steverok steverok is offline
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A helluva choice. I personally prefer the warm and friendly sound of a good J-45. A shining example of each is optimal.
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Old 06-11-2009, 12:31 AM
runamuck runamuck is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duaneallen View Post
Can anyone explain to me the difference in sound between these two. I have a Martin HD-28 that I love, but the smaller body of the Gibson is interesting to me. How would any of you characterize the difference between the two. Thanks.
The sound of an HD-28 compared to a J-45 is just so, so different I don't know where to start. The video and recording that someone else here has posted does not at all make it clear how really different they sound. Not only are they built with different woods, but, more importantly, the bracing and overall design is quite different

It's impossible to put these things into words. You really have to try a J-45 for yourself and you'll hear it immediately.

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Old 06-11-2009, 03:01 AM
Lefty Guy Lefty Guy is offline
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I own both & will never part with either.

The Gibson is smaller (scale) & much lighter in weight. Neck widths are similar to my "feel". My Gibson is a sunburst finish & the neck is also a "gloss" finish, which makes it feel different (can get a bit "sticky" if my hands sweat) to the matt finish on the Martin neck.

In terms of sound to my fairly naive ears, the Gibson is quieter but with more direct attack, which falls away quicker. The Martin is much louder & has more sustain. I like both but tend to use the J-45 more for fingerstyle stuff or just mucking around on the "couch", whilst the HD-28 suits me better for flatpicking & heavy strumming stuff.
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Old 06-11-2009, 03:30 AM
tkuane tkuane is offline
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They're both nice guitars. I don't have anything I really dislike about either of them. Describing sound with words is like translating a few times. From my ears to my words to your ears. And we don't have a complete consensus on the words we use to describe sound. Some information is bound to be left out and misrepresented.

There's no subtitute to listening and hearing for yourself. I have a J-45, and although I don't play it much anymore, it was the best guitar I ever encountered before discovering small workshop makers.
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  #14  
Old 06-11-2009, 05:50 AM
Doubleneck Doubleneck is offline
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Have an old J-45 which I love. To me the Martin is brighter and I think better made. The Gibson with its sunburst has just the "look" and the sound is to me mellower and more personal.
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  #15  
Old 06-11-2009, 06:27 AM
Acoustic Rick Acoustic Rick is offline
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To me a guy really should have both.
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