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Old 12-14-2008, 08:22 AM
Edgeguy Edgeguy is offline
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Default Gibson AJ vs J-45

I have played the advanced jumbos and really like them a lot for flatpicking, but doing a internet search just got me more confused on the differences. I liked both guitars and I really liked the way the J-45's neck was bound, but I hear there is a big difference between the two.

1. I hear adi is a good top wood for flatpicking but the J-45's are not as good as AJ's is this J-45 an AJ with adi or just a J-45 with adi?

2. Then there is the True Vintage and the Legand what are these and do they have the same necks as a AJ?

3. Last, are these AJ's with a special wood combo, because it talks about AJ style bracing?
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Old 12-14-2008, 08:35 AM
woodruff woodruff is offline
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well...the southern jumbo and the J-45 are essentially the same guitar as far as wood combo goes, but the SJ has different appoinents, fret markers etc....

The OJ(original Jumbo) has adi top and most likely a higher grade of hog b/s than the standard J-45 or SJ. The OJ would be built with premium woods....The OJ of course started it all off, and what eventually becmae the J-45.

the AJ was born two years later in '36, essentially out of the need to compete with the Martin D-28, which it utterly failed and kind of vanished for a long time till demand brought it back.

So the difference between modern and TV is the premium of the wood choices, and perhaps some other appointments to justify charging a way higher price. by the way, there is an incredible deal on a used J-45 in the agf classifieds now...i dont know really how much better a TV would sound than a stock J-45 out of Bozeman....i know i loved the tone of my wife's J-45(was not a tv)....

and i think the OJ, the AJ, and maybe the '42 J-45 will ahve adi bracing....but i am only 85% sure....

i know for me, there is no acoustic like the AJ....but i love rosewood, and to me it is the epitome of a cannon. to my ears, no martin reaches the sound....but that is just me........the J-45 will have a tighter response but an AJ will go a lot keeper across the tonal range....still, i hve heard that the OJ, if you can find one, is just the ultimate....never played one....but adi always helps.

this would be a great question to ask to the gibby gurus over on the gibson guitar forum....they know a lot more than this layman typing to you now...

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Old 12-14-2008, 08:43 AM
electramone electramone is offline
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I think Elderly has a nice pre owned OJ in stock.
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Old 12-14-2008, 12:04 PM
zombywoof zombywoof is offline
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Ya need a scorecard these days to keep up with all the different variations Gibson comes up with on their guitars. In addition to the regular series there are limited edition versions constantly popping up.

In some ways the J-45 TV is a hybrid. I believe both the AJ and J-45 TV have the same AJ-style forward shifted scalloped X bracing (this was not originally found on J-45s). The J-45 MC has the standard modern style Gibson bracing which is more Martin-like as opposed to the style of scalloped bracing Gibson used up to the 1955 when they went to straight bracing. The MC also has a thinner neck.

The J-45 TV has the thicker style neck and look of a 1940s slope shoulder Gibson. It also has the thinner style back braces which when combined with the AJ style top bracing gives the guitars a boomier bass and somewhat brighter upper end than the originals. It is not an old school J-45 tone but that only matters if that is what you are after. The TV also has a bone nut and saddle.

A Southerner Jumbo (Gibson never originally called the guitar a Southern Jumbo) is just a duded up version of a J-45. Structurally it was no different from a J-45. The Bozeman version has the same bracing as the AJ and J-45 TV which again is not a reproduction of the bracing originally found in the guitar.

The Legend Series is a breed apart. They are as close as Gibson can come to the originals but ya pay a pretty hefty price tag for that. But they are amazing guitars and in a league of their own. I have seen these things in "shootouts" with originals and it is darn hard to tell the difference. You will not have this problem when comparing say a J-45 TV to a late 1940s original. Very different sound,

Between the AJ and J-45 TV, I prefer the AJ and think it is the best out of the box Gibson acoustic out there. They also seem to be more consistent in tone than most Gibsons coming out of Bozeman which vary all over the place in sound. It may take ya awhile to land a J-45 or SJ that you like.
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Last edited by zombywoof; 12-14-2008 at 12:11 PM.
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Old 12-14-2008, 12:21 PM
sfden1 sfden1 is offline
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Default AJ's/J45's

No expert here either. The details and differences of Gibson's slope dreads can be confusing even to those of us who are big fans. Gibson has made so many variations of it's basic designs over the years, and continues to do so, that it can get hard to keep up. Throw in the Custom Shop varieties with different woods, etc, and, and no wonder your confused. Here's what little I know, hopefully someone more knowledgeable will show up and fill in some information.

Keep in mind that there are significant differences between a J-45 and an AJ. The AJ has rosewood b/s, a long scale, and very different (forward shifted, if I'm not mistaken) bracing. The J-45 is short scale with mahogany b/s. Basically very different guitars.

1. This isn't a J-45 at all, but an Original Jumbo, purportedly based on Gibson's "Jumbo" from the 1930's. The Jumbo predated the J-45 by several years (Gibson simply called it the "Jumbo" at the time of its introduction and it's where the term originated, as far as guitars go). Whether the current OJ is true to the original in terms of bracing, etc., or a more modern design masquarading as the original, I have no clue. I've never played one, but the reports I've read from folks more experienced than I is that tonally it falls somewhere between the woody sweetness of the J-45 and the in your face volume of the Advanced Jumbo.

2. As mentioned by Woodruff, the Southern Jumbo is simply a J-45 in fancier appointments. The 1942 Legend series J-45 is a recreation of an actual 1942 (the year it was introduced) J-45, using the same construction methods, woods, bracing, etc. All handmade, reports are that it's as close to a vintage J-45 as your ever going to get in a modern guitar.

The TV, or True Vintag, series, by the way, are guitars that use the AJ style of bracing. Most, but not all of the J-45 TV's I've played have been quite a bit better sounding than the Modern Classic (MC) versions (the current standard version) J-45's. There are TV versions of the J-45, J-200, and a few others, none of which used this style of bracing on the originals.

3. This is a totally custom guitar. True enough it has (like the TV's) AJ style bracing, but it's not an AJ. Remember, the primary differences between the AJ and J-45 are scale length, bracing, and woods. So, this will be a short scale custom J-45 with fancy wood combo.

And you thought you were confused before
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Old 12-14-2008, 09:14 PM
jooonnn jooonnn is offline
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legend series has a huge baseball bat sized neck.
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Old 12-15-2008, 07:40 AM
Edgeguy Edgeguy is offline
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Thanks so much for the reply's. I can now see some what further through the fog. I grew up on Gibson's (electric hollow body) with my guitar teacher and have never given up wanting one. I have a Larrivee OM-03 quilted mahogany that I love, but would love to add an Gibson to the stable (since I mainly flatpick).

On a side note the Gibson's my guitar teacher had were unbeliveable. He had two custom hollow body (probly ES 335) that were just beautiful. He worked in the Gibson factory in Kalamazoo Michigan and played on the company jazz band. He was very very good and played with some of the great jazz playes of that day. He also during the war played for a radio station in San Diego and he showed me some recording that were done in some kind of wax(?) - great history lesson for me. Anyway back to the guitars they were total custom - gold fittings and custom inlays but it was not gaudy (even by Gibson standards). One day my elecltric needed a neck reset and he let me take one of his Gibson's so I could still practice (a high school kid no less). I took it home and opened the case and just stared at it. Back then those guitars were probly close to 10,000 I shudder to think what they would cost today. Thanks for letting me go down memory road.
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Old 12-15-2008, 07:54 AM
Truman Truman is offline
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I'm a Maritn lover but after listening to my guitar teacher's AJ every week, I knew I had to have one. Loud, agressive but yet sweet. I love mine. I've not found a J-45 that really made me want to bring it home, but I know others that adore theirs.
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Old 12-15-2008, 08:01 AM
lofapco lofapco is offline
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Originally Posted by Edgeguy View Post
Thanks so much for the reply's. I can now see some what further through the fog. I grew up on Gibson's (electric hollow body) with my guitar teacher and have never given up wanting one. I have a Larrivee OM-03 quilted mahogany that I love, but would love to add an Gibson to the stable (since I mainly flatpick).
If you mostly flatpick... I have to recommend the AJ... I mostly play fingerstyle but like to play a bit of bluegrass on occasion. My AJ is a wonderful fingerstyle player and I keep light gauge Elixir PB Nano's on it for this reason, but with a pick in my hand it is truly a beast and blows every other guita away for tone and volume. I would think with a set of mediums and someone who actually knew how to flatpick well, it would have no rival in the Gibson lineup.

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Old 12-15-2008, 10:48 AM
Mr. Bill Mr. Bill is offline
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A great J45 is more of an intimate, woody sounding guitar. You have to be picky in any era, as they are all over the place sound-wise. The AJ has a bit more headroom, and would be preferable for flatpickers.
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