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  #1  
Old 01-22-2007, 09:52 AM
trushack trushack is offline
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Default Review: Gibson Advanced Jumbo

For some background, go here: http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/f...ad.php?t=93417

Anyways, I spent the weekend with my new AJ, and here's the review:

Appearance, fit and finish: I bought this AJ unseen, so I didn't have a chance to check it out before purchasing it. Overall, this guitar is very well executed. The fretwork, inlaywork and general playabilty are outstanding to the point of disbelief, and I love the way the neck transitions to the heel on the body. It's a smaller neck dimension-wise, but still "feels" like it has some heft to it.

Overall finishing is pretty well done, but really eyeballing it you can find some examples of orange peel here and there on the body. The neck and headstock look to be finished flawlessly. The binding work is generally good, if a bit "dirty" in spots, as is the nut. I haven't taken a cleaning cloth to it, but I found that some of the dirt came off with a little rub of my finger tip. There was also some "binding dust" that I cleaned off of the area around the soundhole. The sunburst is perfect...I have found some Gibsons with a slightly off-center burst pattern, but this one is perfect.

The top is matched extremely well, and the seam is practically invisible....it's not incredibly apparent at first that this is not a solid top. The top, back and sides are very nice pieces of wood with very straight and narrow grain patterns, with the occasional miniscule imperfection here or there (two by my count so far). The firestripe pickguard is actually very subtle and contrasts nicer than a straight up tortoise-style one in my book.

Tone: As it's known for, this thing has lots of volume to go around. Strummed chords are very well balanced and digging in they don't compress, they just get louder...with really nice, woody bass and midrange response. This is a lot of fun for me as a guitar player. Single notes are very assertive, articulate and sustain extremely well, and the whole package just rattles your bones in a pleasant way when you dig in. Fingerpicked notes are backed up with some good punch and have a bit more roundness to them than flatpicked runs.

While the AJ is very responsive, it maintains its crisp character regardless of where strum and how loud you want to get. It won't really sweeten up if you try to be gentle with it but it has a very richness that comes through that is very pretty the closer you get to the neck. Still, it's game is big and loud.

I swapped out the factory .012-.053 set for a D'Addario .012-.056 Bluegrass set, and the volume response and sustain went up even more but the mids seem a little more one-dimensional now and I actually liked the playability a bit better with the lighter wound strings....the guitar just feels a little bit too tight tonally. I'll give it a week and see but I think I'm going back to the .012.053 set.

Overall: I'm still in a honeymoon period here, but so far I'm extremely pleased. It's got a great vintage vibe in tone and appearance and unique appointments that make it stand out even from other Gibsons. The workmanship might not please a perfectionist, but it touches on all the right points for me and it just feels like "me". I like that I can whack this thing and it doesn't flinch, and the volume and sustain really inspire me creatively.
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  #2  
Old 01-22-2007, 10:08 AM
guitarstrmr guitarstrmr is offline
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Nice and complete review. Enjoy your new AJ.
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  #3  
Old 01-22-2007, 06:46 PM
Thumbwrapper Thumbwrapper is offline
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Congrats on the new AJ. As far as finishes go, few are as beautiful as a Gibson sunburst.

Enjoy, and play it in good health!
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  #4  
Old 01-22-2007, 06:54 PM
solarbean solarbean is offline
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Post a pic or two, my friend!
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  #5  
Old 01-22-2007, 07:07 PM
rlouie rlouie is offline
 
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congrats on the new AJ.....now how about some pics??????
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  #6  
Old 01-22-2007, 07:52 PM
tim farney tim farney is offline
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What?...Where are the half-dozen guys who come around to say they played 400 different Gibsons just last week and they all sounded like they'd been submerged in parafin?

Oh. Wait a minute. I'm not on AG.

Congrats on the AJ, My favorite Indian/Sitka dreads under 3 grand. Often better than the stuff over 3 grand. Sometimes better than stuff WAY over 3 grand.

MHO. YMMV.

Tim
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  #7  
Old 01-23-2007, 12:17 AM
John Benz John Benz is offline
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Default Gibson AJ

Congrats! I owned a '95 Gibby Montana AJ, sitka on birdseye maple. Tremendous guitar! Sold it like a fool! Hang on to yours!
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  #8  
Old 01-23-2007, 06:02 AM
drive-south drive-south is offline
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"The top is matched extremely well, and the seam is practically invisible....it's not incredibly apparent at first that this is not a solid top. The top, back and sides are very nice pieces of wood with very straight and narrow grain patterns, with the occasional miniscule imperfection here or there (two by my count so far)."

If we are talking about a Gibson AJ (not an Epi) then it is most definately an all solid wood guitar. There is no laminate (plywood) on these puppies.
If what you are saying is it has a 2-piece top and back, then I agree but this is standard on just about every dread out there including Martin D28s, etc. Finding pieces of spruce or rosewood wide enough to make a 16" top is nearly impossible these day, and I don't think you'd want that anyways.

I also own a Gibson AJ (from 2004) and it is vastly differant from all of my other acoustics (I have a baker's dozen). One thing I notice about my AJ is when you play without a capo, it has this huge midrange that tends to over-power the bass/treble. Put a capo on the 2nd fret or higher and the mid-range is tamed to the extent that the tone sweetens up a lot. Try it you'll like it!

The fit and finish on mine is excellant. The only weird thing I noticed is on the rosewood back there is one small area of circular grain near the edge of the treble side that looks almost like a knot.

I installed a K&K mini-western pickup in mine because the bridge is not a good match for a UST pickup. I'm still experimenting trying to get good sound from the pickup. So far I'm dissipointed in the pickup and I'm considering getting a K&K preamp for it as the ones' I've tried didn't cut it.

Congrats. New guitars are always a blast. I just bought a Larrivee Parlour guitar last weekend and I'm having a great time playing with my new little toy.

drive-south
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Old 01-23-2007, 06:13 AM
macfawlty macfawlty is offline
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I love hearing happy Gibson stories. Warms my heart. Feels like "me" is right on. That's critical. Let's see some pic's!

You see... I can be nice to Gibsons. I'm reconciling.
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  #10  
Old 01-23-2007, 06:22 AM
andrewrg andrewrg is offline
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Every time I read a review like this it just fuels my GAS even more!
I'm trying to sell my Bourgeois Slope D so's I can get me an AJ...
One day....soon....
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  #11  
Old 01-23-2007, 06:54 AM
rockinrebel rockinrebel is offline
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Default Gibson Vibe

Sounds great.
I got J-45 a few weeks ago and can't hardly put it down. It's got alot of soul.
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  #12  
Old 01-23-2007, 06:59 AM
kkhaynes kkhaynes is offline
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played a buddy's a while ago i liked it but as far as far as bass goes there wasnt a lot to go around. it had good tone all around just not enough bass for me. cool looking guitar though!!!!
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  #13  
Old 01-23-2007, 07:17 AM
JohnZ JohnZ is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drive-south View Post
"The top is matched extremely well, and the seam is practically invisible....it's not incredibly apparent at first that this is not a solid top. The top, back and sides are very nice pieces of wood with very straight and narrow grain patterns, with the occasional miniscule imperfection here or there (two by my count so far)."

If we are talking about a Gibson AJ (not an Epi) then it is most definately an all solid wood guitar. There is no laminate (plywood) on these puppies.
If what you are saying is it has a 2-piece top and back, then I agree but this is standard on just about every dread out there including Martin D28s, etc. Finding pieces of spruce or rosewood wide enough to make a 16" top is nearly impossible these day, and I don't think you'd want that anyways.

I also own a Gibson AJ (from 2004) and it is vastly differant from all of my other acoustics (I have a baker's dozen). One thing I notice about my AJ is when you play without a capo, it has this huge midrange that tends to over-power the bass/treble. Put a capo on the 2nd fret or higher and the mid-range is tamed to the extent that the tone sweetens up a lot. Try it you'll like it!

The fit and finish on mine is excellant. The only weird thing I noticed is on the rosewood back there is one small area of circular grain near the edge of the treble side that looks almost like a knot.

I installed a K&K mini-western pickup in mine because the bridge is not a good match for a UST pickup. I'm still experimenting trying to get good sound from the pickup. So far I'm dissipointed in the pickup and I'm considering getting a K&K preamp for it as the ones' I've tried didn't cut it.

Congrats. New guitars are always a blast. I just bought a Larrivee Parlour guitar last weekend and I'm having a great time playing with my new little toy.

drive-south

Yeah, the bridge and lack of a pickup system is one of the reasons I went with a J-45 rosewood instead in 2005. That, and saddle changes would be a little more difficult down the line as well. I really liked the few AJ's I've played though, especially the scale length.

These slopehead Gibsons really respond to different strings and a lot of tonal changes in brightness, sustain, lows, and mids can be made right there.
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  #14  
Old 01-23-2007, 07:38 AM
drive-south drive-south is offline
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I like the rosewood J45, except for the Grover tuners. They just don't look right on a J45.

I've seen a few Southern Jumbos with rosewood back/sides with Grover sta-tite open-back tuners. I much prefer these to the rosewood J45.

I'm interested to hear why someone is selling a Bourgeois Slope D to buy a Gibson. It seems like the Bourgeois is in a much higher class (price range) than Gibson AJ.

drive-south
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  #15  
Old 01-23-2007, 08:02 AM
Gilliangirl Gilliangirl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trushack View Post
The top is matched extremely well, and the seam is practically invisible....it's not incredibly apparent at first that this is not a solid top.
Your new guitar is definitely a solid top. If it appears as though there are two pieces on the top, that's because they take one section of wood, split it, and put the two together. This is to ensure uniformity/proper balance of sound, as the cellular structure of the grain is then consistent throughout.

Congratulations on your new guitar! Post pics if you can?
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