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Gibson AJ: historic 1936 vs used production vs HD28

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by JamesAM, Sep 24, 2020.

  1. Mike Simpson

    Mike Simpson Doctor of Teleocity

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    I have 2 J-45's (49 & 62) and a 38 L-00.

    My holy grail acoustic is this 1949 J-45
    I had been trying out reissues when I found this one and there was no comparison.

    1949 J-45.jpg

    But I play this 1962 J-45 more and take it out more.

    1962 J-45.jpg
     
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  2. cravenmonket

    cravenmonket Tele-Holic

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    The one you walk away from will always haunt you.

    Guitars... and everything else.
     
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  3. Martian

    Martian Tele-Meister Gold Supporter

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    Other than the rosewood body, longer scale, pared down (and infinitely better, IMHO) bridge and way cool inlays, yes, they’re virtually the same.
    I’m pretty indifferent to modern day Gibson acoustics but their advanced jumbos are really nice guitars. And we’re talking hide glue and red spruce?? I’d trade in that Martin in a second.
     
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  4. spurgie79

    spurgie79 Tele-Afflicted

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    That old 45 is gorgeous. I can almost smell the dry wood from the picture.
     
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  5. JamesAM

    JamesAM Tele-Meister

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    I think I found an answer to my question about whether an AJ would be OK for bluegrass and flatpicking- the first two minutes of this video make that pretty apparent.



    Thanks guys, really appreciate all of your help on this!
     
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  6. JamesAM

    JamesAM Tele-Meister

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    Man, I hear ya. This would be the first time in 20 years I’d be Martin-less, so it does give me a little bit of pause.
     
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  7. spurgie79

    spurgie79 Tele-Afflicted

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    I've had a D-28 for over a decade. It's good at what it does but I play an SWOMGT or a '72 J-50 for the most part. My D-28 sings like a grand piano with fresh strings and sounds like a shoe box after about a week. It's very particular about what it likes.
     
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  8. kingofdogs1950

    kingofdogs1950 Tele-Afflicted

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    I owned an ~early 2000s AJ in Brazilian/Adirondack.
    It was a coolio guitar, but I decided I prefer something in the J-45 family.
    I fondly remember a rosewood SJ and a Roy Smeck Stage Deluxe. Both were excellent guitars.
    The last few years its been a plain J-50 (2002) that I like quite well.
    I've notice over the years I've owned the J-50 it has become woodier sounding and louder.
    I owned a D-35 for quite a while and liked it too. It was a '74 which is not one of Martin's best years, but mine sounded and played great. I also had an 80s D-28 that I was never happy with. It just seemed dull and lifeless.
    So, in the Martin vs Gibson question, I keep coming back to mahogany slope shoulder Gibsons.
    Almost forgot a 1999 Fuller's custom shop J-35 that had an Adirondack top. Fantastic guitar, but being a custom I don't know how it would compare to more recent J-35s. At the time I 'thought' it was a J-45 with an Adirondack top. Recall that Adirondack tops were not very common back then.
    Good luck in the search!

    Mark

    IMG_20200501_170810.jpg IMG_20200501_170810.jpg
     
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  9. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Beauties! Vintage RULES!!
     
  10. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    If you can swing it, you can't go wrong with a good vintage guitar. 50s era Gibsons and Martins are still kinda affordable and sound superb.
     
  11. FenderLover

    FenderLover Poster Extraordinaire

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    Always wanted an AJ or an SJ. All I got are a old J-45 Banner and a couple Martins (J-40, D-42). That's it. And a Guild D-60. That's it.
     
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  12. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    The key to good acoustic guitars is to play them frequently. Picking up any acoustic in a guitar store is frought with disappointment unless it has been played a lot before you got there. They always sound better the more you play them!:)
     
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  13. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I like Martin Lifespan strings for that reason.
     
  14. spurgie79

    spurgie79 Tele-Afflicted

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    I read a cringe worthy story years ago. Some up and coming country singer complimented Hank Sr. on the sound of his guitar. Hank took the kid’s guitar over to the sink, put some water in it and sloshed it around and let it sit for a few minutes. He then dumped the water out and put it next to the heater...supposedly it sounded good after that. I can only imagine the popping and creaky that poor thing would make.
     
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  15. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I think that is referred to as a baptism...
     
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  16. knavel

    knavel Tele-Meister

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    Regarding the talk about J-45s vs AJs, there is the secret longer scale side of Gibson in the 1960s: Epiphone. My 61 Texan has a 25.5'' scale. Beyond that it only has the body style in common with the Advanced Jumbo. The Texan is more a competitor specs-wise with a D-18 because of the mahogany. My Texan is my favorite acoustic ever--I feel there is more to vintage acoustics than vintage electrics these days but the Texan doesn't have that rosewood sound.

    Gibson-Epiphone did make a long scale rosewood back and sides in the 60s, the Excellente, although there are hardly any of them and it had square shoulders from the beginning. I don't think any Epiphone from the 60s had Adirondack/Red spruce top however--others will know better.

    Were it me, I'd have the AJ but my advice is tainted as I am simply more partial to Gibsons than Martins especially after what was done to Gibson under the guise of Lacey Act raids.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2020
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  17. JamesAM

    JamesAM Tele-Meister

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    Ironically, this is the exact reason why I have stayed away from new Gibsons and didn’t buy an es-335 until after new leadership was put in place in Nashville. It’s also a prime reason why I’m only considering a Gibson now.

    Lol and that is all I think I want to say about it right now, because beyond here be dragons
     
  18. knavel

    knavel Tele-Meister

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    Sort of. There are no dragons behind door number 1, which is discussing the topic of "Gibson CEOS; Now and Then". Behind door number 2, which is the topic "Why did Gibson get raided by the feds but not Martin (when they have the same woods and sources, etc)" there be the dragons.

    I would definitely like to get my hands on a reissue/modern AJ. Between my brothers and I we have my 61 Texan a 30s Roy Smeck and a 30s LG-[0/1/2] and they are all exceptional. Ive never played a rosewood back / sides Gibson. I actually read recently that even in like the 50s/60s Gibson back and sides were often laminate. Really??
     
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  19. 985plowboy

    985plowboy Friend of Leo's

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    Dang Hoss. That’s gotta be rough on a fella. Hang in there. Things’ll turn around for you someday.
     
  20. JamesAM

    JamesAM Tele-Meister

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    I just saw that epiphone also released a us made Texan this year that’s manufactured at the Bozeman plant, which has definitely piqued my interest.

    the AJ I played about 10 years ago was *it*. I played pretty much everything in the store at the time, including some j-45s just to be sure, and the AJ was the only Gibson that spoke to me. Like I said, it still haunts me- if you can find one, definitely give it a shot.
     
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