NGD: Finally a decent gig-worthy not-so-J45, affordable J-45 Slope Shoulder dread!

Old Plank

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Nice one, congrats!

A former bandmate is big into Sigmas, last time I was at his house he had 3-4 hanging on his wall and swears by (not at!) them.
 

dreamingtele

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Lots of Gibson newbies here. I go back with them some half a century. And I have loved me more than a few round cornered beasts. Initially I bought used guitars because I could not afford anything bright, shiny and new. Guess it became a habit because I have never owned a new Gibson. The last three round shoulder jumbos I have owned were a 1961 B45-12, a 1956 Southerner Jumbo and a 1942 J50. I still have the Banner and the 12 stringer.

My take on modern Gibsons though is Bozeman has its own ideas as to what sounds and feels best. I find they are more hi-fi sounding than guitars from past catalogs and so will appeal to modern ears. Almost like they have incorporated a taste of a nuanced Martin sound. Nothing wrong with that. I find it intriguing as it makes the J45 a better all-rounder for those who want it all.

What are your thoughts on a real old J-45 sound? Dry? Thumpy low end?
 

dreamingtele

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Congrats on the guitar.

I owned an all solid wood Mahogany SIGMA when they were first introduced. Excellent.

Sadly the Sigma is not available in the US but available in Canada. Lucky for them.

I have a Canadian friend who has a half dozen Sigmas.. all spectacular.

Nice one, congrats!

A former bandmate is big into Sigmas, last time I was at his house he had 3-4 hanging on his wall and swears by (not at!) them.

If there’s one brand that really surprised me the most, its Sigma. Eastman on the other hand has a lot of rave reviews so it was just kind of checking if the hype is true and it is.

However, the Sigma really stood out as a really promising guitar for the cash. Like I said, the one I bought (the last one in the vid I posted) is the closest sounding one to the Gibson at 1/6th of the price. I feel like I stole the sound and tone. I got waaay more guitar for the money and it was one of the very rare times I happily walked out of the guitar store knowing I made the right choice.

I’m still loving it and still playing it very hard. So I’m sure it will open up soon.
 

Bill

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What are your thoughts on a real old J-45 sound? Dry? Thumpy low end?

Hi, I'm not the person you were asking, but thought I'd weigh in anyways, cuz, hey, it's the TDPRI and that's what we do.

I have a 1950 J-45 and your description matches my experience. Compared to the other dreadnoughts I've played, my J-45 has a loud, deep, woody bottom end. Like waaaaaay more bottom. Very woody, rich sounding. Overall I'd describe the mids and highs as sweet sounding.

To me it's the opposite of a typical Taylor sound, which is highly detailed and hi-fi. A wonderful sound too, but different.

One thing to note: I took my guitar into a vintage guitar store for some work several years ago. They had a few vintage J-45's on the wall that I compared mine too. When I got mine back a couple weeks later they said that it stood well out even among the other vintage J-45s they've had there over the years. That was my impression as well. So mine might be an outlier.

On the plus side, I played over half a dozen new J-45's at a store that had a bunch, some Custom Shop, some vintage reissue, some with walnut backs and rosewood backs. And they all sounded different to each other and mine. But some got in the same ballpark as mine, and I would have taken those over the other actual vintage ones I'd played.

What it comes down to is acoustic guitars have to be judged on an individual basis.
 

RoscoeElegante

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Congrats! And thanks for the walk-through.

FWIW, I've got a mid-'90s Sigma DM-18 that's been terrific. Sounded and played great when new, and has aged perfectly. Sounds richer than ever now. Perfect neck with frets that have worn remarkably well. And it's ambered beautifully. I like it easily as much as my Martins. Pairs perfectly with my all-mahogany Martin D-15M. Crisp and clear, against that Martin's dark and deep. I love going drop D on it, or playing it in open tunings. With bass notes ringing, its mid and upper registers just sing. And it's sure taken a beating, as I've played it (and banged it, and dropped it) far more than any other guitar for about 35 years now.
 

dreamingtele

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Hi, I'm not the person you were asking, but thought I'd weigh in anyways, cuz, hey, it's the TDPRI and that's what we do.

I have a 1950 J-45 and your description matches my experience. Compared to the other dreadnoughts I've played, my J-45 has a loud, deep, woody bottom end. Like waaaaaay more bottom. Very woody, rich sounding. Overall I'd describe the mids and highs as sweet sounding.

To me it's the opposite of a typical Taylor sound, which is highly detailed and hi-fi. A wonderful sound too, but different.

One thing to note: I took my guitar into a vintage guitar store for some work several years ago. They had a few vintage J-45's on the wall that I compared mine too. When I got mine back a couple weeks later they said that it stood well out even among the other vintage J-45s they've had there over the years. That was my impression as well. So mine might be an outlier.

On the plus side, I played over half a dozen new J-45's at a store that had a bunch, some Custom Shop, some vintage reissue, some with walnut backs and rosewood backs. And they all sounded different to each other and mine. But some got in the same ballpark as mine, and I would have taken those over the other actual vintage ones I'd played.

What it comes down to is acoustic guitars have to be judged on an individual basis.

No, no, by all means, answer away.

I’m just as excited to discover more about J-45’s and Gibson’s round shouldered beasts. This is my first forray into their guitars and these models. I just really want to know the signature sound and how to get it, and why does it sound like that. This is the same feeling I had when I first played a guitar with a P90 pickup. If you click on and look for the threads I started, you’ll see me asking about it, and now all my guitars only have P90’s. hahaha

I’m finding OM’s sounds now as tiny. LOL although I know that is not really the case but after playing some more J-45’s and copies for a while now, going back to the store and all for more trials, I got used to that low end barrage my ears are getting with very very sweet highs that sounds quite warm and mellow. It hits the my ears the right way and I feel like I’m swimming in the sound, not drowning like if I was playing a Martin dreadnought. But more on that low end, it really has a lot of it. I love it because thats how I like to set my electric guitars too. Warm and bassy - boomy low end and none of that harshness. It makes me sound big and full live.

Having this Sigma, I know kind of feel what else is this guitar capable of. This guitar puts a smile on my face everytime I play it. I usually find faults on the guitar by now and thats usually the beginning of the end of the honeymoon phase and entering the “maybe-I-made-a-mistake” phase and end up selling the guitar as I want to try another. But fortunately, none of that feelings for now. Lol.. also it does sound very good live. And i love playing it very very hard!
 

dreamingtele

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Congrats! And thanks for the walk-through.

FWIW, I've got a mid-'90s Sigma DM-18 that's been terrific. Sounded and played great when new, and has aged perfectly. Sounds richer than ever now. Perfect neck with frets that have worn remarkably well. And it's ambered beautifully. I like it easily as much as my Martins. Pairs perfectly with my all-mahogany Martin D-15M. Crisp and clear, against that Martin's dark and deep. I love going drop D on it, or playing it in open tunings. With bass notes ringing, its mid and upper registers just sing. And it's sure taken a beating, as I've played it (and banged it, and dropped it) far more than any other guitar for about 35 years now.

Thank you sir.

Given this has laminate back and sides, I’m actually hoping it would also open up. I know some guitars dont do it and some do, I dont know if it will ever happen to this guitar but I’m hoping it will.

Although I dont know how to tell if the guitar has opened up like you were describing hehehe. This is my first decent acoustic guitar I ever had. Also my first time really trying to invest in a good one although I wish I had a bit more budget to start with, so for sure I’d be getting into these more once I’m get rid of electric guitar gas. Lol
 

RoscoeElegante

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Thank you sir.

Given this has laminate back and sides, I’m actually hoping it would also open up. I know some guitars dont do it and some do, I dont know if it will ever happen to this guitar but I’m hoping it will.

Although I dont know how to tell if the guitar has opened up like you were describing hehehe. This is my first decent acoustic guitar I ever had. Also my first time really trying to invest in a good one although I wish I had a bit more budget to start with, so for sure I’d be getting into these more once I’m get rid of electric guitar gas. Lol
I recommend often playing it in drop and open tunings. I may be way off, but every acoustic I've done this with seems to open up sooner by having those deep notes resonating the guitar so routinely.

Again, that may be inaccurate, confirmation bias, etc. But the first time this happened--with my Sigma, in fact--I was not only startled, but family members and regular gig attendees noticed it too. "Was that the same guitar you had last year? It sounds really rich now." Guitars that I've kept in standard tuning seem to take considerably longer to open up, even though I play them quite often.

One other perhaps-useless suggestion: Play your new guitar facing and close to a hard surface, such as a plaster wall or solid door. Vibrations bouncing back into an acoustic seem to limber it up. Plus, you get that nice reverby quality from the tones you're generating. A friend used to have his new acoustics face a speaker thumping looped bass notes. I don't know if that actually did anything except keep stray cats away, but his acoustics always did sound very rich.

By the way, this is pretty interesting:
https://esomogyi.com/articles/on-tonal-bloom/
Gotta say, I kinda pity people who don't feel entranced by music and/or love dogs....
 

dreamingtele

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I recommend often playing it in drop and open tunings. I may be way off, but every acoustic I've done this with seems to open up sooner by having those deep notes resonating the guitar so routinely.

Again, that may be inaccurate, confirmation bias, etc. But the first time this happened--with my Sigma, in fact--I was not only startled, but family members and regular gig attendees noticed it too. "Was that the same guitar you had last year? It sounds really rich now." Guitars that I've kept in standard tuning seem to take considerably longer to open up, even though I play them quite often.

One other perhaps-useless suggestion: Play your new guitar facing and close to a hard surface, such as a plaster wall or solid door. Vibrations bouncing back into an acoustic seem to limber it up. Plus, you get that nice reverby quality from the tones you're generating. A friend used to have his new acoustics face a speaker thumping looped bass notes. I don't know if that actually did anything except keep stray cats away, but his acoustics always did sound very rich.

By the way, this is pretty interesting:
https://esomogyi.com/articles/on-tonal-bloom/
Gotta say, I kinda pity people who don't feel entranced by music and/or love dogs....

Thank you for the advice sir! I’ll try all of those. I use 13-56’s on my acoustics anyway so definitely dropping it to D would really bombard me with low end thump!

And thanks for the article! Its a very good read! The “tonal bloom” is certainly new to me.
 

matttele14

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Hey OP,

Really great to read this thread as I'm in the EXACT same position. I played the 3 same models in my local music shop and the Slash felt dead, like there was no tone, richness or anything coming from the guitar. The two Sigmas kind of blew me back. I'm likely going to look at getting the same model JM-SG45 like you did but a couple of questions if you don't mind.

Were you able to play both plugged in to an amp? And if so how did they sound/compare?

And given you've had the JM-SG45 now for a few more months has it continued to delight everytime you've played it?

Thanks in advance!
 

dreamingtele

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Hey OP,

Really great to read this thread as I'm in the EXACT same position. I played the 3 same models in my local music shop and the Slash felt dead, like there was no tone, richness or anything coming from the guitar. The two Sigmas kind of blew me back. I'm likely going to look at getting the same model JM-SG45 like you did but a couple of questions if you don't mind.

Were you able to play both plugged in to an amp? And if so how did they sound/compare?

And given you've had the JM-SG45 now for a few more months has it continued to delight everytime you've played it?

Thanks in advance!

One thing I’m happy to say is that, the JM-SG45 doesnt leave me GAS’ng for a Gibson. I think there’s only one slope shoulder I’m hoping to get, and thats the Santa Cruz Vintage Southener which costs 10x I paid for my Sigma. Hahaha.

Anyway,

Yes, in the store theres a high end AER compact 60 acoustic guitar amp which any guitar sounds fabulous. Lol

My rig is a bit different. I use acoustic IR’s through a IR loader with EQ tweaks. I use a TwoNotes CabM+ Which serves as my “preamp” going direct to PA. With time and some patience, I was able to dial in a really good tone. An approximation of a “mic’ed” tone. But not exactly. Sounds very good though and Ive received a lot of compliments. The reason why I use this rig is because I’m mainly on electric and I go direct to PA.

If you’re not into this kind of rig, id suggest get the JM-SG45 and spend the rest of the cash for an LR Baggs Anthem which I’m planning to do in the future anyway. I was just basically waiting to see if I’m gonna keep it, but because I tweaked my rig to suit this guitar, I see no more reason to change anything but strings, and probably a refret in the future as I use it too much than I thought. Lol

It has opened up quite a lot now and sounding very warm and big. The lows are amazing and it doesnt sound like a non-solid acoustic guitar.



I wish i have recordings of my plugged in tone, but id try to do on the 19th which I’m gonna use through a PA.
 

dreamingtele

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Hey OP,

Really great to read this thread as I'm in the EXACT same position. I played the 3 same models in my local music shop and the Slash felt dead, like there was no tone, richness or anything coming from the guitar. The two Sigmas kind of blew me back. I'm likely going to look at getting the same model JM-SG45 like you did but a couple of questions if you don't mind.

Were you able to play both plugged in to an amp? And if so how did they sound/compare?

And given you've had the JM-SG45 now for a few more months has it continued to delight everytime you've played it?

Thanks in advance!

This is what I use in my acoustic sessions.

Untitled by D Y, on Flickr
 

telestratosonic

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One thing I’m happy to say is that, the JM-SG45 doesnt leave me GAS’ng for a Gibson. I think there’s only one slope shoulder I’m hoping to get, and thats the Santa Cruz Vintage Southener which costs 10x I paid for my Sigma. Hahaha.

Anyway,

Yes, in the store theres a high end AER compact 60 acoustic guitar amp which any guitar sounds fabulous. Lol

My rig is a bit different. I use acoustic IR’s through a IR loader with EQ tweaks. I use a TwoNotes CabM+ Which serves as my “preamp” going direct to PA. With time and some patience, I was able to dial in a really good tone. An approximation of a “mic’ed” tone. But not exactly. Sounds very good though and Ive received a lot of compliments. The reason why I use this rig is because I’m mainly on electric and I go direct to PA.

If you’re not into this kind of rig, id suggest get the JM-SG45 and spend the rest of the cash for an LR Baggs Anthem which I’m planning to do in the future anyway. I was just basically waiting to see if I’m gonna keep it, but because I tweaked my rig to suit this guitar, I see no more reason to change anything but strings, and probably a refret in the future as I use it too much than I thought. Lol

It has opened up quite a lot now and sounding very warm and big. The lows are amazing and it doesnt sound like a non-solid acoustic guitar.



I wish i have recordings of my plugged in tone, but id try to do on the 19th which I’m gonna use through a PA.

I sold my 2017 Gibson J-45 last fall. I had a LR Baggs Anthem in it. Sounded great and I really liked the thin-taper neck. Wish I hadn't sold it now. However, I've been following this thread and have been keeping an eye out locally for a Sigma JM-SG45.

Two years ago, I bought a LR Baggs M80 Active/Passive soundhole pickup for my Seagull Maritime SWS mini-jumbo (solid spruce top/solid mahogany back and sides). Last week, I installed another one in my Simon & Patrick Showcase Mahogany (solid spruce top/solid mahogany back and sides) dreadnought. I run them through my Tech21 Sansamp Acoustic Fly Rig if I'm using a PA. Otherwise, I use a Boss Acoustic Singer Pro amp.

I have a Norman B20 dreadnought and a 1994 Seagull S12 (with six strings). Neither has a pickup so I bought two LR Baggs backstrap jacks. I've already installed one of them in the Seagull S12 and will install the other one in the Norman B20 on the weekend. This way, should I ever have the need to amplify either one, I can easily remove the M80 pickup from one of the other guitars. The M80 pickup sells for $360 CAD plus 5% tax here in Alberta.



Pics attached.
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dreamingtele

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I sold my 2017 Gibson J-45 last fall. I had a LR Baggs Anthem in it. Sounded great and I really liked the thin-taper neck. Wish I hadn't sold it now. However, I've been following this thread and have been keeping an eye out locally for a Sigma JM-SG45.

Two years ago, I bought a LR Baggs M80 Active/Passive soundhole pickup for my Seagull Maritime SWS mini-jumbo (solid spruce top/solid mahogany back and sides). Last week, I installed another one in my Simon & Patrick Showcase Mahogany (solid spruce top/solid mahogany back and sides) dreadnought. I run them through my Tech21 Sansamp Acoustic Fly Rig if I'm using a PA. Otherwise, I use a Boss Acoustic Singer Pro amp.

I have a Norman B20 dreadnought and a 1994 Seagull S12 (with six strings). Neither has a pickup so I bought two LR Baggs backstrap jacks. I've already installed one of them in the Seagull S12 and will install the other one in the Norman B20 on the weekend. This way, should I ever have the need to amplify either one, I can easily remove the M80 pickup from one of the other guitars. The M80 pickup sells for $360 CAD plus 5% tax here in Alberta.



Pics attached. View attachment 992256 View attachment 992257 View attachment 992258 View attachment 992302

Nice!

The M80 and Seymour Duncan Mag-Mic is also a consideration for me if I want to change my pickups to a better one.

Although, the current pickups (even if it’s a bit crappy) works great in my set up. I think the LR Baggs Element VTC in the all solid model is better than this Fishman Sonitone in my non-solid model.
 

matttele14

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I played both the Sigmas, the SJM-SG45 and the JM-SG45 the other day.

The SJM-SG45 was better IMO. It was closer to the boom of a J45. The way I summerised it in the shop was the JM-SG45 looks like a J45 but the SJM-SG45 sounded like one. I think the difference in pickup and solid woods and ebony fingerboard are worth the difference in price.

My punt is to get the SJM-SG45 and sell my Taylor GS mini.
 

zombywoof

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What are your thoughts on a real old J-45 sound? Dry? Thumpy low end?
I guess better late than never. In terms of "old Gibsons" the first thing to understand is that the Gibson factory which produced the first J45s was not the fully functional modern corporation which emerged by 1950. So, it is much harder to categorize and describe the guitars which had rolled out of Kalamazoo earlier. As has been said, as example, about the Banners if you passed on one, chances of finding another which sounded the same were slim and none.

But in terms of the more consistent 1950s Old School Tone the two most often described attributes would be what is called the Gibson "thump" and saturated mids. My take on it is both can be attributed to the fact that Gibsons had a quicker low end decay which left the midrange and treble fundamentals to push through the mix. While the low end on one guitar might be a more subdued than the next or the highs a bit crisper it is those mids which really define the characteristic Gibson voice.

As to Bozeman-made guitars, they have their own ideas as to what sounds best. Again, just my take but while they have a dose of Old School Gibson DNA they also have a nuanced Martin vibe so are louder, ring out longer, and are a bit richer in overtones/harmonics. I would guess though this is why something like a Sigma would be able to make a better showing when compared to a J45.
 

dreamingtele

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I played both the Sigmas, the SJM-SG45 and the JM-SG45 the other day.

The SJM-SG45 was better IMO. It was closer to the boom of a J45. The way I summerised it in the shop was the JM-SG45 looks like a J45 but the SJM-SG45 sounded like one. I think the difference in pickup and solid woods and ebony fingerboard are worth the difference in price.

My punt is to get the SJM-SG45 and sell my Taylor GS mini.

Nice!!

Congrats! Show it!!

Yeah, they can be varied. The SJM I tried didnt have the bass I was looking for. And the JM sounded almost exactly the same as the J-45 I sampled against it. In acoustics, you really cant have the same thing. You just have to try each one!

However all 4 (epiphone, Jm, SJM, and J45) were beaten (IMHO only and YMMV) by the Eastman E10SS and E20SS. I wish I had the cash for the Eastman, i wouldve bought it even if I had the money for the Gibson. Lol.

If I ever get the GAS to upgrade. i’ll probably hunt a good J45 or just go for Santa Cruz or Collings. Hahaha
 

dreamingtele

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I guess better late than never. In terms of "old Gibsons" the first thing to understand is that the Gibson factory which produced the first J45s was not the fully functional modern corporation which emerged by 1950. So, it is much harder to categorize and describe the guitars which had rolled out of Kalamazoo earlier. As has been said, as example, about the Banners if you passed on one, chances of finding another which sounded the same were slim and none.

But in terms of the more consistent 1950s Old School Tone the two most often described attributes would be what is called the Gibson "thump" and saturated mids. My take on it is both can be attributed to the fact that Gibsons had a quicker low end decay which left the midrange and treble fundamentals to push through the mix. While the low end on one guitar might be a more subdued than the next or the highs a bit crisper it is those mids which really define the characteristic Gibson voice.

As to Bozeman-made guitars, they have their own ideas as to what sounds best. Again, just my take but while they have a dose of Old School Gibson DNA they also have a nuanced Martin vibe so are louder, ring out longer, and are a bit richer in overtones/harmonics. I would guess though this is why something like a Sigma would be able to make a better showing when compared to a J45.

Thanks for this!!

Its always nice to at least know some insights and the history!

I think this is like “teles” to me. I never really bonded with martin dreadnoughts, and while I love the OM, its more on the aesthetics that I love about it, but I hate it when it sounds boxy.

The slope shoulder opened my mind to these acoustic tones and I cant get enough of it. Lol
 




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