Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,193Member
I haven't played guitar for about 18 months so have had various attempts at selling a couple of my acoustics. I decided instead to trade them at Mansons - perhaps a swap for a Gibson J45 which might inspire me to take up playing again.

My Martin SP00016GT was good. Valued at £700-800. My Amalio Burguet bad. The top had mishapen, probably after years of playing in stuffy restaurants, going in and out of the cold - taking it on flights. No wonder I'd lost heart in playing it, perhaps the tone had dulled and I hadn't noticed it. Value £300 (a good one £600 - about £1000 new)

This fell far short of the £1300 for the available new-ish J45 Standard. I decided to give it a go before I left.


In my life I have never played a bad J45. In fact all that I'd tried had been blinding. But what has happened to Gibson ? The guitar looked nice enough but it really wasn't any better than my Epiphone DR100 which only cost me £80 (a cracking guitar btw.)

I tried the J45 side-by-side with a top-end Gibson J45 Vintage. OMG. The difference was miles apart. Mind you - so was the price. An extra £2k !

I think Gibson have started putting out a budget version of this classic - beware. It's not up to the old standard.


  • ESBlondeESBlonde Posts: 957Member
    It's standard to play any Gibson before you buy it, they vary quite a bit (less so in the custom expensive range but there are even 'average' guitars at that price). They have become a brand to sell rather than an instrument which is sad because there are some stunning instruments being made along with the ordinary.
    I too bought an Epiphone acoustic back in the 90s and just can't part with it, stunning value for money, just not with that magic of a great Gibson. When the urge takes me I visit a couple of emporiums and try the expensive stuff, last time I leant toward an £800 gibson acoustic from the selection available. I didn't buy it but it struck me as the most suitable for the sound in my head and the comfort of the neck/fingerboard.
  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,193Member
    I'm a well known fan of the J45. I've never played a bad one until... well, even yesterday's sample wasn't a bad one. My Epiphone is a very good guitar so no shame there. But yeah. Definitely. I will view Gibson acoustics more objectively henceforth.

    An £800 Gibson acoustic ? I didn't know there was such a thing. I've looked at the J35 which I find a bit indifferent.
  • Derek_RDerek_R Posts: 1,702Member
    Must admit I still lust after a J45. So many times I hear a singer-songwriter that I like and has an all round sound that appeals and it turns out they have a J45. It happens time and time again. Not going to happen though. My Tanglewoods and my Furch and my Martin will see me through. There comes a time when you know what you've got gearwise is plenty good enough for what you've got ability-wise!

    So you've still got the DR100, Kevin? All is not lost...
  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,314Member
    I've lost count of the number of times over the past few years that I've seen the advice with Gibsons to try as many as you can to try to find one of the good ones and avoid the aberrations.

    It's maybe not been a good thing for the makers of the higher end acoustic guitars that the lower price range instruments on offer in more recent years have been so much better than their ilk of the 70s and 80s when cheap guitars were usually just horrible.

    Two years back when I went on an extensive look at higher end guitars I was struck after trying a fair old number that the difference between the lower and higher priced instruments (at least in my hands!) was remarkably small.

    Your comment about the J-45 vs the top end version reminded me of trying a Martin 00016GT back to back with a 00016DLX. The latter at 70% extra made mincemeat of the former in the comparison, in both feel and sound. Having said that at the price it was at the DLX did not persuade me it was special enough.

    I continue to play cheap 'crap'. :wink:
  • Derek_RDerek_R Posts: 1,702Member
    I love my Tanglewood. £175 off eBay,
  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,193Member
    Thumbs up to that video, Derek.

    I hear you, Mark.
  • Screaming DaveScreaming Dave Posts: 781Member
    I get so confused with J45s. There seem to be so many at different price points. Mine is a Historic Series, which I bough in 2005 for about £900. Now, that was on a very special offer, so it was quite a bit under what they were generally going for. I love it, and I preferred it to other guitars I played at that price point at the time, but I have no idea what today's equivalent model or how much they would be now. Or whether it would be considered to be a dog amongst J45s by other players.
  • waylonwaylon Posts: 44Member
    Gibson is very overpriced in my opinion. I prefer much cheaper epi, like one of theese
  • Screaming DaveScreaming Dave Posts: 781Member
    Well, to be honest, I think you do get what you pay for. My son has an Epi J-45 and I have my Gibson, and while the Epi is a great guitar for the money, it doesn't come close to my Gibson. I've owned 8 Gibsons in my time (still have 4 of them) ranging in date from 1965 to 2005, and 4 Epiphones (well, either I've owned them or my sons have, so I've played them a lot) and in my humble opinion, while the Epiphones are very nice guitars for the money, they don't match up to the Gibsons. I know Gibson have had some horrendous quality control issues in the past, not to mention periods of pig-headed idiocy (viz: robot tuners) but I've never come across any issues with any of mine.

    I guess it all comes down to how you define "over-priced". If you mean that the likes of Gibson just jack up their prices because of the name, then I don't think that's correct. The honest truth is that Gibson and all the other high-end manufacturers are in competition with each other, and none of them can afford to just hike their prices "because they can", because, frankly, they can't! If Gibson just charge a high price because of a perception that people will pay for the Gibson name then I think they will be taught a very sharp lesson as discerning players will head for the Taylor or L'Arrivee rack if they take the Mick.

    If you mean that you can get a very good guitar for a lot less than, say, a Gibson and so why bother to pay that much, then you may well be right. But that's a matter of personal choice, I guess.

    That said, you're right. The Epi J-45 is a nice guitar.
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