The Gibson J-45 is one of the most iconic acoustic guitars in the world.
That’s why I decided to create a whole Acoustic Tuesday episode dedicated to the Gibson J-45. I’ll be covering a lot of ground in this episode, so make sure to watch the WHOLE video — trust me.
As always, you can watch Acoustic Tuesday at 10am every Tuesday in these four places:
- Acoustic Life YouTube channel
- We Play Every Day Facebook Community
- Get show notes emailed directly to your inbox.
- Listen to audio-only below or in iTunes
This week on Acoustic Tuesday
As I said earlier, this week is all about the Gibson J-45.
I figured it was high time that I have a dedicated J-45 episode…
- It’s an iconic guitar with TONS of history
- Tonally, the J-45 is rarely outmatched
- Aesthetically, it set the tone for future guitars
For these reasons and so many more, this episode is to help YOU appreciate and learn about the Gibson J-45.
5 Reasons Why You Should Own a Gibson J-45
I’ll briefly go over the 5 reasons why you need a Gibson J-45 if you don’t have time to catch the video.
- Sunburst finish — Sexy, eye-catching, and captivating.
- Scalelength — 24 3/4 inches is comfy, cozy, and gives a springy, warm tone.
- Tone — It’s Goldilock’s porridge that was just right: not too loud, not too quiet, not too bright, and not too dark.
- Price — Yes, they’re expensive, but compared to other guitars of the same quality, this guitar is rather affordable.
- Historic — The Gibson J-45 is a piece of American history.
“American Workhorse: A Documentary Film on the J-45”
This documentary on the Gibson J-45 was set to release this year, but we’re in the final days of 2019.
While guitars are typically just a part of a documentary, “American Workhorse” makes the J-45 the primary subject. I’m so excited to watch this documentary, and make sure to leave a comment if you’re excited!
- Get the details and stay in the loop on the documentary
- Watch the trailer for “American Workhorse”
If you’re curious about the history and political life of the J-45, you definitely want to check out and support this documentary.
I’m featuring Russ on Acoustic Tuesday this week for so many reasons. Besides his utilization of the Gibson J-45, Russ has some incredible melodies that are phenomenal.
Like, if Russ was a superhero, his power would be creating stellar melodies.
If you’re ready to get blown away by an incredible guitarist and acoustic artist, be sure to check out Russ Barenberg.
- Visit Russ on the web
- Buy Russ Barenberg’s albums
- St. Anne’s Reel played by Russ Barenberg, Jerry Douglas, and Aly Bain
- Russ Barenberg playing “Keep It Up/Prince Charlie”
- The tune “For JL” performed by Russ Barenberg and friends
5 Alternatives to the Gibson J-45
As much as I want everyone to have the opportunity to own a Gibson J-45, I recognize that not everyone likes Gibsons…or J-45s.
And that’s okay!
I’ve created a list of 5 alternatives to the Gibson J-45 — just in case you aren’t convinced you need one 😉
- Watch a review of this J-45 alternative here.
Bourgeois Slope D
- Check out Trey Hensley playing his Bourgeois here.
- Don’t miss this review of the Collings CJ35.
- For an informative run-down, check out this review of an awesome J-45 alternative.
Santa Cruz Vintage Southerner
- Perhaps one of my favorite alternatives, you CANNOT pass-up this review of the Santa Cruz VS.
If you have any other suggestions for a Gibson J-45 alternative, let me know in the comments!
Until next week, keep on plucking and don’t forget to tell your friends about Acoustic Tuesday!
Sharing Link: https://tonypolecastro.com/get-acoustic-tuesday
J-50 (natural version of J-45) has Four of your reasons, no burst.
Also light weight. I don’t know much about the new ones but my 1964 J-50 is hard to beat.
Right on! My J-50 is from 1965, and IMHO the natural top is actually much more attractive than the sunburst.
Tony got the reasons out-of-order. #1 is the TONE!
The J-45 is a great recording guitar.
Proud owner of a 1965 J-50 (made in Kalamazoo, MI) – the better looking version of the J-45 (i.e. natural top instead of sunburst). The #1 reason to own one is the TONE! It transcends the price. BTW, James Taylor used a J-50 to record many of his early hits, and he still owns it.
BTW… I see quite a number of J-50s in that documentary about the J-45.
On Tony’s question about the guitar I never should have sold… Well, I actually traded it. A cherry-red Gibson ES-345 which I traded for a Les Paul Custom. I liked the idea of the smaller body, but didn’t realize how HEAVY Les Pauls were. Also, the round frets on the ES-345 are really superior to the flat frets on the Les Paul Customer neck. Oh well, I was young. I won’t ever make a mistake like that again.
Hi Tony, Just in case no one else has commented, Russ discusses his guitar in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lj57H0Efj0w, an interview on Steve Krenz’s show at 10:23 of the video. The back and sides are as you said Maple, but he also mentions the back is maple plywood. Who knew?
I was a barely-Intermediate level student in a master class Russ Barenberg taught at Steve Kaufman’s Acoustic Kamp several summers ago. He was a methodical, kind teacher as well as an outstanding musician.
His rendition of “Ashokan Farewell” is the guitar music in Ken Burns’ famous PBS series, “The Civil War.”
— Tom Dove
I bought my J45 in 1971 and it still plays like a gem !
Hi,Tony just saw #120. Very cool.i love your artist that you present all the time.amazingly beautiful artist.i love the Gibson j-47.i love gibson.my first ucuastic.but I had a maestro.a beautiful guitar.i want to get another one.i want to do my guitar senal.but later on.after the holidays.taking way to much of my time.to many party’s,concerts,and so on.thank you.see you on #121.have a good week.!!🎸🎤🎸🎻🥁🎹🌷😁🌼👍☀️☕💋
I’m curious as to where Noah’s been?
Tony, I have to agree with you about the J45. I watched the video you did with the SJ Special. I fell in love with it. In fact I bought one slightly used. It turns out that it is supposed be the one you demoed. Thats cool but, it does not matter. It has found a forever home and my son has said he wants it if ever I part with it. Ha, it will be in my will ))) Anyway, I am telling you this because you helped me to find the best guitar I have ever had and I thank you. What you do makes a difference in peoples lives. Thank You
Enjoyed the show on the Gibson J-45. I have an Martin D-28 and a Taylor 410CE, my next guitar purchase will be the Gibson J-45. Keep up the good work Tony, each show I learn something new. Can’t wait for next Tuesday.
Nice job, as always.
That excerpt from Vintage Guitar is not accurate. As I note in my book, Kalamazoo Gals, the triple purfling on a Banner guitar’s top was never meant to be restricted to J-50s. All first year issue Banner models – J-50s, J-45s, LG-1s, LG-2s, LG-3s, and of course, SJs – featured that multiple purfling.
In addition, since the publication of Kalamazoo Gals, I’ve acquired copies of the original spec sheets for the Banner models. Gibson speced all with multiple purfling, top and back. Stay tuned (pun intended) for the book’s second edition.
Hi Tony, look forward to your show every Tues. but as a J45 owner, this Tues was extra special. I couldn’t live without my J45 because of it’s quality, but perhaps one of it’s biggest attributes to me is it’s ease of playability. Yes, compared to most other acoustics I have played and owned, the J45 is just so darn easy to play period.
How would you compare the Gibson Song Writer and or the Hummingbird to the J45?
In 2016, after struggling with a Yamaha FG 200 for 43 years, getting close to retirement, I finally decided to get a good guitar and found a new J-45 Standard, acoustic electric. I bought it for several reasons, but the most important was the sound/tone. The base is wonderful. Also, I have big hands and fingers, so the slightly wider nut is helpful. It’s not quite 1 3/4 but is darn close, and coupled with the tone and the easy fit and playability–buy that sucker–Now! I like the sunburst appearance as well. Since then I have built up my guitarsenal with Martins and Taylors, but keep coming back to the J-45. After this issue of Acoustic Tuesday, I got a renewed interest and took it to a bluegrass jam last night. It is pretty sweet in bluegrass, the volume cuts right through the room. Thanks for this issue, Tony. Look forward to the documentary.
Milt Mays http://www.miltmays.com
Bring back Noah or at least have another guest!
Loved the show, great sounds and information.
My Gibson j 45 is my very most prized possession it was bought for me by my mother not for Christmas or a birthday but because she loved me. A j 45 becomes family and it’s all American. To me it’s another symbol of America. Like the US flag it has a history. The j 45 was here before me and will be here after I’m gone it has brought joy to many people some famous and some not and all have let the j 45 express their souls and bring them through the hard times of life and sounded off a beautiful tone showing their happiness as well. It made my mom smile as it sounded off her favorite old gospel tunes and when I play it now I smile remembering her enjoying it as much as I do. My j 45 is a part of me as much as my favorite Chevrolet’s and Harley Davidsons. It’s like the old saying. If I have to explain why you wouldn’t understand.