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Peghead Nation Flatpicking Guitar instructor Scott Nygaard demos his 1948 Gibson J-45.

by Scott Nygaard
June 11, 2015

After nearly 40 years of primarily playing Martin and Martin-style dreadnoughts, I found this 1948 Gibson J-45 at Eric Schoenberg’s shop in Tiburon, California, and promptly fell in love. Its clarity, volume, warmth, and projection make it perfect for playing acoustic gigs as well as playing around the house and in jam sessions. The bass is big but seems to like being amplified by a mic—bassy but not boomy—and it has a fat midrange and clear, rich treble range. It also has a lot of headroom, allowing me to dig in more than I’d probably ever want without breaking up. It’s a “post-Banner era” Gibson with a rectangular bridge, and the neck is substantial without being chunky. Most importantly, it just sounds like me.

Category: Instruments & Gear

Comments and Discussion

Posted by Scottnyg on
Hi Martin,
I don't have any experience with the newer J-45s so I can't really say. Any new guitar should be built to withstand medium strings, and I'd just go with whatever sounds best on them. Mediums can definitely make some guitars sound louder and fatter, especially if you're flatpicking them, but not always.
Posted by martin sundland on
Hi Scott; do you recommend medium strings on a 2014 J-45 standard or is it over-working the instrument?
Posted by Tom_Cotter on
Hi Scott,
Thanks for the reply ,much appreciated.
I have been useing the 80/20 D'Addario bronze on my old Gibson L7 ,like the sound of it with them .
I'm looking for the right strings for my SC Vintage Southerner ,it's kind of built to sound like a old J45 .I put a set of John Pearse P B light gauge strings a week ago and it sounds a little bit muddy to me ?
Not sure if I can go with mediums on this guitar ? I have heard they are very lightly braced ?
I'll give the 80/20 lights a try next change ,thanks again
Posted by Scottnyg on
Hi Tom,
I usually use D'Addario 80/20 bronze, and was using lights on the Gibson when this video was shot, but after getting some work done on it -- regluing some braces and a neck reset -- I've gone back to using mediums. I've also been experimenting with Elixirs, which sound good as well. For some reason, string choice doesn't make as much of a difference on this guitar as with others I've played. It sounds good with pretty much anything, and I can get a lot of volume with either lights or mediums.
Posted by Tom_Cotter on
Hi Scott ,
Love your playing and your guitar too!
Could I ,if allowed to ask what strings you use on it ?
Posted by Stephen Kunz on
Sweet sounding guitar. You should bring it to the Madison/Milwaukee area for a gig, would love to hear you live again.
Posted by Dagger Gordon on
Sounds absolutely great! Dagger Gordon
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