Featuring a Walnut body that ensures focused lows, sweet-sounding mids and crisp highs, Gibson's G-45 Standard is a whole lot of dreadnought-esque shaped acoustic guitar for the money. Nick Jennison tells us more.
We often remark here at GI that Gibson acoustic guitars "sound like the records". A few quiet moments with a J-45 and you'll hear shades of Jimmy Page, John Lennon, James Taylor and a thousand other songs from rock and folk's rich history. There's something unmistakable in those smoky highs and brooding lows, but they come with a price tag to match.
Enter the G45 - Gibson's new "entry-level" acoustic guitar. It shares the silhouette of the J-45, with its trademark sloped shoulders and "open book" peghead (ok ok, "moustache" peghead), along with the Sitka spruce top, traditional X bracing and it's origin at the Montana plant (1894 Orville Way, Bozeman, no less!). It's a Gibson through and through - it even smells like one, with the distinctive "marshmallow" aroma emanating from the pink-lined hard case.
Where the G-45 differs from its ancestors is in the look - the G-45 sporting a natural finish with single-ply black binding - and in the body and neck materials. The neck is made of utile - a timber that's very similar to mahogany in terms of weight and tone (much closer than sapele), albeit with a slightly different colour. The back and sides are walnut - a beautiful looking wood with a distinct sonic signature.
You'd expect a walnut guitar to have clear, bell-like highs and a low end that develops over time, and this pretty much perfectly sums up the G-45. If you're expecting the seasoned, smoky tones of a J-45, you may be surprised. This guitar has a bright and crisp delivery that's more California than Nashville. It's a great sound that projects well and records even better, and I'd expect it to "open up" over time and reveal a rich and full low end.
The neck is very familiar if you've spent any time with a Les Paul or a 335. Maybe it's the natural finish, the Grover tuners or the lack of binding but It definitely feels more like a Gibson electric neck, and that's not a bad thing. The slightly flattened-out D shape is extremely comfortable for both classical and thumb-over playing positions, and the action from the factory is perfect - high enough to breathe, but low enough to play very easily.
Electrics come courtesy of a Fishman Sonitone pickup, with tone and volume tucked away in the soundhole. Fishman pickups never disappoint, and this one is no exception. It's very natural and even sounding with enough dynamic range to be expressive without being unwieldy., and thanks to the simple control layout, it's hard to mess this up.
The Gibson G-45 is an excellent introduction to the world of Gibson acoustics. It feels instantly familiar, but with a distinctly modern voice that will undoubtedly mellow with age.
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