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The Gibson J-45 Koa Guitar

By Edited May 17, 2016 0 0

The Gibson J-45 With Koa Back/Sides.

Koa, an increasingly used and well loved tonewood for acoustic stringed instruments

The Gibson J-45 And Beautiful Koa Wood Back and Sides.
Credit: http://plasenzuela.olx.es/gibson-j-45-vine-koa-usa-custom-shop-iid-101512832

Gibson's J-45

Now the Gibson J-45 is a historical American acoustic guitar, and you'd be best off should you never bother to doubt that.  This fine instrument from Gibson Guitars has it's own Wikipedia page[1], it's not a thing to overlook when you consider just how classy and classic this fine musical instrument is.  Gibson Guitars, of course, historically and today compete with the equally legendary guitars produced by C.F. Martin & Corporation; and they do this very well by NOT being like Martin instruments at all, but by being their relative equals, and by sounding, looking, and feeling different.

According to the Wiki page on the J-45, the J-45 is Gibson's most famous instrument.  This fly's in the face of Gibson's claim the J-200 is the world's single most famous and desired guitar.  I think we can scratch these claims up to marketing, and to marketer's efforts to sell a product. What we can never write off is just how awesome a guitar either is, or any is when is a solid wood instrument produced by the terrific Gibson Guitar corporation.

The famous Gibson J-45 was introduced to the world in the year 1942[3], and the guitar was introduced for the sole purpose of replacing the less expensive, but now available again, Gibson J-35.  Both the J-45 and the J-35 were and are traditionally mahogany body guitars with solid spruce tops.  Essentially these guitars were built and designed to compete directly with the Martin D-18, offering a comparable guitar at a comparable price but with a Gibson look, a Gibson feel, and a Gibson sound.  Only now is the J-45 offered with Koa wood as the solid wood used for the construction of this instrument's back and sides.

Koa As A Tonewood

Gibson's new J-45 Koa is going to be a fine guitar very much like the traditional and well loved J-45, but with Koa back and sides, it is going to be more expensive.  Koa as a tonewood [2]is not too different in tonality than mahogany, but many a luthier and player report it is a wood that provides a more balanced tonality than mahogany. Koa wood is from the islands of Hawaii, and has a lot more visual variation within it than does mahogany. Koa often has a more orange and yellow hue, brighter than mahogany; yet also with darkness in the grain as well. There are many fine guitars with solid Koa back and sides, this is going to be another one of them.

Tonewood properties can be mysterious; and there is no exception with Koa.  Koa has been used, as has mahogany, as a top paired with a body.  This is not the case here, the Gibson J-45 Koa features a spruce top. Koa is a hardwood that when used as a guitar's body in conjunction with a spruce top the tonality created is one born of velocity.

This J-45 Koa by Gibson Features The Honey-Burst Finish Top

J-45 Koa
Credit: http://forum.gibson.com/index.php?/topic/6423-sold-gibson-j-45-custom-koa/

Whether you like the the honey-burst, or the all natural top; you can get it from Gibson and in the form of a J-45 Koa.  Before buying a guitar like this, it is important to always decide whether or not this Koa J-45 truly pleases you more than does the standard mahogany J-45. They will surely sound similar, but also they will surely sound different.  Some persons are simply more able than others to hear the differences in such things, and some persons simply have less appreciation for such differences.

The Gibson J-45 Koa is only slightly more expensive than the standard versions of the J-45. I'm pricing the  J-45 Koa new on the web at $2,699 dollars, the J-45 standard at slightly under two thousand, and the J-45 custom, which is of East Indian rosewood back and sides,  at one hundred dollars more than the Koa guitar.

This guitar features gold tuners, honey-burst instead of sunburst; but is available with the natura top.  Gibson acoustic guitars always excel in the musical arena of fingerstyle country blues; but any mahogany or Koa guitar is also going to be a bluegrass flatpicking cannon of a guitar, and the man in the video below here demonstrates a wide array of the possibilities this instrument makes available to the musician. All Gibson J-45 guitars are acoustic/electric, and so they're primed and ready for playing around the campfire, recording acoustic in the studio, or amplifying and playing on stage These guitars are all master built in Gibson's famous and legendary Bozeman, Montana facility

The J-45 uses the very distinct and well known, loved, and identified Gibson classic head-stock, and logo. The fingerboard and bridge are rosewood, the saddle and nut are tusq.  These fine American guitars all come with a hard-shell case and a well respected warranty. Thanks for reading, and by all means, play your guitar!

A Nice Multi-Faceted Demonstration Of What The Gibson J-45 Koa Can Do



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  1. "Gibson J-45." Wikipedia. 11/10/2013 <Web >
  2. Dana Bourgeois "Tapping Tonewoods." Pantheon Guitars. 24/11/2013 <Web >
  3. "J-45 Standard." Gibson.com. 24/11/2013 <Web >

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