In this Gibson G45 review we’ll take a look at Gibson’s solid tonewood electro-acoustic guitar, new for 2019. We’ll run through the features and explore what drives this guitar. We’ll look into everything from construction materials, to pickups and performance. Finally we’ll make some recommendations, including who might enjoy this guitar.
Background To Gibson & G45
Gibson was started by Orville Gibson in 1894, first making mandolins in Michigan, USA. By the 1930’s Gibson had started manufacturing flat top acoustic guitars. Perhaps the most famous of Gibson guitars, the Les Paul, was introduced in 1952. In the 1980’s a new production plant was opened in Bozeman, Montana, which is the home of the G45. Over the more than hundred years, Gibson has produced all manner of both electric and acoustic guitars. The G45 was released in July 2019.
Overview of Gibson G45
The body shape of the G45 is taken from the J-45, dreadnought style. Noticeable players of the J-45 include Bob Dylan, David Gilmour, Bruce Spingsteen and Luncinda Williams. You can expect bold and poweful tones thanks to the J-45 shape. The top material is Sitka spruce, producing bright tones. The back and sides are made of USA sourced walnut, which gives a beautiful finish. The bracing is scalloped x-bracing, which helps to distribute the tensions from the bridge, to help retain tonal response. The G45 features a satin gloss finish.
The neck material is utile, which shares many characteristics with mahogony, but isn’t as expensive. That helps to keep the price down. The neck profile features advanced response, which basically means it’s a little thicker for greater comfort. Thinner necks can sometimes result in hand cramps. This is a full scale guitar at 24.75 inches. The fingerboard is richlite, which performs similar to rosewood, but produced crisper tones. The fingerboard is inlaid with soft diamond fret markers. There are 20 standard sized frets, but the G45 doesn’t feature a cut-away. The nuts are made of tusq and the tuning machines are Mini Grover Rotomatic.
Unlike many guitars at a similar price, the necks isn’t bolted to the body, instead benefiting from a dovetail neck joint. Ultimately this preserves tonal quality. The bridge is also made of richlite, helping with rich tones but also providing a solid anchor. The G45 is an electro-acoustic guitar, so you can plug into an amp thanks to it’s Fishman Sonitone pickups. Volume and tone controls are located at the top of the sound hole.
This has to be the most disappointing part of the G45. The Fishman Sonitone pickups are pretty low end. To get around this you can buy and fit alternative pickups, such as infitity’s. That might be quite expensive, especially if you need someone else to fit them for you. An alternative would be to buy something like a Boss AD-2 pedal, which will compensate for the poorer pickups, whilst also giving you a greater tonal range when plugged in.
The guitar comes with a set of light 12’s and includes a Gibson G-Series hard shell case, which is a lovely bonus. Especially as this guitar is made to play live. See below for an introductory video to the G45 and to see how it sounds.
Gibson G45 Pros:
The G45 sounds fantastic unplugged. The construction materials working in harmony to produce bright and sustained tones. The walnut back and sides add to the finish, making it look absolutely beautiful. Here are some of the best bits:
- Made is Gibson’s USA plant
- Quality hardwoods used for construction
- Richlite bridge and fingerboard gives rich tones
- Fantastic value for USA made guitar
- Includes G-Series hard shell case
Gibson G45 Cons:
The drawback comes when you plug in the G45. The Fishman Sonitone pickups are a disappointment. It would have been better for Gibson to use a better set of pickups and increase the price by a hundred dollars. The issue can be circumvented using a Boss AD-2 pedal, which for $100 will add dynamic range as well as solving the issue of the cheap pickups. Here are some of the problems:
- Fishman Sonitone pickups are kind of cheap
- Doesn’t have a cut-away for more adventurous guitarists
The Gibson G45 represents an affordable USA made Gibson Guitar. With the exception of the pickups, everything about the construction of this dreadnought style electro-acoustic guitar screams quality. The styling is also quality with the walnut back and sides giving it dreamy looks. The richlite fingerboard produces tones similar to both ebony and rosewood for wonderful resonance. The gloss finish makes moving around the guitar effortless. The inclusion of a G-Series Hard Shell case is a bonus.
The one thing that really lets this guitar down is the Fishman Sonitone pickups. They’re a low end pickup, the only thing that’s really low end in this guitar. Whilst it’ll sound ok plugged in, you may find you need to either change the pickups or purchase something like a Boss AD-2 pedal to overcome the poor quality pickups. If you’re only planning on playing the guitar unplugged then you’re in for a real treat. There isn’t a guitar on the market that provides this quality at this price point. This is a truly brilliant acoustic guitar.
I feel it’s more suited to those who want to play unplugged, in fact it’s amazing for doing just that. If you want to plug and play I’d seriously look at replacing the pickups or purchasing something like a Boss AD-2 pedal to compensate for the poor pickups.
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