Generation 45 Acoustics are aimed at the player looking for a bona fide American-made Gibson at an entry-level price. Options include the G-45 studio ($999 street) and the G-45 Standard on review here. Built in Gibson’s Bozeman, Montana factory, G-45 acoustics offer plenty of bang for the buck, including a dovetail neck joint attached via hot hide glue to a neck with a modern profile and a sleek body constructed from all solid woods. G-45s ship equipped for the stage with an onboard Fishman Sonitone pickup.
The G-45 body style is essentially a modified round-shouldered dreadnought with the slightly shallower body depth and shorter scale length usually associated with a triple-0 body style. Neither model is designed to be super fancy, but the G-45 Standard is a little more upscale than the Studio. Both guitars feature a solid Sitka spruce top married to walnut back and sides, and the Standard ups the appointment ante with a gloss top finish, dense Richlite fingerboard, Soft Diamond inlays and black top and back binding.
The most impressive aspect of the G-45 Standard is its playability. Right out of the box, this baby is ready to roll. Cowboy chords, bluegrass licks and fingerpicking patterns alike fall readily under the fingers. Gibson describes the neck as having an “advanced response” profile. Its full C-shaped design feels low and comfy enough to fall into the modern category, but not so slim as to be confused with what some modern manufacturers consider a low profile.
It’s a nice blend of classic and modern. You don’t feel like you’ve got a tree trunk in your hands, but there’s still plenty to grab onto, and the taper feels comfortable as you progress from lower to higher positions.
The G-45’s tone is focused in the middle range, with a crisp top. There’s a solid bottom-end foundation, but nothing too boomy. The string response is on the mellow side, probably due to its short scale length, so it’s not particularly suited to a modern percussive fingerstyle approach. The G-45 Standard responds better to a stiff pick.
Volume is a bit louder than a typical triple 0 and slightly mellower than a standard dreadnought, making the G-45 well suited to vocal accompaniment. The onboard Fishman Sonitone pickup and preamp system is stealthily mounted, with its simple tone and volume spinners under the upper lip of the sound hole. I honestly didn’t realize it was even there at first.
Tested through a Fishman Loudbox Mini Charge, the Sonitone system delivered a nice representation of the Gibson sound. My only concern was that the first string sounded a tad softer than the others. That’s a common issue with undersaddle piezo pickups, so it’s always smart to scrutinize the electronics of a piezo-equipped guitar carefully when taking it for a test run.
The G-45 Standard’s overall craftsmanship is high for its relatively low price. By attaching a player-friendly neck onto a body and top made of solid tonewoods, and giving meticulous attention to details such as domed top bracing, Gibson delivers an American-made instrument that’s affordable to hard-working gigging musicians, students and hobbyists alike.
PRICE $1,299 street
NUT WIDTH 1.725”, Tusq
NECK Utile (also known as sipo mahogany)
FRETBOARD Richlite, 24 3/4” scale
TUNERS Mini Grover Rotomatic, nickel plated
BODY Walnut back and sides, solid Sitka spruce top
ELECTRONICS Fishman Sonitone
FACTORY STRINGS Gibson Coated Phosphor Bronze .012–.053
WEIGHT 4.4 lbs
KUDOS Quality American-made craftsmanship and great playability at very reasonable price
CONCERNS Acoustic string response and volume on the mellow side. First-string volume slightly less than the rest when amplified