I've been jonesing for a J-45.. I'm looking at a few options for an affordable J-45 ever since I played one.. I do understand the copies wont be the same, heck, the tones are not even the same for all 3 of the same J-45 standard units Ive tried.. LOL So i want to dip my feet in the waters and test if the J45 will work for me by buying affordable and decent enough for gigs. Its the same way when I got into teles anyway. Went from Squier to AV62. Same thing with my 330. Casinos first then to an ES-330! Fast-Forward; Okay, trip report!!! I went to a store near me and tried out a few guitars thats I’m REALLY interested on. Untitled by D Y, on Flickr Epiphone Slash J-45 Sigma (Solid) JM-SG45 Sigma (Laminate) JM-SG45+ Of course, for shiz and giggles, I tried and reference this beast for tone and feel. I wanted the 50’s one but they told me it just got sold 30 mins earlier and I was late. So it’s the 60’s model with the adjustable saddle. To be honest, I dont even know what a “real” J-45 sounds like, but since it’s a Gibson model, then lets use this as the “real” thing. Untitled by D Y, on Flickr The three contenders for today; Epiphone Slash J-45 Untitled by D Y, on Flickr Sigma (Laminate) JM-SG45- Left and Sigma (Solid) SJM-SG45 - Right Untitled by D Y, on Flickr Another photo to prove all three are there; Epiphone Slash (Front), Sigma (Laminate - Middle), Sigma (All Solid - Last) Untitled by D Y, on Flickr First impressions are, man all these three are SUPER LIGHT!!! I almost threw these guitars up in the air when I picked them up! The two Sigmas are equal in weight and the Slash, a little bit heavier. And here’s them three comparison. This vid is short and actually doesnt really show everything but maybe enough to “hear” all three guitars. I apologize for the slopiness, the widths and neck profile, and string spacing were all new to me lol In the end I chose between the two Sigmas… The Epiphone, PROS: great wood selection in these guitars. Wood is wood. Pau ferro, all solid, etc. GREAT NECK btw! It feels like an electric guitar neck. Same with the Gibson. Its nice. I like it. CON: although very good (fit and finish is also great), feels a bit cheaper than the two Sigmas. Dont get me wrong, the build of the Sigma felt closer to the Gibson J-45 60’s in terms of feel. Sigma SJM-SG45 and JM-SG45, PROS: really good quality made guitar. Very light! For the laminate model, It doesnt feel or respond like a laminate would. I think it’s lightly built. Neck is thinner versus the Epiphone but wider. Suited me more though. For the solid model, that Adirondack top has tons of headroom and volume. I’m always in love with Adi topped guitars. They’re just amazing paired with hog back and sides too. CONS; for the laminate model, i wish it had wood on the fretboard and bridge. It’s Micarta. Not that it bothers me. Its very smooth, well finished, feels like Ebony, but smoother, blacker. Feels great. The finish at the back of the neck is satin, and the body is gloss. I just wish it was gloss all over. But also not an issue. Guess what guitar I walked out with….. Untitled by D Y, on Flickr The JM-SG45 Laminate model. Lol, i thought its gonna be the all solid Sigma at least. But it sounded closer to the 60’s J45 reissue Gibson in the store. Go figure! Less harsh than both solid models from Sigma and Epiphone, a bit more subdued, but works perfectly plugged in as I wont battle with too much overtones when playing live and loud. Just perfect warm bed for vocals. I think my ears are going towards warmer tones now. Even my eq for my electric guitars are a bit warmer and bassier than it used to. Untitled by D Y, on Flickr Untitled by D Y, on Flickr Untitled by D Y, on Flickr The Sigmas are pretty good value! Save me almost half of my budget which is always good, which means I got more guitar for my money. If I have more money, id probably wont buy the Gibson, but Id go Eastman. The Eastman E20SS in the same store (no photos sorry!) is actually better - soundwise. Warm, thumping low end and balanced highs. However, it’s just 400 aud more than what I can spend at maximum. There you go! I think we live in a great era. Inexpensive guitars punching above their price range. When I finally upgrade, id turn the world upside down to find a nice J-45.