Skip to main content

Gibson Generation G-00, G-45, G-Writer EC and G-200 EC review

A quartet of brand-new Gibson acoustics with player ports inspired by an idea from legendary company president Ted McCarty during the early 1960s. Intrigued? We were…

Gibson Generation Collection
(Image: © Future / Olly Curtis)

Our Verdict

We can’t determine whether that extra soundhole is contributing much to the guitars’ overall sound. Having said that, though, we definitely liked what we heard and wouldn’t hesitate in recommending Gibson’s Generation Series to anyone in the market for a quality acoustic at a very realistic price.

For

  • The G-00 has bags of character and tonally enhanced volume.
  • G-Writer and G-200 have plenty oomph and stage-readiness.
  • G-200 EC like a J-200 without the hefty price tag.
  • Very nice pricing.

Against

  • We wish they all had pickups.
  • And maybe a fitted hardcase, too.

Guitar World Verdict

We can’t determine whether that extra soundhole is contributing much to the guitars’ overall sound. Having said that, though, we definitely liked what we heard and wouldn’t hesitate in recommending Gibson’s Generation Series to anyone in the market for a quality acoustic at a very realistic price.

Pros

  • + The G-00 has bags of character and tonally enhanced volume.
  • + G-Writer and G-200 have plenty oomph and stage-readiness.
  • + G-200 EC like a J-200 without the hefty price tag.
  • + Very nice pricing.

Cons

  • - We wish they all had pickups.
  • - And maybe a fitted hardcase, too.

We had a foretaste of Gibson’s Generation acoustic range in the form of the G-45 Studio and Standard models. We were impressed, too. 

Up until that point, the idea of owning an all-solid wood acoustic electric guitar with Gibson on the headstock for around the £1k price point seemed unthinkable. And yet there they were – and they were made in Gibson’s prestigious Bozeman, Montana, facility where the company’s top range acoustics are produced.

Those models have now been stricken from Gibson’s catalogue, despite being only a couple of years into their existence, and a new batch of Generation acoustics has entered the limelight comprising the same basic build as their forerunners – Sitka/walnut – and much of the same livery. 

These, too, are built in Bozeman. This time, though, instead of the dreadnought-only G-45s, we have a whole range of body sizes from the L-00 sized G-00 to the mighty G-200 EC jumbo. 

Gibson Generation Collection

(Image credit: Future / Olly Curtis)

One thing that hasn’t changed is the price tags. Whereas the ’45s came in at $999/£869 for the Studio model and $1,299/£1,149 for the Standard, here the prices go between $999/£899 for the littl’un and $1,999/£1,799 for the G-200. Let’s just remind ourselves: all solid-wood acoustics with Gibson on the headstock for under $/£2k. Never thought we’d see the day.

The twist in this particular tale adds another level of curiosity to the G-Series as all the models here have a side port – or “player port” in Gibson’s parlance – that takes the form of an extra soundhole on the upper bout topside facing the player. 

This is a trend in the acoustic market that we’re beginning to see more and more. But it’s usually the bespoke makers that go for it rather than production line based manufacturers. We’ll be looking at how this affects the sound of the Generation acoustic team a little later on. But there’s more…

Gibson Generation Collection

(Image credit: Future / Olly Curtis)

Gibson tells us that the idea of putting a player port on its acoustic guitars came from Ted McCarty way back in the early 1960s. McCarty is someone who needs no introduction as far as guitar design is concerned, having aided the development of iconic models such as the Les Paul, ES-335, Explorer, Flying V and even the tune-o-matic bridge. 

You can see his blueprint for the ‘Modern J-45’ here on the left; the player port might have been in a different location back then, but the idea was certainly looked at, even if it didn’t reach fruition the first time around. 

Mat Koehler, head of product development, Gibson Brands, told us this: “The Generation Collection brings something new to our acoustic guitars while staying connected to all the techniques and philosophies that make the originals so great. Each model offers artists and players of all levels an exciting new playing experience with the reliability, performance and iconic design you expect from Gibson.”

So, not only are we looking at a new range of Gibson acoustics, we’re also exploring the whole player port idea into the bargain. Innovation or novelty? Let’s find out.

Gibson Generation Collection

(Image credit: Future / Olly Curtis)

Build

First on the agenda, we’ll review the construction details of the G-Range. As we’ve said before, they mirror the G-45s with the exception of the side port, and all models are the same except for body shape and, in the case of the Writer and 200, the LR Baggs pickups.

Tops are Sitka spruce with walnut backs and sides. The G-00’s and G-45’s tops and backs are both unbound whereas both the G-Writer and G-200 have what looks like mock tortoise binding in both locations. 

Gibson Generation Collection

(Image credit: Future / Olly Curtis)

Necks are made from utile, also known as sipo, which is one of the family of mahogany-alike woods, sapele being another. The utile’s grain patterning is indeed very similar to mahogany and we must admit that if no-one had told us… 

Moving swiftly on, fingerboards are striped ebony, the striping being particularly noticeable on our G-45 while the other ’boards here are jet black at first glance with maybe a soft-brown background hue peeking through if looked at close up. All the guitars have a natural matt open-pore finish and look decidedly ‘woody’ to the eye.

As far as other accoutrements go, tuners are Grover Mini Rotomatics, nuts and saddles are Tusq, bridges are striped ebony, and that’s just about it as far as uniform statistics go. The next thing is to take each guitar individually and explore its charms on a one-to-one basis.

Gibson Generation Collection

(Image credit: Future / Olly Curtis)

Feel & Sounds

The smallest of the bunch but by no means the runt of the litter, the G-00 drew the same initial response from everyone who picked it up: it might be small but it packs quite a punch in the volume stakes. It’s also a very comfortable guitar to sit with and would make a perfect sofa buddy if you’re on the lookout for one. 

Gibson describes all the G-Series as having an “Advanced Profile” neck shape, and this feels like a generous C to us. More (dare we say) Strat-y than Les Paul but with a high feel‑good factor in the hand. 

As for how it sounds, we’ve already commented on its loud and proud voice, but in addition to this chordwork has a great deal of definition, single notes shoot out like rockets and everything is very high definition, if you see what we mean. Crystal clear, well defined and with a good balance. There’s also a fair amount of bass considering its body size.

Based on Gibson’s J-45 workhorse, at least in terms of general shape, the G-45 moves up a notch – and if a bit of the old dreadnought thump and thunder is what you’re looking for then stay tuned. 

As we’ve already pointed out, construction details are the same throughout this quartet, and so it’s no surprise that this guitar feels similar to its little brother. If pressed, we’d say that the neck profile is very slightly deeper and the sound is definitely more ‘big bodied’. 

While the clarity is still there, there’s an extra helping of bass here that doesn’t muddy up, even with some heavy-handed strumming. Just like its sibling, there’s plenty of volume on hand, too.

If you’re wondering what the inspiration for the G-Writer’s particular body shape comes from, it’s Gibson’s Songwriter acoustic. What extras has moving up to the $/£1.5k price bracket given us? A cutaway for starters, fretboard position markers that Gibson calls “single bar”, and also an LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup. 

This particular pickup comprises an under-saddle sensor that is, according to LR Baggs, “as thin as a human hair” and has a single volume control secreted in the bass side of the soundhole. 

The lack of a tone control here may mean that you’d need some outboard gear – a preamp or DI with added EQ controls – if you were intent on playing live. Alternatively, you could always rely on the front-of-house soundperson. Ahem.

The G-Writer lives up to its dreadnought personality with a fortified midrange and lashings of volume and presence. It might be our ears, but this one sounds a little more widescreen and slightly warmer than the 45 model. In any case, it was a sonic experience we’d be perfectly at home with and would happily enlist its services as a gigging companion.

Gibson Generation Collection

(Image credit: Future / Olly Curtis)

Welcome to the jumbo! Based around Gibson’s J-200 gentle giant acoustic, the G-200 has everything we’ve already seen on the G-Writer with a little more fire in its distended belly. 

But it’s not just a case of turning up the bass and leaving it at that. Far from it. There’s an airiness in this region with every note ringing out with authority in each chord you play. It’s also surprisingly warm-sounding, too, and once the Sitka top has opened up a little, this is bound to become even more pronounced. 

Despite its added girth, the G-200 is not a cumbersome beast to either sit or stand with. It’s almost perfectly balanced both sonically and physically. We think we might have picked a favourite.

Gibson Generation Collection

(Image credit: Future / Olly Curtis)

Verdict

What of the LR Baggs pickups? They are unobtrusive and businesslike, transferring the G-Writer’s and G-200’s sounds into our AER Compact 60 amp with no bother at all. But more to the point, do those player ports – the principal reason we’re here, after all – have an effect on the sound of these guitars? 

To be honest, it’s incredibly difficult to tell. All four instruments have an open airiness to them with great definition and clarity and, especially in the case of the little G-00, bags of volume. 

The more pronounced effect is from the player’s perspective; it’s like you have a little monitor right in front of you, giving you a more focused idea of what the guitar is doing. But we tried standing across the room and listening while someone else played the guitar and the consensus was that we can’t determine whether that extra soundhole is contributing much to the guitars’ overall sound. 

Having said that, though, we definitely liked what we heard and wouldn’t hesitate in recommending Gibson’s Generation Series to anyone in the market for a quality acoustic at a very realistic price.  

Specs

Gibson Generation G-00

Gibson Generation Collection

(Image credit: Future / Olly Curtis)
  • PRICE: $999/£899 (inc gigbag)
  • ORIGIN: USA
  • TYPE: Parlour/L-00 acoustic
  • TOP: Sitka spruce
  • BACK/SIDES: Walnut
  • MAX RIM DEPTH: 104mm
  • MAX BODY WIDTH: 373mm
  • NECK: Utile
  • SCALE LENGTH: 628mm (24.75”)
  • TUNERS: Grover Mini Rotomatic 
  • NUT/WIDTH: Tusq/44mm
  • FINGERBOARD: Ebony
  • FRETS: 20 Bridge/Spacing: Ebony/56mm
  • ELECTRICS: N/A
  • WEIGHT (kg/lb): 1.68/3.72
  • OPTIONS: None
  • RANGE OPTIONS: Gibson’s Generation Collection currently comprises the four models we have here on review
  • LEFT-HANDERS: Not as yet
  • FINISH: Natural gloss

Gibson Generation G-45

Gibson Generation Collection

(Image credit: Future / Olly Curtis)
  • PRICE: $1,199/£1,099 (inc gigbag)
  • ORIGIN: USA
  • TYPE: Dreadnought (J-45) acoustic
  • TOP: Sitka spruce
  • BACK/SIDES: Walnut
  • MAX RIM DEPTH: 103mm
  • MAX BODY DEPTH: 460mm
  • NECK: Utile
  • SCALE LENGTH: 628mm (24.75”)
  • TUNERS: Grover Mini Rotomatic
  • NUT/WIDTH: Tusq/44mm
  • FINGERBOARD: Ebony
  • FRETS: 20
  • BRIDGE/SPACING: Ebony/51mm
  • ELECTRICS: N/A
  • WEIGHT (kg/lb): 1.42/3.14
  • OPTIONS: None
  • RANGE OPTIONS: See G-00 
  • LEFT-HANDERS: Not as yet
  • FINISH: Natural gloss

Gibson Generation G-Writer EC 

Gibson G-Writer

(Image credit: Gibson)
  • PRICE: $1,599/£1,449 (inc gigbag)
  • ORIGIN: USA
  • TYPE: Cutaway dreadnought (Songwriter) electro‑acoustic
  • TOP: Sitka spruce
  • BACK/SIDES: Walnut
  • MAX RIM DEPTH: 102mm
  • MAX BODY DEPTH: 407mm
  • NECK: Utile
  • SCALE LENGTH: 648mm (24.75”)
  • TUNERS: Grover Mini Rotomatic
  • NUT/WIDTH: Tusq/44mm
  • FINGERBOARD: Ebony
  • FRETS: 20
  • BRIDGE/SPACING: Ebony/55mm
  • ELECTRICS: LR Baggs Element Bronze
  • WEIGHT (kg/lb): 2.04/4.50
  • OPTIONS: None
  • RANGE OPTIONS: See G-00 
  • LEFT-HANDERS: Not as yet
  • FINISH: Natural gloss

Gibson Generation G-200 EC 

Gibson Generation Collection

(Image credit: Future / Olly Curtis)
  • PRICE: $1,999/£1,799 (inc gigbag)
  • ORIGIN: USA
  • TYPE: Jumbo (J-200) electro‑acoustic
  • TOP: Sitka spruce
  • BACK/SIDES: Walnut
  • MAX RIM DEPTH: 103mm
  • MAX BODY WIDTH: 429mm
  • NECK: Utile
  • SCALE LENGTH: 648mm (24.75”)
  • TUNERS: Grover Mini Rotomatic
  • NUT/WIDTH: Tusq/44mm
  • FINGERBOARD: Ebony
  • FRETS: 20
  • BRIDGE/SPACING: Ebony/55mm
  • ELECTRICS: LR Baggs Element Bronze
  • WEIGHT (kg/lb): 2.14/4.72
  • OPTIONS: None
  • RANGE OPTIONS: See G-00
  • LEFT-HANDERS: Not as yet
  • FINISH: Natural gloss 
  • CONTACT: Gibson
David Mead

With over 30 years’ experience writing for guitar magazines, including at one time occupying the role of editor for Guitarist and Guitar Techniques, David is also the best-selling author of a number of guitar books for Sanctuary Publishing, Music Sales, Mel Bay and Hal Leonard. As a player he has performed with blues sax legend Dick Heckstall-Smith, played rock ’n’ roll in Marty Wilde’s band, duetted with Martin Taylor and taken part in charity gigs backing Gary Moore, Bernie Marsden and Robbie McIntosh, among others. An avid composer of acoustic guitar instrumentals, he has released two acclaimed albums, Nocturnal and Arboretum.