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Old 03-05-2021, 08:54 PM
Hey_day Hey_day is offline
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Default Vintage Gibson differences

I was wondering, build quality, design, tone wise, what are the differences in a gibson (thinking LG, jumbo models) between around 42/43 and 47/48. None are banner era, just before and just after. Any thoughts or experience?
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Old 03-06-2021, 02:51 AM
EZYPIKINS EZYPIKINS is offline
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I have a friend who has hi Dad's early model J-200. Dad's name was Smiley Maxadon. Somewhat of a name in (Hillbilly) music from the 40's and 50's. Pretty beat up guitar. Binding falling off, may have had some other issues. I can't recall, I only saw it once. But the tone that came out of it was unlike any guitar I had ever heard. Full and rich. Every note articulated. Balanced very well. And this was on strings that had to be 20 years old.
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Old 03-06-2021, 10:22 AM
1Charlie 1Charlie is offline
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Overall, there are not that many differences between an LG-2/LG-3 made in 1942/43 and on from 1948/49, if the earlier ones were made to spec.

The issue with wartime Gibsons is that they were often not made to spec, due to shortages of materials. You will find all-mahogany LG-2’s, and some with maple back and sides.

The biggest difference between the two eras are the neck carve (fatter on wartime Gibsons) and nut width (1 3/4” wartime and 1 11/16” postwar).

The other significant difference is in J-45’s. In addition to the above, the bridge on a J-45 made before 1948 is rectangular. Those made in ‘48 and later had a “reverse belly” bridge, essentially a Martin-style bridge upside down.
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Old 03-06-2021, 10:59 AM
zombywoof zombywoof is offline
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As noted, one of the main differences structurally will be some time in 1947 Gibson went universally with a 1 11/16" nut and possibly the bridge towards the very end of the decade.

The thing is consistency was not one of Gibsons strong points. Prior to around 1951 when they re-organized and re-tooled a part was considered finished when it looked "close enough." I have run across two 1947 J45s, as example, one of which weighed in at around 3 3/4 lbs and the other just under 4 1/4 lbs. I also had a 1946 and 1947 LG2 in the house at the same time which sounded different enough you would not think they were made by the same company.

I guess the lesson is buying a 1940s Gibson you have not held in your sweaty little hands is not the best policy. Too many variations on a theme.
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Last edited by zombywoof; 03-06-2021 at 11:14 AM.
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Old 03-06-2021, 11:14 AM
zombywoof zombywoof is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1Charlie View Post

The issue with wartime Gibsons is that they were often not made to spec, due to shortages of materials. You will find all-mahogany LG-2ís, and some with maple back and sides.
The best LG2 I have ever played was a 1944 model with a maple body. I ran across it some three years ago in the waning hours of a small guitar show. Had the seller been able to take any kind of plastic or had I enough time to run home and get a check book (it was Sunday so the banks were closed) that guitar would be sitting here with me right now.
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