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Old 09-27-2022, 06:48 AM
WolfmansBrother WolfmansBrother is offline
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Default What year is your favorite J-45 / J-50?

If you own more than one J-45 / J-50, and you have a favorite one, what year is your favorite? Or if you have played ones from different years and ended up with just one good one that you kept, what year is it?

I'm not asking for "what years are the best." I'm just curious about what other people like based on what they have played.

I only have experience with the vintage models that I own. The shops near me don't get a lot of good vintage acoustics, so I buy online.

I have a '50 J-50, a '62 J-45, and a '64 J-50.

At this time my favorite of the bunch is the '64 J-50. It has the thuddy Gibson bottom end, but it's not as boomy as the others. It has a nice sparkly top end and is more balanced overall. I'm not knocking the other two, they are excellent examples as well, but going by playing time, the '64 gets picked up the most.

What's your experience?
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Old 09-27-2022, 07:11 AM
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warfrat73 warfrat73 is offline
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I haven't played that many, but my friend Bruce has a '53 or '54 J-45 that is one of the best guitars I've ever played.
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Old 09-27-2022, 07:30 AM
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Boozehound Boozehound is offline
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I have a '53 that is amazing. Surprisingly loud and articulate for a Gibson. My '49 is substantially more mellow and warm sounding, but it also needs a neck reset. It's heading out to Judge Wolfe today for an overhaul (including neck set), so I'll be curious to see how the sound changes.

The 53 is probably more immediately impressive sounding than the 49, but I think I prefer the warm, smooth sound of the 49.

My 2017 J45 Standard is no slouch either!
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Old 09-27-2022, 07:31 AM
Mr. Bill Mr. Bill is offline
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It's not about the year, it's about the individual guitar.
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Old 09-27-2022, 08:16 AM
Shadowfox Shadowfox is offline
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What's your experience?[/QUOTE]

To be fair, I've played a lot of Gibson's at CME over the years. And only one I thought was great.

That was this model: https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...ntique-natural

It felt alive, where all the others were good sounding guitars, but nothing more different than what you get from a nice $200 Yamaha IMHO.
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Old 09-27-2022, 09:09 AM
Athens Athens is offline
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Default J45

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Originally Posted by Mr. Bill View Post
It's not about the year, it's about the individual guitar.
Truer words have not been spoken.

Back in my college days my 1965 J-45 N Adj was my workhorse. Once I removed the adjustable saddle and put a solid insert in the tone and sustain improved immensely.
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Old 09-27-2022, 10:08 AM
turfguy turfguy is offline
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I have a 91 SJ45 that I think is fantastic. Full, warm and can get quite loud if needed.
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Old 09-27-2022, 11:37 AM
zombywoof zombywoof is offline
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My favorite remains a 1942 J50. Then again it is the only J45/50 I have owned for many years. Lightly built guitar with long scallop top braces and back braces which are barely 1/4" wide and carved tall and thin tapering to a knife edge thickness. To call the top bracing roughhewn would be a kindness. Gibson apparently did not feel it was worth their while to set one of their skilled workers to doing a final sanding. This guitar also has a wonderous round shoulder C neck carve with a 1.745" nut and depth clocking in at 1.04" at the 1st fret and 1.12" at the 10th.

While I knew I had something special from the get-go, the second-generation luthier who fixed the guitar up for me gave it back saying his father used to call guitars which sounded like this one "once in a blue moon Gibsons" meaning it does something you would not expect it to. In the case of this guitar it has a low end which in his words would make a pre-War Martin D28 Herringbone run for cover. With Banners though what you got had as much to do with quirks and sometimes mistakes in the build as it did with design and specs. Mine has its share of both.
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Last edited by zombywoof; 09-28-2022 at 05:47 PM.
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Old 09-28-2022, 11:28 AM
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I don't currently own a J-45/50 but have owned a bunch and played and worked on a bunch more. My absolute favorite is a 1943 J-45 that a woman in my town has. She went to Nashville 25 years ago and played every J-45/50, new and old, in the city and chose this one. It's fairly beat up, has a visible headstock repair and a replaced bridge but it just sounds absolutely fantastic! Every time it comes in for a setup, I don't want to give it back!

A good friend in New York has owned a bunch of Banner 45's over the past 15 years and he's now down to just one. The best sounding of the lot and it's special! I don't remember the exact year but it's just a killer sounding guitar. He overpaid for it at a store in the city because he'd never heard one that good.

About a year ago, the other luthier in my area called me up and said I had to come check out a guitar he had in for repair. I went over to his shop and it was a recent J-50 and it sounded amazing! It was hands down the best sounding recent Gibson dread that either of us had heard. It belonged to an artist that was endorsed by Gibson and I guess he picked it up at the factory. I don't know if it had custom features or not but man, it was something special and I'm not usually a huge fan of current Gibson guitars.
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Old 09-28-2022, 02:50 PM
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A bit far afield from your original question, but a 39 J 35 was the best guitar I ever played. I've never played any J 45 that was pre 1960 that I didn't like, but they were all different. Forties LG2s find me salivating too.

The Gibson I ended up with is my 65 Epiphone Texan, because I could afford it, and liked the snappier long scale tone. Buyer beware as you venture into the 60s.
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Old 09-28-2022, 06:01 PM
zombywoof zombywoof is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
A bit far afield from your original question, but a 39 J 35 was the best guitar I ever played. I've never played any J 45 that was pre 1960 that I didn't like, but they were all different. Forties LG2s find me salivating too.

The Gibson I ended up with is my 65 Epiphone Texan, because I could afford it, and liked the snappier long scale tone. Buyer beware as you venture into the 60s.
The 1936-1939 J35s are truly amazing instruments. Those three un-scalloped tone bars make a difference. The only other Gibson I can think which had this bracing scheme was the Jumbo. The J45/50, of course, went the two scalloped tone bar route. By the way, Jim Baggett the founder and owner of Mass Street Music in Lawrence, KS loaned Bill Collings his 1939 J35 to use when they were designing the CJ-35.
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Old 09-28-2022, 07:27 PM
negriljerry negriljerry is offline
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Default Recent: a 2019 J-45 Avant Garde

Quote:
Originally Posted by WolfmansBrother View Post
If you own more than one J-45 / J-50, and you have a favorite one, what year is your favorite? Or if you have played ones from different years and ended up with just one good one that you kept, what year is it?

I'm not asking for "what years are the best." I'm just curious about what other people like based on what they have played.

I only have experience with the vintage models that I own. The shops near me don't get a lot of good vintage acoustics, so I buy online.

I have a '50 J-50, a '62 J-45, and a '64 J-50.

At this time my favorite of the bunch is the '64 J-50. It has the thuddy Gibson bottom end, but it's not as boomy as the others. It has a nice sparkly top end and is more balanced overall. I'm not knocking the other two, they are excellent examples as well, but going by playing time, the '64 gets picked up the most.

What's your experience?
MY recent #1 is a J-45 AG, a shot lived Bozeman model with some very desirable characteristics for me - slightly thinner body front to back, cutaway, LBaggs electrics. I had our local guy shave the saddle down a bit, both to accommodate my old lazy hands and to even out the piezo response (high E wasn't quiet as loud).

Has a gorgeous soft sunburst. Feels right. LOve it, no longer having such regret for some of the ones I sold in the last year or so - the Larivee D-03R to my bro who really needed a decent acoustic, the Blueridge BR-160CE which is essentially unreplaceable (find one? good luck) which really was a mistake, but I just got weary of all the headstock bling (shallow, I know).
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Old 09-29-2022, 12:31 AM
Jinder Jinder is offline
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Iíve owned several J45s and have played a ton of them belonging to bandmates and friends. None of them have quite matched my 1967 for tone and responsiveness. Itís loud, dry, sweet, balanced and beautiful. I normally use 13s on my other guitars but the J45 only requires 11s to make it sing, such is itís light and responsive build.

It has a K&K Pure Mini in it and sounds fabulous through my AER amps via the K&K Pure preamp. At some point it was refretted with jumbo frets and I converted it to a fixed saddle bridge a few years ago. Initially the conversion didnít change the tone at all, but it has grown into it with more play time. It plays like butter and sounds wonderful.
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Old 09-29-2022, 06:36 AM
WolfmansBrother WolfmansBrother is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Bill View Post
It's not about the year, it's about the individual guitar.
For sure. That's what I was expecting to see in the responses. You read things like "xx year to xx year are the best" or "don't get xx years because they will have the adjustable bridge / thin nut / etc." but people's preferences can be all over.
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Old 09-29-2022, 08:53 AM
zombywoof zombywoof is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Bill View Post
It's not about the year, it's about the individual guitar.
I think it does matter but only in the sense that both the voice and feel of the J45 changed over the decades. Neck and nut specs varied as did bracing carves and angles, bridges and bridge plates, and such. About the only thing that has remained constant is where Gibson positioned the center of the X brace in relation to the soundhole.

No argument though that it is not a matter of better or worse but just different. While my favorite J45 is a Banner, my second favorite slope shoulder jumbo was built in 1956. So, a very different feel and voice. But while I have owned older and newer Gibsons over the years this remains the only one that I let go of which I still miss.
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Last edited by zombywoof; 09-29-2022 at 09:09 AM.
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