Gibson Guitar Board: J50 Deluxe - Gibson Guitar Board

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J50 Deluxe

#1 User is offline   TellyzGuitars 

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 05:16 AM

Hi folks..

New to the forum and thought I'd give the lowdown on my J50, 1970'ish since purchasing it 6 months ago.

The J50 Deluxe...

Looks like a dogs breakfast but plays like a gem....As you can see it's had a lot of play and heavily gigged for many years apparently. The neck was snapped and re-glued 30 odd years ago.

When I got it the setup was all wrong everywhere. Somebody, in an attempt to widen the saddle slot by hand maybe with a knife, I guess to fit a bigger saddle, but did it unevenly both in the width and the depth, consequently the saddle was loosely fitted. With continuous heavy use the slot widened, the saddle getting a good slant on it while the bridge started to crack either side of the slot with string pressure pushing the saddle forward in the slot. Had to make up a jig to re-route the saddle slot evenly, glue the splits either side of the bridge and custom make a saddle from a blank that ended up being 3.6mm wide. The nut was a mess, a new one custom made from camel bone and set up. The bridge pin holes inside on the bridge plate were chewed out, the ball end of the strings pulling half way up the pin holes under string tension, a plate mate fabricated out of brass sorted this out. Relief set, cleaned, polished (wouldn't know to look at it) a good oiling on the fretboard and bridge, new Elixir PB 12's and bob's your uncle....I did say the setup was all wrong in every way!

I swapped out the Gibson tuners in favour of new Gotoh open back and the bridge pins for Camel bone. The exposed spruce on the top I touched up with a few coats of gun oil.

When I got it you could tell the tone was there but just seriously restrained. The work was fairly simple but made a huge transformation on the way this guitar played with a very light playing feel. It is up there as one of the nicest guitars to play and especially responds well to blues/folky/bluegrass flavours....

Playing this guitar, and the Gospel I have, review to follow, just makes me shake my head in disbelief at the negative attention the Double X bracing gets. This guitar is fantastic.

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#2 User is offline   Jinder 

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 05:35 AM

Beautiful! There are some real gems out there from the Norlin double-X era. The original Ď70s iteration of the Gospel (looking forward to your review!) is one of my favourite guitars. Iíve missed out twice on owning really sweet examples and I donít intend to let that chance pass me by again!
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2014 Epiphone IB '64 Texan
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#3 User is offline   Boyd 

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 05:50 AM

Nice! Very similar to my 1974 J-50 Deluxe that I got new. Sat in the closet many years and about 5 years ago it became unplayable. The luthier did a great job fixing everything and I was surprised how good it sounded - much better than when it was new. Whenever my daughter came to visit, the '74 J-50 was the only guitar my son in law wanted to play, so last year I gave it to him on a semi-permanent loan. But you will not find much love around here for these 70's Gibsons. One of our esteemed forum members frequently says they sound like they are "stuffed with old t-shirts". ;)
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#4 User is offline   j45nick 

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 06:03 AM

There are good ones out there from this period, and it sounds like you got one.

Congratulations!
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#5 User is offline   zombywoof 

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 06:19 AM

As long as you like it that is all that matters. If I listened to the opinions of others I would not own a couple of the guitars I do. I actually own a guitar that has the same double X bracing as the post-1971 Gibsons - a pre-War Regal jumbo 12 string. I love that guitar but I admit every time I play it I cannot help but wonder what it would sound like without the second X brace.

The one thing I would consider though is getting rid of that humongous laminate bridge plate that fills in the entire space between the two X braces and replacing it with a traditional maple plate. That thing just dampens the vibration passing through the bridge.
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#6 User is offline   Buc McMaster 

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 06:43 AM

Looks to have some mojo on it. The bridge appears to be shaved..........quite low and relatively flat profile..........or is that typical of the era?
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#7 User is offline   Hall 

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 07:05 AM

Nice, and I understand. I have an SJ from that era I hold on to no matter what. Enjoy your find.
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#8 User is offline   TellyzGuitars 

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 07:31 AM

 Buc McMaster, on 05 October 2017 - 06:43 AM, said:

Looks to have some mojo on it. The bridge appears to be shaved..........quite low and relatively flat profile..........or is that typical of the era?


I wondered the same when I got it. There's no obvious sign of that. Compared it to my mates Blueridge from this era and it's identical so I'm assuming typical for this era.
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#9 User is offline   TellyzGuitars 

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 07:31 AM

 Buc McMaster, on 05 October 2017 - 06:43 AM, said:

Looks to have some mojo on it. The bridge appears to be shaved..........quite low and relatively flat profile..........or is that typical of the era?


I wondered the same when I got it. There's no obvious sign of that. Compared it to my mates Blueridge from this era and it's identical so I'm assuming typical for this era.
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#10 User is offline   Buc McMaster 

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 07:42 AM

One click will do.
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Knowin' where you're goin' is mostly knowin' where you have been. Buc, from Me & Eddie
ATLANTA: Bitter Tears An original account of Gen'l Sherman's march through Georgia in the winter of 1864
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#11 User is offline   Jinder 

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 09:19 AM

 TellyzGuitars, on 05 October 2017 - 07:31 AM, said:

I wondered the same when I got it. There's no obvious sign of that. Compared it to my mates Blueridge from this era and it's identical so I'm assuming typical for this era.


Both Gospels iíve played from that era have skinny bridges too. A shallow neck angle and skinny bridge are typical of the Norlin aesthetic.
#######
2015 SJ200 Standard
2011 Dove
1990 Hummingbird
1967 J45
2014 SJ100 1941 Reissue
2014 Epiphone IB '64 Texan
2001 Epiphone EL-00 (early L1 shape model)
2003 Takamine EAN20C
1978 Hohner Leyanda 12 String
1998 Fender Classic Series '60s RI Telecaster

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#12 User is offline   zombywoof 

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 09:20 AM

View PostBuc McMaster, on 05 October 2017 - 06:43 AM, said:

Looks to have some mojo on it. The bridge appears to be shaved..........quite low and relatively flat profile..........or is that typical of the era?


Someplace in the deep recesses of my mind, I recall something about bridges on 1970s Gibsons, for whatever reason, being inlayed into the top. Could just be a fig newton of my imagination though.
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#13 User is offline   E-minor7 

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 09:41 AM

Hey Tellyz - One cühl lookin' guitar. Those tortoise-bindings were and remain to be a hit.

Most of these XX's actually grew to sound very good - yet in their own way. Glad you dig yours and will await the A/B.

New tuners still tulips ?


You just can't keep coincidences down. .
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#14 User is offline   zombywoof 

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 10:25 AM

View PostE-minor7, on 05 October 2017 - 09:41 AM, said:

[
Most of these XX's actually grew to sound very good - yet in their own way. Glad you dig yours and will await the A/B.



Love the qualifier. But I am thinking a more favorable opinion has as much to do with the rising cost of 1940s and 1950s Gibsons as anything else. Same thing happened with 1970s Teles and Strats. Again, I think comparing guitars is bad business. You either like a guitar for how it sounds and feels at the moment you buy it or you do not. No way you can go wrong and it is a whole lot better approach then buying a guitar that you think you should own or worse yet one that I think you should buy.
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#15 User is offline   bobouz 

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 12:35 PM

Back in the late '70s, I owned a early '70s Dove & Heritage Custom, and both had double-X bracing.

Likewise, both guitars had a sound that I found quite appealing. Unfortunately, the Dove had a very low saddle & I didn't feel like doing a neck reset. The Heritage Custom got traded away for something - been way too long to remember what it was, but it must have been something good, because I really did like that Heritage a lot!
>Gibsons: '22 "A" Mandolin / '66 ES 125T / '90 Tennessean / '00 J-100 Xtra
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#16 User is offline   scriv58 

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 02:34 PM

Let's hear it!
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#17 User is offline   Boyd 

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 02:59 PM

View Postzombywoof, on 05 October 2017 - 10:25 AM, said:

it is a whole lot better approach then buying a guitar that you think you should own or worse yet one that I think you should buy.


So, in other words, we should just ignore you? [biggrin]
1965 Gibson J-50 ADJ
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#18 User is offline   zombywoof 

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 03:37 PM

View PostBoyd, on 05 October 2017 - 02:59 PM, said:

So, in other words, we should just ignore you? [biggrin]


I would.
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#19 User is offline   QuestionMark 

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 05:01 PM

 Jinder, on 05 October 2017 - 09:19 AM, said:

Both Gospels iíve played from that era have skinny bridges too. A shallow neck angle and skinny bridge are typical of the Norlin aesthetic.


My 1972 SJ Deluxe has the same and I bought it new in 1974 so it's unchanged.

Mine has a smaller and much lower original saddle than the one in the J50 Deluxe photo in this string.

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#20 User is offline   Boyd 

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 05:10 PM

Here's the bridge/saddle on my 1974 J-50 Deluxe. The original bridge split and was replaced sometime during the 1980's however. The saddle seemed very low to me but the luthier who repaired everything recently felt it was fine. He avoided a neck reset by planing the fretboard and doing a re-fret.

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This neck crack was also repaired back in the 1980's.


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1965 Gibson J-50 ADJ
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