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Urgent question on J45

#1 User is offline   Tony Clifton 

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 12:05 PM

I have a 24 hour inspection on a j45. This is a banner year. Looks like all original except perhaps bridge and of course a couple of cleats on center seam coming up. Asking price is 7500. Itís a 1945 with addy top and hog. Thoughts on fairness of lrice. How cleats affect sound if at all (they seem large (about an inch square and are two separated by bracing). Please advise. Thanks !!!
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#2 User is offline   tpbiii 

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 02:04 PM

View PostTony Clifton, on 16 February 2018 - 12:05 PM, said:

I have a 24 hour inspection on a j45. This is a banner year. Looks like all original except perhaps bridge and of course a couple of cleats on center seam coming up. Asking price is 7500. It's a 1945 with addy top and hog. Thoughts on fairness of lrice. How cleats affect sound if at all (they seem large (about an inch square and are two separated by bracing). Please advise. Thanks !!!


Cleats should be fine. Even though we have six banners -- including one like yours -- I can't give you good advice on prices. We have had ours 15 years or more.

For many years they were overlooked by much of the market, but because of a flood of new interest due to on-line documentation and a book, the price shot up. Then it peaked and receded but still remained inflated.

They are not as strong as the 30s guitars, but they are wonderful in their own way.

Good luck,

-Tom
Never criticize a musician until you have walked a mile in his shoes. Then you will be a mile away and you will have his shoes.
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#3 User is offline   jvi 

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 02:14 PM

seems like a lot of money if your not sure of repairs, a refinish can be very hard to spot but can halve the price, large cleats could be a less than top notch repair persons work as well, if your getting from a reputable dealer ask questions re previous work, also posting good pics here will let the folks who know more than I see it and comment - good luck !
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#4 User is offline   j45nick 

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 03:17 PM

That's not a give-away price. A picture would useful. Does it have a factory order number (probably ink-stamped on the neck block, visible through the soundhole) or a trussrod?

Condition is a big driver of value, even for banner years. Is the bridge a replica of the original (rectangle 1" x 6" with a slot-through saddle), or something else?

Repairs that do not replicate the original and any refinishing will dramatically cut value. For $7500, you should be able to get a pretty decent banner J-45 not needing ANY repair.

This post has been edited by j45nick: 16 February 2018 - 03:27 PM

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#5 User is offline   aliasphobias 

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 05:41 PM

I have to agree with the above responses. From what I have seen condition drives the price of all vintage guitars, no matter the era. To ask the question here certainly shows uncertainty on your part. If I was getting ready to plunk down that money I would have be certain. Good luck with your decision! I don't think it's the last chance you'll ever have at one of you pass. I think you can find a nice example if that is your budget.
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#6 User is offline   Tony Clifton 

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 09:23 PM

Thanks so much. No serial number on block. Glue looks old and inside looks pretty darn spotless...why keep it? Because it sounds like a cannon and is amazing but also wanna know exactly what I am getting for the $$$...pleas let me know thoughts, friends!

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#7 User is offline   Dave F 

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 09:57 PM

For that money I would expect all original in excellent shape. Some wear and a couple repaired cracks would be acceptable.
But if it does something for you, thatís a different story.
Then I would factor in any repairs like neck reset , bridge replacement, ......
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#8 User is offline   george wooden 

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 12:00 AM

For those $'s I would expect a full medical history, how many techs have laid hands on it, and done what? Did you have a trusted luthier give it a close inspection? For the money you are contemplating spending you can just about purchase any prime specimen you like, with a clean bill of health.
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#9 User is offline   j45nick 

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 06:00 AM

That's a very clean guitar. The cleats on the cracks look fine. The bridge looks like a correct copy. Looks like it might be a one-piece back, but it does have a trussrod. There are experts here, like JT, who could comment on things like the relative roughness of the back bracing scalloping and the characteristics of the sunburst. Remember that the ladies building these had relatively little experience when they started out.

Without a first-hand inspection, I couldn't comment on the originality of the finish--a big driver of value--but it is not out of character for the period and for what we see on some other banner J-45's.

I assume you've been on the banner registry website to see if you can tell if it is a guitar listed there:
banner registry

Are your buying from a reputable dealer or collector? Do you know who did the work on the guitar?

This post has been edited by j45nick: 17 February 2018 - 06:37 AM

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#10 User is offline   OldCowboy 

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 07:18 AM

There's not as much against it as I had initially thought, but the asking price is a bit - shall we say - discomforting. If you really want to drop that much cash, you could likely do better. How it plays and sounds is an entirely different matter, and probably best left to your personal taste and judgment.
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#11 User is offline   Tony Clifton 

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 11:15 AM

Thanks guys. Very helpful. The seller is a collector who also,sold me a 000-28 from 1946 on reverb. He is downsizing and really wasn’t planning on selling this until I talked to him. I do not se it on the registry.

It’s a 1945 and one piece hog back. Almost sure top is Adi. It plays real loud without crapping out. Incredible dynamics.

Bridge had some finish cracking right around it so thought maybe replaced but hard to tell. If they did it was a damn good job.

Didn’t expect cleats but several luthiers have told me cleats aren’t bad at all and don’t effect sound. Very common on center seams on these old light braced guitars. Or so I am told They point out prewar martins had cleats and braces etc also,touch top like a cleat. As far as finish it appears original.

I did a green light test and the scratches are not glossed over with overspray or whatever. Checking is consistent with none in binding. 7750 is the best he will do with original case.

Certainly a good price compared to what is on reverb or gbase or enemy for banners in this shape. But I am not a collector like you guys and perhaps,people sell here for less. Don’t know about that.

This post has been edited by Tony Clifton: 17 February 2018 - 11:18 AM

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#12 User is offline   j45nick 

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 12:11 PM

View PostTony Clifton, on 17 February 2018 - 11:15 AM, said:

Thanks guys. Very helpful. The seller is a collector who also,sold me a 000-28 from 1946 on reverb. He is downsizing and really wasnít planning on selling this until I talked to him. I do not se it on the registry.

Itís a 1945 and one piece hog back. Almost sure top is Adi. It plays real loud without crapping out. Incredible dynamics.

Bridge had some finish cracking right around it so thought maybe replaced but hard to tell. If they did it was a damn good job.

Didnít expect cleats but several luthiers have told me cleats arenít bad at all and donít effect sound. Very common on center seams on these old light braced guitars. Or so I am told They point out prewar martins had cleats and braces etc also,touch top like a cleat. As far as finish it appears original.

I did a green light test and the scratches are not glossed over with overspray or whatever. Checking is consistent with none in binding. 7750 is the best he will do with original case.

Certainly a good price compared to what is on reverb or gbase or enemy for banners in this shape. But I am not a collector like you guys and perhaps,people sell here for less. Donít know about that.


It's basically probably full retail price, but if the neck angle is good and the wear level doesn't interfere with playability, it's probably a fair price these days.

The small cleats wouldn't bother me at all. They're extremely common on vintage guitars, and this is almost certainly just a top seam separation, which is also common due to the small gluing area of the top joint. It looks like a lovely two-piece Adi top.

It sounds like you have done your homework.

It's easy to become obsessed with banner Gibsons, because their history is so unique. They're almost all pretty cool pieces of history, but like many vintage guitars, not all of them are great instruments. Their tonal qualities are all over the map, in part because of the mixes of woods often seen due to wartime shortages. If this one speaks to you, that's a big plus. The apparent condition is also a plus.

Finish cracking around the bridge is not necessarily indicative of a bridge replacement. The inside of the top is stunningly clean. The bridgeplate shows the original circular saw marks, and very little wear. Unless you know it is a replacement, it might well be original, since there is no trauma to the underside of the top, as often occurs when removing an old bridgeplate.

It looks like a really nice example.
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