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NGD: 1943 Banner Gibson J45 (Adirondack/Hog)

#1 User is offline   Static 

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Posted 22 July 2018 - 01:35 PM

Well, I managed to find a Banner Gibson J-45 locally from a very good seller. It is a 1943, a player, and despite some cosmetic issues that will most likely impact collectibility in the future, it has an amazing, rich, woody and dry voice. It has that old Gibson sound in spades. Most old rock and folk tunes I play on it, I am struck with disbelief how the guitar almost sounds exactly like the original record.

It has a two-piece Adirondack top, mahogany back and sides, single-piece mahogany neck and square poplar neck block, baseball bat neck (which I love. Shockingly comfortable, and my hands are far from large) with no truss rod (v-maple core) and the original brazilian rosewood bridge and maple bridge-plate are intact. All the bracing on the inside is clean. Barely any wear to the fretboard at all. And the back and sides are in stunning condition for its age.

There are a few top cracks that have been fixed and the guitar is structurally sound. Very minimal bellying below the bridge, don't think it effects tone. Broken binding on four spots, only on the back binding. Some scarring of the finish on the head from three stickers that were on it a long time ago (the one that was above the banner logo appears to have been a clover). Banner and Gibson logo remain unmolested. Original tuners are completely gone and were replaced with Waverlys, and the original case is also gone.

One of the original owners had sanded off a good portion of the original burst. It is suspected he was trying to convert it to more of a J-50 look. When he sanded down and realized black paint was in all the cracks he sort of just gave up and sold it. The owner I bought it from, who is a fine wood worker and makes replicas of ships, schooners, sailboats and yachts (some of his pieces are in museums) took great care in filling the cracks, bracing them, repainting the top where it was sanded (I think he did a wonderful job), and refinished it with a very thin finish. It was lovingly brought back to life and this gentleman sold it at a very good price to me.

Couldn't be happier with it. What a survivor this guitar is, and I can't keep it off my lap. Rest assured it will be played quite a lot for the remainder of its life. I take such pleasure knowing such love and care was put into bringing this guitar back to life and the beautiful voice it has, well, never left to begin with. Lightest guitar I've ever played, responsive as all heck and the bottom end gives such an amazing thud that I am just addicted to. Sustain and resonance is also a huge surprise. The top and back wood appear to be REALLY thin.

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Also forgot to mention, I don't think it has ever had a neck reset or a re-fretting. Really hard to tell if the nut, saddle and bridge pins are original. They certainly look old, and yella.
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#2 User is offline   jedzep 

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Posted 22 July 2018 - 01:58 PM

Hah! Finally off that freekin' boat. Good for you, man. That's a great ol' keeper.

This post has been edited by jedzep: 22 July 2018 - 02:02 PM

I may not be good lookin', but at least I ain't got no money.
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#3 User is offline   Static 

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Posted 22 July 2018 - 02:04 PM

View Postjedzep, on 22 July 2018 - 01:58 PM, said:

Hah! Finally off that freekin' boat. Good for you, man. That's a great ol' keeper.


Yessir, and I have one more day at home before I have to head out for another 3 weeks at sea. I'm gonna continue to play the hell out of this beast in the meantime cause there ain't no way it's ever goin' on a ship lol
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#4 User is offline   jedzep 

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Posted 22 July 2018 - 02:06 PM

Did you get my photos?
I may not be good lookin', but at least I ain't got no money.
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#5 User is offline   Static 

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Posted 22 July 2018 - 02:15 PM

View Postjedzep, on 22 July 2018 - 02:06 PM, said:

Did you get my photos?


Naw, not yet, I'll pm my email again just incase i sent the wrong one

This post has been edited by Static: 22 July 2018 - 03:15 PM

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#6 User is offline   Dave F 

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Posted 24 July 2018 - 08:17 PM

Nice find. Hope you enjoy it.
It may just be the angle of the camera, but the E and A strings at the saddle look to be closer than the other strings but they were not making perfect guitars at that time.

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#7 User is offline   Static 

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Posted 25 July 2018 - 12:07 AM

View PostDave F, on 24 July 2018 - 08:17 PM, said:

Nice find. Hope you enjoy it.
It may just be the angle of the camera, but the E and A strings at the saddle look to be closer than the other strings but they were not making perfect guitars at that time.


Thanks! I have been unable to put it down. The notes bloom and resonate so much, it almost has a 12-string pop to it.

And the friggin' GROWL and PURR when playing certain bluesey chords and slight bends is unreal. It's becoming addictive.

Staccato bass notes sound deep, rich and full...makes playing old country a blast. My Songwriter has stayed in the case since I brought this home.

Also I think it's just the angle of the picture. Just inspected the E and A at the saddle and they are fine.

This post has been edited by Static: 25 July 2018 - 12:08 AM

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#8 User is online   zombywoof 

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Posted 02 October 2018 - 08:34 AM

Congrats! Considering these were built at a time when a part was considered finished when it looked "close enough" they are al over the place in sound. But I can think of no other guitar that speaks as directly to a certain place and time than these.

I have owned a 1942 J-50 which for me turned out to be the keeper of those I have played. Oddly, mine left the factory with a burst which was shot to cover the mistake of flip flopping one of the two book matched top pieces. Mine was a basket case though when I stumbled across it. But even with an open back seam and four open back cracks this thing had a low end that was so deep it was scary. Over the years though it had also lost the burst. While I personally did not care about the finish my repair guy really wanted to restore it. He had a 1944 J-45 in the shop at the time so copied its burst. Not sure whether it was the lacquer he used or how he shot it on but he wanted the finish to not stand out from the rest of the guitar. Whatever he did, within a year there was enough crazing to make the finish look a whole lot older than it was. Mine though, does not have a lot of sustain. That combined with the low end which my repair guy described as being able to make a pre-War Martin D-28 run for cover is what set this one apart for me. It blooms right out of the starting gate giving you one big note but then quickly decays and gets out of its own way. Add to that the dry snap that only old mahogany can give you and it is my idea of a little slice of heaven.

This post has been edited by zombywoof: 02 October 2018 - 08:35 AM

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