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Saw a really bizarre J50 at GC yesterday


larryplatz

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So, I went back to the acoustic room (like I always do) before leaving Guitar Center yesterday. When I walked in a guy was playing one of the most amazing sounding Gibson slopes I've ever heard. Then I took a close look at it. It was a 1964 J50 ADJ that someone had put a Dove bridge (which was cracked) and pickguard on. Their asking price was $1699. Of course, if it had been all original for that price it would have come home with me. But the sound was unreal and it was light as a feather.I sent an e-mail to my friend the vintage guitar dealer suggesting that he look into it. I know he has access to original bridges and pickguards. And, since GC's return policy is the same on used gear as on new, he could probably buy it, remove the bridge and pickguard and, if they did the unthinkable (removed the finish under that huge bridge) he could just put it back to the way it was and return it for a refund. If all original, this would fetch $2200-2400 in our part of the country. By the way, both top cracks had been really well repaired. I just wonder if it would still sound as good if it had an original bridge. Could that massive ebony Dove bridge have actually enhanced the tone? What do you guys think?

 

Larry

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Of course I agree with you guys. My only concerns are tone and playability. However, that crowd that was mentioned does exist and my friend must cater to them in order to make a living. His clientele will rarely buy anything that's not all original (or that appears all original, if you know what I mean). This worked to my advantage last December when he traded me a '53 J50 for my all original '65 J50 ADJ. I don't care that the original finish has been stripped and a few light coats re-applied. I just know that, compared to the '65, it's a tone monster. Of course, it doesn't hurt that it's also from my birth year LOL. He made the trade because he needed something he could easily sell and I got a great guitar out of the deal.

 

Larry

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Part of it is folks these days forget there was a time when these were just "used" guitars. I am as guilty as anybody of doing things to guitars in an attempt to make them more playable or meet my needs. Looking back at it, had I known what some of the guitars I did this or that to would be worth, I would not have touched them.

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That's a mighty big bridge:

 

GCJ50_zps49903cd1.jpg

 

In a perfect world, it would be all about the tone. But life happens, and one moment we're surrounded by our sonorous wooden boxes, the next moment, we're looking around the room for something we can sell to keep the lights on. One weak bit of logic I use when on the precipice of a GAS indulgence is that, unlike, say, world travel, should the guitar need be converted back into currency, at least it could be done so, albeit at a bit of a loss, but cash back, nontheless.

 

Larry, you asked about the unlikeliness of that bridge actually improving the guitar's sound. That bridge may have been put there long ago (a caveat: check bridge plate inside; oversize bridges can hide some nasty things), & in time, the hide glue's cured, crystallized & gotten to be one with the top.

 

It sounds good to you. The price is right (& negotiable!). I'd bet after a while, you'd get used to it's look, as it feeds your ear.

 

Just beware the dreaded GC Acoustic Room Effect; all of those sympathetic vibrations from all of those guitars make a uke ring as a choir of angels.

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How'd you do that 62burst. It looks exactly like the one at GC. Have I been duped by Photoshop perhaps? I don't think you live in my area, so, oh wait, maybe you pulled the photo off the GC website.

 

Anyway,I just wanted to note something similar. Awhile back I was selling my '69 silverface Fender Princeton. There were several things about it that weren't original. After having the buyer talk about all these things that weren't original and the rough overall condition as the reasons he could only give me $300 (which I reluctantly accepted),on his way out the door he looked back with a grin and told me it was the best sounding Princeton he'd ever heard.

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