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1954 J45 Natural


Salfromchatham

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I wouldnt pay that much for something that has been refinished. Never heard of gibson sanding off a sunburst before shipping it out, usually its the other way around to hide an imperfection.

 

TR Crandall has a '54 J50 for $4k, repaired cracks in the back aren't that big of an issue and give you a good launchpad for negotiation. So for a few hundo more you get the real deal and don't have to worry about whether you made a good investment every time you look at the finish.

 

http://www.trcrandall.com/instruments/products/view/4/59.html (no affiliation, just a big fan)

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I wouldnt pay that much for something that has been refinished. Never heard of gibson sanding off a sunburst before shipping it out, usually its the other way around to hide an imperfection.

 

TR Crandall has a '54 J50 for $4k, repaired cracks in the back aren't that big of an issue and give you a good launchpad for negotiation. So for a few hundo more you get the real deal and don't have to worry about whether you made a good investment every time you look at the finish.

 

http://www.trcrandal.../view/4/59.html (no affiliation, just a big fan)

 

Great site. Thank you.

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Without a first-hand inspection, it's really hard to know exactly what to make of this guitar, but I'll go ahead and jump in.

 

First, the seller doesn't mention if it is actually stamped "J-45" on the centerline back joint strip, which it should be if his story has any relationship to reality. His story of the guitar probably having been completed with a sunburst top, but "wiped" and re-lacquered at or shortly after completion is pure speculation with no confirmable basis in reality.

 

The color of the back and sides is more consistent with that of J-50's in the 1950's and 1960's. Most of those I have seen from this period have little or no stain on the mahogany back, sides, and neck, so that they are generally much lighter than you would find on a J-45. This guitar appears to have lighter mahogany.

 

There is a reasonable chance you could determine if the guitar was built as a sunburst by examining the transverse top brace just forward of the soundhole. This will often show signs of dark overspray from spraying the dark part of the sunburst on the top of the treble bout. You might also see this with a mirror inspection of other parts of the top inside and around the soundhole.

 

The stated serial number is not consistent with his claim that the guitar is a 1954. It is formatted as a FON, and the leading number should in fact be the letter X if it is a 1954, and it should still be a 19-fret neck and small guard. Normally, you would see the FON ink-stamped on the neckblock in the mid-50's. It is possible that he has mis-read the leading number/letter, which could be an S instead of a 6. If it is S, that would make it a 1959. The five-digit stated serial number would probably make the guitar a 1963, but I don't believe it would have been followed by the two-digit "number-in-batch" in 1963.

 

Another thing that bothers me is that there appears to be a fair amount of rounding on the back edges of the top of the headstock, but if the finish is original, it should be worn off in those areas to explain the rounding. You can't judge this from the photos.

 

A first-hand inspection might solve these mysteries, but pending that, I would not consider this guitar at the asking price.

 

All in all, you simply can't tell from the photos, but the description is really speculative and potentially misleading. It could be a very nice late-50's or early 60's J-50 (or re-finished J-45), but I don't think it has been properly identified

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Is it just the pics or is there some weird ware at the top of the bridge? I say weird because the strings are there to stop anything from rubbing there and the strings themselves should not be the culprit. Why would it be assumed that this was originally sunburst?

 

 

I'm pretty sure it's just a reflection from overhead lighting that makes it look like unusual wear on the front of the bridge.

 

The only reason it would be assumed to be sunburst would be if it was stamped "J-45" on the centerline backstrip, and he doesn't mention that.

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Just as a reality check….here is a G-base 1954 Martin D-18 that supposedly sold for $8K …..while I think that is quite high for that guitar…..it still amazes me how vintage Martins sell for that much more than the equivalent aged Gibsons……That Gibson may be a bargain….lol

 

http://www.gbase.com/gear/martin-d-18-1954-natural-1

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It might just be the seller does not know a '54 Gibson from a can of tuna. Not sure what he means by the headstock SN but if that is where it is it again indicates Gibson got hold of the guitar to work on at some point. This could explain the removal of the finish (if it started life as a J-45) and even the large pointy pickguard. But as noted, there is no way to get around the 20 frets. Just one man's opinion but I would not go near this guitar without being able to eyeball it.

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