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1969 Gibson J50 slope shoulder


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Greetings,

 

I've uploaded photos to my other 'bucket'...

Location of photos

 

As noted in my introduction, I've acquired a 1969 Gibson J-50, and tried to learn all I can about it. Sorting through much disinformation, I've been unable to find the serial number. But, the instrument came with provenance including the original case and the sweet aroma of aging under a bed for 40+ years. The original owner also handed down a Framus electric w/ original receipt written in German, circa 1965. It's likely he purchased this upon return home from his military assignments.

 

It appears in 100% original condition, and has features both expected and unexpected:

 

1969 Gibson xxJ-50xx (correction: 1969 Gibson B25N)

Top: Blonde spruce (width of lower-bout: 14-1/8")

Shoulder: Round/sloped

Ser#: 620920, stamped

“Made in U.S.A.”, stamped

Volute: Yes

Head angle: 14 degrees

Tuners: Gibson Deluxe, original

Logo: Gold Gibson, post-war silk-screen

Nut width: 1-5/8" (1.590" w/ dial caliper)

Neck: 24.75", 20 frets

Top-Bracing: Double X

Bridge: Rosewood, non-adjustable (original)

Bridge-backing-plate: (impossible to tell, fully boxed between x-bracing)

Bridge-pins: Original

Label: None - No evidence there ever was one. The neck-block is skirted by blue (wax?) pen markings, in the shape of a 'line' above and a “D” below.

Pick-plate: 0.025" ‘teardrop’ celluloid (original)

Hard-case: high-end, gold-lining, pre-‘70, all-original, Allegro Music, “in the Freemont Hub” (still in business)

Owner’s Manual: Original w/ warranty card

Finish: Original, confirmed by black-light photos (pending upload)

Paper label: None

 

No description of another like it has appeared anywhere. What perplexes me are the old celluloid pick-plate, non-adjustable bridge, and absence of a paper label, all atypical of the genre. Some suggest one/both have likely been replaced. But, that doesn't seem possible with this particular guitar. Little doubt, it is one of the last round-shouldered J-50's from early 1969, and it may have been built including a few old parts in stock at Kalamazoo. Possibly, it was special-ordered, specifically with these features. I called Allegro Music: old paper sales records are no longer available. Can anyone confirm the serial# is appropriate?

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After a bit more research, I'm going to say B-25N from about 1972. It does have some cross-over features, such as the multi-ring soundhole rosette, that pickguard, the bridge, etc, that someone more knowledgeable than me about early 1970's Gibsons could identify better.

 

The B-series (LG successor)lower bout width should be about 14.5-14.75". By comparison, a slope-J body has always been 16-16.25" wide.

 

The B-25N was pretty much the top of the line Gibson smallbody in this period, which would explain the higher-end case and the individual tuners.

 

If the original poster would give us the body width, we could probably be reasonably definitive about this.

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I would echo KSdaddy's question. The proportions don't seem right for a slope-J series guitar.

 

It looks more like a B-series guitar from the early 1970's, which is reinforced by that serial number.

 

Confirmed measurement over the weekend: Lower bout is: 14.125" (ie: 14-1/8).

So, it's a B20N or B25N. (3/4 sized, not a Jumbo).

Could have saved myself a lot of questioning, with only that clarification.

 

But, I'm still perplexed about the serial number (which does not appear publicized). How does it point to the '70s?

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Confirmed measurement over the weekend: Lower bout is: 14.125" (ie: 14-1/8).

So, it's a B20N or B25N. (3/4 sized, not a Jumbo).

Could have saved myself a lot of questioning, with only that clarification.

 

But, I'm still perplexed about the serial number (which does not appear publicized). How does it point to the '70s?

 

 

Here's a useful link for vintage guitar info, including pre-1979 serial numbers. It's not perfect, but it is one of the best sites for this type of detail. Most other guitar daters are pretty useless when it comes to vintage Gibsons.

 

vintage guitar

 

In the case of your guitar, it's the combination of features, as well as the serial number, that help us pin it down. The body shape and width narrow it to the LG/B series, and other physical details help narrow it even more.

 

Sometimes guitars can be dated fairly precisely, but until 1979, Gibson's varying serial number protocols can make definitive answers difficult to impossible, and you just go on the preponderance of the evidence.

 

Your guitar is not 3/4 size. It is a specific body style that has the same general shape and size as most classical guitars. Gibsons with that particular body style have been in production pretty much constantly since about 1942.

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Thanks for considering with me.

 

A number of times I've poured through the guitarhq stuff until fatigue set in.

From that, it seems this instrument could be anywhere between 1969 and 1972ish.

In the '61--'69 section, I note the repeating cycle of:

3201xx = 1967

3207xx = 1965

420xxx = 1966

520xxx = 1968

820xxx = 1966 or '69 (really?)

Despite the chaotic numbering (non-order), it's hard to believe there wouldn't be a 620xxx in there somewhere.

Then, the system changes in 1970+, reiterates the 6xxxxx system, and indicates all of these absolutely have the 'Made in USA' stamp.

The absence of a label/stamp inside doesn't help.

 

Anyway, I changed the 30 year old strings which made it bright/new again, and I'm enjoying the process of learning to play it.

Chord changes and scales are a bit slow or broken-up. For sure, repetition is the mother of accomplishment.

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