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Looking for an old J45


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My uncle gave me an old J45 from 1948, when I was 18 years old or so...about 1970. His mother purchased the guitar for him brand new in 1948, but he lost interest in playing and gave it to me when I wanted to learn. He spent some time with me, showed three chords, and told me I could play most songs with those three chords. I played that thing for many years and even though I played it a lot, I really did not learn to play the guitar....that would be another story.


Anyway, I played that thing until the early 90s and it was getting pretty well beat...if you know what I mean. The frets were badly worn, it had terrible pick scratches, and the ears (for lack of a better term) on the tuners had started to break off due to being very brittle from age. At the same time, my uncle was diagnosed with liver cancer and did not have a lot of time to live, so I thought it was only right that he have his old guitar back. However, as I said it needed some work.


I took it to the local guitar shop and asked what they would charge to replace the tuners and was given a quote that was acceptable to me so I left it and came back a week later.


HOLY CRAP! What a mess....they installed some ultra modern, chrome plated, hi zoot tuners and butchered the head stock on the guitar. Needless to say, I was rather upset and vocal.


I suppose that I was somewhat to blame as I did not specify I wanted something that looked period correct, but crap, who would ruin a nice old Gibson with junk like that.


After my uncle's funeral, his brother got the guitar. His brother died within a year or so and the guitar disappeared at that time...in 94 or 95. It may have ended up in a pawn shop, guitar store, or who knows where....but it is gone and has not been seen by any of the family since then.


So, I thought I might post this here and see if anyone in the Metro St. Louis are might have seen this guitar or MIGHT even know where it is today? As stated above, it is a J45 from 47 or 48 that would have the most hideous chrome plated tuners installed you have ever seen. If you have ever seen this guitar, you would remember it, as you would never forget how ugly the "repair" was.


If any of you have any information about this guitar, I would be interested to hear what you know...I've always wondered where it ended up.

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Good of you to try and reconnect with that old friend of the family; don't regret the chrome-plated paint cans that probably went on where the original tuners were- we were so much younger then, and even into the late 1980's/early 1990's, they were just "old guitars".


As these old guitars were not as valued as they are today, many serial numbers didn't get recorded, but old photos can be very helpful in identifying guitars- unique wood grain and pickguard patterns, and "modifications", such as the one on this Banner Gibson Evil Luthier/Forger Special complete neck currently for sale on eBay:




It's a good idea to photo-document any guitar in case it goes missing. There are also sites online to register stolen or missing gear, such as this one at the UMGF: Missing or Stolen Gear Registry

There are even a few who track and record vintage instrument (mostly old Martin) listings on the Martin Vintage Corner.


Dig up an old photo; we'll keep an eye out for yours. Hope you find yours, or in lieu of that, you can maybe provide a welcome home for it's sibling.

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This story upsets me. If you were given a 'like new' '48 J45 in 1970, how did it get 'pretty well beat'? It shouldn't have been the result of normal play. What a shame to have beaten that gem up. Pick scratches? I'll never understand how a pick can gouge a soundhole or top, even if you're windmilling the sucker.


I'm looking to once again make an old J45 part of my collection. That model year in decent shape would be worth 5 grand and up. Sad that it's in rough shape. Maybe it would be better not to know.

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You probably should try reading the first line again....my uncle got the guitar in 1948. He played it in high school, it went to Korea with him and all over hells half acre BEFORE I received it in the early 70s. I added some wear to it during my time in college.


Really sorry you're upset....but don't lose any sleep over it. I'm simply curious if anyone might have run across this guitar.


You know what bugs me....people that don't wash their car once a week. You keep yours clean?

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