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Gibson J-50 Quest


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And so it begins......life is short and I need a J-50. Don't ask me why as I do not have a logical or justifiable reason. There, I said it...no, my wife does not know about this yet. The hard part was accepting that fact and now for the fun part..looking for the one. No hurries nor rushin, as I relish the homework...the investigatin', learning everything about this guitar....the good, bad n ugly. Love to hear any cool info that might not be readily available about this particular model. Personal stories, opinions, ideas & thoughts. I am not going to narrow or pigeon-hole my scope at this time with a particular range, ie price or date with the only exception being; must have slope shoulder. I'm goin' hunting... B)

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There are several of us who are really pleased with the J50s from about 6-8 years ago. Modern Classic. Fullers and Sweetwater sold a lot of them too.

 

Of course you could go to the 50s - '56 or '57. Some members here are well versed in what changes were made between years.

 

Then of course there are the 60s, with some having adjustable bridges, and some having the narrow nut, and some having the wider nut.

 

Alls I know is getting the recent models got me great tone. They open up for sure after a few years, and I am obviously a fan. I wouldnt sell mine for twice its value (they say about $2k used)

 

Do you NEED one?

 

Of course.

 

First thing I'd do is see if they have any lying around at EM Shorts or Fuller's. Gotta call.

 

There is also this 2004 on Reverb https://reverb.com/i...ibson-j-50-2004

Edited by ThemisSal
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I guess the main thing would be budget first and then what era. Obviously most would avoid the square shoulder ones. There’s a few on guitar center’s site. A couple of modern “VOS” models and a few 60s era ones. Prices seem to be from $2400 and up. Are you a fan of electronics in your acoustic?

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Best of luck in your search! I picked up a 2001 J50 from a dealer in NY about 2 months ago without being able to play it first. Found it on Craigslist at a steal of a price due to the fact that the previous owner had painted the inner rosette of the sound hole black for no known reason. It sat for sale in his shop for months, with the only person using it being himself to teach lessons. I took a gamble, and it was worth it. Looks virtually unplayed except the black paint. Sounds amazing. The wood is older, yet I believe it was a case queen due to the finish not darkening yet. It's at the luthier getting a Colosi bone nut/saddle, the bridge slotted and solid Antique Acoustics bridge pins, and new Holter pickguard. Can't wait to get it back. All in after all the upgrades and setup, it will be less than $1,350 invested for a fantastic player.

 

nRqLnWy.jpg

Edited by thegreatgumbino
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Best of luck in your search! I picked up a 2001 J50 from a dealer in NY about 2 months ago without being able to play it first. Found it on Craigslist at a steal of a price due to the fact that the previous owner had painted the inner rosette of the sound hole black for no known reason. It sat for sale in his shop for months, with the only person using it being himself to teach lessons. I took a gamble, and it was worth it. Looks virtually unplayed except the black paint. Sounds amazing. The wood is older, yet I believe it was a case queen due to the finish not darkening yet. It's at the luthier getting a Colosi bone nut/saddle, the bridge slotted and solid Antique Acoustics bridge pins, and new Holter pickguard. Can't wait to get it back. All in after all the upgrades, it will be less than $1,350 invested.

 

nRqLnWy.jpg

 

Very nice looking guitars. What would make someone want to paint a rosette? Have you tried to get the paint off? That would drive me crazy haha.

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Very nice looking guitars. What would make someone want to paint a rosette? Have you tried to get the paint off? That would drive me crazy haha.

 

I have no idea unless they wanted to make the soundhole appear to be enlarged? I haven't tried anything yet.

 

If the black paint bothers you, take some lighter fluid (napitha) soaked in a cloth & rub. It will probably come right off.

 

Before I received it, I was hoping it was sharpie. After getting it, it's a much thicker coating of paint. Bothered me initially, but for the money and the tone, I can live with it.

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Here's my J-50 family. The middle one is a 1974 J-50 Deluxe that I bought new. Had a cracked neck and bridge repaired back in the 1980's, then it became unplayable around 2012 (due to neglect on my part). Luthier was able to avoid a neck reset by planing the fretboard and doing a re-fret, plus some other minor repairs - cost about $400. It sounded better than new after that. It was always my son in law's favorite guitar, so I gave it to him a couple. years ago.

 

The one on the left is a 1965 ADJ that I got in 2015. Really like it - especially the skinny neck which fits my hand perfectly. Sound is rather unusual with the original rosewood bridge.

 

The one on the right is a 2008 J-50 Modern Classic. It does sound especially nice, just wish the neck was a little skinnier. It travelled to Europe and back in a Hiscox case with no problems. Then the day I returned, I knocked over a chair that hit it and did major cosmetic damage. Oh well, it gives it "character". ;)

 

j50family.jpg

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Just bring the guitar home and if your wife says anything put on your big daddy pants and tell her to go into the kitchen and make you a sandwich. And if that works make sure to let us all know. Actually guitars are fair game around here. My wife has bought two for herself in the past year.

 

I never in my life set out to bring home a J-50. If anything I would have been more inclined to pick up an SJ to replace my '56. But the guitar gods had laid out a path for me to follow and a J-50 is what I got - one of the 144 or so Banners built. Actually it is more like a J 47 1/2 as somebody down the line caught a pretty big screw up in the top build and apparently decided on the spot to shoot a burst on it.

 

Good luck on your quest. The hunt should be fun and may the guitar gods smile upon you.

Edited by zombywoof
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The one on the left is a 1965 ADJ that I got in 2015. Really like it - especially the skinny neck which fits my hand perfectly. Sound is rather unusual with the original rosewood bridge.

 

 

I am assuming you mean rosewood saddle. One of the great mysteries for me is that while I cannot live with a wood saddle in a slotted saddle bridge (my 1955/56 Epiphone FT-79 still had one when I snagged it) I like them in ADJ bridges. Way back when I tried both a tusq and ceramic saddle in my 1963 B45-12 and ended up going back to the stock wood one. But then again that could just be because maybe it dials a 12 string back a notch. I ran across a luthier supply shop though which carries bone saddles for the Gibson ADJ bridges. I did buy one and will get around to trying it out in my '61 B45-12. Keep tuned in.

Edited by zombywoof
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I am assuming you mean rosewood saddle. One of the great mysteries for me is that while I cannot live with a wood saddle in a slotted saddle bridge (my 1955/56 Epiphone FT-79 still had one when I snagged it) I like them in ADJ bridges. Way back when I tried both a tusq and ceramic saddle in my 1963 B45-12 and ended up going back to the stock wood one. But then again that could just be because maybe it dials a 12 string back a notch. I ran across a luthier supply shop though which carries bone saddles for the Gibson ADJ bridges. I did buy one and will get around to trying it out in my '61 B45-12. Keep tuned in.

 

I’ve actually been on the search for a ceramic saddle for my 68 reissue j45 adj. I believe it has a bone adj saddle and I’d like to get it a little more authentic. Do you know what shop you found the saddles in?

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I’ve actually been on the search for a ceramic saddle for my 68 reissue j45 adj. I believe it has a bone adj saddle and I’d like to get it a little more authentic. Do you know what shop you found the saddles in?

 

 

Philadelphia Luthier Tools and Supplies. I know they also carry the rosewood ADJ saddles but am not sure if they stock the ceramic saddles. I believe they also have an eBay store.

 

Blue-G though offers ceramics ADJ saddles for Gibsons. They are in Japan but sell on Reverb and gbase.

 

Stewmac offers the tusq saddles but not ceramic.

Edited by zombywoof
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I am assuming you mean rosewood saddle.

 

Yes, sorry. Playing around with microphones I've noticed that this guitar is not nearly as loud as the 2008 J-50 and the bass notes are especially weak. This is not necessarily bad - just a different sound that is better suited for certain styles (think: Lightnin' Hopkins :) I have a vintage DeArmond pickup that works well in it too. One day I may experiment with different saddles. The 1974 J-50 is remarkably loud - much louder than the 2008. I think that is one reason why my son in law is so fond of it.

Edited by Boyd
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Yes, sorry. Playing around with microphones I've noticed that this guitar is not nearly as loud as the 2008 J-50 and the bass notes are especially weak. This is not necessarily bad - just a different sound that is better suited for certain styles (think: Lightnin' Hopkins :) I have a vintage DeArmond pickup that works well in it too. One day I may experiment with different saddles. The 1974 J-50 is remarkably loud - much louder than the 2008. I think that is one reason why my son in law is so fond of it.

 

I recall an interview with Leo Kottke where he said when it came to 12 strings like the B45-12 you had to throw all of the conventional wisdom about six strings out the window. During the interview he even stated that all 12 strings should be built with ADJ saddles because it kept them from being overpowering.

 

I own three Dearmond 210s (I have had two since the 1960s) and one Kent knockoff which I found NOS still in its original box. They will definitely give you an Elmore James/Lightnin' Hopkins vibe. Have you ever seen the old Silvertone acoustic pickups? The made a single and double pickup versions mounted on a rail so they were adjustable.

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I've always liked roundshoulder J-50s a lot. To me they're all worth a look, vintage or more recent. Starting in 1999, the J-50 was reissued as a regular model in Gibson's lineup (where it remained for quite a few years), and the specs were commendably close to vintage counterparts. I bought one new in 2001, but the neck was a bit too chunky for me, so it eventually was returned.

 

A few months back, the J-50 itch hit me once again, so I renewed the hunt with no era qualifiers. This time, I found a NOS 2015 Custom Shop model, in mint condition. Took an online chance, and it's a sweetheart, with great tone & one of the most comfortable acoustic necks I've ever played.

 

So yes, your quest makes perfect sense. Feed the beast!

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I was originally looking for a J-45 back in 2010 when I came across a 2001 J-50 on the Gruhn website. It was priced surprisingly low for Gruhn's so I bought it. The whole thing has yellowed enough from hanging on the wall that it looks a lot older than it is, and the blonde finish with the batwing pick guard has really grown on me and now I appreciate its rarity compared to all the J-45s out there.

 

It is not a loud guitar and I had thought about selling it but sort of on a whim I had a K&K pure mini put in - a great decision, now when I play with other guys I plug in and have great acoustic tone but louder. It has a pleasing growl when the volume is turned up as well. I've played it enough now that it needs some new frets.

 

TL/DR: You'll love having a J-50 and will enjoy the exclusivity of a low-volume model if you get one from the 90's or 2000's.

Edited by vw1300
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Proclaimer - Here ya go !

 

https://www.guitarcenter.com/Used/Gibson/1960s-J-50-VOS-Antiquity-Limited-Edition-2016-Acoustic-Guitar.gc

 

A 2 year old in excellent condition for a fair price - $2,500!

 

GC will ship to you directly, or to a GC near you so you can go in and play it before bringing it home. Also have a good return policy. G'Luck.

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Get a good j50. I like these two presently ('57 & '61). TID5cSh.jpg

 

There are good ones all along. I would like to find a very good early '50s but it hasn't happened yet.

 

BTW if you look at the shipping totals (for mine..<1000, < 700 respectively) they should be getting harder to find, but they are there.

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If you go to the Guitar Center website and enter "J-50" into the search box, there are 15 used ones ranging from $900 to $3900 going back to 1948. I got my 1965 J-50 at a local Guitar Center and they didn't even argue when I asked for 20% off.

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I’m on a J-45 quest myself - specifically, a 1946 Script. These aren’t too common - less so here in the U.K. I missed out on one I arranged to view earlier this month - but (very strangely) it turned out it was on consignment and once the owner heard someone (I) was seriously interested, he decided not to sell! So I’m searching -,now looking at importing one.

 

I’m also quite interested in a J-50 - the dealer who had the ‘46 J-45 has a few in stock, from ‘48 - ‘56. I read something about the ‘56s (poss thru ‘59) having non-scalloped, shorter braces - which some say gives them a pleasing tone (“better”, to some). Just wondering what people’s thoughts are on this? Certainly, the ‘58 J-50 Jorma Kaukonen played on ‘Embryonic Journey’ sounds good to me (though that may have something to do with the player!)

Edited by Charlie99
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