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help dating a 60's J45

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Hi everyone

I'd like to pick some of your brains and get some help dating a 60's J45 and figuring out a price. I'm thinking of buying it.

I have a friend who is thinking of selling his old J 45 but knows very little about it.

He bought it used in the early 70's (he's now in his early 70's) He has 5 Martins so never plays this Gibson.

I've checked all the usual on line places to try and find out more about it, but have run into a few unanswered questions

It's not in the best condition but plays well and stays in tune.

The 6 digit serial number starts with 604 what I can find in 69 the serial numbers did have any 604 numbers

1966-69 600000-600999

1969 601000-601090

1969 605901-606090

It's a slope shoulder so it can't be a 70's and there is no Made in USA on the head stock.

The only thing I can see on the neck block is a stamped letter G. The tuners have been changed the bridge has been changed

and there is a crack from the bridge to the bottom of the guitar.

Here are some pictures I took this weekend. He was nice enough to let me take it home to try and find out more about it.

Any help would be appreciated

 

I saved all the pictures in a format the website doesn't like so I've fixed the first one and will post the rest when I have time

to fix the rest.

 

20180824_082822sm.jpg

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Here's the rest of the pictures.

 

Crack running from the e string bridge pin to the bottom of the body and the replacement bridge.

20180824_082402sm.jpg

 

It's hard to see in the pic but the frets have been filed and I don't know if the banner is someones initials(TWM) or if Gibson did it.

20180824_082437sm.jpg

 

Replaced tuners

20180824_082525sm.jpg

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It doesn’t appear to be in too bad of shape. The crack is repaired, so no biggie. The bridge is definitely a replacement, likely of an adjustable bridge. The faded cherry sunburst leads me to believe it is from the mid-60’s not later. The bridge seems to have a very diagonal angle for the saddle. Much more than any slant I’ve historically seen. If you can try to play it, double check how it’s intonation is at the 12th fret. Even the 10th fret. If it’s fine, no worries. Otherwise, you may need to replace the bridge. If you do, it might be a quite awesome J-45. I am wondering if someone once replaced the original adjustable bridge and in doing so, caused the top behind the bridge to crack and then fixed the crack and replaced the bridge with a bit of an unusual one with too much of a diagonal saddle angle, causing it to be sold and your friend to buy it on the cheap in the 70s. If so, a little investment to put in a standard bridge might cause the guitar’s value to soar. Just speculating.

 

I can’t help but fixating on the saddle’s exaggerated diagonal angle, probably hurting its value, but keeping it mind it can be restored by a good luthier with a proper bridge.

 

Just my thoughts.

 

QM aka Jazzman Jeff

Edited by QuestionMark

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Thanks for the reply QM. How much do you thing the frets being files hurts the value.

The guitar plays well and stays in tune but I'm worried that the frets will need replacing sooner than later because there

isn't much left of.

I'll check the intonation when I get home.

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Well, the guitar does not have that bizarre Gibson logo doodad on the scratchplate which you tend to see in 1968.

 

To narrow it down a bit you can measure the nut width. If it is 1 11/16" the guitar would have been built no later than early 1965. If it is 1 5/8" you are looking at a guitar built from 1965 on.

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Checked the nut and it's 1 11/16. Put a small mirror in side and every thing looks good.

No signs off loose braces and you can see where the crack is glued. I have it here at

home until next Thursday so I've got ti e to deside if I'm buying it. I'll let you guys

know at the end of the week how it pans out.

Thanks for everyone's help. It would have been nice if Gibson had a better numbering system

back then. It is what it is.

Edited by usernameinvalid

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Thanks for the reply QM. How much do you thing the frets being files hurts the value.

The guitar plays well and stays in tune but I'm worried that the frets will need replacing sooner than later because there

isn't much left of.

I'll check the intonation when I get home.

 

My own approach is not to worry about frets being worn or filed unless fretting clarity problems start surfacing. I have a number of 1930s to 1970’s instruments as well as newer instruments, all of which I or someone else played the heck out of them. And, yes, some show some fret wear because of their use or I’ve even filed a few frets so they play better, but never have I even considers having a refret job on. The only time I would is if a fret became unplayable or produced an unclear/sprinty sound. (Which is more likely to be a truss rod adjustment or too low of a saddle matter anyway.).

 

What I suggest you do, is call George Gruhn Guitars (or perhaps it’s known as Gruhn Guitars) in Nashville. George Gruhn and his store is the guru on vintage guitars as what they say influences prices in the vintage guitar market. I have called them before I have bought most vintage instruments. They freely share info over the phone such as the info you wrote about in your posts. I’d ask about the G. I’d asked about the affect of pearloid initials (also if they recognize them), faded cherry sunburst and a batwing pickguard on a faded cherry sunburst J-45 with the serial number range you mention, no Made in America stamp, fretware, cost affect of a single seemingly well prepared crack, and how much is the affect of a replacement bridge that has an unusual saddle angle. (As well as how much is a replacement bridge if you chose to later have one.)

 

Gruhn also does bonafide formal evaluations for a fee with a photo, but frankly, I have never paid anything by my just calling them and getting their free discussion opinions. Keep in mind, they are always looking for golden grail guitars so they are always anxious to stumble upon one by hearing about guitars and taking about them.

 

Let us know what they say if/when you do call them and what they will freely tell you.

 

QM aka Jazzman Jeff

Edited by QuestionMark

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I checked the intonation and the only string that is sharp is the high e.

Check open string, fretted at the 12 fret and harmonics at the 12.

I'll see what happens on Thursday when I see the owner. If he doesn't want to much

I think I may buy it.

Thaks again for all the info.

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It's from 1969, per Gruhn's second edition:

 

> 600000 to 606090..... high end models, 1969.

 

The belly-down bridge footprint is correct, but it appears to have been changed out to a non-adjustable type.

 

The thin pickguard may also have been changed out, as I believe Gibson still used the thick mid-to-late '60s pickguards in 1969.

 

As we know, everything changed in 1970, so it's possible the bridge & pickguard were part of a transition phase - but if forced to guess, I'd say the higher probability is that they were changed out.

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