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Holiday Hoser

The voice of a very rare Hummingbird

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Here is the voice of Billy Blue.

 

Not sure quite yet how to imbed but please be patient.

Love to all!

Holiday the Newbie

Edited by Holiday Hoser
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HH, it certainly has that Gibson sound! This is a 1964? It looks brand new. How'd that happen? Who's Billy Blue lol.

 

 

When I got it someone in the 60's painted it periwinkle blue then someone else sanded and sprayed the black. I buffed it and added a new pickguard. Note the L5 neck with block inlays and adjustable rosewood ceramic bridge, very rare!

I always name my guitars for some corney reason when I tried to uncover the label I found the blue so Billy Blue...

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Again, I am still trying to figure out why you think it is an L-5 neck? Here is a photo of a Custom Shop 1963 B45-12. This one has an ebony board with J-200 inlays and even the L-5 Flower pot although they apparently had to lengthen it to fit the humongous headstock. If the guitar is a Custom Shop build it is certainly rare. Gibson could very well have taken a Hummingbird neck and slapped on an ebony board and the L-5 inlays. Basically they did whatever the customer wanted. If it is a FrankenGibson though not so much.

 

GIBSON-B-45-12-02.jpg

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Again, I am still trying to figure out why you think it is an L-5 neck? Here is a photo of a Custom Shop 1963 B45-12. This one has an ebony board with J-200 inlays and even the L-5 Flower pot although they apparently had to lengthen it to fit the humongous headstock. If the guitar is a Custom Shop build it is certainly rare. Gibson could very well have taken a Hummingbird neck and slapped on an ebony board and the L-5 inlays. Basically they did whatever the customer wanted. If it is a FrankenGibson though not so much.

 

GIBSON-B-45-12-02.jpg

 

 

That's a pretty special B45-12. Looks like Brazilian rosewood on the back.

 

 

The flowerpot (or torch, depending on your point of view) is a decorative device that has been used on both mandolins (originally, I believe) and on some high-end guitars over the years. There are at least a half-dozen different variations on it that have been used at various points in time, all similar in concept but different in details. The one on the headstock of my old J-45 seen in my avatar (done under a certain amount of influence from illegal substances back in about 1970, of different colors of abalone rather than MoP) was copied from an old Gibson catalog from the 1920's or 30's.

 

Can't remember if it was from a mandolin or an archtop photo. There are indeed a few gaps in my memory from that period...

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That's a pretty special B45-12. Looks like Brazilian rosewood on the back.

 

 

 

Yup. It has to be the only rosewood body B45-12 in existence. This guitar was featured in Vintage Guitar. The owner still had the original letter from Gibson detailing what they planned to do and what each upgrade would cost. Note the "Custom" on the TRC. Apparently it was the only thing identifying the guitar as a Custom Shop build. I was just trying to figure out why the OP believes it is an L-5 neck. To me, it looks like a standard HB neck with a replaced board and inlays. The key, of course, is did Gibson do it or did somebody make the changes after the fact. If it is a stock HB neck there should be a serial number there. Gibson could possibly have a record of it if the guitar was built in the CS. But even if not, more than a few of us like these modified guitars. You get the sound you want but without the often hefty price tag.

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The flowerpot (or torch, depending on your point of view) is a decorative device that has been used on both mandolins (originally, I believe) and on some high-end guitars over the years.

Without searching through old catalog reprints, if I recall correctly, the first flowerpot headstock inlay appeared in 1922 on the Loar master-model mandolin, and probably on other Loar master-models from that year, including other mando-family instruments & guitar.

 

1922 was also the first official year of the adjustable truss rod, although some were produced late in 1921. My '22 A-style's truss rod still works perfectly, and the ebony fingerboard is dead-on straight (no body cracks either). The Loar era was pretty special.

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Again, I am still trying to figure out why you think it is an L-5 neck? Here is a photo of a Custom Shop 1963 B45-12. This one has an ebony board with J-200 inlays and even the L-5 Flower pot although they apparently had to lengthen it to fit the humongous headstock. If the guitar is a Custom Shop build it is certainly rare. Gibson could very well have taken a Hummingbird neck and slapped on an ebony board and the L-5 inlays. Basically they did whatever the customer wanted. If it is a FrankenGibson though not so much.

 

GIBSON-B-45-12-02.jpg

 

Because Norm Harris of Norm’s rare guitars told him so.

 

 

 

 

JC

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Again, I am still trying to figure out why you think it is an L-5 neck? Here is a photo of a Custom Shop 1963 B45-12. This one has an ebony board with J-200 inlays and even the L-5 Flower pot although they apparently had to lengthen it to fit the humongous headstock. If the guitar is a Custom Shop build it is certainly rare. Gibson could very well have taken a Hummingbird neck and slapped on an ebony board and the L-5 inlays. Basically they did whatever the customer wanted. If it is a FrankenGibson though not so much.

 

GIBSON-B-45-12-02.jpg

The reason I think it is a L5 neck is from Normans Rare Guitar book.

post-96456-051921400 1542169548_thumb.jpg

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That makes more sense, an L5 fingerboard.

 

Yup, that is what I kept thinking - an L-5 style fingerboard installed on a Hummingbird neck. And yes, it does make a lot more sense especially if you are talking about a CS-built HB. So the guitar would pretty much be a stock HB with different bling.

Edited by zombywoof
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Here's something I saw on FB

45805340_10213626673166450_7297504526620164096_n.jpg?_nc_cat=106&_nc_oc=AWONlwd4sPw-rbJ_1v46sUPf6w4AyTCMS8dXci6gLqzqJ6iZKtCz8clthSsgxQ&_nc_ht=scontent.fluk1-1.fna&oh=f8552804a2ed413d532084f446a54b65&oe=5C85C384

 

 

There are other variants on this as well, so these may essentially have been one-off hand-cut versions based on stock styles. The one on my J-45 is more refined and detailed than any of these, and it was copied directly from either a Gibson style book drawing or a photo. I can't remember which. I do remember looking at a number of variations before choosing the one we used.

 

Remember that this was almost 50 years ago, so my memory is imperfect.

 

I tried to post a detailed photo, but photobucket is now useless and I haven't signed on to any other photo hosting site yet. I could email it to someone if they can post it.

 

Here's what instrument-maker and restoration specialist John Hamlett said on the Mandolin Café forum:

 

"Old Gibson inlay work runs from out and out sloppy to pretty good. I usually try for a look like the best example would have looked from the Gibson factory, though it's usually better than the original. it is inappropriate to work to contemporary standards when doing restoration work. If it's a restoration, it should look authentic."

Edited by j45nick

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There are other variants on this as well, so these may essentially have been one-off hand-cut versions based on stock styles. The one on my J-45 is more refined and detailed than any of these, and it was copied directly from either a Gibson style book drawing or a photo. I can't remember which. I do remember looking at a number of variations before choosing the one we used.

 

 

On that 1963 B45-12 note that the base is separated from the pot which had to be done to get the thing to fill in the space on that headstock.

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On that 1963 B45-12 note that the base is separated from the pot which had to be done to get the thing to fill in the space on that headstock.

 

 

Gibson's 12-string headstocks are huge. The one on my ES335-12 was so big that it took me a long time to find a case that would fit it.

 

The way they spread out the flowerpot on the 'bird-12 just reinforces the idea that these inlays are piecework, with no two exactly alike.

Edited by j45nick

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Gibson's 12-string headstocks are huge. The one on my ES335-12 was so big that it took me a long time to find a case that would fit it.

 

The way they spread out the flowerpot on the 'bird-12 just reinforces the idea that these inlays are piecework, with no two exactly alike.

 

My '61 B45-12 came with it original soft shell case which was literally falling apart. I fixed it up with hemming tape and glue but already had a 1960s Gibson Victoria Luggage case in the house so it became the home of the guitar. As far as I can figure these were about as generic as it got. Gibson went to these cases in 1961 so had both the Hummingbird and the B45-12 in the lineup. Although the only post-1960 Gibsons I have owned were 12 strings, it looks like they may have been a one size fits all case. So consequently everything fit but nothing fit perfectly. What are hard as heck to find are original LG hardshell cases. I think I have only ever run across one Lifton and one VL for 00 size guitars. And when you do find them they are not cheap. It is really not hard to figure out why they are so rare. Gibson did not provide "free" cases with their guitars. In the later 1950s and early 1960s, an upper end hardshell case would run you over $40 for a guitar that cost just around $100. A softshell case was only about $12.

Edited by zombywoof

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What are hard as heck to find are original LG hardshell cases. I think I have only ever run across one Lifton and one VL for 00 size guitars. And when you do find them they are not cheap. It is really not hard to figure out why they are so rare. Gibson did not provide "free" cases with their guitars. In the later 1950s and early 1960s, an upper end hardshell case would run you over $40 for a guitar that cost just around $100. A softshell case was only about $12.

Being the starter guitar of the line-up, most folks just automatically went for the low-buck case. There was probably little demand for a case that cost, as you pointed out, almost half the cost of the guitar - so few were made, stocked, & sold.

 

When I purchased my current '66 Epi FT-45n Cortez, I was quite surprised that it arrived in an original alligator hardshell case. Consequently, other than a lot of finish checking, the guitar was in excellent condition, right down to the integrity of the plastic bridge.

 

Just imagine how many vintage Gibson boxes would have survived in great condition if they had all come stock with a hardshell!

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Being the starter guitar of the line-up, most folks just automatically went for the low-buck case. There was probably little demand for a case that cost, as you pointed out, almost half the cost of the guitar - so few were made, stocked, & sold.

 

When I purchased my current '66 Epi FT-45n Cortez, I was quite surprised that it arrived in an original alligator hardshell case. Consequently, other than a lot of finish checking, the guitar was in excellent condition, right down to the integrity of the plastic bridge.

 

Just imagine how many vintage Gibson boxes would have survived in great condition if they had all come stock with a hardshell!

 

 

When I bought my rode-hard 1948-'50 J-45 for $50 back in 1966, I scraped together the extra $10 for the cheapo Gibson-branded "cardboard" case. It offered little protection for the guitar, as I learned the hard way two years later.

 

Many less expensive guitars back in the day--and I put the J-45 into that category--are now in much worse condition than they could be because they didn't have proper protection for most of their lives.

 

After Gibson re-topped my J-45 in 1968, it took me two more years to come up with the $35-$40 it cost for a generic and pretty ill-fitting (but fairly rugged) hard case that it lived in for another 40 years, until it got a "proper" custom Cali Girl case.

 

Cases matter.

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After Gibson re-topped my J-45 in 1968, it took me two more years to come up with the $35-$40 it cost for a generic and pretty ill-fitting (but fairly rugged) hard case that it lived in for another 40 years, until it got a "proper" custom Cali Girl case.

 

Cases matter.

I am sure I'm not the only member who remembers your 45 and the tale behind it, but what is forgotten or never known is with which braces it left the work-shop.

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When I bought my rode-hard 1948-'50 J-45 for $50 back in 1966, I scraped together the extra $10 for the cheapo Gibson-branded "cardboard" case. It offered little protection for the guitar, as I learned the hard way two years later.

 

Many less expensive guitars back in the day--and I put the J-45 into that category--are now in much worse condition than they could be because they didn't have proper protection for most of their lives.

 

After Gibson re-topped my J-45 in 1968, it took me two more years to come up with the $35-$40 it cost for a generic and pretty ill-fitting (but fairly rugged) hard case that it lived in for another 40 years, until it got a "proper" custom Cali Girl case.

 

Cases matter.

Jesus Nick,

Your case has more stories than my whole quiver put together. I find myself humbled but in admiration of these crafty veterans like yourself. I thought when I added a floyd Rose to my pointy Jackson in the 80's I had made the big time. Lessons are learned overtime I see now.

holiday

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When I bought my rode-hard 1948-'50 J-45 for $50 back in 1966, I scraped together the extra $10 for the cheapo Gibson-branded "cardboard" case. It offered little protection for the guitar, as I learned the hard way two years later.

 

Many less expensive guitars back in the day--and I put the J-45 into that category--are now in much worse condition than they could be because they didn't have proper protection for most of their lives.

 

After Gibson re-topped my J-45 in 1968, it took me two more years to come up with the $35-$40 it cost for a generic and pretty ill-fitting (but fairly rugged) hard case that it lived in for another 40 years, until it got a "proper" custom Cali Girl case.

 

Cases matter.

 

 

Here is what happens to guitars that you never bothered with a case for and carried just slung over your shoulder or threw in the back of your VW Bus.

 

Sovereign-2.jpg

Edited by zombywoof

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Here is what happens to guitars that you never bothered with a case for and carried just slung over your shoulder or threw in the back of your VW Bus.

 

1968 VW Beetle in my case (or lack of case). Drove that sucker coast to coast, and 150,000+ miles in between. Cost $1.75 to fill it up during gas wars in Texas (remember gas price wars?), and that would cover another 300 miles at about 55 mph. You generally drove flat-out on the highway with the pedal nailed to the floor, at a stately 63 mph, as long as the road was dead flat.

 

Had my skis on a rack on the back, a luggage rack on the roof, and most everything I owned, including the J-45, on the back seat. We weren't that afraid to hitch hike (although we should have been), and weren't that afraid to pick up hitch hikers either (although we should have been).

 

My parents thought I was going straight to hell. They may have been right.

 

There's only about 5,000 songs in that, somewhere.

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1968 VW Beetle in my case (or lack of case). Drove that sucker coast to coast, and 150,000+ miles in between.

Ha - In the '70s, we had a '65 VW Beetle convertible that we drove all over the western US & up into Canada, with our mid-sized dog in the back seat. Somewhere around Banff, a bear was cruising through the campground parking lot, & we had visions of it ripping through the ragtop to get to our best friend on the back seat. Didn't spend the night at that one.

 

Then there was our '66 VW Van, with reduction gearing & the last year of 6-volt electrics in VW vans. Slow & dimly lit, but luckily, it also had an external oil cooler.

 

A lot of routine oil changes, plugs, & valve adjustments - but we never broke down on the road!

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