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ezra1

Refined 50s SJ or TV SJ

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I have been wanting another Southern Jumbo.

Online I have found a refinished 50s SJ that looks good ,has a new bridge and neck reset.

I have also come across a TV Southern Jumbo circa 2008. It is clean.

They are basically the same money and I cannot play either because they each are too far away.

So......should I go with the older wood or the Montana guitar ?

Thoughts ??

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Without playing them, it's a shot in the dark. The late-50's SJ will have non-scalloped top braces, the modern one is likely to have scalloped braces, so there will almost certainly be some tonal differences. Unless it is a high-quality re-finish on the older SJ, it will never have much value, and even then, its value is pretty much cut in half.

 

Buying vintage is tricky especially when you can't see or play it. There may be worn frets, a worn fretboard, undisclosed wear or previous repairs, etc.

 

Buying blind? The newer guitar is a safer bet.

 

In either case, you want detailed photos of all aspects of the guitar.

 

I've had good luck buying guitars I couldn't play first, but "luck" is the operative term.

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The refin is a 52 and the tuners have been changed.

I have been lucky on internet buys too....but if the older guitar needs anything done it would be an extra expense.

I am thinking the newer one might be a safer bet.

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I responded on another forum to your question as well. I owned a Southern Jumbo True Vintage Hide Glue (which means that hide glue was also used on all the top braces as well as the neck joint). It was an amazing guitar - and one (stop me if you heard this one) I regret swapping out. Although the specs said Adirondack top for the model I had - which I think was a 2011 or 2012 - I was certain that it was sitka. Even Montana could not tell me the top used on the build - although when I sent them pictures they felt I was right in thinking it looked more like sitka. Frankly, it mattered none. The guitar was fantastic. Dry, woody, crisp, light, and airy with the typical Gibson slope low E thump and growl.

 

For me the choice would be the SJTV.

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I looked at the pictures of the refinished '52, and it looks like a decent job. However, it is still an unknown quantity.

 

Like Sal, I'll stick with the modern SJ.

 

Incidentally, I have a 2006 Fuller's 1943 SJ re-issue. It is a spectacular guitar. I bought it sight-unseen online from a dealer in LA a few years ago. It's one of the best online guitar buys I've made. I also just bought a one-owner 1950 J-45--also without the opportunity to inspect it or play it-- which needs another $1000+ in work before it is truly playable. Fortunately, I had expected the guitar would need additional work. It's also a very special guitar.

 

The modern guitar is still a safer bet.

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Buying blind? The newer guitar is a safer bet.

 

By far! A guitar can suffer a lot of wear in 67 years!

 

 

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I’ve found buying vintage on line is great as long as there is a return policy. I have no problems paying return shipping if I decide I don’t like it. If it’s not as advertised, return shipping is on them. Always use PayPal and always retain a paper trail. I’ve bought over a dozen this way. Had to return three. Of those, I had one where PayPal had to step in and settle in my favor.

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To me it depends what else is in your stable. If you have a guitar that is your main player, and you want to accompany that, I'd probably go vintage (after asking all the correct questions people on the forum will tell you to ask). If the guitar is expected to be your main player, I would probably go newer thinking its probably a little more solid overall condition of the guitar.

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My other Acoustics are a Bedell 64 Dreadnought and a 1931 Dobro.

I had until recently a 1968 Square Shoulder SJ that I stupidly sold.

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My other Acoustics are a Bedell 64 Dreadnought and a 1931 Dobro.

I had until recently a 1968 Square Shoulder SJ that I stupidly sold.

 

You are probably aware that a modern slope-J SJ will be a totally different animal from your square dread version.

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They all sound different.

I asked the guy with the 52 some specific questions by text last night and have not heard back from him.

Asked about something I saw where the binding meets the side,if there was any missing binding or shrinkage on the binding or pg.

Were there any wear on the fretboard where Cowboy Chords are played and if the frets needed dressing and could I get under them easily to bend strings.

These are all things I would be looking for if I was there to play it and photos don't always reveal everything.

So if I don't hear back from him I will assume that maybe some of these questions are a yes.

But it looks really good in the photos and he has told me it sounds good.

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They all sound different.

I asked the guy with the 52 some specific questions by text last night and have not heard back from him.

Asked about something I saw where the binding meets the side,if there was any missing binding or shrinkage on the binding or pg.

Were there any wear on the fretboard where Cowboy Chords are played and if the frets needed dressing and could I get under them easily to bend strings.

These are all things I would be looking for if I was there to play it and photos don't always reveal everything.

So if I don't hear back from him I will assume that maybe some of these questions are a yes.

But it looks really good in the photos and he has told me it sounds good.

 

 

I noticed some of the issues you raised, such as the finish missing right below the binding on the side.

 

It is almost inevitable that there will be wear in the freetboard in the first position after 65+ years if the guitar has been played hard. That's one reason the ebony fretboard of a vintag Martins is generally likely to be in better condition than the rosewood fretboard of a well-played vintage Gibson.

 

Ebony is roughly twice as hard as rosewood.

 

Close-up photos of the fretboard taken at an oblique angle at the first four frets will give you some idea of wear. John Shults of True Vintage Guitar told me that the most consistently likely issues are loose braces, a loose bridge needing re-gluing, and a neck needing re-setting. At least two of those bases may have been covered by the described work.

 

Of course, it would also be nice to know exactly why that work was required, especially the refinishing part.

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I don't know, man. If the guitar had black curiously painted only in the area of the neck heel with the only "finish cracks" going across the center of that area, and if the neck joint did not look to be a clean, professional job, I might think twice. Someone on the forum was recently telling how they had some binding replaced, and it looked so good, it was hardly noticeable. If it looked rough, it might be a good idea to have a photo underneath, showing the original kerfing inside. Especially if the asking price had you more than half way to a nice old early-mid 1950's Southern Jumbo.

 

Some pics of some other '52's in the area of the heel:

 

uuEPUNb.png

 

cDhSojM.png?1

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j45Nick I hope that I do hear from him.

I had to have my luthier work on my 68 SJ when the bridge started lifting and I wanted to install a LR Baggs pickup.

Turned out that there had been a previous bridge repair and the guy used epoxy.

That was not good.

My luthier is good and it was a pain to work on it but he got it done.

You never know about previous repairs and what methods used.

For example there is a 1939 J-35 for sale now. That has a replaced top from a J-50.

J-50 pickguard.

I asked if it has J-35 or J-50 bracing.

It has non scalloped x bracing .

So......that guitar is an acoustic partscaster.

Another late 40s SJ selling at about 6k with a replaced top by a reputable luthier but still that is a lot of money for that IMO.

I would like some old wood but so much can go sideways on an acoustic purchase even if you got the guitar in your hands.

I have spent some time around Vintage electric guitars and old amps.

But Acoustics ,to me are more delicate and if the seller doesn't volunteer information or respond to questions I am in the dark.....somewhat.

My thinking on an older acoustic is buy from a Musician with a good reputation or someone like Carter's in Nashville.

Edited by ezra1

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62burst, the 52 has no clear shots of the heel.And the binding is very white.

Edited by ezra1

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I was looking for something more like your previous example with a shot at an angle from the back.

What do you think about the heel from the photo 62burst ?

Edited by ezra1

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If you already have a '60s SJ, I would buy the Woody. Although similar, they will have different voices with the differences in age etc.

 

Personally, I wouldn't buy a 67yr old guitar sight unseen without a watertight returns policy. I'd expect to be in it for a neck reset and refret at the very least.

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What do you think about the heel from the photo 62burst ?

ZoZuc7V.png

 

'Just think it strange that the rest of the neck, back, and sides have no black, as opposed to the ‘52’s shown on the 1st page of this thread in reply 15, which have no black paint in that area. Although as on the guitar in question, it is better to see multiple finish cracks in that area than just one there, which would look something like this:

 

bIRyQpc.png

 

. . . good to keep in mind that a neck reset can be a very dramatic event if things don't go well, and resets are definitely in the luthiery don't-try-this-at-home category.

Also noticing that the gloss seems to not be present in that small area. 'Just being aware, as there was a recent thread here on the forum about a guitar considered that had a neck heel crack, http://forum.gibson.com/index.php?/topic/145513-is-this-worth-the-price/page__p__1971760__hl__%2Bneck+%2Bheel+%2Bcrack__fromsearch__1#entry1971760

Edited by 62burst

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Thank you 62burst and J45nick for your insight.

The Woodie SJ will scratch my itch for now but someday I want some old wood.

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