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Dafgog
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Yep, I've got two 1949-50 J-45's, one of which I've had for more than 50 years. 

I happen to prefer a slightly warm tone, and am using DR Sunbeam round-core PB 12-54's. I use those on all four of my Gibson flat tops right now. Don't play out, so I don't use amplification.

Tell us the Factory Order Number ink-stamped on the neck block inside, and we'll give you a good idea of when it was built.

The alligator chipboard case you have was probably bought when the guitar was new. You may want to get a more substantial case if the guitar ever leaves your house. The J-45 did not come with a case back then. You bought it separately.

For others on the forum, please note the position of the bridge pins in the bridge on this guitar. As on my guitars from this same period, the pins are set about 3/8" (10mm) forward of the back edge of the bridge, unlike their position on modern versions of the guitar.

That's a really fine-looking guitar, without a lot of obvious playwear.  It looks all-original, probably with replaced tuner buttons. Where did you find it?

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41 minutes ago, j45nick said:

Yep, I've got two 1949-50 J-45's, one of which I've had for more than 50 years. 

I happen to prefer a slightly warm tone, and am using DR Sunbeam round-core PB 12-54's. I use those on all four of my Gibson flat tops right now. Don't play out, so I don't use amplification.

Tell us the Factory Order Number ink-stamped on the neck block inside, and we'll give you a good idea of when it was built.

The alligator chipboard case you have was probably bought when the guitar was new. You may want to get a more substantial case if the guitar ever leaves your house. The J-45 did not come with a case back then. You bought it separately.

For others on the forum, please note the position of the bridge pins in the bridge on this guitar. As on my guitars from this same period, the pins are set about 3/8" (10mm) forward of the back edge of the bridge, unlike their position on modern versions of the guitar.

That's a really fine-looking guitar, without a lot of obvious playwear.  It looks all-original, probably with replaced tuner buttons. Where did you find it?

Fairly sure it was 1947 number-1017 22 also has export stamp at top rear headstock. Bought from Vintage and Rare guitars Bath England. Alligator case looks to me like early 50s, yes not very sturdy - have ordered a Hiscox Case. The guitar has had a neck reset and a few cracks repaired- I would suspect a respray of the back but not sure. Has the tapered headstock and tapered but not scalloped bracing. Really pleased with it. Thanks for your comments.

 

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Dating in that period is tricky, since sources disagree on FON numbers between 1947 and 1950. Generally, the belly-up bridge would say no earlier than 1948, despite the FON suggestion (by some sources ) as very late in 1947.

I'm surprised at tapered rather than scalloped top braces. You don't usually see those until a bit later, like 1954. But this is Gibson, after all, you can't really expect absolute consistency.

Does it have fabric vertical interior side stays on the inside of the rims, or wood?

Made in USA on headstock says export model, tapered headstock probably ended late '51. 

Unfortunately, shipping ledgers from this period are not readily available and may have been lost, hence the ambiguity in FON sequence. For instance, by one nominally-authoritative source, the FON's on both my J-45's could be either 1948 or 1950. One of those is 3358, the other 3644. Their top sunbursts were quite different from each other.

Realistically, J-45's from 1947-'51 are essentially the same guitar, in most cases, including the nice, fat neck. The tapered top braces in yours are unusual for that period.

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18 minutes ago, duluthdan said:

Where would the block logo come in?  Weren’t there a couple years of script logo after banner?

Non-banner script logos are typically '46, some into '47. Remember, its not like changes happened on January 1 of any year, or all changes happened at once.  It's not unusual to see a mix of features at various points in time.

The shipping ledgers would tell the tale.

Zombywoof might know when Gibson switched from open-back tuners to the single-line Kluson Deluxe with lube hole, like the ones on the OP's guitar and my all-original '48-'49-'50 J-45.

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These early post-war guitars are from a great period. The wartime shortages of wood and metal were over. The spruce that went into gliders during the war was available for soundboards, and straight-grain quarter-sawn Honduras mahogany that was used for such things as planking PT boats during the war was once again becoming the sides and backs of Gibsons (and Martins). 

The folk music boom of the late 50's and beyond had yet to develop, so the demand for guitars was still at rational levels, unlike the 60's and 70's where the goal was purely maximum output.

The OP's guitar is a beautiful example from a wonderful time in Gibson's history. I hope he enjoys it for many years. I would call that one a keeper.

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 I always thought that Gibson continued to use  bent tab Kluson open gear 3 on a plate tuners on their flattops  up until sometime in 1948 when they switched to the single line enclosed tuners.   I have only had two post-War 1940s Gibsons in the house - both were LG-2s.   My '46 LG-2 had double peen  cog open gear tuners .while the 1947 had waffle peen cog open gear tuners.

 

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On 11/17/2019 at 7:08 PM, j45nick said:

Dating in that period is tricky, since sources disagree on FON numbers between 1947 and 1950. Generally, the belly-up bridge would say no earlier than 1948, despite the FON suggestion (by some sources ) as very late in 1947.

I'm surprised at tapered rather than scalloped top braces. You don't usually see those until a bit later, like 1954. But this is Gibson, after all, you can't really expect absolute consistency.

Does it have fabric vertical interior side stays on the inside of the rims, or wood?

Made in USA on headstock says export model, tapered headstock probably ended late '51. 

Unfortunately, shipping ledgers from this period are not readily available and may have been lost, hence the ambiguity in FON sequence. For instance, by one nominally-authoritative source, the FON's on both my J-45's could be either 1948 or 1950. One of those is 3358, the other 3644. Their top sunbursts were quite different from each other.

Realistically, J-45's from 1947-'51 are essentially the same guitar, in most cases, including the nice, fat neck. The tapered top braces in yours are unusual for that period.

Hi Nick - the tapered thin bracing refers to the back bracing.  After exploring with mirror and torch I can  confirm the top bracing is scalloped. There are side strengtheners- they look spruce. I'm still edging towards 47/48 but obviously would bow to your greater understanding.

Whatever the year and whatever its repairs, it still has that earthy dried out tone. Thanks for your comments really appreciate all advice and understandings. Daf

Edited by Dafgog
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6 minutes ago, jt said:

A beautiful guitar! Thanks for sharing it with us.

As others have indicated, it's very likely more recent than 1947.

As best I know, the late 40s-early 50s shipping ledgers are still with Gibson at its Nashville headquarters.

Thanks, again.

Thanks JT. "A rose by any date would smell just as sweet" (Well almost!)

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2 hours ago, Dafgog said:

Hi Nick - the tapered thin bracing refers to the back bracing.  After exploring with mirror and torch I can  confirm the top bracing is scalloped. There are side strengtheners- they look spruce. I'm still edging towards 47/48 but obviously would bow to your greater understanding.

Whatever the year and whatever its repairs, it still has that earthy dried out tone. Thanks for your comments really appreciate all advice and understandings. Daf

 

That makes things more clear. The back braces in this period are what some of us call "knife edge" braces, because that are tall, thin, and tapered in section. The transition from fabric to wood side stays (the thin vertical inside supports with the scalloped ends) apparently happened at roughly the same time as the switch to the block logo.

Apparently, sometime in late 1947 or early 1948, the characteristics that we see in your guitar, pretty much defining the J-45 of the late 40's-early 50's  were finalized: belly-up bridge with slot-through saddle, closed-back single-line Klusons, block logo,  tapered headstock, wood side stays rather than fabric, fattish full-C neck profile with nut width of about  1 11/16" (about  43mm) or just over that, small bridgeplate of either spruce or maple.

If your guitar has an easy-to-read and clearly printed FON of 1017, that may date to very late 1947 or early 1948 by some sources. It could be one of the earliest examples we've seen with all those post-war characteristics in one guitar.

Unfortunately, the actual Gibson FON sequences we read may be single-source that gets repeated as fact by other sources, leaving the impression that they are authoritative. Only the shipping ledgers tell the true tale.

It would be nice if Gibson would digitize those shipping ledgers if they still exist. A lot of mysteries could be solved for a lot of people that really care about vintage Gibsons.

It's no secret I'm a big fan of these particular guitars. One thing you have to be aware of when looking at them is that they are notorious for loose back braces because of the very small gluing area of that brace profile. If you have mysterious buzzes or ripples in the back, these braces are the most likely culprit. John Shults of True Vintage Guitar tells me he rarely sees one from this era without the same issue. 

Fortunately, that's an easy fix for a competent luthier.

These guitars may lack the mystique of the banner Gibsons, but they epitomize Gibson output shortly after WW2. And they have classic vintage Gibson tone.

In any case, you've found a great guitar. Enjoy it, and play the heck out of it. Experiment with strings until you find the sound you want, but don't do anything irreversible to the guitar. 

Do not replace the tuners. As my luthier says, all the tuners have to do is hold the strings to tension. I've developed a clean-up protocol for those tuners that makes them function well and look good, while maintaining their vintage appeal.

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1 hour ago, j45nick said:

Do not replace the tuners. As my luthier says, all the tuners have to do is hold the strings to tension. I've developed a clean-up protocol for those tuners that makes them function well and look good, while maintaining their vintage appeal.

Is there a way to date the tuners?

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5 hours ago, jt said:

A beautiful guitar! Thanks for sharing it with us.

As others have indicated, it's very likely more recent than 1947.

As best I know, the late 40s-early 50s shipping ledgers are still with Gibson at its Nashville headquarters.

Thanks, again.

 

2 hours ago, j45nick said:

 

That makes things more clear. The back braces in this period are what some of us call "knife edge" braces, because that are tall, thin, and tapered in section. The transition from fabric to wood side stays (the thin vertical inside supports with the scalloped ends) apparently happened at roughly the same time as the switch to the block logo.

Apparently, sometime in late 1947 or early 1948, the characteristics that we see in your guitar, pretty much defining the J-45 of the late 40's-early 50's  were finalized: belly-up bridge with slot-through saddle, closed-back single-line Klusons, block logo,  tapered headstock, wood side stays rather than fabric, fattish full-C neck profile with nut width of about  1 11/16" (about  43mm) or just over that, small bridgeplate of either spruce or maple.

If your guitar has an easy-to-read and clearly printed FON of 1017, that may date to very late 1947 or early 1948 by some sources. It could be one of the earliest examples we've seen with all those post-war characteristics in one guitar.

Unfortunately, the actual Gibson FON sequences we read may be single-source that gets repeated as fact by other sources, leaving the impression that they are authoritative. Only the shipping ledgers tell the true tale.

It would be nice if Gibson would digitize those shipping ledgers if they still exist. A lot of mysteries could be solved for a lot of people that really care about vintage Gibsons.

It's no secret I'm a big fan of these particular guitars. One thing you have to be aware of when looking at them is that they are notorious for loose back braces because of the very small gluing area of that brace profile. If you have mysterious buzzes or ripples in the back, these braces are the most likely culprit. John Shults of True Vintage Guitar tells me he rarely sees one from this era without the same issue. 

Fortunately, that's an easy fix for a competent luthier.

These guitars may lack the mystique of the banner Gibsons, but they epitomize Gibson output shortly after WW2. And they have classic vintage Gibson tone.

In any case, you've found a great guitar. Enjoy it, and play the heck out of it. Experiment with strings until you find the sound you want, but don't do anything irreversible to the guitar. 

Do not replace the tuners. As my luthier says, all the tuners have to do is hold the strings to tension. I've developed a clean-up protocol for those tuners that makes them function well and look good, while maintaining their vintage appeal.

Thanks Guys for some really informative posts - you have exceeded all my expectations!!!!

 

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51 minutes ago, Dave F said:

Is there a way to date the tuners?

Not in any definitive way, to the best of my knowledge. Zombywoof might have more insight, since he's a bit of a vintage tuner geek (no insult intended). There used to be a website devoted to vintage tuner identification, but it no longer contains that information.

I can't be sure without pulling off the tuners (which will have to wait for a string change), but as I remember, some of the earlier closed-backs have a "patent pending" stamp, much like early PAF pickups, while later versions actually have a patent number.

The problem with tuners is that there was probably a big supply of nominally and functionally identical Klusons that were probably mixed together the factory  at some point, so using them for purposes of dating a guitar could be risky.

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On 11/19/2019 at 11:39 AM, j45nick said:

Not in any definitive way, to the best of my knowledge. Zombywoof might have more insight, since he's a bit of a vintage tuner geek (no insult intended). There used to be a website devoted to vintage tuner identification, but it no longer contains that information.

I can't be sure without pulling off the tuners (which will have to wait for a string change), but as I remember, some of the earlier closed-backs have a "patent pending" stamp, much like early PAF pickups, while later versions actually have a patent number.

The problem with tuners is that there was probably a big supply of nominally and functionally identical Klusons that were probably mixed together the factory  at some point, so using them for purposes of dating a guitar could be risky.

A while back I bought a early banner J45 that had tuners that looked like these and I assumed they were just replacements. I had it up for sale on EBay and I received a message from a self proclaimed expert that swore it was a '46 that someone had doctored the banner decal based on the tuners. I removed the tuners and they each had a small paper sticker on them,"Made in Japan"  and took a closeup of the decals for him. Afterwards, my expert did not respond. Nor did he bid.

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24 minutes ago, Dave F said:

A while back I bought a early banner J45 that had tuners that looked like these and I assumed they were just replacements. I had it up for sale on EBay and I received a message from a self proclaimed expert that swore it was a '46 that someone had doctored the banner decal based on the tuners. I removed the tuners and they each had a small paper sticker on them,"Made in Japan"  and took a closeup of the decals for him. Afterwards, my expert did not respond. Nor did he bid.

Tuners are tricky because they are so easily changed. Tom Barnwell's '46 LG-2 with single-line Klusons may be the earliest  guitar I have seen with those.

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The dot on the i in Gibson is connected to the G - so definately no later than 51 the tapered headstock also confirms this, The FON  1017-22 would suggest 1947? Anyone know why Gibson are so reluctatant to share Shipping Ledgers as described in the fabulous The Kalamazoo Gals book? Maybe they dont exist but I would be suprised if thats the case.

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