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Detective Work


j45nick
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Carter Vintage Guitars in Nashville gets a lot of really nice Vintage Gibsons and Martins, plus some great recent models as well. Prices sometimes tend to be a little high, but in the ballpark. You can get on their email list and they will send you new listings several times a week.

Two vintage slope-J's caught my attention today, especially in light of recent discussions here about Gibsons is the early post-war period. One guitar is called a 1950 J-45, the other a 1951 SJ. The J-45 is probably from a couple of years later, unless the bridge has been changed.

Why? Well, the bridge has a drop-in saddle, for starters, which is a detail that is probably from 1953 or later, I believe. Second, the bridge pins are very close to the back of the bridge, which also seems to suggest a slightly later date.

The SJ is called a 1951, and that makes sense. That one has a belly-up (standard) bridge with slot-through saddle, where earlier belly bridges might have been either up or down. It also has the pins further forward from the back of the bridge, which is consistent with the original bridges on both of my 1950  (or slightly earlier) J-45's.

The sunbursts on those two guitars are very similar to each other, and look similar to the one in the b&w photo of my "old" J-45 shortly after I got it in 1966.

The sunburst on my "new" 1950 J-45 (purchased by me from the original owner, so I know the "no later than" birthday of the guitar) is darker all over, which I really like. Of course, that could either be the photography, or differences in aging.

I have seen enough difference in the 'bursts on similar guitars in this period to think that Gibson may have had more than one person in the spray booth back then.

Detective work is fun.

early 50's J-45

'51 SJ

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Tom's photo suggests '54 as the switch to the drop-in saddle. That makes sense.

Not sure about the originality of the bridge on the J-45, as it lacks the pearl dots.

You've got some real beauties there, Tom!

What are the two banner J-45's? I know you don't typically have duplicates.

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40 minutes ago, j45nick said:

Tom's photo suggests '54 as the switch to the drop-in saddle. That makes sense.

Not sure about the originality of the bridge on the J-45, as it lacks the pearl dots.

You've got some real beauties there, Tom!

What are the two banner J-45's? I know you don't typically have duplicates.

Early 43 (big neck, no truss rod) and late 44 (less neck with truss rod).  They both IMO are fine examples, but tonally quite identifiably different and the feel is also quite different.  The 42/43 is near mint I guess and mostly stays home because of that -- the 44  (a Memphis bar guitar) has been my go to ragtime/gospel guitar for more than 20 years.

TNnDwtf.jpg

This is the 44 J-45 -- video quite old.

 

Best,

Tom

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