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Hey everyone!  I'm considering buying a J-50.  The seller is thinking it's a 1970 but he's not really sure.  From my research, I think it might possibly be a 68 but then I read other posts on other forums that say it can't be a 68, it has to be a 69 or later.  The serial number is 912305.  And there is no made in USA stamp underneath it.   According to guitarhq.com,  because there is no made in usa stamp, this serial number says it's a 68.   The same site also says that a 64-69 would use Kluson Deluxe double line tunes.  Which this guitar has.  I've read that the J-50 switched from rounded shoulder shape to the square shoulder shape in 69.  If that's true, it would rule this out from being a 68.   The seller is also asking $1500 which I think is a lot for a 1970 in this condition.

Any help would be greatly appreciated

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140791269_782412702618953_7366826577473225935_n.jpg

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You seem to have a good handle on it although you will always see some overlap in features when it comes to transition years.    It is not like Gibson changed specs at the stroke of midnight on Jan. 1.  If a '68  built earlier in the year I would expect it to still have the ADJ saddle bridge  and the 1 5/8" nut.  But a guitar built towards the end of the year may well have some features associated with one built in 1969.  The bracing will also be heaver than a guitar built one year earlier.

Edited by zombywoof
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2 minutes ago, zombywoof said:

You seem to have a good handle on it although you will always see some overlap in features when it comes to transition years.    It is ot like Gibson changed specs at the stroke of midnight on Jan. 1.  If a '68  built earlier in the year I would expect it to still have the ADJ saddle bridge  and the 1 5/8" nut.  But a guitar built towards the end of the year may well have some features associated with one built in 1969.  The bracing will also be heaver than a guitar built one year earlier.

 

What you're saying there makes a lot of sense.

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Is that a ceramic (or other) saddle insert replacement for an adj bridge?

If you can get to play it and it sounds like the classic J, I don't think 1500 bucks is a bad price.

Edited by jedzep
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3 minutes ago, jedzep said:

Is that a ceramic (or other) saddle insert replacement for an adj bridge?

If you can get to play it and it sounds like the classic J, I don't think 1500 bucks is a bad price.

 

It's my under standing that the entire bridge was replaced.

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The seller's confusion as to year of build might have been due to that fact that despite what that site you used says,  Gibsons built from 1970 to 1972 can also have a 9XXXXX serial number.  In this case though the specs say no.

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1 minute ago, zombywoof said:

The seller's confusion as to year of build might have been due to that fact that despite what that site you used says,  Gibsons built from 1970 to 1972 can also have a 9XXXXX serial number.  In this case though the specs say no.

 

I think the seller doesn't really have any idea what he has.  He originally had it listed as a 65 then changed the ad to say 70

The site I used says that if it has "made in USA" stamped on the headstock under the serial then 9XXXXX would be 70-72.  But if  no USA stamp then 910000 to 999999 would be a 68.  Seems like serials back in those years were all over the shop

So you think that the specs say no to it being a 70?

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23 minutes ago, DNOSEWOR said:

 

So you think that the specs say no to it being a 70?

 While I have seen the odd round shoulder 1969 J50  (presumably built very early in the year) I have never run across one dating to 1970 although I would assume that would not rule out a custom order.   Gibson did not return to slope shoulder guitars until 1984 when it was a little too little too late as Norlin had become the target of a hostile takeover.

Edited by zombywoof
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Hello , check scale length and if it is a double x brace . 25.5 scale will put it later than 68 i do believe.

1500 American or Canadian dollars ?....

Serial number says 1968 ...but it`s Gibson we are talking about .

Good luck friend .

 

Edited by 75 Hummingbird
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9 minutes ago, 75 Hummingbird said:

Are you able to take measurements and or handle the guitar ? 

If it plays well and has a good tone 1500 is not a bad number ,hard case included ?

If it has original case that may also help with dating process.

 

Yeah, I'm probably able to take a few measurements.  Here's a pic of the case.  The ad says original case.

case.JPG

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12 hours ago, philfish said:

Looking at the photos it looks like the bridge holes or pins aren't aligned.

 

If you blow the photo up and look carefully, it is because some pins are fully inserted, and a couple are sticking up and tilted , probably due  to a string ball end pulling up into the pinhole in the bridgeplate.

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the natural headstock, square shoulders, diff pickguard, and belly down bridge all scream post-norlin to me. i dont see anything that would put it at '68 besides the serial number.  here's my '68 with the pre-norlin featues. as said above this is gibson we're talking about, so obv my serial number is about 40k higher than the one posted, so not something you can really drill down on for accuracy. 

j45.jpg

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26 minutes ago, cunningham26 said:

the natural headstock, square shoulders, diff pickguard, and belly down bridge all scream post-norlin to me. i dont see anything that would put it at '68 besides the serial number.  here's my '68 with the pre-norlin featues. as said above this is gibson we're talking about, so obv my serial number is about 40k higher than the one posted, so not something you can really drill down on for accuracy. 

j45.jpg

When Gibson re-topped my first 1950 J-45 in 1968 ( I know exactly when it was done, because I'm the one who sent it back to Gibson), the installed a belly-down adj bridge. Pretty sure some of the last slope-J's (1968-early 1969?) might have that bridge as well.

The OP's bridge looks a bit different from mine: no pearl dots , fat fixed saddle.

The photo of the '72 Blue Ridge in Fabulous Flat Tops  has a similar bridge to the OP's J-50, but doesn't look like a fat saddle.

I always associate the "natural" headstock face with the 1970's, but don't know if that is a hard and fast rule/

You do think of 70s guitars as having the square label which probably would have said J-50 DeLuxe on it.

My knowledge of square shoulder models of the 70s is very limited, however.

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8 minutes ago, j45nick said:

When Gibson re-topped my first 1950 J-45 in 1968 ( I know exactly when it was done, because I'm the one who sent it back to Gibson), the installed a belly-down adj bridge. Pretty sure some of the last slope-J's (1968-early 1969?) might have that bridge as well.

The OP's bridge looks a bit different from mine: no pearl dots , fat fixed saddle.

The photo of the '72 Blue Ridge in Fabulous Flat Tops  has a similar bridge to the OP's J-50, but doesn't look like a fat saddle.

I always associate the "natural" headstock face with the 1970's, but don't know if that is a hard and fast rule/

You do think of 70s guitars as having the square label which probably would have said J-50 DeLuxe on it.

My knowledge of square shoulder models of the 70s is very limited, however.

 

the square label is a good call- pictures inside the body of the label and the bracing would certainly do a lot of good here. the angle of the OPs photo makes the bridge look at little strange and def not an adj bridge, so maybe that's just been replaced over time. 

I don't know that I've seen an early norlin acoustic that was the darker sunburst either- they all seem to have been cherry bursts, some of which have faded to a nice poopy brown!

 

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2 hours ago, cunningham26 said:

 

the square label is a good call- pictures inside the body of the label and the bracing would certainly do a lot of good here. the angle of the OPs photo makes the bridge look at little strange and def not an adj bridge, so maybe that's just been replaced over time. 

I don't know that I've seen an early norlin acoustic that was the darker sunburst either- they all seem to have been cherry bursts, some of which have faded to a nice poopy brown!

 

This is the best pic I have of the sound hole.    I don't think there is a label. The seller has told me the bridge has been replaced.  I don't know if it had an adjustable bridge or not.

140710577_10164344700725618_8749113255987199596_o.jpg

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This most likely is a late ‘69 or early 1970 model.  A transitional period for sure.

> The catalog 1969 J-50 had a black headstock face & black pickguard w/adjustable belly-down bridge.

> 1971 was the first year of full-on Norlin features across the product line - such as double-X bracing & the large rectangular label, as well as numerous stylistic changes.

Although the bridge & pickguard could have easily been replaced, this guitar’s natural headstock & J-50 truss rod cover are confirmed 1970ish features.  A peak inside at the bracing should help nail it down.  If no double-X, it’s late 1969 or early 1970.

Of course I say all this knowing that overlaps & oddities did occur, especially during translational years.

Edited by bobouz
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12 minutes ago, bobouz said:

This most likely is a 1970 model.  A transitional year, for sure.

> The catalog 1969 J-50 had a black headstock face & black pickguard w/adjustable belly-down bridge.

> 1971 was the first year of full-on Norlin features, such as double-X bracing & the large rectangular label.

Although the bridge & pickguard could have easily been replaced, this guitar’s natural headstock & J-50 truss rod cover are confirmed 1970ish features.  A peak inside at the bracing should nail it down.  If no double-X, it’s a 1970.  Of course I say all this knowing that overlaps & oddities did occur, especially during translational years.

 

So, it sounds like even though it's probably a 70, it could be a pre Norlin guitar?

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55 minutes ago, DNOSEWOR said:

 

So, it sounds like even though it's probably a 70, it could be a pre Norlin guitar?

 

Note that I modified my above post to include the possibility of this being a late 1969 instrument.

The Norlin name change occurred in 1970, but the key here is that within the early period of Norlin’s ownership, this ‘69-‘70 transitional period took place before they initiated the major changes that are considered by many to be undesirable - chief among them, the double-X bracing.

If you know what to look for, this can be easily confirmed with an inspection mirror, or take a photo of the top bracing & we can tell you.  If it’s double-X, you’re for sure at late 1970 or beyond.  If it’s not double-X, the guitar’s build design is in the ‘69-‘70 range, and typically considered a bit more desirable.

Edit:  Sorry, just remembered you don’t yet own the guitar & can’t take a picture of the bracing!

Edited by bobouz
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Thanks everyone for all your help.  I think I'm going to ask the guy if I can see it and have a play.  If I like the feel and sound, I'll probably pull the trigger.   guitars like this don't come around too often where I live.  

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