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1966 Gibson j45 vs 2013 Gibson j 29


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Hello I’m new to this forum I

 

appreciate you allowing me to come in and ask questions it’s a great resource to have available I’m in the middle of trying to decide on a good quality guitar 
 

I had the opportunity to buy a mint condition rarely played kept in case 1966J 45.

 

I understand that the bridge changed in the 50s? Is it the sound quality is greatly reduced doesanybody have an opinion on this.

I think I’m getting a great price of $2700 but then I read sometimes if there’s such a your loss in quality sound that might be better off getting a 50s if I can afford it

 

The 1966 J 45  $2700

 

or

 

2013 J 29

 

both near mint

 

I know it’s subjective and his guitars are not exactly the same but I was wondering as far as basic quality and value which guitar would be more promising to you

 

Thanks again and look forward to hearing from someone

 

 
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I am guessing the 1966 has an adjustable bridge, and that it has a narrow neck nut width.

I am guessing the 2013 J-29 has a wider neck, and is rosewood back and sides. They are nice guitars, but no one seems to buy them and keep them. I don’t know why that is.

I can only speak to my preference. If I could deal with the neck I’d rather have the 1966. So play it… see how you feel with that nut width.

 

oh one more thing… recent used guitars that were cared for are usually “no issues” on the used market. 50 year old guitars? You should be prepared for fixing things unexpectedly. Like a loose brace. Or a crack… go in eyes wide open.

Edited by Salfromchatham
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Hi and welcome to the forum!

I'm afraid I can't help you much with a comparison of the the two guitars as to their merits as purely musical instruments. However, putting that aside, an older instrument brings with it intangibles that might or might not be important to you. As an example, I have an old J-45 built secretly by Gibson in 1942 by a female workers who had to step in when the men went to fight in WWll. Gibson didn't want to acknowledge the fact that their products were produced by women, in a time when they should have been producing only for the war effort. So they built guitars secretly, which has only come to be common knowledge in recent years (mostly due the work of forum member John Thomas).

This background matters to me and makes the guitar more than just an instrument to me. I am not a good musician and I could just as well play my simple chords and songs on a more affordable modern instrument. Musically it would make absolutely no difference whatsoever. Emotionally, it becomes a very different story. I love to take out the old guitar, look at it, hold it, smell it, strum it gently and then just put it back in the case. A modern guitar would not be the same.

So maybe the old 1966 guitar would bring such intangibles for you too? If so, it could be worth factoring in this aspects when trying to compare the two.

By the way, I would go for the oldie 😀

Lars

 

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The 1966 Gibson J-45 sounds like a great cool guitar and if it’s in near mint condition, an even better one, plus it’s a collectible guitar in the vintage guitar market whose value will appreciate over the years   The J-29 is likely a very good guitar, but for some reason didn’t take off as a popular Gibson guitar.  There are a number of Gibson guitar models throughout the years that were very good guitars, but for some reason never became popular.  The J-29 seems to fall in that category.  They can often be had at really good prices, too, but just don’t have the charisma of some of the other models.     Good price can be a good motivation to buy a guitar.  I once bought a Gospel Reissue as a trade in for a guitar I never played, because it was one of those non popular Gibson models.  It played great and turned out to be a great guitar.  It just wasn’t one of those wow factor models.

I own a 2006 J-45 1964 J-45 Reissue in my collection, in faded strawberry sunburst.  It’s not unusual when I’m gigging for someone to come up to when I’m playing it and exclaim, wow you have a 1960s J-45.  Of course I have to tell them it’s a reissue model and that it’s not the real thing.  But, that never happens with any other guitar I play.  There is something about the 60s J-45s!  Of course, that something is why I sought after and found that particular reissue model…because I couldn’t find a near mint actual one.   
 

If you can, try testing out the 1966 J-45 before you buy it or if you can’t, ensure there is a good return policy just in case.  I think if you don’t buy it it, someone else will.

Let us know what you end up doing.

QM aka “Jazzman” Jeff

 

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The bracing carve and ADJ saddle bridge give a  1966 Gibson a sound which  is unique.  But as noted in an above post the skimpy  carve and narrow nut also gives the neck a unique feel.  Generally it is the neck which is a make or break factor with these guitars.  Not a good or a bad thing - just different.  But  keep in mind while a bridge can be modified or swapped out down the road  there is not a thing you can do about the neck if you decide it is not to your liking..  

 

Edited by zombywoof
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3 hours ago, Salfromchatham said:

I am guessing the 1966 has an adjustable bridge, and that it has a narrow neck nut width.

I have a 1965 J-50 which should be similar. And while the nut is more narrow than modern Gibsons, that is less important than the "carve", as zombywoof has mentioned. It's a very skinny neck compared to newer Gibsons and that is immediately obvious when you pick it up. 

Just last week I got one of the new 1960's J-50 reissues (they also have a J-45 version). I really like it, and the nut is, in fact, the same width as my real 1965 J-50. But the similarity ends there, the carve of the neck is still very fat. I also have 2008 J-50 Modern Classic, and overall the 1960's re-issue is far more similar to it than the real 1965 J-50. 

1 hour ago, QuestionMark said:

Of course, that something is why I sought after and found that particular reissue model…because I couldn’t find a near mint actual one.

Never saw one these older 60's re-issues, so maybe they are different? However, I can say the new 60's re-issues are nothing like a real 1960's guitar. Don't get me wrong, that's not a bad thing, I really like mine. But it is clearly a modern Gibson acoustic in both sound and feel. The 60's aspect is mainly cosmetic, although the ADJ bridge does set it somewhat apart.

Regarding the OP, is $2700 really a "great price"? I don't know much about "mint condition" vintage guitars, I'm sure that makes a difference in the cost. I paid $2000 for my 1965 J-50 back in 2015. I certainly don't consider it "mint" but the condition was quite good, it was all original and aside from new Kluson replica tuners, I haven't had any work done to it since purchasing. I noticed that prices went way down on vintage guitars at the beginning of the pandemic, we discussed this at the time. Now they seem to have gone back up again. So maybe $2700 is a good deal?

Also, you didn't mention the price for the J-29. I certainly wouldn't pay $2700 for one of those. 🙂

Edited by Boyd
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Everyone seems to be concerned with the value of a 60s guitar vs a J-29 which were only made from 2013 to 2016.  In another of the OPs posts in the Lounge he said he wants to start a second career as a performer.  So I think how the guitar sounds and blends with his voice is more important than whether it is vintage or not.  The J-29 is rosewood and does not sound like a mahogany J-45.  It is not as thumpy and the notes sustain longer and there are more overtones.  So he needs to play them both and decide which sounds better to him and which will work better for him in his performances.  The J-29s came with a pickup installed at the factory which might be important for performing, the J-45 probably does not have one.

If the J-45 has a better tone for his performances, for $2700 he can almost buy a new one with a lifetime warranty and eliminate the possible structural issues that could come with a 60 year old guitar. 

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6 minutes ago, Twang Gang said:

Everyone seems to be concerned with the value of a 60s guitar vs a J-29 which were only made from 2013 to 2016.  In another of the OPs posts in the Lounge he said he wants to start a second career as a performer.  So I think how the guitar sounds and blends with his voice is more important than whether it is vintage or not.  The J-29 is rosewood and does not sound like a mahogany J-45.  It is not as thumpy and the notes sustain longer and there are more overtones.  So he needs to play them both and decide which sounds better to him and which will work better for him in his performances.  The J-29s came with a pickup installed at the factory which might be important for performing, the J-45 probably does not have one.

If the J-45 has a better tone for his performances, for $2700 he can almost buy a new one with a lifetime warranty and eliminate the possible structural issues that could come with a 60 year old guitar. 

If that's the case there's an easy solution... buy both! I'd much rather have a decent sounding modern, comfortable neck player while performing than wrestle with something vintage, but maybe keep the old one around for when the time comes to record.

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I answered this query already on AGF, but if the OP didn’t see it:

I own a ‘67 J45 and have played a couple of J29s.

I like my ‘67 a lot but it’s not a “daily driver”. I gig a lot and prefer to take a modern guitar on the road, such as my 2015 SJ200. 

I would play both and let your heart decide. You would be in no way short changing yourself with a J29 though, they’re very good indeed.

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Buy the one that sounds the best to you at the price you can afford. If you can play both.

Edited by Sgt. Pepper
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Wow, what a couple of different guitars to be asking about. 

Well, I guess I'm the guy that bought a J-29 and am keeping it. It's just an all around good guitar. I paid like $1200 for it, though... you aren't thinking that the price is anywhere around the $2700 that the vintage J-45 is going for, do you? 

I would not know how to advise you on this. Gigging out, I would rather take out a $1200 non-vintage J-29 than a sixty year old guitar that can't be replaced. The J-29 certainly is a great instrument, still, I have to wonder why you are considering it? It's somewhat unique- what is making you consider it instead of a new J-45 or something? 

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