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J-45: 1966? or 1969 ? or ????


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Good morning,

I am new to this forum, and I apologize if this particular topic has been exhaustively discussed, but I keep getting 'please wait xxx seconds to search again' prompts as I try to find the answer.

I have an old J-45 [ serial # 832887 ]  which I love.  I purchased it at International Vintage Guitars in New Orleans approximately 25 years ago.  It has always sounded great despite having been mistreated prior to my purchase.  Because of some of the damage to the finish on the back of the body, the owner of the shop suspected that the prior owner had left it in his car in the NOLa heat.

Thus far, my research has led me to believe that it was made in Kalamazoo in either 1966 or 1969 ?  But I've encountered a great deal of conflicting information in trying to pinpoint the year.  I've attached some pics, and would greatly appreciate any help solving this riddle.

Thanks in advance,





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It's more likely early 1970s. 

Belly-down bridge, typical iced tea 1972-ish sunburst, no dyed black headstock overlay, small pickguard, all of these things point to early 1970s. Or at the very least, 1968 or later with the lack of headstock overlay being the one thing that is definitely 1971 or later.

The one thing that contradicts that is that the tuners say "Kluson Deluxe". By 1969 these exact tuners would have been stamped "Gibson Deluxe" but they could have been left over from an earlier time.... or they could have reverted back to the Kluson stamping....?

You don't show the back of the headstock but it likely has a volute and is stamped "Made in USA".

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No volute or "made in USA" would make it no later than  1970 or 1971. I am probably wrong in saying when they stopped using the headstock overlay. I thought it was 1971 but could easily have been 1969 or 1970.

Regardless, yours is not a 1966.  That is a completely different animal.

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The 1966 would be a round shouldered body. it was round shouldered until 1968. Some 1969s had round shoulders but they were likely made from leftovers. They did not go back to the round shouldered style until 1983/4 or so. 

The 1966 would have a belly up bridge. Yours is belly down. That change was made sometime in late 1967 or early 1968.

1966 would more likely to be a cherry sunburst. Yours is informally referred to as "iced tea".

1966 would have a large pickguard. Yours is small like a Martin. Gibson used smaller guards like this on some models beginning in the late 60s.

1966 would be 24-3/4" scale. Yours is likely 25-1/2". They definitely went to a 25-1/2" scale on most of their previously 24-3/4" scale models but I can't say exactly when. Around 1969-70 or so.

A 1966 would have a holly headstock overlay dyed black. They eliminated that on many models through most (all?) of the 70s, and again, I don't know exactly when that change took place.



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