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Hey guys new here I need help dating my J-50


brettyboy

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Hey everyone, I'm new here. This is my first vintage Gibson acoustic(I also own a new Gibson Les Paul Studio). This was given to me by my Uncle who told me it was from 37 which I know not to be the case because it has the block style logo which came after WWII. I called Gibson twice and was given two different dates which do not jive right. The first time I called I was given 74-75. The second time I was given 65-66-67. These dates do not fit right. I was given some info from another person on another forum I frequent that I think holds way more true. He said since it has only 19 frets it puts it before 1955 when they started putting 20 frets. It also has a wide slotted fixed sattle which he said puts it before 53, and it has a large reverse bridge which started in 1950. He said this puts my J-50 somewhere between 1950-1952. I think that sounds right because this was originally my great great uncle Franks guitar and then was given to my uncle to learn on. I know the tuners were replaced as they dry rotted. I wanted to get some more opinions and takes on it. The serial number is in the format of 56xx36( the first 6 looks like a G to me but Gibson said it wouldn't be a G). It also has a small tear drop style pickguard and an FON in the format of 24xx 27 on the neck block. Here are pics.

 

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First thing to do is to change strings ! – Steel 11's or 12's straight away.

 

I'm not sure at all, but my green guess will be the first 60ties.

 

The sharpest experts on earth will supply exact knowledge before the night is over. You are in the right place, , , and welcome.

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It's slope-shouldered, so can't be from the 1970s or from the later 1960s. Also, according to the following link from the Gibson site, Gibson acoustics didn't have FONs after 1961: Gibson's own Blue Book post. So the information you received directly from Gibson is undoubtedly duff. 1961 at the absolute latest, and almost certainly around a decade earlier.

 

My money's with the forum member who knows his 19-fretters from his 20-fretters and his belly-up from his non-belly bridges.If the scratchguard is original, then that would also suggest a period before the later 1950s, as J-45s, J-50s and SJs carried the larger, wavy/pointy pickguard (but not the sharp three-point job) towards the end of that decade.

 

Is the FON definitely 24xx? If it's Z4, then you're probably in 1952.

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It's slope-shouldered, so can't be from the 1970s or from the later 1960s. Also, according to the following link from the Gibson site, Gibson acoustics didn't have FONs after 1961: Gibson's own Blue Book post. So the information you received directly from Gibson is undoubtedly duff. 1961 at the absolute latest, and almost certainly around a decade earlier.

 

My money's with the forum member who knows his 19-fretters from his 20-fretters and his belly-up from his non-belly bridges.If the scratchguard is original, then that would also suggest a period before the later 1950s, as J-45s, J-50s and SJs carried the larger, wavy/pointy pickguard (but not the sharp three-point job) towards the end of that decade.

 

Is the FON definitely 24xx? If it's Z4, then you're probably in 1952.

 

 

Thanks for the info! It is a 2 I think anyways lol it looks like 2488 27 no dash but there is a space between the 88 and the 27

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Get rid of the light slinkys and put some real strings on it. Phosphur bronze mediums will let you lnow how good it sounds.

It is no later then a 53 by the way. I may be wrong but I believe 54 was the first year for the short drop in saddle.

You have a nice guitar there.

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Get rid of the light slinkys and put some real strings on it. Phosphur bronze mediums will let you lnow how good it sounds.

It is no later then a 53 by the way. I may be wrong but I believe 54 was the first year for the short drop in saddle.

You have a nice guitar there.

 

 

Thank you very much for the info! All you guys are helping me very much!

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It's hard to tell from the pix, but is the headstock tapered, i.e., thinner at the top than at the neck end? It kinda looks like it might be. If so, look inside the guitar at the sides and see if there are any light-colored spruce pieces along the insides of the sides, from front to back, perpendicular to the top and back, as reinforcements. The presence of those side braces & a tapered headstock would say 1950 to me. I understand that the tapered, as opposed to constant thickness pegheads, continued into the mid-50s on some models, but I can't imagine it lasting long on the J-45/J-50 series, as they were very popular and old stock parts would have been used up fast, and my interpretation is 1950 and not much later than that.

 

As far as the FON goes, no alphabetic prefix would indicate pre-1952. There's been some debate about when J-50s actually shipped, but they surely started c.1947, if not slightly earlier. So I'm saying c.1947-1951 ...

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It's hard to tell from the pix, but is the headstock tapered, i.e., thinner at the top than at the neck end? It kinda looks like it might be. If so, look inside the guitar at the sides and see if there are any light-colored spruce pieces along the insides of the sides, from front to back, perpendicular to the top and back, as reinforcements. The presence of those side braces & a tapered headstock would say 1950 to me. I understand that the tapered, as opposed to constant thickness pegheads, continued into the mid-50s on some models, but I can't imagine it lasting long on the J-45/J-50 series, as they were very popular and old stock parts would have been used up fast, and my interpretation is 1950 and not much later than that.

 

As far as the FON goes, no alphabetic prefix would indicate pre-1952. There's been some debate about when J-50s actually shipped, but they surely started c.1947, if not slightly earlier. So I'm saying c.1947-1951 ...

 

 

Thanks for the info rustystrings, I'm not sure about it yet. I'm at work, when I get home I will check for the tapered headstock and the spruce side pieces.

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It's hard to tell from the pix, but is the headstock tapered, i.e., thinner at the top than at the neck end? It kinda looks like it might be. If so, look inside the guitar at the sides and see if there are any light-colored spruce pieces along the insides of the sides, from front to back, perpendicular to the top and back, as reinforcements. The presence of those side braces & a tapered headstock would say 1950 to me. I understand that the tapered, as opposed to constant thickness pegheads, continued into the mid-50s on some models, but I can't imagine it lasting long on the J-45/J-50 series, as they were very popular and old stock parts would have been used up fast, and my interpretation is 1950 and not much later than that.

 

As far as the FON goes, no alphabetic prefix would indicate pre-1952. There's been some debate about when J-50s actually shipped, but they surely started c.1947, if not slightly earlier. So I'm saying c.1947-1951 ...

 

 

sorry accidentally doubleposted, I don't see a delete option? I thought the little red - minus deleted it but I gave my post anegative rating apparently lol

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sorry accidentally doubleposted, I don't see a delete option? I thought the little red - minus deleted it but I gave my post anegative rating apparently lol

 

Can't help with the date...but, I gave you a plus just to even you out.

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According to your photo`s and the guitars details I too managed to narrow it`s birth down to somewhere between 1950-52, but can`t pin it down any further. The F.O.N. and serial numbers don`t seem to fit the guitars actual specs, most bizarre. All the same I think you can be confident with a 50-52 date.

 

Very nice guitar by the way. [thumbup]

 

Steve.

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I've got a '52 J-45 at home, I'll pull it out tonight and do some comparisons. I'll also consult my books ... The site Red333 linked to is a great resource, too, but Gibson transitions are blurry and nearly impossible to nail down to an exact year, especially in the post-war era. If I could nail it down to a 2 or 3-year period I'd be satisfied.

 

Brian

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Most of the characteristics of this guitar say 1949-1952. FON suggests 1949. FON on my '48-'50 (take your pick) J 45 is 3644 8 (same format as yours, with a space between the 3644 and the 8). The outlying characteristic is a non-tapered headstock, which is generally accepted to be post-1953. Small pickguard and non-tapered headstock would imply '53-'54, but the FON doesn't work for that at all. Belly-up bridge generally means post-'48, usually accepted as '50 or later. 19-fret board disappeared in the mid-'50s.

 

The headstock taper, if present, would be pretty pronounced: headstock is about 5/8" deep at the start of the long, shallow side scallop, tapering to about 7/16" or slightly less at the end of the side scallop.

 

I'm surprised your guitar actually has a serial number as well as an FON. The lowly J 45 generally has no serial number or label in this period: just the FON ink-stamped on the back of the neck block inside the body, and "J-45" stamped on the centerline cleat just inside the soundhole. Maybe the natural finish rated the J-50 as a "deluxe" model deserving of a serial number. Is the serial number on a label inside, or what?

 

But don't J's from this period sound sweet? They are a blues flatpicker's delight.

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I've seen a lot of Gibsons--and own a few as well--and have never seen a serial number stamped along the axis of the headstock in this manner. Back-of-the-headstock numbers are always horizontal, at the top of the headstock.

 

Anyone else ever seen a number stamped like this? Something new and different to me, that's for sure.

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