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how are the 1963 J45's? I am in the market for a high end J45


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please help me find the best years J45. with a narrow nut width but huge tone. I like rosewood for m singer songwriter tunes.

Is there a vintage guitar shop with 10 or more J45 models in LA, CA?

 

thanks, mike

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please help me find the best years J45. with a narrow nut width but huge tone. I like rosewood for m singer songwriter tunes.

Is there a vintage guitar shop with 10 or more J45 models in LA, CA?

 

thanks, mike

 

Further to my PM, should also say that 1960s 45s often have adjustable bridges with ceramic saddles. The bridges have a bad reputation among many players, but a goodly number of people here, and not the least discerning, really love them. Just different from bone or modern plastics. One such seems to have been a key feature of the guitar that Donovan used on his early hits. Not sure how easy it will be to find a 1960s 45 in rosewood, though. That particular desire also problematizes my main suggestion in the PM. Historics and their immediate predecessors are mahogany, like most 45s. Perhaps if you can find a rosewood custom from the same 2002-2005 era, you might find the combination of specs you are looking for. It won't have the classic 45 tone though - however beautiful it may sound.

 

Edit: also, I see from another thread that you have a rosewood 45 from the 2002-2005 era. Are you specifically looking for a vintage instrument? Not sure how many desirable, high-end vintage J45s were made in rosewood. A run of banner Southern Jumbos from 1943 would be the nearest thing I can think of. This one was recently sold by Willi Henkes in Tübingen for around 30 000 dollars:rosewood SJ. That's definitely high end. It can be seen and heard in the hands of the forum's own banner expert and Willi Henkes's co-author, John Thomas (JT) if you search the site enough. Spectacular sounding, but I suspect it has a wide nut. JT might divulge, and might be able to advise on alternative vintage rosewood slopes.

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please help me find the best years J45. with a narrow nut width but huge tone. I like rosewood for m singer songwriter tunes.

Is there a vintage guitar shop with 10 or more J45 models in LA, CA?

 

thanks, mike

 

 

1942, 1945, 1946, 1947 -- the necks will be chunky.

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Further to my PM, should also say that 1960s 45s often have adjustable bridges with ceramic saddles. The bridges have a bad reputation among many players, but a goodly number of people here, and not the least discerning, really love them. Just different from bone or modern plastics. One such seems to have been a key feature of the guitar that Donovan used on his early hits. Not sure how easy it will be to find a 1960s 45 in rosewood, though. That particular desire also problematizes my main suggestion in the PM. Historics and their immediate predecessors are mahogany, like most 45s. Perhaps if you can find a rosewood custom from the same 2002-2005 era, you might find the combination of specs you are looking for. It won't have the classic 45 tone though - however beautiful it may sound.

 

Edit: also, I see from another thread that you have a rosewood 45 from the 2002-2005 era. Are you specifically looking for a vintage instrument? Not sure how many desirable, high-end vintage J45s were made in rosewood. A run of banner Southern Jumbos from 1943 would be the nearest thing I can think of. This one was recently sold by Willi Henkes in Tübingen for around 30 000 dollars:rosewood SJ. That's definitely high end. It can be seen and heard in the hands of the forum's own banner expert and Willi Henkes's co-author, John Thomas (JT) if you search the site enough. Spectacular sounding, but I suspect it has a wide nut. JT might divulge, and might be able to advise on alternative vintage rosewood slopes.

Very informative Mojorule....I can not thank you enough for your facts of the different eras and models.

I have a relatively slim (1.72") 2003 J45 Rosewood with the Gibson pearloid logo and gold tuners. I see it is in one of your era's but not the exact model. Looks like rosewood will be the hardest fit but I will research the ones you kindly referred too.

My current J45 is really nice but I am looking for an even greater sounding J45 model with a fast neck. I can't afford the 46 models which I hear on utube....wow they must be 10 to 30K for those? They sound the best of all the utube J45 tracks I have listened to.

 

I can afford 3 to 5K on a guitar that is tonefully and psyically strong with a lot of Gibson onerous overtones that accumulate during playing with good low end for my bass lined, 2 part, singer-songwriter type songs.

 

Needs to be short scale Gibson, 1/116ths or there abouts. Armed with your data I now can digest and research your great outlines.

 

Do you think I should bid on this 1963 going off in an hour or so from Ebay?

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/380444156288?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649

 

Looks like the bridge issues from above answer that question.

 

 

Mike

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Is there a vintage guitar shop with 10 or more J45 models in LA, CA?

Your best bet for a shop with a bunch of vintage J-45s in LA would probably be Norman's Rare Guitars on Ventura Blvd out in Tarzana. But it's definitely worth making multiple stops. There are a several places in Hollywood, including the Guitar Center, and many others scattered around.

 

-- Bob R

 

P.S. If by narrow nut, you mean "less than 1-11/16 inches", you're pretty much looking at late-'60s, which is pretty much incompatible with huge tone. If I wanted a really skinny neck on a J-45, I'd for sure order a new one built using the Iron Mountain AJ neck profile.

 

Added a bit later. I see you're okay with 1-11/16" and want to spend no more than $5K. I'd be looking for a nice late-'50s model if I were in that position, but some people do prefer the late-'40s/early-'50s models. A nice early-to-mid-'40s model is probably out of your price range, and (IMHO) tone nosedives pretty rapidly in the '60s.

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Just search pre-adj bridge years and you'll be very happy. Everything newer will just sound like the one you have. My '57 ran me $2600 and it's right up top for tone. If you have more moolah go earlier, less, go up to the first year pre-adjustable. It's that simple...except for parting with the dinero.

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If by narrow nut, you mean "less than/= 1-11/16 inches", you're pretty much looking at late-'60s, which is pretty much incompatible with huge tone.
Bob pretty much sums it up. Under the hood, those units had straight (not scalloped] braces and laminate maple bridge pads, size large. All that adds up to reduced response, volume & sustain. Sweet as a Georgia peach mind you, but not big shouters.

 

If your RW gitty really disappoints (the few Re J45s Ive played were not, especially), look not to the 60s but a recent J45 True Vintage. That's one big sounding mahogany short scale (24.75) box.

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Bob pretty much sums it up. Under the hood, those units had straight (not scalloped] braces and laminate maple bridge pads, size large. All that adds up to reduced response, volume & sustain. Sweet as a Georgia peach mind you, but not big shouters.

 

If your RW gitty really disappoints (the few Re J45s Ive played were not, especially), look not to the 60s but a recent J45 True Vintage. That's one big sounding mahogany short scale (24.75) box.

 

 

For the best value, and perhaps even the most consistency, what Rambler says. Even early 60's J-45's can be quite expensive, and with no guarantee the tone will be there. The big plywood bridgeplate introduced about the same time as the truly narrow (1 9/16") nut (around 1964-'65) is a tone-sucker (and volume-sucker, too), in my experience.

 

On the other hand, I've played a couple of nice 1963 models ( 1 11/16" nut) that were very nice guitars, and good value at less than $2K.

 

But for absolute value? Newer True Vintage model is the way to go.

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I played a delightful '61 J-45 a couple of weeks ago at Austin Vintage Guitars in (you guessed it) Austin TX. Slender neck, vibrant but slightly faded cherryburst finish, ceramic bridge, and powerful bass. Very nice guitar!

 

Here's a pic:

IMG_6091.jpg

 

This one had the "thinner" neck of the early '60s, but not the 'pencil-thin' 1 and 5/8" neck of the mid-60s. Despite the ceramic bridge insert, it sounded pretty darned good.

 

I have no idea if the guitar is still there or not, but you could call them and talk to Steve. It was priced under 4k.

 

Austin Vintage

 

Fred

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I played a delightful '61 J-45 a couple of weeks ago at Austin Vintage Guitars in (you guessed it) Austin TX. Slender neck, vibrant but slightly faded cherryburst finish, ceramic bridge, and powerful bass. Very nice guitar!

 

Here's a pic:

IMG_6091.jpg

 

This one had the "thinner" neck of the early '60s, but not the 'pencil-thin' 1 and 5/8" neck of the mid-60s. Despite the ceramic bridge insert, it sounded pretty darned good.

 

I have no idea if the guitar is still there or not, but you could call them and talk to Steve. It was priced under 4k.

 

Austin Vintage

 

Fred

 

To put things in perspective here, I recently looked at a slightly used J-45 Legend at $3500. Paying around $4k for an adjustable-bridge cherry burst mid-60's J-45 strikes me as completely nuts. If it has an adjustable bridge, it probably has a plywood bridgeplate as well. Not sure how that one is identified as 1961. I thought cherry burst started in '62 or '63. I've seen fixed-bridge J-45's as late as 1963.

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I agree that it will probably come down to whether you like the neck or not. Necks on the 1963 and 1964 Gibsons tend to be about the best you are going to find on a guitar built that decade. While they ain't as chunky and will fill your hand like those made through 1959, they are a bit beefier than the 1960-1962 necks and had yet to desecrated by that narrow flippin' nut they went to around 1965 (can't thank you enough for that one Arnie).

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To put things in perspective here, I recently looked at a slightly used J-45 Legend at $3500. Paying around $4k for an adjustable-bridge cherry burst mid-60's J-45 strikes me as completely nuts. If it has an adjustable bridge, it probably has a plywood bridgeplate as well. Not sure how that one is identified as 1961. I thought cherry burst started in '62 or '63. I've seen fixed-bridge J-45's as late as 1963.

 

Nick -- the FON is '61 and the serial number too. This one sounded better than most new J-45s I've played, and it's got fifty years of vibes goin' on. Each to their own, but I'd give this one an "edge", so to speak, over a new one most days of the week! (This one 'had room' in the price, so I suspect could've been got close to mid-3k-ish.)

 

Fred

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Nick -- the FON is '61 and the serial number too. This one sounded better than most new J-45s I've played, and it's got fifty years of vibes goin' on. Each to their own, but I'd give this one an "edge", so to speak, over a new one most days of the week! (This one 'had room' in the price, so I suspect could've been got close to mid-3k-ish.)

 

Fred

 

 

Fair enough. We all have to decide what's best for us. Although I have a real preference for vintage, some of the prices I see don't makes sense if what you are after is a reliable, great-sounding guitar.

 

When I see a nearly new Legend for the same price as a beat-to-pieces 60-year-old J-45 that doesn't necessarily sound any better, it's hard for me to get excited about the vintage guitar.

 

Sometimes buying vintage gets you a better guitar. Other times, it just gets you some old wood vibe, a lot of repair bills, and a mediocre musical instrument.

 

 

I've been on both ends of that equation.

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ZW, could you elaborate on that one a bit? Seems like a bit of inside history here that we'd like to understand.

 

Arnold Berlin took over CMI, Gibson's parent company, from his father Maurice in 1965 (Arnie is where in "in" in Norlin comes from). Some of the first things he did were to install a high speed conveyor finishing system and new automatic neck machines that turned out those narrow nut necks.

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Arnold Berlin took over CMI, Gibson's parent company, from his father Maurice in 1965 (Arnie is where in "in" in Norlin comes from). Some of the first things he did were to install a high speed conveyor finishing system and new automatic neck machines that turned out those narrow nut necks.

A name, then , that shalt live in infamy. Among guitar players, anyway. Business may not have suffered.
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please help me find the best years J45. with a narrow nut width but huge tone. I like rosewood for m singer songwriter tunes.

Is there a vintage guitar shop with 10 or more J45 models in LA, CA?

 

thanks, mike

 

Your title question about the 63 ish J45.. there not that bad.. But not worth a whole lot either.. 1500 tops.. you would be alot happier with a new TV or a early 90s j45..

 

just my thoughts.

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Your title question about the 63 ish J45.. there not that bad.. But not worth a whole lot either.. 1500 tops.. you would be alot happier with a new TV or a early 90s j45..

 

just my thoughts.

 

Thanks for the highly detailed lines of Gibson J45 pursuit. I now know what years and models to stay away from and I am so glad I didn't grab the 63.

Besides the TV models I will now concentrate my search on early 90's J45's. In person, I will spring for a 50's model but do not want to get into the scenario of luthier rebuilds and dashed expectations. That sounds nightmarish. I will also keep an eye out for 2001 thru 2003 Rosewood, 1 11/16ths" nut, like mine that might be a good backup? Mine is really nice but at 56 years old and 45 years of playing I would love to have a guitar that has the overtones of the finest Gibson acoustics. I also need to look at upgrading my current 2003 piezo strip. Do the low mid J45's need a certain electronic type? Would like to at least try a few mahogany models of higher grade like the Legends. A trip, 2 hours South, to LA will be in order.

 

 

 

Tonight's singer songwriter gig went well. I cleaned and polished my 2003 and the neck played great. To clean the ebony fretboard I used Rosinol (Naptha). The crud next to the fret took alot of elbow grease to lift and remove with my microfibre cloth. Then I used 0000 steel wool lightly, which really smoothed out the nickel frets and fret board edge. I then used some light conditioner (Fret Dr.) and polished the body and headstock. Then I did a lame thing and put my graduated super lights 11-52's on. I got out two packs of strings and put the wrong ones on. [crying] The short scale guitars need 12-53's minimum. I use the 11's on my 25.5" Blueridge which has not seen much time since I got this guitar 2 years ago from Ebay.

 

I appreciate this thread and after reading it many times I really like this forum. Real nice helpful guys and gals. I might research the posts and find a better electronic system?

 

I also wonder if anybody that favors narrower string spacing get's a 1 3/4" nut width and puts a new patterned bone nut on. Featuring a bigger margin of fretboard on both sides of the two E strings?

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Thanks

I also wonder if anybody that favors narrower string spacing get's a 1 3/4" nut width and puts a new patterned bone nut on. Featuring a bigger margin of fretboard on both sides of the two E strings?

 

 

That's certainly a rational approach. Some people complain, particularly with light strings, that it's hard to keep the high E from falling off the edge of the board.

 

It's a harmless experiment, as it only requires a new nut. It is a luthier job, unless you have a lot of experience in this.

 

You would probably end up with string spacing at the nut that was similar to that of a 1 11/16" nut guitar, but with a little more margin outside both E strings.

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