Museum: Gibson Guitars

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1951 Gibson J-50

With likely a few stories to tell, this J-50 is among the best looking playworn guitars we’ve offered in years. It’s fabulously cool, and has all the tone in the world to back it up – both unplugged and plugged in. The DeArmond toaster pickup is fat, bold, dark, and loud, and does what pretty much all DeArmond pickups do: it sounds incredible. That vintage Niagara Falls decal hides a couple of filled holes where the pickup’s volume and tone controls were once mounted. They’ve since been deleted, and the pickup is hardwired to an endpin jack.

The guitar is in excellent condition considering how worn the top’s finish is. A few loose brace ends have been reglued, the nut and saddle are replacements, and the first 8 frets have been seamlessly replaced with new old stock matching Gibson early 50’s fretwire. All repairs were done here at Folkway. Most recently, a small section of missing wood in the soundhole was invisibly replaced – it’s a particularly cool repair, and impossible to spot.

The guitar is set-up with nickel wound 12’s to bring out the most from the DeArmond. There is an LR Baggs Dual Source acoustic pickup mounted in the guitar as well, wired to a second endpin jack, which allows even more plugged in options.

Spruce and mahogany body with rosewood fingerboard and bridge. Scalloped braces and small pickguard. Original Kluson tuners with new buttons, and the bridge is fitted with matching Antique Acoustic pins. The guitar’s headstock was long ago painted to look bound; and a section of the headstock face’s finish appears to have been burnt off, most likely by a cigarette.

Hard to find a cooler stage-ready J-50. Plugged into pretty much any lower-wattage amp, the guitar screams with a dark and thick howling bluesy gnarl. It’s hard to put down.

With original well-worn Gibson case, of course.

Click HERE for our hi-def video feature of this instrument.



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