Vintage Instruments: Gibson Guitars

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1948 Gibson J-45

Here's a guitar that's got pretty much everything going for it. Tone, looks, and feel are all just right, and it's darn near impossible to stop playing once you pick this one up.

It's an early post-war J-45, built in 1947 or 1948, and is more like a Banner era J-45 than a 1950's issue. Well, almost. The neck is not at all banner like, with its 1-11/16" nut width, it's much more manageable than the average war-time J-45.

With small rectangular bridge and matching bridge plate, scalloped braces, and well-arched top, the guitar has the quick, focused, powerful and rich voice that is the hallmark of Gibson in the mid and late 1940's. Quite similar in tone to a comparable Banner model, this J-45 is a tremendously good sounding vintage Gibson.

Book-matched mahogany back and sides, spruce top, mahogany neck with tapered headstock and adjustable truss rod, modern Gibson logo, rosewood fingerboard and bridge. The guitar had braces reglued and a refret prior to landing on our repair benches a few years back, when we made and installed aged repro bone nut and saddle, dressed the frets, and fitted correct bridge pins. Playability is heavenly, action is easy, and the guitar plays very cleanly.

One cleanly glued top crack on the bass-side of the top, a pickguard crack, and one very tiny side crack. Plenty of playwear and life-wear to the finish -- and it looks great. Original finish throughout. Tuners are correct, but may not be original to the guitar as there are footprints and small screw-mounting holes left by other tuners under the treble-side Kluson strip.

Original neck set with perfect neck angle, unmodified original bridge, full height saddle, and action of 5-6 64ths. Playability doesn't get better than this on a guitar.

Round neck with 24.75" scale, 1-11/16" nut.

With Calton custom case.

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