GEAR TALK – Gibson J-45
What does Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Jeff Tweedy, Elvis Costello, Jeff Bridges, New Jersey’s own Bruce Springsteen and yours truly all have in common? The answers is simple and self evident: Gibson J-45
It is not by accident. It is generally regarded as the most popular acoustic guitar Gibson has to offer, if not the most popular of all acoustic guitars. This model saw daylight in 1942, and has largely stayed intact since then. The J-45 has a rounded, “baseball bat” style neck, with sported modest dot-shaped mother of pearl fretboard position markers.
The J-45 was constructed of solid spruce wood for the top, while solid mahogany was used for the back and sides. Apart from a small batch of natural-finish J-45s produced in 1942, the model was offered only in the sunburst finish.
The J-45 is absolutely my go-to-acoustic guitar and I love it for the rich bass and the durability throughout a gig. The neck is “big” or wide and gives you resistance, and it responds great to a little harder strumming as well as fine fingerpicking. It truly deserves the label “workhorse”. It is extremely reliable and plays great summers as well and winters. I have taken this guitar half around the world already.Once tuned I very seldom have to tune it again during a show.
How it got started
THE STORY OF THE GIBSON is interesting!
Imagine launching a guitar in 1942. Us had just joined WWII and
parts were hard to come by because of government imposed rations
on the commercial use of timber and metal. Designers had to use up
to four pieces of spruce for the J-45’s top. This lead to Gibson
choosing the sunburst finish simply because a sunburst finish would
better disguise any join in the timbers
I am really pleased to say it’s an interesting post to read.
Thanks for that. Some good info, but the guitar Bob Dylan is holding in the photo is the old J50 that he used to record the “Bob Dylan” and “Freewheelin'” LPs, before it was stolen or misplaced.
At that time, the only difference between a J45 and a J50 was the sunburst finish on the J45 and the blonde finish on the J50. I have read that the J50 was more expensive ($50 originally) because they couldn’t cover flaws in the spruce with the sunburst, so it required a nicer piece of spruce. I have two friends who have J45s, re-finished to look like J50s and I can see no flaws in the spruce.
These days, I’ve seen factory finished blonde J45s. Apparently Gibson has changed their naming policy.
Really cool info. What is your reference? How can I know what you are saying is right?