Gibson J-45 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1952)

Gibson  J-45 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar  (1952)
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Item # 9253
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Gibson J-45 Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1952), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # Z687-35, sunburst top, dark back and sides finish, mahogany back, sides and neck, spruce top, rosewood fingerboard, black tolex hard shell case.

Gibson's slope-shouldered Jumbo guitars have been very popular since their introduction with folk, blues, and pop players, and as always picking this one up it's easy to see why. This early 1952 J-45 is fairly well-worn but a superb player with a comfortable slim-profile neck, much sleeker than the chunky wartime spec that was continued up through the late 1940s. These early 1950s Gibson Jumbos are generally great-sounding instruments, with a big, warm sound that can still cut through the mix when pushed.

This example shows some notable wear and a few repairs, most notably an odd patch of finish work to the top. The guitar remains substantially original and in fine-playing shape. It includes typical period features, including the "top belly" style rosewood bridge, small tortoise celluloid pickguard, headstock fitted with Kluson Deluxe strip tuners, and gold decal "modern" Gibson script logo on the face. There is a small "Made in USA" stamped on the back of the pickguard indicating it was originally sold outside the US, most likely in Canada.

We always love J-45s from this period. Whether near mint or heavily worn, they are always classics in both looks and sound. This model really exemplifies the best of Gibson's "workingman's Jumbo" with no frills but plenty of splendid tone. This example is an excellent player despite its battle scars with a big, rich, but still well-defined sound.
 
Overall length is 40 3/4 in. (103.5 cm.), 16 1/4 in. (41.3 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 4 7/8 in. (12.4 cm.) in depth at side, taken at the end block. Scale length is 24 3/4 in. (629 mm.). Width of nut is 1 11/16 in. (43 mm.).

Overall this is a good-playing and sounding example of this 1950s Gibson stalwart, with some play wear and old repair work. The finish shows typical wear overall with its share of dings, dents, and scrapes. The top has an area of polish out and overfinish on the upper quarter above the fingerboard; it looks like perhaps an additional pickguard (or something!) was once attached and then removed some time ago. There are two very small patched screw holes that support this theory, anyway. This is not too unsightly but is noticeable, especially on close inspection. The remainder of the top finish is original with a nice finely checked patina and only some typical pickwear, dings, and scratches.

There are oddly almost symmetrical crack repairs to both side waist areas, sealed but not particularly neatly with some obvious polish-out to the finish around them. The most quizzical repair is a hole drilled and later filled in the center of the upper side waist; it looks like a jackhole, but that would have been a really odd place to put a jack. Maybe someone tried to mount a harmonica holder there! There are also quite a few capo marks to the back of the neck, and finish rubbed away where an old around-the-headstock strap was fitted.

The good news is that the neck has been neatly reset and refretted with period correct wire and playability is excellent. The rosewood bridge and small maple bridge plate remain original. The tuners are original as well; in fact, the only alteration is a strap button added at the center of the heel with a filled hole for another on the bottom. Not the cleanest old J-45 we have seen but a great gigger, playing perfectly with sound to spare. Very Good + Condition.