VINTAGE GUITAR SHOOTOUT: Gibson J-45 vs. J-50 Acoustics

MAKE, MODEL, YEAR

This Gibson J-45 is a 1954 and the Gibson J-50 is from 1949.

1954 Gibson J-45 acoustic guitar

1954 Gibson J-45 acoustic guitar

BACKGROUND

The Gibson J-45 was first introduced in 1942. It was only offered in a sunburst finish because tone woods were not so easy to come by at that time (smack in the middle of WWII), so the visual quality was often less-than-perfect. Gibson used the paint to hide blemishes and other visual imperfections in the wood. After the war, higher quality wood became easier to obtain.

Rather than just offer the J-45 in a natural finish, the folks at Gibson decided to introduce a new model to the “J” line and so, in 1947 the J-50 was born. Oddly enough they didn’t change the design of the guitar, only the appearance. The new J-50 was offered in a natural finish with a 3-ply front binding and a different shaped bridge – but other than a few cosmetic changes, the J-45 and the J-50 are the same guitar.

1949 Gibson J-50 acoustic guitar

1949 Gibson J-50 acoustic guitar

WHAT THEY SOUND LIKE

Both the J-45 and the J-50 are known for the beautiful bass tones and wonderful projection. The two guitars shown here are in their original state with no electronics added.  They each play and sound incredible and each have appeared on numerous recordings at the LaLa Mansion Studio, where they currently reside.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

From SOHO GUITAR in Tampa, Florida, I’m Rob Meigel. Learn more at sohoguitar.com.

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