3/20/2015

1969 Gibson J-50 Slope-shoulder Dreadnought Guitar




This guitar will be on consignment shortly. 1969 was the last year for the original run of the "slope shoulder" J-45 and J-50. By the end of the year and int 1970 the Martin-style squared, long-scale J-45/J-50 became the standard Gibson model and it's a change that I'm not a huge fan of. I definitely prefer these round-shouldered, mids-rich, more complex guys instead.

Work included regluing a bit of fretboard, a fret level/dress, and general setup. The guitar is crack-free, quite clean aside from the usual UV yellowing of the finish and weatherchecking, and is mostly original though the bridge, saddle, and pins are replacements. This originally would've had an adjustable bridge of the same silhouette.

It spent some time in a smoker's care so the guitar itself smells a bit like tobacco's finishings if you sniff in the soundhole. I don't notice it when I play it, but then I'm also used to living basically in an antique store. The old hard case is another matter: I'm still trying to air it out.


I love the "big orange" look of this guitar. A finish that's still sweet and glossy doesn't hurt, either.


The truss rod is quite functional.

This has a pretty narrow nut (just a very tiny hair under 1 5/8") but a slightly deeper front/back profile compared to earlier 60s Gibsons. It's interesting because this mix reminds me of some 50s Kays. It's a good shape for playing fast closed or barred chords up the neck but I find it slightly tight for flatpicking lead lines.

Then again: I tend to strum old Js like this, anyhow. They're the perfect "backing" guitar on so many levels.


The frets are medium in size but low-ish in height. They've been leveled and dressed a few times but still have enough meat to keep going for a good while.

The board is rosewood, as usual.


The big old "country western" style pickguard adorns the solid spruce top.


The saddle is low-ish but added string ramps mean the back-angle on it is still decent. This guitar has no trouble being loud and proud and is currently strung with a set of 12s.



Nice back and sides, huh? It's good-looking mahogany.


The original Klusons are still working nicely.








I really do prefer the Gibson-style screwed-on strap buttons to the friction-set ones.



...and there's that very yellow-gold hard case. I'm pretty sure it's original to the guitar as it's the right color and age.

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