A 1967 Gibson J-45 Guitar.
|Body||Sitka Spruce top
Mahogany back and sides
|Natural, Heritage Cherry Sunburst, Vintage Sunburst|
The J-45 is part of Gibson's round-shoulder "jumbo" line, begun in 1934 with the Jumbo Flattop introduced to compete with C.F. Martin & Company's "D" line. It is noted for its sunburst finish, warm bass and good projection, and outstanding playability. The structurally similar naturally finished J-50 first appeared in 1942, but did not enter continuous production until 1947.
Introduced in 1942 to replace the inexpensive, Great Depression-era flattop J-35, the J-45 standardized the company's approach to the dreadnought guitar. With a list price of $45, it nonetheless initially only varied slightly, with strengthened internal bracing and a new teardrop-shaped pickguard. A headstock decal with the Gibson logo replaced both the old stark white silkscreened 'Gibson' of the thirties and the slogan "Only a Gibson Is Good Enough." It also had a more rounded, "baseball bat" style neck, as opposed to the "V" shape of the J-35 neck. The version produced today is substantially similar to the 1942 model.
Cosmetically, the J-45 was understated, intended as a durable no-frills "workhorse guitar" (its nickname given by the manufacturer). Although a few triple-bound top types were initially produced, the standard single binding was simple, soundhole ring austere, and neck only sported modest dot-shaped mother of pearl fretboard position markers. Gibson used a sunburst finish to cover up imperfections in the wood joins. The top was solid spruce, the back and sides solid mahogany. Over time the sunburst has become iconic, with collectors preferring the J-45 to the higher-end J-50s of the same era. Apart from a small batch of natural-finish J-45s produced in 1942, the model was offered only in sunburst.
The J-50 guitars is essentially a natural-finish J-45, with a triple rather than single-bound top and other minor differences in trim. Gibson produced a handful in 1942 using high quality wood laid up before World War II-induced shortages took hold. By 1947 supplies had resumed, resulting in the model's official introduction.