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'66 J50 ADJ

Messages
382
I am going to look at and probably purchase a '66 J50 ADJ tonight, and I wanted to know if there was anything specific to look for. It looks like it is in great shape, no cracks or repairs. The serial number checks out and has the original case. However, it is a deal that seems too good to be true, so I want to be wary. I'll make sure the frets are okay, and if the neck is straight.

Any advice on what else to look out for?

Also, what is the going rate for one in good shape? $2k?
 

Jaan

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,870
66 would have a narrow string spacing at the nut; 1 9/16. Some find the spacing tight for an acoustic; YMMV.
 

Bgillon

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
74
Not sure but I think they were originally spec'd with the adjustable bridge. See if that has been changed. Altering that can affect the price, but some prefer the non-adjustable bridge.
Look at the top just below the bridge for bellying or rising down there. That would only be for the purposes of determining if a neck reset is in your future.
I have a '66 J200 with the horrible individual saddle adjustable bridge, and it is a fantastic sounding guitar (against all odds), but Jaan is right that the neck is quite narrow. Not sure if it is 1 9/16 or 1 10/16, but it is narrow.
 
Messages
382
Thanks for the replies, guys! I used to play a '66 j45 so I am used to the nut width. I just want to make sure I am covering all my bases. I ended up not being able to go look at it last night, so it will be in the morning (saturday). After a closer inspection of the photos the guy sent me, I noticed there was some significant checking on the front and back, and it is missing a single dot inlay on the 5th fret. The trust rod cover is missing as well, but that isn't a big deal. Everything else seems original though, so I'll see. I will more than likely replace the bridge and put a bone nut on it as well. It depends on how it sounds and what my tech says. However, he is only asking $1500 for it, which scares me a little. Makes me wondering if there are hidden issues. He swears its in good shape though. He claims it was a family guitar and has been kept up.
 

plexigary

Member
Messages
100
After a closer inspection of the photos the guy sent me, I noticed there was some significant checking on the front and back,
You might want to post a few of those photos. Normal finish checking with age is fine, but if there's been an overspray that'll deduct from the value a bit.
 
Messages
382
You might want to post a few of those photos. Normal finish checking with age is fine, but if there's been an overspray that'll deduct from the value a bit.
I ended up buying it. The tuning pegs are '60s kluson gibson steal pegs; I don't think they are original to the guitar. A strap peg has been swapped as well. The checking actually looks really great in person. The neck is super straight, no issues. No structural problems either. I am very happy with the guitar. I will post pictures when I get it back from my tech.

I have already purchased a gator tsa case for it. Gotta keep that baby safe, haha.
 

plexigary

Member
Messages
100
Congrats! If it's a good player, that's a great price. I've got a '56 J-45 that had an adjustable bridge, that I had replaced with a fixed bridge by Folkway Music. It definitely made a difference, not radical, but enough to warrant the replacement. It gained a little volume, and a little more brightness.
 

zombywoof

Member
Messages
4,584
Congrats! If it's a good player, that's a great price. I've got a '56 J-45 that had an adjustable bridge, that I had replaced with a fixed bridge by Folkway Music. It definitely made a difference, not radical, but enough to warrant the replacement. It gained a little volume, and a little more brightness.
The problem with the ADJ bridges is that the only contact the saddle has with the top is the two big bolts.

An easier way to go is to have an inset slotted for a saddle dropped into the space previously occupied by the ADJ contraption. You do not even have to glue it in.
 

plexigary

Member
Messages
100
An easier way to go is to have an inset slotted for a saddle dropped into the space previously occupied by the ADJ contraption. You do not even have to glue it in.
Yeah, that would be easier. But a solid bridge is still going to be better at transferring energy to the top. On a $1,500 guitar it might not be worth the cost/benefit to do a full replacement. And also, I've played a couple '50s J-45s with the adjustable bridge intact that sound incredible! So it's all relative...
 

zombywoof

Member
Messages
4,584
Yeah, that would be easier. But a solid bridge is still going to be better at transferring energy to the top. On a $1,500 guitar it might not be worth the cost/benefit to do a full replacement. And also, I've played a couple '50s J-45s with the adjustable bridge intact that sound incredible! So it's all relative...
I have no dog in this hunt as the skinny necks and narrow nut widths on these guitars drives me up the wall.

Despite my reluctance to disagree with a brother from Brooklyn, if there is any difference you will need dog hearing to notice it. As the bulk of the energy is transferred down through the saddle, just having it make contact with the top will do the trick. Also a rosewood or ebony insert has the advantage of being able to go back to the stock bridge assuming you have not changed the bridge plate.
 

zombywoof

Member
Messages
4,584
Although I do not hear anything, absolutely lovely. But I have to call your belly up bridge and raise you a long saddle rectangular repro bridge on a 1942. For my two centavos the best bridge design Gibson ever came up with.



Also apologize for the hijack. And yes we need pictures because without them it never happened.
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
38,583
I've got a '56 J-45 that had an adjustable bridge, that I had replaced with a fixed bridge by Folkway Music.
that was a '50s thing? i thought they came later. my '49 J-50 (so just 7 years earlier) has the little rectangle through-saddle bridge like @zombywoof's '42 he posted that pic of.
An easier way to go is to have an inset slotted for a saddle dropped into the space previously occupied by the ADJ contraption. You do not even have to glue it in.
agreed! i've done my share of these, making an insert out of two slices of rosewood glued to a nice normal-thickness bone saddle, the whole thing shaped to fit tightly into the old wide saddle slot. definitely woke the guitars up, adding volume and brightness.

yes, you don't get the opportunity to yank those big metal bushings out of the spruce like you would with removing the bridge, but the tone improvement is still obvious.
 

zombywoof

Member
Messages
4,584
that was a '50s thing? i thought they came later. my '49 J-50 (so just 7 years earlier) has the little rectangle through-saddle bridge like @zombywoof's '42 he posted that pic of.
The ADJ bridge was first offered as an option in 1956 and became a standard feature in 1961.

The first belly bridges were put on the SJs beginning in 1943 (the year the model was introduced). The first J-45s I have seen with a belly up bridge were built in 1950.
 
Last edited:

rollingdam

Member
Messages
188
When looking at an old Gibson, I first look at the sound hole-is it perfectly round-is there a crack in it which has some of the wood protruding-is the rosette wavy? These are signs of the neck being pulled into the guitar
 




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