Used Gibson J-45 or J-50?

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by gtrfinder, Jul 2, 2008.

  1. gtrfinder

    gtrfinder Supporting Member

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    What would be a fair price for a used Gibson J-45 or J-50?
    I cannot afford vintage, so this would have to be recent production.
    I'm looking to buy one used, but have no idea what a good price is, and I'd likely have to sell my existing acoustic to help pay for it.
    I'm only interested in Gibson, so no other suggestions please.
    Any help is greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Tricks

    Tricks Member

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    Don't know what your budget is, however, I often see 1960's models on eBay that sell for anything between $1500.00 and $3000.00, depending on the condition they're in. I've seen (what look to be) good player guitars - i.e. not in "mint" condition - sell for around the $1700.00 mark - which is probably less
    than or about the same as buying one which is only a few years old.
     
  3. Steve Gambrell

    Steve Gambrell Member

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    I just let one from the "Historic Collection" go, for 1600. Near mint, but I sold it to a friend, and I had nearly that much in it.
     
  4. Mikey Likes It

    Mikey Likes It Silver Supporting Member

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    Best price I've seen on eBay is $1400 for a "pristine" '93 J45.

    I bought one new in 1977 for $400 and still have it. It's a very sweet-sounding guitar but doesn't project very well.
     
  5. Ogre

    Ogre Member

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    Don't buy it on Ebay! These guitars are all over the place, and you are much better off playing before you buy. I picked up a used J45 2 years ago for $1400, and it is superb.
     
  6. Mikey Likes It

    Mikey Likes It Silver Supporting Member

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    This is not a "J" model - it's a Nick Lucas at Mandolin Brothers, but it's sweet, with that firestripe pickguard:

    [​IMG]

    They also have a mid-60's J50 listed for $2200, but the photo link doesn't work. Hopefully you live close enough to a city where you can test-drive a flat-top before buying.
     
  7. fuzz_factor

    fuzz_factor Supporting Member

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    What is all over the place about these guitars? I keep hearing this, and I'm trying to put my finger on exactly what the problem is.

    I've tried a number of J45s around town. The only difference that I've sussed out among them are that certain ones are 'deader.' That said, the lively ones seem to be at Guitar Center, while the deader ones at smaller shops. My thinking on that is: The ones in GC get a lot of playing and are starting to break in, and I'm more likely to take a pick and strum away in the GC. I'm usually more polite and fingerpick newer ones in the smaller shops. Hence, these feel deader.

    To answer the OPs question: I've been looking for a nice recent used J45 myself. $1600 seems to be about the going rate from stores. $1300 to $1400 seems to be a pretty good deal. I'd love to find a nice local one in that range.

    The Guitar Center occasionally marks new ones down to $1600. During their 'Midnight Madness' sale a few days ago, I saw a new J45 for $1590. Wasn't even too beat; a little wear, but less so than your average used guitar. I might go back if they repeat the deal over the 4th.

    Good luck finding a nice one.
    - jeff -
     
  8. Ogre

    Ogre Member

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    The "all over the place" comment was saying that some of these J45s that I have played are dogs from hell. That is, dead and uninspiring. Lots of them are just ok. Then, some are flat-out wonderful. I avoid guitar center like a 5-hour gig!
     
  9. fuzz_factor

    fuzz_factor Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the info. I guess some do have a bit more zing than others.

    How do you rate the playability? Is it all over the place (adjusting for potential setup need), or are they pretty consistent?
     
  10. Ogre

    Ogre Member

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    Playability varies a good bit. That can be addressed by a competent tech. Find one that has the tone, and go from there. I sure got lucky with my Bozeman-made brick red 68' reissue.
     
  11. GregoryL

    GregoryL Supporting Member

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    I've bought Martins and Collings sight unseen, but would not do this with a Gibson.

    I spent months trying every J45 I could - new and recent used - and played many dogs ... playability issues, construction issues. 5 year old guitars, apparently well kept, but in need of a neck reset or bridge shave!

    Found a good one, but I've never had to try that many of any other model before finding the right one.
     
  12. fuzz_factor

    fuzz_factor Supporting Member

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    Any advice on scoping out guitar that may need a future neck set? Any specifics on other construction issues to watch out for? I'm not a total newbie, but I don't have any experience sussing out anything but obvious issues with acoustics.

    The one thing I've noticed is that the electronics seem to flop around in these things quite a bit.
     
  13. Jahn

    Jahn Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver Supporting Member

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    the telltale sign that an acoustic guitar needs a neck reset is that there is barely any string break angle over the saddle anymore, and the saddle has been taken down to be almost flush with the bridge. or you see that the bridge has been shaved down. that's usually an indication that the action was sky high and they did that as a quick fix. the action was high because the neck was bending forward - something a neck reset will fix.
     
  14. Vintage-tone

    Vintage-tone Gold Supporting Member

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    I m a vintage J45 and J50 fan, have and had many of em from banner to 66.
    My humble advice to you would be to buy a second newer model made in Montana over ANY square shoulder vintage J45.
    They made a few LTD runs also, rosewood ones etc . Some are great.
     
  15. Rob Sharer

    Rob Sharer Muso-Luthier

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    There's a used one for a good price - with a fancy bright red/white pickguard color scheme - for sale at The Music Loft in Carrboro, NC. Cheers,

    Rob
     
  16. FrostyMorn

    FrostyMorn Member

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    The specifications and sound has varied quite a bit over the model's lifetime. Fat neck, skinny net, 1 11/16" nut, 1 5/8" nut, round shoulder, square shoulder, short scale, long scale, etc. etc. Desirability, and price, varied along with those specs.
     
  17. adidos

    adidos Member

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    The 30 or 40+ year old guitars are as likely to be as up and down as the newer ones and let's be honest 90% of the built guitars in the world invariably don't end up sounding like one Mark Knopfler would have in his studio costing $X0,000.
    A sensible rule of thumb as far as I know has always been that you should buy according to what you hear from the guitar not what you hear from other people.
    I only know that the '06 Rosewood J45 I found beat out 4 standard J45's, 2 Old & 2 New Advanced jumbos, 5 very pricey Martins and forget about the Taylors. As with most Gibsons it needed upgrading the nut, bridge and pegs as well as a minor fret skim. The neck is superb and though it's a young guitar it has that bloom in the sound that just leapt out WELL BEYOND anything that the other guitars could produce. And what a sound. Bliss.
    Keep on looking there are still great guitars being made.;)
     

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