1970 Gibson J-50 Dreadnought Guitar

Update June 2019: I've entirely updated this post with new pics, a new video clip, and a new description.

Local jam-group buddy Ed owned this guitar for a long while. It was his first stint into nice boxes and he's played it a lot. Back in 2015, he had me give it a quick setup and since then I leveled and dressed the frets. After that it's accrued a teensy amount of wear on the frets, but not enough to go at them again. I just gave it a fresh setup a week or two ago and now he's brought it back in for resale as he's downsizing to a smaller instrument.

The serial number on the back of the headstock points right to 1970 and it's a very good example of how Gibson decided to change direction with their jumbo/dreadnoughts for the new decade. Instead of the classic slope-shouldered instrument with its 24 3/4" scale length, this guitar is much more Martin-like with squared shoulders and a longer, 25 3/8" scale. Combined with brace-design changes, these differences make a guitar that handles much more like a punchy Martin D-18 than a "classic" Gibson J-50.

Perhaps the bluegrass/Americana scene of the time demanded a punchier, more lead-worthy instrument than the more vintage-style J-50, but for whatever reason, Gibson stuck to this design for their dreadnoughts for the next decade after this version originally debuted in 1969. It makes a great, driving chordal guitar or a nice all-around picker if you need to switch from chords to lead or fills. The notes pop a lot more than the slope-shouldered version of the model, though the changes mean it also doesn't have the tubbier, folksier boom of the slope-shouldered version, either. The low-end on this is more like a D-18 and it growls and barks more than it chugs.

Previous work included: a fret level/dress, setup, and minor saddle adjustments. It plays on-the-dot with 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE action at the 12th fret, strung with 54w-12 gauges. The truss-rod works and the neck is straight.

Scale length: 25 3/8"
Nut width: 1 11/16"
String spacing at nut: 1 1/2"
String spacing at bridge: 2 1/8"
Body length: 19 7/8"
Lower bout width: 16"
Upper bout width:  11 5/8"
Side depth at endpin: 5"
Top wood: solid spruce
Back/sides wood: solid mahogany
Bracing type: x-braced
Fretboard: rosewood
Bridge: rosewood
Neck feel: slim C-shape, ~12" radius board

Condition notes: the bridge, saddle, pins, tuners, nut, and truss-rod cover are non-original. There's a small patch of wood in front of the bridge that's mildly discolored from a previous oversize bridge install. I'm not sure of there's a replacement patch of wood in there or if it's just that it has new finish over a previously-bare patch of wood. Either way, it's completely stable and good to go -- I've known this guitar for years and it almost never needs to be adjusted or tinkered-with. There are no cracks and the finish is in good shape overall. The Gibson logo on the headstock is a bit mucked-up, though.

It comes with: a presumably-original, arched-top, hard case.

I like the birdseye-maple truss rod cover. You don't see that every day -- and at least it was cut to match the original cover's shape.

There are a number of small, white scuffs on the back of the guitar.

The replacement tuners are more-modern Klusons that look a lot like what would've been on here anyhow.

Note the 3-piece of construction for the neck -- that gives it extra strength and helps avoid twists.