2004 Gibson J-45 Rosewood Custom Dreadnought Guitar

This fancy-pants Gibson is owned by an acquaintance of mine and it was given to him in a celebrity-tinged backstory with names I will keep to myself. Suffice to say, it was custom-made for a fancy-pants '60s folksinger and then lived in the closet of a fancy-pants Hollywood actress (by way of a gift) and now lives in a world-famous carver's Vermont residence. He came to our jam and left it for a quick setup and I was pleased to get to pick on it for a bit.

It was built by Flatiron Gibson Montana and is similar to a same-timeframe J-45 "vine" model, save that the board and bridge are ebony, the tuners are plainer, and the "vine" inlay in the board is replaced with repeating, semi-Nick-Lucas-triangle shapes.

It's a good guitar with a warm, throaty voice and snazzy looks. It's not especially punchy but the rosewood back and sides definitely make a difference vs. mahogany and add a lot of "80% cacao" to the sound. I'd say the bigger difference from an "average J-45," however, is that most modern Gibsons seem to shoot more for the nuanced Martin sound than the old '50s/'60s ones. That's to be expected, since modern ears tend to like that hi-fi aspect.

The ebony board and binding give this an alien feel to me, but they look sharp. I'm so used to a guitar of this shape being fairly plain.

As usual for any fancy guitar, the saddle was left without proper compensation for the low E, B, and high E strings. I remedied that.