1964 Gibson J-50 Slope Dreadnought Guitar

Update December 2020: this is now for sale -- the owner wanted to go for some skinnier necks despite his wife's protestations over selling this box (it sounds great). His loss - this one feels like home base to me! Now back to the original listing...

After going through this lovely old beast, I was happily-surprised to find that this '64 model sounds a lot like a '50s J-45/J-50. It has a lot of good mids and a less-boomy voice overall. It's clearer and punchier than I expect for the era -- especially when you hear it out-front. From behind it sounds a little sweeter. Usually, '60s J-45/J-50 models tend to have a lot of low-end warmth and fullness but a thin or scooped top-end. They make good chordal strummers but as fingerpickers or for lead/fill work they're less-apt compared to earlier ones.

Being a '64 and not a '65, this one also has the much-desired 1 11/16" nut width and wider string spacing. Later models were reduced to 1 5/8" or just-under 1 5/8" and have a skinnier front-back profile as well. This older spacing is what most guitar buyers are looking for. I like both for different reasons, but I can definitely do fingerpicking or flatpicking on this style -- I struggle more with fingerpicking on the narrow-neck Gibsons.

While overall it looks like a "loved-in" old J-50 in pretty good order from the front, it arrived here in a funky state. The back had some unresolved cracking/dropping damage that'd been reglued out of alignment and mucked-up in the past. In addition, the original bridge was long-gone and replaced with a 12-string-size bridge that'd warped and split.

Post-repairs it plays perfectly and is good to go for the long haul, with a good-height saddle and "rugged good looks."

Repairs included: a replacement Madagascar rosewood bridge cut to fit the size/imprint of the old replacement, new compensated bone saddle, fret level/dress, re-repair/shoring-up/cleating/fill-work to the collection of cracks on the back (all stable), cleaning, and setup.

Made by: Gibson

Model: J-50 ADJ

Made in: Kalamazoo, MI, USA

Serial number: 160889

Top wood: solid spruce

Back & sides wood: solid mahogany

Bracing type: x

Bridge: Madagascar rosewood (replacement)

Fretboard: Brazilian rosewood

Neck wood: mahogany

Tone: woody, chunky, balanced, good low-end rumble

Suitable for: blues, folk, country, old-time, singer-songwriter, country-blues, rock

Action height at 12th fret: 3/32” bass 1/16” treble (fast, spot-on)
String gauges: 54w-12 lights

Neck shape: medium C-shape

Board radius: 12"

Truss rod: adjustable (wroks)

Neck relief: straight

Fret style: shallow-wide

Scale length: 24 5/8"

Nut width: 1 11/16"

String spacing at nut: 1 1/2"

String spacing at bridge: 2 3/16"

Body length: 20 1/8"

Body width: 16"

Body depth: 4 7/8"

Weight: 4 lb 10 oz

Condition notes: the bridge is oversize and replaced -- the saddle and pins are replacements, too. There's a lot of pickwear to the top and lots of minor scratches/small nicks and dings throughout, but they're not intense. The finish is weather-checked throughout as well and shows bigger "ridging" on the back of the neck. There are a cluster of longer cracks on the back that I re-repaired and made solid. It was tricky to get them all in good shape due to some old fill/funky repairs (and mismatched crack seams), but they're stable and good to go. They don't look beautiful, but they're more charming than hideous when mixed with the amount of pickwear on the guitar. There are also a couple of curious little holes in the pickguard/top under it -- of no consequence but interesting.

It comes with: a decent hard case (not pictured, but good to go).


Brandon McCoy said…
The bridge you made for this looks incredibly good, man. Normally, an oversized bridge sticks out like a sore thumb but this looks like it belongs there. Fantastic!