The Gibson J-45 is one of the most iconic acoustic guitars on the planet. The J-45 has been played by countless artists including Elvis Presley, Bruce Springsteen, and Bob Dylan, just to name a few.
How did a guitar with such popularity come to be?
The Gibson J-45 was originally released in 1945 with a price of $45. It was common practice in those days for Gibson to name their instruments based on the series and the price. For example, the ES-150 stood for "Electric Spanish" with a price of $150.
Gibson's line of Jumbo ("J") acoustics, introduced in 1934, directly competed with the Martin "D" or dreadnoughts (named after a battleship, the HMS Dreadnought). The name Jumbo to today's standards may seem odd, but prior to the dreadnought, most guitars had a smaller body size, so compared to them these were jumbo.
The J-45 hit store shelves as a direct replacement for the J-35, with minor changes, but allowed for a higher price as the J-35 was created as a depression era guitar.
Some of the changes from the J-35 included a change in bracing, a new pickguard, a different headstock decal and a more "baseball style" rounded neck (the J-35 had a "V" style neck).
From the beginning, and remaining today, the Gibson J-45 is a no-frills guitar often coined as a "workhorse guitar", a term Gibson attached to the instrument for its' straight ahead style and durability to play day in and day out.
Throughout history, Gibson has traditionally used a sunburst finish on the J-45, and while some say it was for aesthetics, most believe it is finished in sunburst to reduce the appearance of nicks and dings, further supporting its' workhorse nickname, while Gibson claims on their website that it was used to hide the join in the wood used for the top of the guitar. (ref)
"For nearly 70 years, the J-45 has not only proven itself a Gibson classic but also a benchmark of acoustic guitar design. It has remained, mostly, unchanged" - Gibson.com
Throughout the years the J-45 has been the foundation for a variety of Custom Shop, special runs, and limited edition guitars. Recently the J-45 has been offered as the Brad Paisley J-45 and the John Hiatt J-45.
With a rich history, a classic look and tone to match, it does not take long to realize why the J-45 has become one of the most popular guitars in history.
So, Why No Gibson's On Your Site??
We carry a huge selection of standard models, limited run, and custom Gibson guitars at Music Villa. In fact, we're only 3.3 miles from the Gibson Factory in Bozeman, MT! That being said, Music Villa is NOT one of Gibson's few online dealers and we therefore cannot sell Gibson guitars through our website.
But it's okay... just give us a call and we'll let you know what's in stock. We have a huge array of J-45's, J-35's, J-15's, J-200's, AJ's, Songwriter's, Hummingbirds, Doves in Flight, Custom Vines, L-00's, and more!!
9/22/2017 Dave Schjeldahl
I'm curious about the J35 sunburst model. Joe Sites told me about them. I need more information. Price, dimensions, etc.? Do you have any in stock?
Joe said that he has the electrics removed and a regular end pin installed, and upgraded with bone nut and compensated saddle.
I have a beautiful "Nick Lucas" that came from Rene Ferguson's rack I'd be interested in trading/