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Tag: Bob Dylan

Gibson J-45/J-50

Gibson J-45 ADJ 1965 Made in USAGibson J-45 ADJ, built in Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA in 1965

As mentioned quite a few times in the past, I’m very gay for the old round shouldered Gibson J-45 / J-50. I’m not entirely sure why, it’s not just for the amazing bass response, I think I really like the look of the round shoulders as well, it’s very woman like. I previously owned a 1970 Gibson J-50 Deluxe which sounded great but it didn’t really have the look or sound I was after so eventually I sold it to a nice older gent living in Kent, no he lived in Asturias here in Spain but he might very well have been from Kent originally.

Gibson J-45 ADJ 1965 Made in USAGibson J-45 ADJ 1965 Made in USA1965 Gibson J-45 ADJ, round shouldered dreadnought, natural finish spruce top, mahogany back and sides, rosewood fretboard and bridge. All original except for the refinish which turned this J-45 in to a J-50

In the beginning of the year I was contacted by a seller that happened to sit on a 1965 Gibson J-45 ADJ with a natural top, apparently it was refinished in the early 1970’s. It looked exactly like the guitar I was looking for, round shouldered, small headstock with old school Kluson 3-on-a-plate machine heads and a big pickguard. The only downside was a couple of old cracks in the top and the adjustable bridge. The cracks had been fixed 45 years ago and it wasn’t that hard to carve a new bone saddle the size of the old rosewood saddle, insert and all. Finally I had my mid-1960’s round shouldered Gibson J-50, I would of course have preferred a mid-1950’s but the price difference is just insane. Even though it’s a 1965 Gibson J-45, the only difference between the J-45 a J-50 was the sunburst so with that gone it’s a 1965 Gibson J-50.

Gibson J-45 ADJ 1965 Made in USAI wasn’t overly keen on the sound of the original adjustable rosewood saddle so I carved a new one in bone and removed all the nuts and bolts under the bridge. The rosewood saddle didn’t sound bad, just a bit muffled and to me the bone is huge improvement

Bob Dylan in 1963 on his late 1940's Gibson J-50This is how cool I feel with my 1965 Gibson J-45, like a 1963 Bob Dylan with his late 1940’s Gibson J-50

Gibson J-45 / J-50

1955 Gibson J-45My new dream guitar, an old Gibson J-45

A year ago when I started to buy acoustic guitars I had no idea what the difference between a Gibson or Martin was or how different body shapes, models and tone woods affected the sound. I could easily have told you who was playing a Telecaster, Stratocaster or Les Paul while listening to a song but I could never have told you if someone was playing an acoustic Gibson, Guild or Martin. Over the year I have added 6 Levin guitars to my collection and 5 Japanese acoustics, two of them sold by now, and played a lot of new made Chinese and Korean guitars and I have come to following conclusion. My favourite acoustic guitar is an old Gibson J-45. This is nothing new, I realised that last summer after seeing Kris Kristofferson, I did a post about it with some great acoustic guitar demo’s to prove my point. There is something very special with the old Gibson Jumbos, it doesn’t really matter if it’s a J-45, J-50, Southern Jumbo or Advanced Jumbo, they all have that special booming bass sound. If you listen to any acoustic Jackson Browne, early James Taylor or even Bob Dylan you will understand what I mean straight away. There was a lot of Country players that favoured this sound before the singer and songwriters of the Sixties and Seventies. Two modern examples that I really like is Gillian Welch and Daniel Romano, he is actually playing something more modern like a Gospel but the bass is still there. If you listen to Dan Tyminski and hear his 1946 Martin D-28 I’m sure you would want a wartime Martin straight away but still, there is something special with the Gibson Jumbo sound. I’m not even sure if I would prefer a Gibson J-45 or a J-50, actually I really like the Southern Jumbo too with their fretboard inlays, so I guess as long as it’s old, worn and sounds like a Gibson Jumbo I would be happy. I mentioned earlier that I recently ordered a 1977 K.Yairi TG-40, which I have very high hopes for. I bought it straight from Japan and unfortunately it got stuck in the Spanish customs and has been there since the 12th of April. The Yairi TG-40 is a Guild D-40 copy, which was introduced in the Sixties as a competitor to Gibson’s J-45. The Guild D-40 became famous as the Bluegrass guitar for their even response over all the strings and I really like the sound of them, it’s actually not too far off from a Sixties Gibson J-45. With a bit of luck the customs will release my guitar soon and with even more luck it’s going to be an awesome Yairi copy of an Guild which might sound a bit like a Gibson.

Bob Dylan Gibson J-50
Bob Dylan with his worn old Gibson J-50 in the early Sixties. The Gibson J-45 and J-50 is more or less the same guitar, it was just that they used nicer looking wood for the soundboard on the J-50 so they wouldn’t have to paint it in sunburst to cover up any imperfections.


Enjoy the sound of James Taylor’s Gibson J-50

Photo of the day

Leonard Cohen blowing smoke rings by Jim Wigler
Leonard Cohen blowing smoke rings by Jim Wigler

The smoke ring photograph of Leonard was taken in New York City in the 60′s. I lived at 377 Bleecker Street and Mary Martin, his manager at the time, lived beneath me. I had, a few year earlier, left the Austin Riggs Center in Stockbridge, Massachusetts (an open psychiatric treatment center). One day I heard this awful singing and guitar strumming beneath me and I put the speakers of my stereo face down on the floor and played Mormon Tabernacle choir music. Mary immediately ran upstairs and confronted me. We instantly became friends. She was living with Bob Dylan’s cat, Lord. Through her, I met Leonard and Sheila Campion (who worked with Bob Krasner at The Realist) and the Zappas, Zalman Yanovsky and other 60′s rock luminaries. My father had just sent me a Nikon camera and a few lenses as I had expressed an interest in photography when I left the mental hospital. Mary asked me if I could take some pictures of Leonard, which I did. The first edition of “Spice Box of Earth” has one of my photographs on it, and I did a whole shoot for some German magazine, but they retained the negatives. The smoke ring picture was taken at Peter’s Pot Belly (or something like that) a coffee shop in our neighborhood. The shot was simply serendipitous. It wasn’t planned or anything, I was just taking pictures as he was smoking and talking. – Jim Wigler

Hank Williams 1941 Martin D-28

Hank Williams 1941 Martin D-28 Neil Young

This Old Guitar – Hank Williams 1941 Martin D-28
A one hour radio program of an interview with Neil Young on CD called Companion contains extensive insight into Prairie Wind’s recording, as well as, much other interesting stuff. In the interview by JODY DENBERG, Neil is asked about the Martin guitar that belonged to Hank Williams.

NEIL YOUNG: Yeah. I bought it from, uh, uh, off a friend of mine Grant Boatwright put me together with, uh, this fellow Tut Taylor he had an old, uh, collection of guitars. And, uh, I went down there and there it was, and he took it out of the back and brought it out and I bought it. I couldn’t believe that I could buy it. That I, you know, but I did. And now I have it. And, you know, I’ve got it for a while and I’m taking care of it.

JODY DENBERG: But you’re generous with it. You’ve lent it to some of your friends?

NEIL YOUNG: You know, Bob Dylan was using my bus. He, he didn’t have his own tour bus yet. And he was just getting into using buses, and, uh, so I let him use mine and, uh, when I gave it to him I, I told him that, uh, Hank was in the back and that if he wanted to use Hank, that Hank would be there for him. And so I don’t know what he did with it, but he had it with him for a long time. And I don’t know what he wrote or what he did, but I know, you know, something must have happened back there. Taken from Bob Dylan’s gear

Hank Williams 1941 Martin D-28 Neil Young

Morris W-40

Morris W-40 1973
Morris W-40 1973

My new found love just arrived to the office, a 1973 Morris W-40. I have been looking for a Japan made Martin D-45 copy for a while and I’m really glad I went for a Morris. I have never played a guitar that sounds this good, amazing tone with really low action. She is a bit more worn than I expected, which doesn’t really bother me that much since the wood looks so good. I might put some gold tulip machine heads on her tonight, if my Gibson PMMH-025 fits. This Monday is just getting better and better. First I got to celebrate my girlfriends birthday, which meant getting up at 5.45 am and prepare breakfast in bed for her, and then I got this baby delivered and she arrived in one piece. Thank you Monday.

Martin D-45

Bob Dylan 1975 with A. Ginsberg playing a Martin D-45
Bob Dylan in 1975 with A. Ginsberg playing a Martin D-45

Neil Young Martin D-45
Neil Young in 1971 playing his Martin D-45 which was given to him by Stephen Stills in 1969

I just found my Japan made Martin D-45 copy that I was looking for, at least for now. I have managed to became the very proud owner of a 1973 Morris W-40, which is as close to a Martin D-45 that my budget could allow. Ideally I would have liked a Yairi YW- 1000 but they tend to go for 1000-2000€ so I had to settle for a Morris W-40. I’ve read a lot of good things about Morris, at least the ones made in the 1970’s so hopefully I will not only look like Neil Young, I will sound like him too, or maybe not. It doesn’t have the vertical logo, which is a shame but those tend to cost 500-600€ if you get one straight from Japan and are pretty rare here in Europe. Well at least it has hexagon mother of pearl inlays and the beautiful 3-part back with Brazilian rosewood and maple. Let’s see how good it sound and looks when it arrives next week. Here are some random photos I found of other Morris W-40.

Morris W-40
Some random Morris W-40 pictures I found online. Moridaira (Morris Guitars). Founded in 1967 by Toshio “Mori” Moridaira, the Moridaira factory produced high-quality guitars, including the infamous Morris badged guitar.

Movie of the day