Gibson has painstakingly reproduced this knockout vintage acoustic down to the minute details.
The Gibson Legends version of the J-45 acoustic guitar handles music from the blues to bluegrass to folk to pop and everything in-between. The Gibson J-45 is one of the most played and cherished acoustic guitars in history. This J-45 remake is hand-crafted by Gibson luthiers using techniques from the J-45 guitar's heyday. The Legend J-45 boasts an Adirondack spruce top and solid mahogany back and sides to produce unmatched mellow, full-bodied tone.
Did you ever have one of the "what if" conversations? Like, "what if I won the lottery?" kind of things. Some 3 years ago the luthiers at Gibson's acoustic guitar plant in Bozeman, Montana, had one of those conversations. It went sort of like this: "What if we could go back in time and build a brand new guitar exactly the way they were built back then?".
Well, nothing gets the juices flowing like a challenge like that, so the quest was on: find the best-sounding, original, mint-condition Gibson acoustic guitar from the "vintage years," and build a limited number of guitars today employing the same materials, the same types of tools, same specs, you name it. The plan was to build a new vintage guitar.
After a long search, a mint, 1942 Gibson J-45 acoustic guitar was located. Owned by renowned acoustic guitar expert and author Eldon Whitford, the guitar was perfect. It was historically significant, as 1942 was the first year of production for the J-45 guitar. The fact that the J-45 is the number one selling acoustic guitar in Gibson's history didn't hurt either. Mr. Whitford was kind enough to loan the guitar to Gibson for a painstakingly thorough examination. The guitar went through both X-ray and CAT scans to accurately determine the bracing patterns and wood thickness. The glue and finish were chemically analyzed. To make a long story short, Gibson learned everything about that guitar. The result? The Gibson Legend Series 1942 J-45 Acoustic Guitar.
Let's start with the body of the J-45 reissue guitar. The Gibson round shoulder body shape is believed by many players to be the best sounding Gibson acoustic guitar ever made. The gently rounded upper bout keeps the highs clean and precise, while the deep lower bout ensures that famous Gibson bottom end. The body is constructed of solid, premium grade Honduran mahogany. The top is solid Adirondack spruce. Both the top and back are gently radiused to provide tension to the wood. This makes the wood vibrate (like a tuned drumhead), and as a result, projection and definition are greatly enhanced.
The J-45 guitar's beefy, hand-shaped neck is one piece of select premium grade mahogany, set with Gibson's famous double dovetail neck joint for a lifelong tight fit. Hot hide glue is used in the construction, not synthetic glue like many of today's guitars. Hide glue is organic and thinner. It makes for a better wood-to-wood construction, without a thick layer of adhesive to impede the guitar's vibration.
The top bracing is exactly like the original, all carved and shaped by hand, even with the tooling marks still present, just as in 1942. The lightweight, wide "X" bracing ensures a guitar top that vibrates easily and sound that sustains.
The reissue J-45 guitar's fingerboard is rare Madagascar rosewood, graced with vintage style frets, .082" wide by .093" high. The fingerboard also has mother-of-pearl dot inlays, again, just like the original. The bridge is Madagascar rosewood, too. Both the nut and saddle are bone to maximize string vibration transfer.
The gorgeous Vintage Sunburst color is finished off with vintage style McFadden nitrocellulose lacquer. McFadden lacquer is the thinnest, and lightest lacquer used by Gibson, and it matches the original extremely closely.
This iconic instrument is also the guitar that First Lady Michelle Obama presented as a gift to Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, the wife of the French President, during the Obama's first 2009 European trip. Many who have tried the Gibson Legends J-45 Acoustic Guitar think it actually sounds better than the original. This is truly a unique opportunity to own a piece of guitar history.