This is a vintage 1944 Gibson J-45 jumbo flat top acoustic guitar. This particular Banner Model example, FON 2598, is in very good all original condition. Completely intact and purchased from the original owner’s family, this virgin example even includes the original Geib large soft leather case! Nicely preserved with no breaks, no damage, no repairs, nor modifications, this is a prime specimen for those looking for a luthier-ready war-era/pre-war spec Gibson Jumbo acoustic guitar.
Arguably the most famous acoustic guitar ever produced, the Gibson J-45 was originally introduced in 1942. Since war-era production instruments were approached with the thoughtfulness to maximize limited resources, there was a high element of focus and the necessity for refined craftsmanship, which clearly translated into higher-quality guitars.
This beautiful ’44 Gibson J-45 lives up to the banner gilded upon the headstock, and proudly proclaims “Only a Gibson is Good Enough.” Executed with precision and evolved principles, this era J-45 represent the perfect marriage between pre-war work ethic and quality and post-war concepts. It features an incredibly large “baseball bat” shaped neck profile that measures 1 3/4″wide at the nut and 1″+ deep (1.035″) at the 1st fret with an adjustable truss rod. The gigantic neck sports a 5-piece maple neck with (2) walnut stripes, and the neck wear reveals the pattern underneath the walnut brown finish color. It has a beautiful 2-piece book-matched Spruce top, which was not always the case during wartime production. Since Spruce was a restricted material during WWII, many J-45s produced prior to ’44 had non-matched mahogany tops, oddly finished tops, and even 4-piece spruce tops. It also features a Poplar neck block, a small rectangular bridge with the original saddle, original Brazilian Rosewood fingerboard with original small frets, the original faux tortoise pickguard, original open-back 3-on-a-plate Kluson tuning machines, original truss rod cover mounted with slot-head screws, walnut-stained mahogany back and sides, scalloped bracing, the original maple bridge plate, original black plastic bridge pins and strap pin, and the original Geib jumbo-sized soft shell leather case.
As previously mentioned, this guitar needs expected professional luthier work to be in top functional shape. While it has never been repaired nor modified, extended exposure to a dry climate created inevitable drying cracks. Also fairly usual, the neck angle needs to be adjusted and the neck desperately needs a neck reset. The glue affixing the bridge has dried, and it needs to be re-glued, and the corresponding tension on the bridge also resulted in a slight bellying of the top. Aside from a seam separation in the top, that does not appear to go through to the inside of the body, there is one other drying crack in the back. There are no cracks in the sides, and the expected pickguard crack from the soundhole to the bridge, similarly does not reflect a crack that travels through the entire top, not showing any evidence of existence from within the guitar.
So, with a little bit of glue, a nominal amount of money, and a lot of expertise and skill, a professional luthier will transform this closet find into the one of the best acoustic guitars one would have the pleasure of playing.