Every source of historical information defines the J-50 in terms of its predecessor, the J-45. Both models are what are called “slope (or round) shouldered” jumbos. The J-45 was a sunburst finish top instrument and it debuted in August of 1942, and the J-50 was also shipped but only from June 1942 to August 1943. The US World War II effort, with its associated loss of experienced personnel, caused the cessation. Five years later, in 1947, Gibson introduced the natural top version and called it the J-50.
Interestingly, in the original period, Gibson priced the guitar with the same number as the model – so the J-45 was originally US$45 and the J-50 would have been US$50. The 1947 version of the J-50 was 16” in body width, had a solid spruce top, black bridge pins, pearl dots on the bridge, which at that time was not adjustable. It had a solid top and back, dot marker pearl fingerboard inlays, a gold coloured silkscreen Gibson logo, and natural finish.
So the J-50 is essentially the same guitar as the iconic J-45 but with a natural instead of sunburst finish. As such, the changes in specifications between the two models have been more or less identical through their history.
Top Material: Sitka spruce Top
Body Material: Mahogany Body and Sides
Neck Material: Mahogany Neck
Fingerboard Material: Brazilian Rosewood
Neck Profile: C
Nut Width: 1-9/16”
Neck Details: One piece mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard and dot inlays.
Weight: 4.5 lbs
Modifications / Repairs: There is a very fine, almost imperceptible fissure in the back which has been professionally reinforced with four carefully placed mini braces. This appears to have been done some time ago, and the back seems to be totally stable, with no further movement in the wood.
Cosmetic Condition: Some finish checking and a couple of finish dings on the top. Some pick wera at the sound hole. Back and sides have some finish checking and scratches. Neck is pretty clean with some finish checking by the heel and up near the headstock. Headstock has some finish checking and a couple of finish chips.
This late ’60s J-50 features an adjustable bridge and a slim neck. But the payoff on this one is the sound. It is a wonderfully balanced, even and very focused acoustic tone that could only be Gibson. It is a lovely instrument to play, and that neck is comfortable in all positions. No dead spots, and a vibe that says “play me !”
Comes in its original Gibson hard case in good condition.