This banner Gibson J-45 was made in the lowest of low time period during World War II.  It is made from all solid Mahogany and features no steel truss rod but a solid Ebony insert down the neck for stability.  Stock piles were at there lowest point because everything was going to the war effort.  While this guitar may not be as desirable as a Spruce/Hog with truss rod guitar, it is a very cool part of Gibson history.  The neck is straight and the tone is unique and warm.  I love playing this guitar!!

When I saw this guitar and its combination of features and probably original case, I had to have it.  It was a great compliment to my Spruce banner J-45 and just looked so interesting.  I met the seller outside of a Cracker Barrel in Chattanooga and fell in love a first strum.  Something about the color of the burst just grabbed me.  I am currently waiting to get it back from my luthier after some set up work and reglue some loose braces.

As evidenced from the wear around this soundhole, this guitar has been played.  I am still trying to figure out what kind of playing style would make that!  I don’t mind it though.  The rest of the guitar is pretty clean when you consider what it has been through.

This guitar did have 2 large cracks down the back of the guitar that were repaired.  They sanded and buffed this area but luckily did not overspray it.  It was tastefully done but I would rather them have just left the finish alone.  It still has the original tuners which is quite rare.  It is ever rarer that they function!

The elephant in the room has got to be the tone of this instrument so pardon my delay.  It still has the lapping thump of a banner guitar.  The highs are more rounded off and pleasant.  Sometimes the highs can be shrill on a Spruce top but not with this one.  There may be a slight decrease in volume from my Spruce banner but that could also be a variance from guitar to guitar.  The lows are warm and comfortable but don’t overpower.  The mids are equally warm and present.

I should also mention the girth of this neck.  With a nut width of 1 7/8″ it can be quite a handful.  It did take a couple of minutes to get used to even after playing my other banner J-45.  Since this guitar did not receive a truss rod but a big v shaped Ebony inlay down the neck, Gibson made the neck with more girth in an attempt to give the it some stability.  It seems to be working because the neck is dead straight.  This was probably not the case before they did the refret.  There is significant playing wear on the back of the neck so I’m not sure that it was because the neck was warped or because of the fret wear.  Either way it is a joy to play now and I am glad to have it in my collection.  When the maple banner gets back from the luthier I’ll have to complete banner J-45 line up.

TVG

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