1943 Gibson J-45 Banner
Posted on March 29 2020
The Gibson J-45 model acoustic guitar was introduced in the summer of 1942 as an update for the J-35. It sported Gibson’s new gold script logo and a flashy banner on the front of the headstock that reads “Only a Gibson is Good Enough.” This banner was mysteriously discontinued right at the end of the war. For more information on banner era Gibson guitars, please check out John Thomas’ book, Kalamazoo Gals. Working songwriters and performers have been using the J-45 model for decades.
This 1943 Gibson J-45 is an exceptionally fine instrument for both the collector and player from the second year of production. Above all, the tone of this guitar is loud, dry, woody and articulate. The clean, original finish remains smooth and glossy without being buffed and shows light checking throughout. This one was produced during the height of the war so it has flat cog tuners, no truss rod and a Mahogany top. You may also notice the “Squirt” sticker on the back of the guitar.
Repairs include a neck reset, reglued bridge, replaced bridge plate and 2 top cracks which were tight so they only required a hint of glue. I requested an exact thickness and size replica bridge plate be made for this guitar using the original as a template. Jason Burns made the replacement plate out of hard Rock Maple from his 100+ year old work bench top. The only replaced parts are the bridge plate, one bridge pin (that’s right, it retains 5 of the original bridge pins) and replacement tuners for accurate tuning. My luthier made a quality replica of the original bridge pins for the replacement. The original tuning keys are included and the buttons have shrunk but not yet crumbled. The braces are original, tight and never been reglued. The neck is laser straight and the frets show almost no wear. The action is set up at 3/32s” on the bass side and 2/32″ on the treble side. Jason set the neck with such precision that the original nut and saddle are still used with proper saddle height. The original Lifton case is in worn but solid condition with the original handle.