Up for sale, a 1944 Gibson "Banner Logo" J-45 Wartime dreadnought, complete with an era-correct hardshell case. Boasting the original gloss nitro lacquer Sunburst finish, maple bridge plate, and a professional neck reset and refret, this J-45 is extremely original and optimally playable, with a solid Adirondack spruce top, solid mahogany back and sides, and a three-piece mahogany neck with an adjustable truss rod and Brazilian rosewood fingerboard. As one of sparingly few Gibson acoustics produced during the Second World War, this guitar is notable for many reasons, and one prominent one is the solid mahogany used for the back and sides (as maple was substituted and dyed in many instances during the wartime years, yielding a markedly different tonal result).
An absolute cannon in terms of projection, this J-45 can sound both delicate and powerful simultaneously, and there’s a burly growl when digging in with a flatpick. The treble detail of the instrument lends itself to fingerpicking, and the plain strings are sparkling and punchy. The faintest strum yields ample volume and sweet bloom, and the sheer dynamic range of the guitar is notable. Each string rings out very evenly with a clarity typically reserved for rosewood, and there’s a pillowy warmth when strumming in front of the soundhole. This J-45 lives up to the reputation of the Banner-era instruments, weighing 4lbs 9oz and professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar with 12-53 strings and easy-playing action.
The three-piece mahogany neck with walnut stringers offers baseball bat+ chunk with a substantial C-shaped profile carve. It’s as massive a neck as you'll find on any Gibson, and the size of the neck is in large part responsible for the impressive tonal response of the guitar, measuring .935" deep at the 1st fret and 1.015" at the 9th. The Brazilian rosewood fretboard has been refretted with slender fretwire, currently only showing wear beneath the B and High E strings on frets 1-5. The guitar plays easily up the 24 3/4" scale with a straight neck and a responsive, optimally adjusted truss rod (an important feature, as not all Wartime Gibsons had traditional neck reinforcement with an adjustable rod). A modern carved bone nut measures 1 3/4" in width, and the headstock face retains the original nigh flawless script Gibson logo and banner. The original open-gear strip tuning machines are intact and still function as intended.
The neck has been professionally reset, meeting the body at an ideal angle. The original Brazilian rosewood bridge has been reseated, sitting flush with the top on all edges, fitted with a tall carved bone saddle. The original maple bridge plate has been retained. The original tortoise teardrop pickguard is intact, sitting very flat. The four digit Factory Order Number is cleanly stamped on the heel block with no letter prefix, dating to '44.
The original Sunburst gloss nitro lacquer finish is extremely bold with excellent color retention, showing no signs of touch-up or overspray and exhibiting broad lacquer checking across the body. There are two repaired cracks on top, one between the soundhole rosette and bridge on the bass side, and one on the outside edge of the pickguard at the treble-side waist. The back and sides are crack-free, with a few small spots of finish reaction through the gloss on the back, and just a few additional nicks and minor scuffs on the body as a whole. The neck profile gloss is notably clean.
An era-correct tan hardshell case is included, with functional latches and a replacement handle.