The Twelfth Fret ~ Since 1977 ~

❌SOLD❌ Gibson J-50 Slope Shoulder Dreadnought Guitar, 1953


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The Gibson J-50 first appeared alongside the J-45 in 1952 as a pair of slope or round-shouldered dreadnoughts, the J-50 in Natural and the J-45 Sunburst. These models replaced the J-35, built from 1936 to 1942. The two guitars are structurally very similar, but the natural-finish J-50 received multi-layer top binding and better visual grade Spruce tops as there was no tint to hide imperfections. For this reason, the J-50 carried a higher price.

The general construction of the Gibson J-50 is identical to the J-45, pairing a Spruce top – at the time, Adirondack Spruce, with Honduran Mahogany for the sides, back, body blocks, linings, and neck. The fingerboard and bridge were Rosewood, which at the time always meant Brazilian Rosewood. Tuners were Kluson Deluxe strip tuners with creme buttons.

Here we’re looking at a Gibson J-50 slope shoulder dreadnought dating to 1953, and built at Gibson’s Kalamazoo, Michigan plant. This guitar is in overall good working order. It has had some physical maintenance and repair; we count four cracks to the top, repaired and cleated but not touched up. These cracks are stable and have been for some years. The treble edge of the back shows two areas of cracks, which have been glued but not cleated.

The bridge on this Gibson J-50  is a replacement, a new piece of Indian Rosewood and with the two mother-of pearl dots replaced with Rosewood. These two dots cover a pair of locating and support bolts. During production, Gibson uses these to ensure that the bridge is in the correct location. Should the bridge plate wear, and the string ends pull up on the bridge itself, actual lifting and damage to the top is much less likely.

The neck appears to have been reset at some point, which every guitar of a certain age will require. Gibson joins the neck and body before finishing, unlike Martin where the two parts are finished separately. A Gibson neck reset requires carefully trimming the lacquer on that joint, which makes the work visible.

The finish of this Gibson J-50 appears to be original and has expected wear. This guitar has been refretted fairly recently, with only light wear to the frets from subsequent playing. The fingerboard was levelled during this process so it is in very smooth shape.

The Kluson Deluxe tuners may not be original. The back of the head has six filled holes from sealed-tuner locating screws. This indicates that tuners, perhaps Schaller models, were installed and later the original style tuners restored.

I’m a fan of this guitar design, and the Gibson J-50 and J-45 are one of my favourites. They provide a warm, rich tone with excellent representation throughout the range, and enough high end to add a bit of sparkle.

A non-original hard shell case is included.


Price: $4,999.99 CAD
  • Model: J-50
  • Year: 1953
  • Finish Natural
  • Class: Vintage
  • Serial Number: Y6898
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Condition: Good

  • This instrument has been sold
  • Consignment Item

  • Required CITES documentation
  • Including Hard case
  • Instrument Weight: 4.136lbs 1.88kg
  • Scale Length: 24.75in 628.6mm
  • Nut Width: 1.693in 43mm
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