Discussion:
What are good years for old Gibson j-50 guitars?
(too old to reply)
Egrep Yacclex
2003-11-19 03:33:21 UTC
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I would like to find a used Gibson j-50 and have tried a few. They
are all very different! I like the round shoulder older models, but
even among them they vary widely. Some real quiet, some with real
narrow necks, some with real BIG necks (too big). I haven't found one
that has good volume and tone yet, but I do see that some people use
them. Tim O'Brien plays one, for example. What do folks "in the
know" know about finding a good one?
Steve and Trish
2003-11-19 05:09:31 UTC
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gibson guitars are very inconsistent...gems may be found from all periods,
but become markedly less plentiful beginning in the early 60s, and disappear
by the 70s...dont get stuck on a 50...45, 35, hummingbird, CW, SJN square,
round....all are good dreadnought size axes....i used to prefer the smaller
bodied gibsons, and played a 1928-29 12 fret L-0 mahogany top...some folks
swear by the p/w L-00, or postwar LG1, LG2...check out gibson off brands
like kalamazoo, recording king, oriole, (caution: no truss rod)
etc...gibson/kalamazoo made epiphones from early 60s like epi texan can be
good

i never liked a J-200

fwiw, my favorite is a J-185, original series or montana reissue


wish i still played....
s.
--
______________________________________
Steve Senderoff & Trish Vierling

"...Ya run your E string down oh, I don't know, about three frets...anyway,
it corresponds to the third note on the A string...here's ya tuning..."
.........Tommy Jarrell


http://steventrish.home.mindspring.com/webpage_files/start.html
Post by Egrep Yacclex
I would like to find a used Gibson j-50 and have tried a few. They
are all very different! I like the round shoulder older models, but
even among them they vary widely. Some real quiet, some with real
narrow necks, some with real BIG necks (too big). I haven't found one
that has good volume and tone yet, but I do see that some people use
them. Tim O'Brien plays one, for example. What do folks "in the
know" know about finding a good one?
Cleoma
2003-11-19 06:52:03 UTC
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It's further complicated by the fact that some Gibsons (mine, for instance)
have no serial number. Mine is either from the 30's or 40's or so I'm told by
guitar geeks. It's a dreadnought size (or pretty close) and I love it. I got
it in the mid 70's and have not bought another guitar since. I have played
some of the smaller ones but they tend to not put out much on the low end --
but then again, some do. I think the bottom line is you gotta just try a bunch
of guitars!
Suzy T
To reply to this posting, remove "nojunk" from my email address.
Gillespie Gail
2003-11-19 14:06:10 UTC
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Suzy's is undoubtedly a wonderful guitar, but pre-war anythings are now
really getting pricey. So, here's a secret (not any more...d'oh!) for
finding a great old Gibson jumbo that won't break you financially: look for
teardrop-guard models with serial numbers that start with the letters x,y &
z. This will be an early 50s guitar with a thinner neck than the un-truss
rodded war years models, but it will still lightly braced and also built
before they had that tone-killing adjustable saddle or the plastic bridges.
If the guitar is in solid shape, it's hard to go wrong. I've heard a bunch
of old jumbos over the years at fiddlers conventions & I've yet to hear a
bad one with a serial no. starting with x, y or z...even with nearly every
brace loose. (z=1951 & the years go up as the letters go down.)

That said, as with all things Gibson, nothing is totally cut & dried. Tim's
is, I believe from just after the pickguard got bigger (1955 is the first
year for the big pointy pickguard) but his definitely has that huge warm
sound. Kay Justice has a fabulous ca. 1960 J-50 that also has "the velvet
fog" sound. OTOH there are real dogs with a dead, muddy sound beginning
after the pickguards got bigger in 1955. So look for those "x,y, z" year
models (1953, 52, 51) but don't rule out one from the late 50s or early 60s.
These are the cool guitars all the good ol guys n gals had before they
sprung for D-28s! Think early Camp Creek Boys! Pine Ridge Boys! Ivery
Kimble!
G
Post by Cleoma
It's further complicated by the fact that some Gibsons (mine, for instance)
have no serial number. Mine is either from the 30's or 40's or so I'm told by
guitar geeks. It's a dreadnought size (or pretty close) and I love it. I got
it in the mid 70's and have not bought another guitar since. I have played
some of the smaller ones but they tend to not put out much on the low end --
but then again, some do. I think the bottom line is you gotta just try a bunch
of guitars!
Suzy T
To reply to this posting, remove "nojunk" from my email address.
Gloux
2003-11-19 16:42:07 UTC
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I was curious about the pricing of a 50s J-50 and found this at Gruhn's in
Nashville:

AG5112 Gibson J-50, 1954, EXF, professionally refinished, SC......$2000

http://www.gruhn.com

I would think a refinished guitar would be less than one with an original
finish, so this might be a bargain...

-Greg
Steve and Trish
2003-11-19 20:44:20 UTC
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this is a decent price for a gibson refin of this period, but the refin may
have affected the tone in a negative fashion, or it could have improved it
:)

gibson fanatics love the characteristic checking and crazing of an old
kalamazoo paint job...
--
______________________________________
Steve Senderoff & Trish Vierling

"...Ya run your E string down oh, I don't know, about three frets...anyway,
it corresponds to the third note on the A string...here's ya tuning..."
.........Tommy Jarrell


http://steventrish.home.mindspring.com/webpage_files/start.html
Post by Gloux
I was curious about the pricing of a 50s J-50 and found this at Gruhn's in
AG5112 Gibson J-50, 1954, EXF, professionally refinished, SC......$2000
http://www.gruhn.com
I would think a refinished guitar would be less than one with an original
finish, so this might be a bargain...
-Greg
Gloux
2003-11-19 21:48:12 UTC
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Vintage Instruments in Philadelphia (Fred Oster) has three old J-50s in
inventory:

http://www.vintage-instruments.com/
Gloux
2003-11-20 13:24:31 UTC
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I have to agree with John about not finding a bargain at Gruhns. Neither at
Fred Oster's. They are good to peg the high-end of the range of price points,
though...

-Greg
Gloux
2003-11-19 21:36:10 UTC
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I should point out that Gail's old Gibson sounded great when the New Southern
Broadcasters came up for a concert for the Brandywine Friends two weeks ago.
Her advice is sage advice.

-Greg
john schwab
2003-11-19 23:29:17 UTC
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Post by Gloux
I was curious about the pricing of a 50s J-50 and found this at Gruhn's in
AG5112 Gibson J-50, 1954, EXF, professionally refinished, SC......$2000
http://www.gruhn.com
I would think a refinished guitar would be less than one with an original
finish, so this might be a bargain...
-Greg
Greg--

You're not going to find any bargains at Gruhn's. It may be a great
sounding instrument, but all things being equal that's a lot of money
for a refinished J-50.

I pretty much agree with Gail. As Rich Hartness has been known to say,
we're all "guitarded," especially in a Gibson way. Gail's done her
share of Gibson study and knows whereof she speaks/writes!

I'm a huge fan of X-braced Gibson guitars, big and small, from prior
to 1955. Gail mentions serial numbers that begin with X, Y, or Z. But
the earlier instruments, from the '40s, are pretty spectacular, too.
The Gibson slope-shouldered dreadnaughts I'd recommend are ones that
have the teardrop pickguard plus the modern gold block logo (1947 or
'48 until 1955); guitars with the gold script Gibson logo (1946-47);
guitars with the gold script logo and the "Only a Gibson Is Good
Enough" banner (1943-45); and guitars with the white script silkscreen
logo (1932 or so until 1942). The large bodied Gibsons from the '30s
(Jumbo, Advanced Jumbo, J-55, J-35) are very pricey indeed. The ones
from the '40s and '50s (J-45, J-50, Southern Jumbo (or SJ)) are
escalating in value but are still affordable, at least compared to
Martins of a comparable vintage.

FWIW....

--John
Cleoma
2003-11-20 00:30:49 UTC
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Oh my god!! Two grand for an old Gibson. Wow. I had no idea. I should have
bought more guitars back in the 70's.
Suzy T.
To reply to this posting, remove "nojunk" from my email address.
Gillespie Gail
2003-11-20 16:44:37 UTC
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Hello Suzy & rec-oldtimers,
Yes, sigh, I'm afraid this price reflects the way it is now in the rarified
circles of Gruhn, etc.. As John Schwab (who definitely has an ear for fine
old Gibsons) has pointed out, even though the prices of old Gibson flat tops
have shot up in the last 5 years or so, they're still a good deal when
compared with Martins of the same vintage. Especially if you are a luthier
or know one!
Gail
Post by Cleoma
Oh my god!! Two grand for an old Gibson. Wow. I had no idea. I should have
bought more guitars back in the 70's.
Suzy T.
To reply to this posting, remove "nojunk" from my email address.
Egrep Yacclex
2003-11-25 17:06:09 UTC
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Thanks for all the great information! So, I did an internet search
and came up with what might be some "bargains". Maybe some folks
have personal experience with these guitars?

Elderly Instruments (Michigan):
1951 GIBSON J-50, $1,950.00
http://gbase.com/gearlist/guitar_picture.asp?guitar=521103
(Weird pickguard, though)

Atlanta Vintage (Georgia)
1952 Gibson J-50, Natural, Fair, SSC, $1,500.00
http://gbase.com/gearlist/guitar_picture.asp?guitar=496871
(I called - completely resprayed - even *over* the bridge)

Real Guitars (Florida)
1956 Gibson J-50, Natural, Fair, HSC, $1,250.00
http://gbase.com/gearlist/guitar_picture.asp?guitar=492057
(Many repairs, including a reglued heel)

I know it's best to try them out myself, but before I start
asking about all of that, I wonder if anyone here has any
direct experience with (or comments about) any of those "cheap"
old J-50s.

P.S. I hope I'm not too off topic here talking about guitar
gear so much. I just think that there is an appreciation of
these old Gibson guitars amongst old-timers!
Gillespie Gail
2003-11-25 18:39:52 UTC
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Hi all,
My early 50s J-50 came with those thick black pointy "batman" double
pickguards that were so popular in the 50s and 60s. Restored to its
original appearance with a period tortoise tear drop guard (thanks Rich
Hartness, Lynn Michael, Herb Key & Wayne Henderson & everyone who
orchestrated this transformation), its sound improved spectacularly & it's a
distinguished looking old guitar. That J-50 at Elderly might be similar.
It's hard to predict what might be lurking under the big pickguards, but,
chances are, it's fine. Maybe an x-ray would be in order!

G
Post by Egrep Yacclex
Thanks for all the great information! So, I did an internet search
and came up with what might be some "bargains". Maybe some folks
have personal experience with these guitars?
1951 GIBSON J-50, $1,950.00
http://gbase.com/gearlist/guitar_picture.asp?guitar=521103
(Weird pickguard, though)
Atlanta Vintage (Georgia)
1952 Gibson J-50, Natural, Fair, SSC, $1,500.00
http://gbase.com/gearlist/guitar_picture.asp?guitar=496871
(I called - completely resprayed - even *over* the bridge)
Real Guitars (Florida)
1956 Gibson J-50, Natural, Fair, HSC, $1,250.00
http://gbase.com/gearlist/guitar_picture.asp?guitar=492057
(Many repairs, including a reglued heel)
I know it's best to try them out myself, but before I start
asking about all of that, I wonder if anyone here has any
direct experience with (or comments about) any of those "cheap"
old J-50s.
P.S. I hope I'm not too off topic here talking about guitar
gear so much. I just think that there is an appreciation of
these old Gibson guitars amongst old-timers!
john schwab
2003-11-26 02:35:13 UTC
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Post by Egrep Yacclex
Thanks for all the great information! So, I did an internet search
and came up with what might be some "bargains". Maybe some folks
have personal experience with these guitars?
1951 GIBSON J-50, $1,950.00
http://gbase.com/gearlist/guitar_picture.asp?guitar=521103
(Weird pickguard, though)
Atlanta Vintage (Georgia)
1952 Gibson J-50, Natural, Fair, SSC, $1,500.00
http://gbase.com/gearlist/guitar_picture.asp?guitar=496871
(I called - completely resprayed - even *over* the bridge)
Real Guitars (Florida)
1956 Gibson J-50, Natural, Fair, HSC, $1,250.00
http://gbase.com/gearlist/guitar_picture.asp?guitar=492057
(Many repairs, including a reglued heel)
I know it's best to try them out myself, but before I start
asking about all of that, I wonder if anyone here has any
direct experience with (or comments about) any of those "cheap"
old J-50s.
P.S. I hope I'm not too off topic here talking about guitar
gear so much. I just think that there is an appreciation of
these old Gibson guitars amongst old-timers!
You bet, there's interest in these old Gibsons among old-timers!

The only one of these shops I know anything about is Elderly, and
they're definitely reputable. On the other hand, their J-50 has had a
heel repair, which would make me leary and would probably make it
tough for you to sell, if it ever comes to that. Also, you might be
looking at spending some more money to take off the extra pickguard
and touch up the top. The one from Real Guitars also has a heel
repair. Their price is quite low, but I'd be scared of that heel
repair. Also, the bridge looks oversized, which makes me wonder about
the quality of the repairs. It's hard to judge the one in Atlanta. A
light overspray wouldn't bother me all that much, but if it's a heavy
overspray and it's dripped, ugh!

I tend to go for players instruments (not museum pieces), but I try to
buy guitars that'll hold their value. Of course, it doesn't always
work that way....

--John
Old Gibson
2003-11-26 17:03:33 UTC
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Interesting thread! It's nice to find some comradery around the
enigmatic Gibson brand. My current all-time-favorite guitar is
an old L-00 from, I figure, about the time FDR took office.

I don't know any of you folks personally, but I sure wish I did.
Steve and Gail hit it on the head, I think: "gibson guitars are
very inconsistent...gems may be found from all periods" and "with
all things Gibson, nothing is totally cut & dried". A repair
person once quipped to me "anything goes with Gibson". I like
that.

All things being un-equal with Gibson, I have found that the type of
strings used make an enormous difference. With a "regular brand"
phosphor bronze set, my L-00 sounds like a cheap 70 year old
guitar - strident tone and no real presence. With Thomastik
AC-112 Plectrums, the sound is full, dry, and woody with plenty
of punch on the low end. All that to say, in my opinion, that a
guitar should be auditioned by the player in person and that one
should be prepared to try several different types of strings
before giving up on a particular Gibson guitar.

Regarding the J-50 guitars, I have played several from the 1960s
and 1950s. I doubt I have the same level of familiarity as others
here, but as a general rule I have found the sound of the heavier
ADJ bridge models to be "compressed", with a springy bass, and real
nice for a certain type of vocal accompaniment. The lighter
weight, 1950s I guess, guitars have more "bark" and a tighter,
punchier bass which is maybe more suitable to string band playing.
But, YMMV, of course. Much is in the hands of the picker.

Coincidentally, I happen to be evaluating one of the guitars that
an ealier poster mentioned! Small world.


-----------------------------------------------------------
I don't read mail at the address in the header. old gibson
at big foot dot com is a better choice.
--
Posted via Mailgate.ORG Server - http://www.Mailgate.ORG
Emily Fine
2003-11-26 20:24:24 UTC
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I haven't heard of Thomastik AC - 112 Plectrums....but i'm lucky to even
have relatively new strings on my old J (1938-1946?) mahogany top guitar.

so, to start a new thread, what are the best strings for old gibson guitars?

emily*
Post by Old Gibson
All things being un-equal with Gibson, I have found that the type of
strings used make an enormous difference. With a "regular brand"
phosphor bronze set, my L-00 sounds like a cheap 70 year old
guitar - strident tone and no real presence. With Thomastik
AC-112 Plectrums, the sound is full, dry, and woody with plenty
of punch on the low end. All that to say, in my opinion, that a
guitar should be auditioned by the player in person and that one
should be prepared to try several different types of strings
before giving up on a particular Gibson guitar.
john schwab
2003-11-28 02:20:23 UTC
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Post by Emily Fine
so, to start a new thread, what are the best strings for old gibson guitars?
Hey, Emily--

I'm real happy with Elixir light gauge strings on smaller bodied old
Gibsons (L-00, L-1, LG-2 or LG-3). Medium gauge Elixirs on larger body
old Gibsons. But I just had some work done on an L-00, and it came
back with John Pearse light gauge strings, and it sounds great.

--John
Tom from Texas
2003-11-30 01:55:45 UTC
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Post by Egrep Yacclex
Post by Emily Fine
so, to start a new thread, what are the best strings for old gibson
guitars?
Hey, Emily--
I'm real happy with Elixir light gauge strings on smaller bodied old
Gibsons (L-00, L-1, LG-2 or LG-3). Medium gauge Elixirs on larger body
old Gibsons. But I just had some work done on an L-00, and it came
back with John Pearse light gauge strings, and it sounds great.
--John
I've got Elixir lights on my '18 Gibson L-1. It's the only guitar I have that
I like Elixirs on it. For some reason, these strings really bring out the
character of this old birch bodied arch-top oval-hole guitar.

Tom from Texas
The Martins
2004-01-14 13:01:11 UTC
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Post by john schwab
I'm real happy with Elixir light gauge strings on smaller bodied old
Gibsons (L-00, L-1, LG-2 or LG-3). Medium gauge Elixirs on larger
body old Gibsons. But I just had some work done on an L-00,
and it came back with John Pearse light gauge strings, and it
sounds great.
I wish I knew the model # of my Jeebson. It was made in the 30s,
small, narrow waist, large sound hole (or optical illusion of that.)
The Elixir, medium low three and light first three, sound so fine it
gives me goose bumps. Best finger-picking guitar I've ever played, and
will be my last guitar.

But don't waste the money on Elixirs on a Stella. They stink. My
Stella needs Black Diamond strings, yes. I found a vintage string
still in its envelope, $2. But its only one string. The beauty of
Black Diamonds was that the beautiful tone only lasted a few hours.
That disappointed me when I was a kid, but now I prize that thump
sound so much. When she's playing fiddle, my wife likes the the
honking Stella better than my prize black beauty little Gibson.

Bill Martin
Gillespie Gail
2004-01-14 16:25:06 UTC
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John's small Gibson guitars do sound fantastic with Elixir strings, though I
doubt he really needs them since a plywood guitar with screen-door wire
would sound great if he played it! (the man can "pull tone!")

I also like D'Addario lights (cheaper than Elixirs & I find they don't break
as easily) on small flattop Gibsons. For the J size Gibsons (and, I confess,
a Martin dread) I like "bluegrass" mix gauge strings. They have medium gauge
bass strings & 3 light treble.

Bill, your guitar sounds like a depression era L series (L-00/L-00/L-1,
etc.) As for Stella -- yeah! Ernest Stoneman ("BOOM CHUCK..Boom-CHUCK
CHUCK") got a great big sound out of his Stella Galliano.
G
Post by The Martins
Post by john schwab
I'm real happy with Elixir light gauge strings on smaller bodied old
Gibsons (L-00, L-1, LG-2 or LG-3). Medium gauge Elixirs on larger
body old Gibsons. But I just had some work done on an L-00,
and it came back with John Pearse light gauge strings, and it
sounds great.
I wish I knew the model # of my Jeebson. It was made in the 30s,
small, narrow waist, large sound hole (or optical illusion of that.)
The Elixir, medium low three and light first three, sound so fine it
gives me goose bumps. Best finger-picking guitar I've ever played, and
will be my last guitar.
But don't waste the money on Elixirs on a Stella. They stink. My
Stella needs Black Diamond strings, yes. I found a vintage string
still in its envelope, $2. But its only one string. The beauty of
Black Diamonds was that the beautiful tone only lasted a few hours.
That disappointed me when I was a kid, but now I prize that thump
sound so much. When she's playing fiddle, my wife likes the the
honking Stella better than my prize black beauty little Gibson.
Bill Martin
Lyle Lofgren
2004-01-14 19:04:33 UTC
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Post by The Martins
I wish I knew the model # of my Jeebson. It was made in the 30s,
small, narrow waist, large sound hole (or optical illusion of that.)
The Elixir, medium low three and light first three, sound so fine it
gives me goose bumps. Best finger-picking guitar I've ever played, and
will be my last guitar.
But don't waste the money on Elixirs on a Stella. They stink. My
Stella needs Black Diamond strings, yes. I found a vintage string
still in its envelope, $2. But its only one string. The beauty of
Black Diamonds was that the beautiful tone only lasted a few hours.
That disappointed me when I was a kid, but now I prize that thump
sound so much. When she's playing fiddle, my wife likes the the
honking Stella better than my prize black beauty little Gibson.
Bill Martin
I haven't seen Black Diamonds for sale for a long time. I assume
they're no longer made? I used them when they were available, not for
esthetic reasons, but because they were really cheap. I especially
found that their fiddle strings would last for decades without
breaking (my criteria for changing strings. From my memories of owning
a Stella 6-string, I doubt spending more money on strings would
improve the sound. I found that, although Stellas were common in the
1960s, I was one of the very few people with the left-hand strength to
play the chords -- a legacy of growing up on a small dairy farm,
milking cows by hand.

Your comment about short-lived beauty reminded me of the response of a
friend of mine, now, alas, no longer among the living. He was a
bachelor, and, years ago, was commenting to me about the attractions
of a young lass in the office where both of us worked. I pointed out
that, although she was now pretty, she had some features that I felt
showed she would look coarse and not very attractive when she got
older. My friend replied, "Will she age much in ten minutes?"

Lyle
Joel Shimberg
2004-01-14 23:23:58 UTC
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Post by Lyle Lofgren
From my memories of owning
a Stella 6-string, I doubt spending more money on strings would
improve the sound. I found that, although Stellas were common in the
1960s, I was one of the very few people with the left-hand strength to
play the chords -- a legacy of growing up on a small dairy farm,
milking cows by hand
I had a friend in the 70s who had a Stella 6-string from the 30s. I
was pretty nice.

Are Mapes strings still sold in the stores? I remember them as being
about as fancy as Black Diamonds, with the added benefit of the magic
Sepam cloth. I know that the company that made them is still in
business. If anybody wants to buy their strings in half-pound rolls,
let me know. You'd have to fashion end-loops yourself, but it sure
would be cheap!

Joel
David Sanderson
2004-01-15 01:24:35 UTC
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Post by Joel Shimberg
Post by Lyle Lofgren
From my memories of owning
a Stella 6-string, I doubt spending more money on strings would
improve the sound. I found that, although Stellas were common in the
1960s, I was one of the very few people with the left-hand strength to
play the chords -- a legacy of growing up on a small dairy farm,
milking cows by hand
I had a friend in the 70s who had a Stella 6-string from the 30s. I
was pretty nice.
Are Mapes strings still sold in the stores? I remember them as being
about as fancy as Black Diamonds, with the added benefit of the magic
Sepam cloth. I know that the company that made them is still in
business. If anybody wants to buy their strings in half-pound rolls,
let me know. You'd have to fashion end-loops yourself, but it sure
would be cheap!
Joel
Yes, we always felt that they were made from leftover barbed wire, but were
never able to verify it.
--
David Sanderson
East Waterford, Maine

***@greennet.net
http://www.megalink.net/~davids
Matt Ball
2004-01-15 03:16:47 UTC
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Post by Joel Shimberg
Are Mapes strings still sold in the stores? I remember them as being
about as fancy as Black Diamonds, with the added benefit of the magic
Sepam cloth. I know that the company that made them is still in
business.
Joel
We can still buy Mapes strings here in Johnson City, although I'm not
sure about the rest of the country--I haven't seen them as far away as
Knoxville. They're still being made in Elizabethton, TN, so they may
not be distributed much farther than the Tri-Cities.
I noticed some boxes from Mapes the last time I took a tour of the
Martin factory. As I understand it, the company supplies wire for
several of the big string companies.

Matt
Matt Ball
2004-01-15 03:16:53 UTC
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Post by Joel Shimberg
Are Mapes strings still sold in the stores? I remember them as being
about as fancy as Black Diamonds, with the added benefit of the magic
Sepam cloth. I know that the company that made them is still in
business.
Joel
We can still buy Mapes strings here in Johnson City, although I'm not
sure about the rest of the country--I haven't seen them as far away as
Knoxville. They're still being made in Elizabethton, TN, so they may
not be distributed much farther than the Tri-Cities.
I noticed some boxes from Mapes the last time I took a tour of the
Martin factory. As I understand it, the company supplies wire for
several of the big string companies.

Matt
Peanutjake
2004-01-15 23:40:19 UTC
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"Joel Shimberg" <***@cs.com> wrote in > I had a friend in the 70s who had a Stella 6-string
from the 30s. I
Post by Joel Shimberg
was pretty nice.
Joel
I still have my old 6 string Stella that I bought new in 1948.

It is FOR SALE if anyone is interested.

PJ
Tim Dellinger
2004-01-16 01:01:52 UTC
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Post by Joel Shimberg
from the 30s. I
Post by Joel Shimberg
was pretty nice.
Joel
I still have my old 6 string Stella that I bought new in 1948.
It is FOR SALE if anyone is interested.
If it was new in '48, then it was probably made by Harmony.
The "real" Stellas were made by Oscar Schmidt, up 'til around 1939.



Tim
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Tim Dellinger
***@uiuc.edu
Lyle Lofgren
2004-01-16 12:40:45 UTC
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Post by Tim Dellinger
Post by Joel Shimberg
from the 30s. I
Post by Joel Shimberg
was pretty nice.
Joel
I still have my old 6 string Stella that I bought new in 1948.
It is FOR SALE if anyone is interested.
If it was new in '48, then it was probably made by Harmony.
The "real" Stellas were made by Oscar Schmidt, up 'til around 1939.
That would explain why some people speak so fondly of them, while
others (like me, who bought one in 1959), think their only proper use
is as kindling wood (after first removing the Black Diamond strings to
use on your replacement guitar, of course).

Lyle
Joel Shimberg
2004-01-16 15:00:09 UTC
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Post by Lyle Lofgren
Post by Tim Dellinger
If it was new in '48, then it was probably made by Harmony.
The "real" Stellas were made by Oscar Schmidt, up 'til around 1939.
That would explain why some people speak so fondly of them, while
others (like me, who bought one in 1959), think their only proper use
is as kindling wood (after first removing the Black Diamond strings to
use on your replacement guitar, of course).
Lyle
Now, Lyle, you always knew that Leadbelly wasn't playing a piece of
garbage. Those early Stellas weren't high-class instruments, but they
were respectable. I once went with a few friends to the store operated
by the Holzapfel family in Baltimore. They had some of the most
beautiful and well-made 12-strings imaginable. One of us had the sense
and the cents to buy one.

Joel
Peanutjake
2004-01-17 02:06:38 UTC
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6-string
Post by Lyle Lofgren
Post by Tim Dellinger
Post by Joel Shimberg
from the 30s. I
Post by Joel Shimberg
was pretty nice.
Joel
I still have my old 6 string Stella that I bought new in 1948.
It is FOR SALE if anyone is interested.
If it was new in '48, then it was probably made by Harmony.
The "real" Stellas were made by Oscar Schmidt, up 'til around 1939.
That would explain why some people speak so fondly of them, while
others (like me, who bought one in 1959), think their only proper use
is as kindling wood (after first removing the Black Diamond strings to
use on your replacement guitar, of course).
Lyle
I bought the Stella to play with the Wallace Caravan Group. This was the year that Henry Wallace was
running for president as a candidate for the Progressive Party.

So my Stella has a political history.
I played in the group background behind Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and Richard Dyer Bennet at a
Wallace for President Rally.

It is still FOR SALE.

PJ
DrGleeby
2004-01-15 01:33:05 UTC
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I have a large box of assorted vintage strings still in the package, all types
including the coveted Black Diamonds.
Any takers? Contact me off list.

Joe Brennen
Old Gibson
2004-01-21 17:22:03 UTC
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Strings are only part of the equation, of course. But I keep
several lightly used sets around and everytime a "new" guitar
finds it's way to my house I run the cycle. I may be giving
up my ace in the hole here, but I have found the strings made
by Thomastik-Infeld to sound the best on my Gibson guitars.
I used the Plectrum AC112 on my '33 L-00 and the Spectrum
SB112 on my '50s J-50 and my '90 Bozeman J-45. Don't care
for the T-I's on my Martins, but they sure work magic for me
on the Gibsons.


-----------------------------------------------------------
I don't read mail at the address in the header.
old gibson at big foot dot com is a better choice.
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Old Gibson
2003-12-01 19:14:24 UTC
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Emily - you are lucky to *not* have new strings on your guitar! To
my ear, if there's one thing that detracts from the dry, woody sound
of a good old guitar, it's a jangly set of new strings! Just my
opinion, of course.

I buy my Thomastik strings from an online retailer, they're not easily
found in local music stores.

-----------------------------------------------------------
I don't read mail at the address in the header. old gibson
at big foot dot com is a better choice.
--
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JimG
2003-11-28 20:20:26 UTC
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I am an old Gibson fan -- or a fan of old Gibsons -- same thing to
me. My main guitar is a late 1940's/ early 1950s SJ, beat up to hell
but sounds perfect for solid rhythm stuff as well as leads. It gets
cranky at season changes tho and need to visit the doctor for some
neck/fret tweaking. My two other favorites in the guitar arsenal are a
'39 L00 which is a sweet finger picker and a nice intimate old time
chamber guitar. The other recent acquistion was a surpirse to me. This
is a LG2 from about the same period as my SJ. Small but a real boomer
since it has a pretty deep body.
Old Gibson
2004-01-21 17:29:18 UTC
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Revisiting this thread and posting a follow up to my own post!

A couple of weeks back I came across a used 1990 J-45, made in
Bozeman Montana. I wasn't shopping for another guitar (right!),
but this one came home with me. New strings (T-I, of course)
and a quick setup and hokey-smokes, what a great guitar! I like
it better than my old J-50.

So maybe the guy (gal?) who started this thread might consider
looking for one of these. I think it's an "early J-45" model,
looking at the website. Great neck profile, wide nut and a full
Gibson sound. Inexpensive to boot.

-----------------------------------------------------------
I don't read mail at the address in the header.
old gibson at big foot dot com is a better choice.
--
Posted via Mailgate.ORG Server - http://www.Mailgate.ORG
g***@gmail.com
2015-06-16 02:53:03 UTC
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I own a 1971 Gibson J-50 that I purchased in a consignment shop for $700 (ended up giving $500 cash and $200 in "trade" by trading in a crappy acoustic guitar)

Im a Bass player ordinarily, but Ive always kept an acoustic guitar on hand for song writing as well as having an alternate stringed instrument on-hand for the sake of having an alternate perspective for practicing chord forms and voicings.

The 1971 Gibson J-50 i own is a real gem. My first impression was that it was made as a "working-mans" guitar (few appointments, bare-bones looks, etc),.but ive come to find out over time that the J-50 was a standard quality natural finish guitar made to look basic, but built with Gibsons standard quality of manufacturers expectations (meaning; its not a cheaper model, its a quality made instrument built to look "no frills",.

Mine strums out chords nice and loud, and solo's with wonderful dynamics in its voicing. My brother-in-laws Laravee' acoustic (2014 model,..priced around $1300-$1400 new) solos' a little nicer, but doesnt strum full chords quite as nicely and richly as this old Gibson.

The neck and nut on mine is such that the strings are closer together than on that modern Laravee'. As such, the wider neck of the Laravee' alows for much easier access to ripping thru scales and jamming.
The tighter proximity of the strings on my 71 J-50 makes its a bit more challenging to rip thru scales,.but the differences are small.

Lastly,.
This old J-50 does altered tunings so wonderfully! CGCGCE and DADGAD sounds absolutely stunning on this J50,..the standard tuning of EADGBE sounds great too,..but when I tune the 1st string (the thinnest) to that high E note (while in standard tuning) it most often breaks,..even when loading a brand new set on.

The altered tunings sounds killer,.and the strings almost never break.

It may have to do with the fact that a "bridge-doctor" was added in effort to restore the spruce top from lifting over the years.
Theres a cpl hair line cracks where the pick-guard is installed,..but those were professionally repaired and look fine (you have to really look to see them at all).

Have any of your acoustics from days-gone-by had the top lift up such that a "bridge-doctor" needed to be installed?
From what I can tell,.it hasnt affected the sound very much. It may have affected the original volume of the guitar,..but this one is still loud and boomy.

Ive scoured the internet to find info on Gibson J-50's and from what I can tell,..these are legitimate nice guitars made to be played (not sitting around like a collectable museum piece).
Ive found several j-50's for sale from the late 60's to the 70's,.all of them varied in condition. Most had finish flaws from being left outside the case for years/decades in a sunny room on a guitar stand.
My tuners are worn out a wee too much, but they still tune just fine. My guitars finish has some cracks in it from being 40+ years old,.but otherwise looks totally fine.

It seems to me that the Gibson J-50 was a guitar of choice from any notable player of the 50's thru the 70's,..for having been a good workhorse and gigging instrument.

If you find one in reasonable condition for a fair price (upto $1200,..but ive seen em sell for more),.then id buy it!
They hold their value,.play well, and look like a guitar-players guitar (not a kids "1st guitar").

My only wish is that Gibson still made a modern version of the J-50 such that I could compare my 1971 to a new one, just for the sake to see how my old one stacks up.

Again,..if you can afford one, buy one. You'll be pleased,..and your guitar friends will be jealous that you have an old Gibson acoustic. They're sweet!
g***@gmail.com
2015-06-16 03:07:09 UTC
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I own several Gibson instruments (bass guitars and acoustic 6 string guitars) and all of those are different sounding when compared to other instruments if the same brand.

My Gibson SG Bass and my Gibson Thunderbird Bass sound different than other Gibson SG's and TB-basses. The wood varies between equal models,.and the guitar makers have their own hands involved in the process such that theres manufacturing differences in equivalent models.

My 1971 Gibson J-50 sounds and plays differently than other Gibson J-50's ive played,..but they all sounded good and played well,..some better than others ofcourse,.but none of them sounded bad.

Ive compared my 1971 J-50 to a modern brand new Gibson J-45. That new J-45 was a dream-guitar,..perhaps one of the finest sounding acoustics ive ever played. It was louder and sweeter in every way,..but my old J-50 still sounds and plays nicer than most acoustic guitars ive played (in the $1500 and under category).

(I may have gotten off-subject and blabbed a bit,.pardon that plz,. :-)

They all sound a little different from each other,.and I love that fact. I think its alot like picking out a puppy from a litter of puppys. They're all related and adorable,..but one in the group is gonna "connect" with you personally somehow,.and you simply "just know" which one is the right one for you when you see it.
a***@gmail.com
2016-07-29 08:18:53 UTC
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I may have the one just for sounds beautiful, with the real ring on.

Junnoy.
J***@bellsouth.net
2017-02-21 14:41:55 UTC
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Post by Egrep Yacclex
I would like to find a used Gibson j-50 and have tried a few. They
are all very different! I like the round shoulder older models, but
even among them they vary widely. Some real quiet, some with real
narrow necks, some with real BIG necks (too big). I haven't found one
that has good volume and tone yet, but I do see that some people use
them. Tim O'Brien plays one, for example. What do folks "in the
know" know about finding a good one?
I AM THINKING ABOUT SELLING SOME OF MY GUITARS AND ONE IS A 1965 J50 GIBSON, I HAVE USED IT ON MOST OF MY CD MAKING. THIS GUITAR SOUND GREAT AND HAS A BIG LOW END THUMP, IT HAS AN OLD EARLY SIXTIES SOFT SHELL ALLIGATOR CASE, HAVEN'T MADE UP MY MIND YET ON PRICING. IT HAS SOME COSMETIC ISSUE BUT IS VERY SOUND AND A BOOMER.
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