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.
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!