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Thread: Gibson J45 top repair

  1. #26

    Default Re: Gibson J45 top repair

    OK, Here's my two cents worth... Everyone is right that this is not a valuable instrument due to the damage and probably not worthy of a full boogie restoration. That being said, it's an early Gibson J-45 and is definitely worth making into a great player instrument. I'd carefully cut out the damaged wood in the top area and graft in new spruce. This will take care of the physical damage, stabilize the instrument, probably improve, and certainly not hurt the tone. It will be covered up by whatever pickguard you choose to use anyway (I'm a sucker for the tear drop, myself) so color match really isn't an issue. Frank Ford has done some amazing repairs using this technique, usually from the inside, but since it's all under the pickguard, all you need to do is repair the damage, not worry about the cosmetics.

    Regarding the dark lines, if the wood is open and stained dark as some of your crack appear to be, you might try Oxalic Acid. Mamie Minch has a great online video on how to use it here:

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  3. #27
    Teacher, repair person
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Southeast Tennessee

    Default Re: Gibson J45 top repair

    I believe that a late '50's J-50 style guard would cover most of the damage and look reasonably appropriate.
    If it came to me, I would do that, tighten up any loose braces [there may be several], graft new spruce around the soundhole, give her an original style Gibson 3 ring rosette, and string it up and play it. I'd consider the degree and style of any finish repair to be a matter of choice. Perhaps a thin matte over coat on the top?

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  5. #28
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Sugar Grove,PA
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Gibson J45 top repair

    If it was mine, I'd just make sure the cracks are glued and play it! I have a soft spot for any mangled looking instrument, for me its all about overall tone and the voice anyway, some people can't handle a small finish check or crack! You play them they get wear! If you've had this guitar since the early 70's and you pry got her cheap, so keep playing and enjoy it. This being what it is, it will never be worth too much anyways. It would be a fantastic player though-the bridge puts it in the very late 40's-50's so maybe some internal bracing work is needed as well and it should be a cannon!

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  7. #29
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Foothills, NC

    Default Re: Gibson J45 top repair

    I agree with What William said. Make sure it is stable and play it. It is also a great conversation piece.


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  9. #30
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Howell, NJ

    Default Re: Gibson J45 top repair

    Thanks for all of the great comments. It is interesting to find out this is a J50.
    Comparing it to trigger is room for encouragement, and not to take anything away from the sound or the way Willy plays it, but as far as being pristine that is a pretty low bar.
    The filled holes were just holes in the top, there was no hardware in them. I assumed that one of those big country pick guards was just screwed onto the top.
    THanks for the link on coloring spruce to make it look more aged. Part of the reason I decided to tackle this is to try to clean up some of the repairs I have done in the past such as the patching and filling those holes which I was never really happy with.
    I did indeed get the guitar cheap. The owner of the music store I worked for was going to give it to me until he realized I really wanted it so he charged me $10.
    So thanks to everyones input I think I will go to a more correct sound hole, put a perhaps a bit oversized tear drop pick guard on it to try and cover up most of that damage and maybe try to clean up the filled holes a bit. THe dark cracks with the black streaks are all cleated and bonded well so I will just live with that and chalk it up to experience with using CA glue.
    Bob Schmidt

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