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More Than a Workhorse

All writing about the Gibson J-45 starts with the same general sentiment: it’s The Workhorse. Now, that’s not necessarily a bad place to start when it comes to the J-45 Vintage, because it fits the definition of “workhorse” to a T: it’s relatively unadorned and has few frills, it can do just about anything an acoustic guitarist might ask of it, and it’s so comfortable that it begs you to play for hours and hours. It also sits comfortably within the grand tradition of classic Gibson acoustics because it’s crafted with equal parts love and elbow grease by skilled artisans using time-consuming, labor-intensive old-world manufacturing practices.

But, calling the J-45 Vintage a workhorse only tells half the story. It leaves out the most important part: the fun! Strumming a J-45 Vintage puts you in touch with the elemental, visceral joys of making music. It’s a surefire way to put a grin on your face, and it probably will lower your blood pressure if you do it regularly enough (although we have no way to prove this). It manages a truly incredible feat: it’s a utilitarian tool that can do it all AND an exquisite masterwork with an endless capacity to inspire.

A Recipe for a Grin

Some might chalk the J-45 Vintage’s ability to cultivate joy up to six-string voodoo, and they might be half-right; after all, the builders in Bozeman are acoustic wizards! But, there’s a rational explanation for everything. Here, it’s simple: use exemplary materials, put them together right, and you’ll get an exemplary guitar!

The recipe for joy starts with a thermally aged Adirondack spruce top. Wildwood’s love affair with Adirondack spruce is well documented. We love Adirondack with the intensity of a thousand suns because its tone is like catnip for the eardrums. It gives acoustic guitars extra volume and headroom, a more articulate attack, and a general woody timbre that we can’t get enough of.

However, our friends at Gibson have taken things a step further and put these Adirondack tops through their special thermal engineering process. Basically, Gibson’s luthiers use heat to suck the moisture out of each top, resulting in a stiffer, more stable piece of wood that has the sonic characteristics of an old Gibson that’s been “played-in.” The resulting cuts of Adirondack spruce have a warmer, woodier tone with a spectacular combination of cavernous resonance and crystalline clarity.

Gibson’s acoustic maestros also use hot hide glue to attach the neck to the body. This is a bit of a pain, as hide glue is difficult to work with, but it pays incredible dividends to the guitar’s sound. Hide glue is a protein-based adhesive that allows for maximum energy transfer between two pieces of wood. As a result of this efficient energy transfer, the J-45 Vintage is so resonant that it practically jumps out of your hands when you hit a big chord!

The final ingredient in this intoxicating sonic cocktail is the thin VOS finish. Obviously, it looks cool as all-git-out. But, because it’s so thin, it allows the wood to “breathe” and resonate more like a vintage guitar.

Sit Down and Play Awhile

When you throw all of these ingredients together, you get an acoustic guitar with impeccable articulation, superb warmth, fantastic clarity, and Godzilla-sized sound. Because of its Adirondack top and its short 24.75” scale length, the J-45 Vintage has a pleasingly percussive attack that captures every detail of your right-hand technique. And, no matter how hard you dig it, you can’t really make it sound harsh because of the warmth and roundness imparted by its solid mahogany back and sides. After the initial attack, the note blooms into a glorious bell-like tone that fills whatever room you’re in to the ceiling. It’s the sort of full, piano-like resonance that fills the heart with joy and makes you want to play for hours and hours

We are proud to showcase such an inspiring instrument for our exceptional customers. We know that the J-45 Vintage will certainly perform like a workhorse, but we also know it will bring you a lifetime of fun.


ModelJ-45 Vintage
TypeRound Shoulder Body Style
Finish ColorVintage Sunburst
Finish TypeNitrocellulose Lacquer - VOS - New Thin FInish
Top WoodThermally Aged Adirondack Red Spruce
Back & Sides WoodMahogany
Neck WoodMahogany
Neck JointCompound dovetail secured with hide glue at the 14th fret
Neck ShapeVintage Round
Neck Dimensions.870 1st - .920 9th
Fretboard MaterialIndian Rosewood
Fingerboard InlaysMOP Dots
Scale Length24-3/4"
Width at Nut1.725"
Nut MaterialBone
BindingMulti-ply Top, Single Ply Back
RosetteMulti-ply Single Ring
TunersGotoh with White Button
BridgeRosewood Belly Up
PickguardTortoise Teardrop
CaseHardshell Case

Why Order from Wildwood Guitars?

An instrument from Wildwood isn't just an ordinary guitar. It's your guitar. Each and every instrument we sell includes a full, point by point setup, an exhaustive evaluation, and expert shipping procedures, with first class, industry leading standards from start to finish. Why? Because you deserve it.

Click Here to learn more about what makes a Wildwood instrument so special...
Serial Number: 11749006

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