I’ve been having a great summer, going to the National Fiddle Contest (Stickerville) in Weiser, Idaho, and the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes in Port Townsend, Washington. While there, I met a fellow from out of state who offered to bring a couple of his fine old dreadnoughts by the shop so I could inspect and take measurements. We met up at a great house concert, watching Chris Eldridge play the ’43 J-45. Wonderful!
As it turns out, these would be particularly nice examples of the First Golden Era American Lutherie. I was able to spend several hours with these guitars, and I submit a few facts and photos for your enjoyment:
A 1943 Gibson “Banner” J-45. A war-time guitar with a truss rod, a 1 3/4″ nut, a 5-piece maple/walnut neck (7 piece if you count headstock ears), solid curly maple sides and a laminated maple back, a beautifully tight-grained and figured spruce top, and a teardrop pickguard. This is a great sounding guitar, with the most beautiful of Gibson sunbursts.
Next up is a 1940 Martin D-18. A beautifully worn-in “Pre-War” D-18, this guitar has so much warmth and sparkle, everything sounds good on this thing. In case you’re wondering, it has an 1 11/16″ nut, B/W/B/W/B Binding, and the usual D-18 specs.
In other news, I’ve been making lots of jigs, finishing my business plan, and acquiring tools in the past two months. The L-OO for Monica has the dovetail cut, headstock shaped and veneered, and has been profiled. Today I’ll prep the fingerboard with fret slots, radius, and profile; rout for bindings, and start making the bridge!