NAMM 2023 – Gibson Keb Mo – J-45 50s Faded

Gibson Acoustics for 2023

Keb Mo 3.0 12-fret J-45

One Man's Guitar

New for 2023 is the third Keb Mo signature model from Gibson guitars. It has a torrefied Sitka spruce soundboard with forward-shifted hand-scalloped braces, mahogany back and sides, traditional nitrocellulose gloss finish, and L R Baggs onboard VTC electronics. The traditional dovetail neck joint is set with hide glue. The guitar has a 25″ scale and the rosewood fingerboard has a width at nut of 1.805″(roughly 1-4/5″) to go along with the proprietary Keb Mo neck profile shape.


More Gibson Keb Mo “3.0” info HERE.

One Man's Guitar

J-45 50s Faded

One Man's Guitar

The latest edition in Gibson’s satin finish models is the J-45 50s Faded, which offers similar construction to the traditional gloss lacquer version, including the rounded 1.725″ neck with a 24.75″ string scale and a hot hide glue set dovetail neck joint. It also comes with LR Baggs VTC electronics. The satin finish and faded sunburst evokes a “vintage vibe.”


More J-45 50s Satin info HERE.

Gibson Artist Signature Models for 2021

Gibson Artist Signature Models Anticipated after NAMM 2021

Electric Guitars Dominate Gibson’s Winter NAMM

Gibson USA  focused on electric instruments for Winter NAMM 2021, including a gold top Les Paul Slash signature model and a Pelham Blue Thunderbird bass. They confined their acoustic guitar releases to vague references to upcoming artist signature models, including a signature model for Noel Gallagher of Oaisis, based on his favorite J-150, a less-decorated version of the SJ-200, made 2019-2005. “I sent it there to be photographed, the grain and the whole thing,” Gallagher told Guitar Magazine. “It’s not even a J-200, you know. It’s a J-150 that I just took off the shelf in London, played it, and I was like, ‘Yeah, I’ll take it.’ I never thought anything of it. But I’ve written some great fucking songs on that guitar.”

There will also be two SJ-200s with various cosmetic differences: a yet to be seen posthumous Tom Petty “Wildflower” edition and a red signature model with a lotus flower pickguard and a for Australian star Orianthi, which includes a customized L.R. Baggs pickup system and a neck derived from an ES-345.

Gibson-Orianthi-SJ-200-Photo-Jim-Iouveau onemanz

“Having an electric guitar neck on the acoustic body is like just a perfect scenario.”

That’s what she said. And it is right in line with the times. From Martin’s converting their line to their High Performance Neck in 2018 and the hybrid SC-13E acoustic-electric released this time last year, the trend toward making acoustic guitars to please electric guitarists first and foremost does march onward.

There is some irony involved here, since Bob Taylor first was the first person to make a success out of putting what was essentially an electric guitar neck on an acoustic guitar, way back when, only to have Taylor Guitars evolve their neck joint and neck shapes over the years toward a more acoustic guitar-esque feel and construction. And we will take a look at the 2021 Taylor models next.


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Guitars of Winter NAMM 2021

New Acoustics in Short Supply at NAMM 2021

The 2021 Winter NAMM Show was a virtual event, understandably enough, with virtually no acoustic guitars

Still, there were hundreds of events, including performances by musicians, famous and not so famous, as well as interviews and discussions. But while there were also actual products being released, few acoustic guitars were among them, compared to normal years. Even lil’ ol’ Huss & Dalton of Lynchberg, VA has recently gotten into making electric guitars!

Huss & Dalton Statesboro SC Classic Winter NAMM onemanz

C.F. Martin & Co. made a valiant effort for 2021, by offering four new acoustic guitar models across their pricing tiers, and four ukuleles. While it was reduced from what was originally planned for this NAMM show, it was considerably more of an offering than anyone else could muster, among the major players in the acoustic guitar industry.

Martin 00L Earth full One Man's Guitar onemanz

There is still some news of interest, from companies like…

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Santa Cruz,




Review: Gibson J-15

Mellow walnut makes the Gibson J-15 one jovial jumbo

An environmentally friendly take on the classic J-45, the J-15 is a future-forward guitar

Specifications include: Standard Jumbo body size; solid walnut back and sides; solid Sitka spruce top with scalloped braces, Antique Natural toner, abalone sound hole rosette; two-piece solid maple neck with Slim Taper profile, dovetail neck joint fitted with hot hide glue; solid walnut fingerboard with 1.725” width at the Tusq nut, mother-of-pearl position markers; solid walnut slotted rectangular bridge with compensated Tusq saddle and decorative mother-of-pearl dots; antique ivoroid binding; nitrocellulose finish; gold Gibson headstock logo on black field faceplate; Grover Mini Rotomatic tuning machines

Read the Full J-15 Review Here

Something Fine from Jackson Browne

Jackson Browne wrote Something Fine when he was 22

Or maybe he was even younger

While he was considered an “old soul” by his contemporaries, Jackson Browne turned 70 this past October and yet his songs are anything but dated.

When something written by a kid remains relevant, timeless even, and absolutely appropriate coming from the mouth of the same artist decades later, now that’s what I call a songwriter!

Performed on a vintage Roy Smeck Stage Deluxe.

Does Jason Verlinde of Fretboard Journal have the best job in America or what?

Review – Gibson SJ-200 Ebony Limited Edition

Gibson’s 2017 Ebony Limited Edition adds jet black looks to the classic SJ-200

With L. R. Baggs Anthem dual-source electronics, it comes ready to rock.

Specs include: Super Jumbo body size; maple back, sides, and neck; radiused AAA-grade Sitka spruce top; hand-sprayed, high-gloss ebony nitrocellulose finish; rosewood fretboard and mustache bridge; bound fretboard and headstock; gold Grover Imperial tuning machines; round neck profile; bone nut with 1.725″ width; approx. 2-3/16″ string spacing; Tusq saddle to go with the Baggs Anthem undersaddle pickup.

“The bass is big but not boomy. The trebles are clear and ringing. The midrange notes are distinct but have a woody warmth to them… In other words, the SJ-200 is a classic. And this jet black version is pretty darn classy.”

Read the Full Review Here

Gibson J-200 Ebony Limited Editio Video

Gibson USA and C. F. Martin & Co. to Merge

Gibson bid reportedly accepted by Martin CEO C. F. Martin IV

Historic melding of two giants

Gibson USA of Nashville, TN announced a merger with their longtime rival, Martin Guitars of Nazareth, PA.

(According to the Associated Press wire story – 04/01/2017) the two venerable guitar makers started in the nineteenth century and will now combine to create a mega-company with resources that will recapture control of the American acoustic guitar market, which has been increasingly encroached upon by modern companies like Taylor Guitars of El Cajon, CA, and Huss & Dalton of Staunton, Va.

Merger Commemorated in Two Limited Edition Guitars

The new SJ-450 will incorporate Gibson’s iconic SJ-200 with the woods and styling of the Martin D-45, including Indian rosewood back and sides, top grade Sitka spruce, both taken from Martin’s famous acclimation warehouse, and over 900 individual pieces of abalone shell inlay around the enormous top, back, and sides of the Super Jumbo model, including the pre-1939 “snowflake” fingerboard pattern seen on pre-war D-45s. It will retain the equally ginormous J-200 pickguard, with the vines and flowers inlay also done in high-color abalone lament.

The Felix the Cat Les Paul – Stinger electric guitar will be coming out later this year, but details about the actual construction and electronics have yet to be released. But it is rumored to have a “smurf” head stock, and is expected to be the cat’s meow.

Dissent in the Ranks

But while the marketing spin is on a “merger,” insiders of both organizations are expressing concerns that this is in fact a complete takeover by Gibson.

According to recently-dismissed marketing executive at Gibson USA, Lirpa Sloof, Martin CEO Chris Martin has accepted a generous retirement package in exchange for relinquishing all control of and rights to the Martin family brand. He is expected to either move his family into the Moravian monastery at Hecktown, PA, or open a Porsche – Ferrari dealership in Scalp Level, PA, just because he likes the name, and just so he can drive a different car to work every day.

Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz was not available for comment on the merger, claiming the IRS said he cannot release any public statements while he is engaged in current litigation of several lawsuits filed against a number of other entities, expected to last well into the twenty-second century.

Visions of Johanna – 50 Years Ago Today

May 17, 1966 – Bob Dylan performs Visions of Johanna, solo acoustic

Try imagining someone hearing this song for the first time, rendered by Dylan in top form

Love songs have been a part of music since, well, forever. Many are light or even trite, while some others can be truly moving.

But when it came to popular music in modern times, there were songs about falling in love, falling out of love, being a teenager in love, or a teenager being dumped, occasionally letting someone down easy, or telling them to “hit the road, Jack.”

And then there came Visions of Johanna.

Read the full essay and hear the song HERE

Dylan 1966 Visions of Johanna concert

photo: Mark Makin who took the only photos from the concert, getting “about nine usable shots” from a roll of film, according to the BBC.

Lloyd Loar Gibsons, Pre-War Martins

Million Dollar Babies
Lloyd Loar Gibsons to Bring a Tear to Your Eye

and Put a Song in Your Heart

About this same time each year a good friend of One Man’s Guitar visits this part of the country to see old pals and meet some new ones, while enjoying good food, good talk, and good music. Social calls are made, cases appear from behind doors, and coveted old instruments are cradled like newly arrived infants, inspiring the same sort of onlooker responses of delight and preciousness.

Gibson L5sFew vintage instruments inspire such devotion, and price tags, like Lloyd Loar Gibsons, the exquisite vintage guitars and mandolins made at the Gibson Musical Instrument Company during the tenure of Lloyd Loar. And on this particular day you couldn’t swing a dreadnought without hitting a priceless Loar – shutter the thought.

Mr. Loar began working at Gibson in 1919 and left in 1924, apparently after disagreements with new management. Among Loars many innovations, he is credited with developing the F-hole archtop design, similar to a violin or cello, and for the floating fingerboard, which, like violins, extends over the soundboard without touching it, and is now a standard feature of the modern archtop guitars used for Jazz music. But when they debuted, archtop guitars like the L5 were used for all sorts of music, and at times that holds today. For example, Maybelle Carter played her Old Time tunes on an L5 made in 1928, and fingerstyle acrobat Howard Emerson plays sliding bottleneck blues on his 1930 TGL-5, which had been converted from a tenor guitar to a 6-string 1935 (see comments below.)

We played an L5 from January 1925, which would have been built during 1924. It had maple for the back and sides, instead of a birch back used on earlier examples. And alongside it was played a 1930 L5, with large block inlays on the headstock. Dry and punchy, each guitar had a clear voice with surprising volume.

But it is the mandolins for which Loar is most remembered, like the one played by Bill Monroe, the father of Bluegrass music. Monroe’s was graced with a flower pot inlay on the headstock. But the ones with the fern are much rarer, and will command prices in excess of $200,000. Although Loar is credited with making one A-Style mandolin, with a symmetrical teardrop body, it is the fancier carving on the F-Style mandolins that are admired for the craftsmanship they exhibit, even if both styles can provide the classic ting and ring Bluegrass musicians revel in.

There were two Loar F5 mandolins present, a fern signed by Loar on March 24, 1924, and one without the fern signed on April 12, 1923. Also present was a stunning K-5 Mandocello, one of only six known to exist. This one was signed by Loar on October 13, 1924.  With serial number 76980, this instrument is not listed in the mandolin archives.

1935 Gibson L5 Lloyd Loar Gibsons1925 L5 Guitar

F5 Lloyd Loar Gibson mandolin1923 F5 Fern Mandolin

(click photos to enlarge)

Mandocello Lloyd Loar Gibsons1923 K5 Mandocello

Golden Age Oldies

In addition to the Gibsons, there were two Martin C-3 archtops from 1934, two serial numbers apart from one another. And with Brazilian rosewood backs that undoubtedly came from the same log. Interestingly enough, the grain pattern on the backs are upside down from each other. While it was an archtop kind of day, flattops were well represented by the 1937 D-18, belonging to a guest, which is one of the supreme examples from what is considered the supreme year for pre-war D-18s.

1934 Martin C-3 x21934 Martin C-3 Backs

1934 Martin C-3Martins Most Expensive Model of 1934

(click photos to enlarge)

Old Gibson and Martin archtopsRoom Full of History

And that is one man’s word on…

Lloyd Loar Gibsons, Pre-War Martins: Million Dollar Babies

Gibson L5 1925

Loar Mandolin 1924

Yesterday, I picked me up a Gibson Lloyd Loar mandolin made in 1924

And then I put it back down again before its owner got too nervous.


The legendary Lloyd Loar was a master luthier whose mandolins and guitars made for the Gibson musical instrument in the early 1920s are among the most highly coveted ever created. And this one sure had that ring thing goin’ on!

More photos of this and other Loars played that day will follow shortly.

But after a day of playing vintage Gibsons and Martins, today will be spent back at the Martin factory, with another look at the newest Martins just out for NAMM.