|Taylors J-50 with|
During these early years Taylor relied on a Gibson J-50 guitar. Many of his most famous hits featured this instrument.
This guitar was designed to compete with Martin's dreadnought - D series flat top guitars. Where Martin's model featured squared shoulders, this Gibson model was more sloped and rounded.
|James Taylor with Gibson J-50|
The neck block on the first models was made of poplar and beveled. Gibson soon made them of mahogany which was not beveled.
The rosette was simple multi layered binding. The binding around the top consisted of seven layers, while the back was only one layer. The unbound neck featured 19 frets.
The bridge appears to be rosewood and originally was rectangular with black pins. In 1950 this was changed to a belly style bridge and the pins were now white.
By 1950 the neck featured 20 frets.
In 1963 the pick guards were made using an injected molding technique and were much thinner.
For reasons unknown, in 1968 the pick guards were screwed into the top instead of being glued.
Gibson made another run in 1984 for a year. 1984 was the year that Gibson left Kalamazoo and opened up shop in Nashville Tennessee and Bozeman Montana.
The J-45/J-50 was again in production in 1990 through 1995. Then Gibson re-introduced the guitars again in 1999 and they are currently in production, although the street price is no longer $45. A new sunburst Gibson J-45 will set you back 2,400 US dollars. It is available by special order in a natural finish for the same price, but is no longer called the J-50, but the J-45 natural finish. The current models come with a L.R. Baggs acoustic pickup.
Taylor has retired the J-50 and now favors guitars made by luthier James Olson.