From 1942 to ’45, the period known as the “banner era,” Gibson had emblazoned on their headstocks a yellow banner that reads, “Only a Gibson Is Good Enough.” This J-45’s decal has proudly stood the years.

Photo by Kate Koenig

The historic manufacturer hit the nail on the head when, in the early 1940s, they released the J-45—a model that’s graced the hands and recordings of Buddy Holly, Bob Dylan, Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle, and many, many others. Here, eight musicians, luthiers, and historians shed light on its near-mythical status in the lineage of acoustic guitars.

Tom Crandall was the first person I met in the vintage-guitar industry, when I wrote a profile on him for Acoustic Guitar magazine back in early 2018. In mid February of that year, I visited his shop, TR Crandall Guitars—then in New York’s East Village, now on the Lower East Side—and spent three hours chatting with him about his work as a luthier and playing some of the instruments in his collection. (I had some unconfirmed flu symptoms, and, by so carelessly breathing in his general direction, passed the sick onto him right before he went on a trip to Mexico with his now-wife, Renée. Miraculously, he forgave me for this.)

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Bohlinger Carves a Martin Neck

Watch PG's John Bohlinger take a swing at handshaping an acoustic neck. Plus, learn how Martin's master craftsman reverse engineers the company's gold-standard profiles from their most-heralded instruments.

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Rig Rundown: Robert Plant and Alison Krauss Band

Stuart Duncan, Viktor Krauss, and JD McPherson from the Raise the Roof touring band raise the curtain on their road gear.

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