Who knows what the guys up in Gibson's Montana operation were thinking when they called this a J-45, since it is much more akin to an Advanced Jumbo or something. But the fact is, when Ren Ferguson, who was running that joint until recently, sets out to build a guitar himself, it's going to be a monster, and this is all that. This was one of six "Master Archetype Custom" guitars he built for the Gibson Summer Jam event in Nashville in 2008, associated with the NAAM convention that year, and it suggested they were going to make more. They didn't (some things at Gibson never change), probably because soon after, Macassar ebony, which it features as its back and sides, became almost impossible to source. So it's made this one, #4 of six, a real collectors item.
But most importantly, the combination of the ebony with the terrific Adirondack top makes this one a huge, powerful instrument, with a distinctive voice; it is more like rosewood than mahogany, but different still than the former. The ebony is a heavier wood, so those of us who pick up these things and immediately judge them by their weight are going to be fooled; somehow, they made a heavier instrument, that just rocks in the resonance department. I combined it with a undersaddle L.R. Baggs Element pick-up, for my playing-out guitar, but in truth never did take it out of the house much.
They really nailed it cosmetically, too, with this really cool rope binding, and its got an awesome fire-stripped pickguard. The Macassar ebony is beautiful and straight-grained, and they used a really nice backstripe to compliment it. It's got the Banner markings, and proper strip-tuners. Modern C shaped neck.
This J-45 comes with full documentation, in the original Gibson Custom Shop hardshell case.