General Question

TexasDude's avatar

Where can I find original parts for my vintage guitar?

Asked by TexasDude (25249points) June 27th, 2010

Hello there folks, I’ve had a 1954 Gibson J-45 for a while that I salvaged from a raggedy alligator skin case in my grandparent’s basement. The guitar belonged to my great uncle who notoriously loved wine, women, and song, and after God knows how long in the basement the guitar has suffered some damage.

The celluloid tuning heads have long since shriveled, cracked, and disappeared, it is missing its strap button, the varnish is superficially cracked, and it doesn’t have strings or bridge pins for holding the strings in place. I really want to restore the guitar as best I can (I’m not going to mess with the finish) with original parts, but I don’t know where to begin.

So my question is this: Where can I get original tuning machines, a strap button, and bridge pins for the guitar? I’m not planning on selling this guitar, but I’m also interested in knowing the value if anyone can provide me with a ballpark estimate. I’ve seen them going for anywhere from $1999 to $12,999+

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14 Answers

Cruiser's avatar

I’m not sure for a great answer here but I just had my 1980 Strat setup by a local Luthier who seemed to have every part to every guitar ever made in a box on top of box sitting on a shelf in the back room of his shop that had 300 other shelves full of dusty parts. PM to remind me and I will call him tomorrow to see if he has the part or at the least will know where to look!

TexasDude's avatar

Excellent, @Cruiser, I’ll be sure and do that.

dpworkin's avatar

The best in the business Mandolin Bros. on Staten Island in NYC.

gemiwing's avatar

Is the neck true? If there’s any warping I would send it to Gibson to have it worked on. Or check for a local Luthier, if you prefer. You can order parts from Gibson directly on their website as well.

DeanV's avatar

Wow. That is a damn nice guitar. Jealous.

This may sound a bit silly, but have you checked ebay? I’ve been able to find vintage drum badges, guitar tuners, and even a few catalogs there, and they’ve all been legitimate.
You probably won’t be able to find bridge pins from a J-45, but I bet you can find parts from a 50’s era Gibson acoustic that will work and not ruin the value of the guitar.

TexasDude's avatar

@dpworkin, cool, thanks for the link!

@gemiwing, the neck is perfectly straight, thank God :-)

@dverhey, thanks! I’ve checked ebay but I’m really not sure where to begin.

john65pennington's avatar

Contact Gibson Guitar, 309 Plus Park Blvd., Nashville, Tn. 37217. 615–871-4500.

Gibson guitars are made in Nashville. the people at Gibson Guitars are very friendly and will help with your problem. who knows? they may just want to purchase this guitar from you.

Give them a call. john

gemiwing's avatar

The Guitar ReRanch is a good site for basic info as well as some more in-depth how-tos. I don’t know how much repair work you’ve done or what your knowledge base is, but that website helps me out tons. Also, Project Guitar has a lot of good tutorials as well.

caseycat's avatar

You can get an appraisal from George Gruhn in Nashville. His people do repairs as well, so they may be able to help you get the parts you need. The website is


jazmina88's avatar

Gibson, a luthier, or we have Guitar Emporium in Louisville, they know vintage parts

TexasDude's avatar

@john65pennington, @gemiwing, @caseycat, @jazmina88, awesome folks, thanks for the tips and links. I have more resources than I thought!

jfos's avatar


Awesome guitar. I can’t offer any insight that the others haven’t already, but I’m interested in the outcome. Keep us up to date!

jaytkay's avatar

Elderly Instruments is a well-known and well-regarded repair and retail shop.

TexasDude's avatar

@jfos,I most certainly will!

@jaytkay, thanks alot!

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