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Gibson Introduces Limited-Edition 1965 Donovan J-45 Guitar

Gibson has introduced its new limited-edition 1965 Donovan model J-45 acoustic guitar. The guitar is based on the Gibson J-45 Donovan bought on Sunset Boulevard in the mid-Sixties.

"I wrote every song on it from late 1965 into ’70, when it was stolen during a college-town gig," Donovan told Guitar World last month.

This meticulously recreated J-45 honors Donovan and the music he created on the original guitar — and bear in mind, we're talking about rock classics that include "Sunshine Superman," "Season of the Witch," "Mellow Yellow," "Wear Your Love Like Heaven," "Hurdy Gurdy Man" and many more.

The body radius, neck, finish and Sixties-style adjustable bridge were carefully recreated in order to build a custom-shop signature model for one of the most influential singer-songwriters of the last century.

The guitar features the LR Baggs Lyric acoustic guitar microphone, an amplification system featuring a bridge-plate-mounted, featherweight microphone. You can check out Guitar World's review of the Lyric system right here.

Labels on the guitars are personally signed by Donovan; all his proceeds from the guitar will be donated to teaching transcendental meditation. The guitar was built in Bozeman, Montana.

"I was speaking to Peter Leinheiser from Gibson two years ago, and I said, 'My little J-45 still hasn’t turned up'," Donovan said. "I think he said, 'You’re being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Why don’t we make you one?'”

For the rest of this conversation (during which Donovan discusses the guitar, his picking style, working with Jeff Beck, Rick Rubin, Jimmy Page and more), check out the "Dear Guitar Hero" feature in the upcoming May 2014 issue of Guitar World magazine.

For more about Donovan — and his guitar master classes — visit For more about the limited-edition Donovan J-45, check out the specs below and visit


Body style: J-45 series, with a Sixties period-correct radiused body
Wood: Sitka spruce top, mahogany back and sides
Binding: Multi-ply top, single-ply back, multi-ply double-ring rosette
Finish: Period-correct Cherry Sunburst, Nitrocellulose Lacquer
Electronics:LR Baggs Lyric microphone
Strings: Gibson light gauge .012-.053; La Bella Silk & Steel strings are included in the case
Tuning machines: Vintage-style white button, 15:1
Pickguard: Tortoise Fifties-style pickguard
Bridge: Traditional rosewood belly up with adjustable saddle
Scale: 24 3/4”
Fingerboard: 12-inch radius rosewood with MOP dot inlay
Nut width: 1.725” bone
Neck-to-body: Compound dovetail secured with hide glue at the 14th fret
Neck: One-piece mahogany

Damian Fanelli

Damian is editor-in-chief of Guitar World magazine. From 1998 to 2014, he was one third of Mister Neutron, an instrumental rock act that toured the universe and elsewhere and released three albums via Austin-based Deep Eddy Records. These days he performs with several New York City-area bands and can often be spotted with one of his many, many, many B-bender-equipped guitars. In past lives he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor – and he still can’t believe he got to write the liner notes for the latest SRV box set.