Gibson and Keb’ Mo’ team up for the classy Custom Shop “3.0” 12-Fret J-45 signature acoustic guitar

The Gibson Custom Shop "3.0" Keb' Mo' 12-fret J-45 is the brand's third collaboration with the Grammy-winning songwriter
(Image credit: Gibson)

Gibson has expanded its lineup of Custom Shop artist collaborations with the Keb’ Mo’ “3.0” 12-Fret J-45, its third signature guitar designed for the Grammy-winning songwriter.

A round-shouldered dreadnought in the classic style, the “3.0” 12-Fret J-45 is a blast from the past, an old-school American workhorse finished with aVintage Sunburst stain on its thermally aged Sitka spruce top, with solid mahogany on the back and sides. 

Nitrocellulose lacquer gives it the gloss that will fade nicely over the years – though your ears should be telling you that you're playing an older acoustic if that ageing process has gone to plan. 

The J-45 balances that blue-collar vibe with the sort of build and details you would expect on a high-end acoustic guitar – you will find multi-ply binding on the top, single-ply binding on the back and fingerboard. 

Its mahogany neck has been carved into a custom Keb’ Mo’ profile and, as the name suggests, it joins the body at the 12-fret with a compound dovetail joint, set with hot hide glue just like in ye olden times. It is topped with a 12” radius rosewood fingerboard, seating 19 frets with MOP dot inlays. 

The bridge is similarly fashioned from rosewood and is in a belly down, closed slot style. Other key dimensions of note: the nut width is 45.847mm, scale length a compact 25” on the nose.

Gibson has made this ready for the stage with an LR Baggs pickup and preamp mounted in discretely in the soundhole. Open-gear Grover tuners with nickel buttons are fitted on the headstock.

The Keb’ Mo’ “3.0” 12-Fret J-45 is a new core model for the Custom Shop, and that 12-fret design offers not only a warmer and deeper sound, with the bridge positioned a little further from the soundhole, but arguably more comfortable too.

Keb’ Mo’, whose previous signature Gibson acoustic guitars have included the 12th-fret L-00 Bluesmaster, says it is an instrument for all occasions, and promises to be a big hit in the studio or on the stage.

“This J-45 guitar is a great acoustic workhorse which offers a richer, brighter, sound that delivers tight bass tones that record beautifully with a microphone, or a pickup,” says Keb’ Mo’. “The Gibson team has worked hard to make this guitar great and I’m out on the road now playing it every night. This is a quality guitar from Gibson, a brand you can trust.”

The Gibson Custom Shop "3.0" Keb' Mo' 12-fret J-45 is the brand's third collaboration with the Grammy-winning songwriter

(Image credit: Gibson)

Other specs include a bone saddle and nut, a 2-ply bell-style truss rod cover. The guitar ships in a hardshell guitar case and it is available now, priced £3,799 / $4,299. For more details, head over to Gibson.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.