American Workhorse – A Documentary Film About the J-45 Guitar

The inspiration to make a film about the J-45 acoustic guitar began in the spring of 2016, when Bob Dylan rented my Gibson J-45. I was thrilled that one of my musical heroes and a true legend was playing my guitar but then I thought:

Why does Bob Dylan play a J-45? What brought him to the instrument? Why did he need to rent mine? Why do I play a J-45? And over the last seventy five years, why have so many musicians been drawn to this guitar commonly known as the “workhorse.”

To answer these questions, I set about exploring the history, legacy and sound of this instrument. The resulting documentary celebrates the impact of this special guitar on musicians, music and the world. My team and I are traveling around the United States to talk with musicians, historians, musicologists and members of the guitar community to tell the story behind the Gibson J-45 and find out why this guitar truly is the American Workhorse. Do you have a story to share or would you like to help out in the making of this film? We’d love to hear from you.



Ted with Todd Kerns