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c.1937 Gibson J-35

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Body size at lower bout: 16" Body depth, heel to endpin: 3 13/16"/ 4 13/16" Scale length: 24 3/4" Nut width: 1 11/16" Neck depth, 1st/10th frets: .90/1.01"

Materials and Hardware: Solid quartersawn bookmatched Adirondack spruce top; solid bookmatched Honduran mahogany back, sides and neck; solid rosewood fingerboard with mother of pearl dot fingerboard inlays; original Grover 3-on-a-plate tuners with cream buttons, single bound body, contoured firestripe pickguard, rosewood bridge with compensated bone saddle, adjustable truss rod.

Notes: Since the Gibson Guitar Company's founding at the dawn of the 20th Century, the firm had prided itself on its premium grade (and premium priced) carved top mandolins and guitars. But by the advent of the Great Depression, the company realized that they needed to reach out to a wider audience, with instruments that were both more affordable, and better targeted to the growing popularity of country and western performers, then sweeping the radio dial.

But they had a lot of catching up to do. C.F. Martin, their chief competitor, had already been producing high quality flat top guitars for over a century. And so, aiming squarely at Martin's popular D-18 dreadnought, Gibson in 1936 debuted a new model: the J (for Jumbo) 35 (for it's eminently affordable price tag.)

A model of elegant simplicity, the J-35 featured a lightweight, slope shouldered mahogany body, a discreet dot inlay fingerboard, silk-screen headstock logo, and a formal 'chocolate brown' sunburst finish, confined to the soundboard only. Like the Martins, the J-35 featured forward shifted X-braces, but added an additional transverse brace across the lower bout. Seen only in the earliest J-35s, this 'three brace' design is felt by many to be responsible for the uniquely resonant quality of this innovative model.

This remarkable guitar weighs in at an astounding 3lb 14oz, pounds lighter than later Gibson acoustics, and surely as light as an instrument of this size could possibly have been built. Featuring a thin, responsive Adirondack soundboard, the body and neck are crafted of ribbon grained Honduran mahogany, with a fingerboard of solid dark rosewood. The original truss rod works perfectly, and the peghead remains fitted with its original Grover open back tuners with brass backplates and warmly ambered oval cream buttons.

Meticulously restored in our own shop, the instrument features a recent vintage correct true nitro lacquer finish, lightly reliced with a bit of scattered spider checking, and free of pick, buckle, thumb, or fretwear. The top centerseam has been soundly cleated and resealed, along with a pair of grainline cracks on either side of the soundhole. The original Adirondack braces and mahogany kerfing remain intact, and a correct recent rosewood bridge and firestripe pickguard have been installed, with the originals included in the case.

With a comfy, traditional light V neck profile, and bright original style fretwork, the action is smooth and low, with excellent neck angle, saddle hight, and a fresh high precision setup. But best of all, the voice is clear and brilliant, with simply thunderous volume and shimmering sustain. The bass is deeply resonant, with highs saturated with natural reverb: an exceptionally powerful guitar, and powerfully rewarding to play.

Clear as a long drink of water, this jumbo guitar is a classic country workhorse, equally adept at honky, tonk, or good old time fingerpicking. And if the guitar has a familiar look to it, it's virtually identical to the beauty featured on the cover of 'Gibson's Fabulous Flat Top Guitars: An Illustrated History and Guide', the definitive account of these legendary banjo killers.

A remarkable find from Gibson's Golden Age of prewar flat tops. One only, call now.

Setup: This instrument is strung with medium gauge bronze strings (.013-.056). The guitar will accommodate lighter or heavier gauge strings, according to preference. String action is set at 5/64" to 6/64" at the 12th fret, with moderate relief for acoustic playing with medium strings.

Case: Newer black plush lined hardshell case.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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