Home / Instruments /Accessories / Ordering / Tips / Friends
1963 Gibson Johnny Smith
Status: For pricing and hold status for this instrument, please check our Instruments page here. If this instrument does not appear on the Instruments page it has been sold, and is no longer available. Photos and descriptions of Previously Sold instruments may by found here. To be notified of examples of this or any other model in the future, please contact [email protected].
Serial #: 62132, Orange oval label
Body size at lower bout:17" Scale length: 25" Nut width: 1 3/4"'
Materials: Handcarved quartersawn bookmatched solid spruce top; highly figured tiger flame maple sides and neck; handcarved bookmatched flame maple back; ebony fingerboard with mother of pearl block fingerboard and peghead inlay; 7-ply body binding, 5-ply peghead and fingerboard binding, 3 ply back binding, bound f-holes, bone nut.
Hardware: Original hardware includes engraved gold-plated medallion tailpiece; adjustable compensated ebony bridge with pearl inlay; gold Kluson Sealfast tuners; gold floating Johnny Smith humbucking pickup with 1/4" jack, "Custom" imprint truss rod cover. Vintage correct quintuple-bound tortoise pickguard.
Notes: Introduced in 1961, the Gibson Johnny Smith Model represented the pinnacle of Smith's design creativity, in an instrument that married classic body styling with unprecedented technical innovation. Four decades later, it's hard to envision a time when the only floating pickups available were the DeArmond or the McCarty pickguard pickup. The Johnny Smith debuted the world's first floating humbucking pickup, now the industry standard. Taking inspiration from the past as well as the future, Smith resurrected the classic X-braced top, a design used by Gibson in the 1930's. With it's increased sustain and warm, throaty tone, the X-brace has become the standard as well among contemporary archtop builders from Benedetto on.
While some of Smith's innovations were revolutionary, many more were evolutionary; incorporating a number of refinements designed to improve the playability of the instrument in subtle but significant ways. Feeling constrained by the standard 1 11/16" nut, Smith again reached to past masters and revived the more generous 1 3/4" fingerboard of the early 30's, a favorite of finger-style players. Similarly, Smith introduced a 25" scale, to facilitate stretch voicings without sacrificing response. Finally, the body was slimmed by 1/8th of an inch to an even 3" depth, to make it just that much easier to hold. The result is an instrument unique in playability, tonal response, and aesthetics. The visual appointments of the Johnny Smith are drawn from a number of Gibson paramount models. The 17" Venetian cutaway body and deco tailpiece are those of the L-5C, the neck and peghead are from the Super 400, and the opulent 7-ply body binding recalls the classic Epiphone Emperor.
One of just 55 examples from the third model year for the Johnny Smith, this guitar shows exceptional fiddleback flame in the back, sides and neck, with a fine-grained X-braced carved spruce soundboard. The guitar is fitted with the earliest version of the JS pickup, with a tortoise backing plate behind the polepiece holes, and all-original gold hardware including Kluson Sealfast tuners, inlaid ebony bridge, and engraved art deco tailpiece.
She's been maintained in superb condition, with no cracks, pick, buckle, thumb or fingerboard wear. Smooth low action over fine original fretwork, with a fresh high-precision setup, comfy light D neck profile, and a warm, rich acoustic voice. Meticulously restored by master luthier Eiichi Shuriya of Vancouver, BC, volume and tone controls between the treble soundhole and the rim have been immaculately patched, along with a master volume control formerly on the cutaway horn. New lacquer on the soundboard has been carefully matched to the original finish on the rest of the guitar, with a discreet black strap pin added to the back of the peghead as well.
An outstanding player, and a best buy in a true vintage Johnnie. One only: call now.
Setup: The frets have been precision leveled, crowned and polished; trussrod tension and neck relief adjusted; bridge height adjusted; bridge compensation set; string slots at nut and bridge inspected and recut as necessary; bridge foot contour inspected and fit to top as necessary; bridge radius inspected and recurved as necessary; bridge wheels and tuners lubricated; fingerboard and bridge oiled; body and neck cleaned and hand polished.
This instrument is strung with medium gauge nickel strings (.013-.056). The guitar will accommodate lighter or heavier gauge strings, according to preference. String action is set at 4/64" to 5/64" at the 12th fret, with moderate relief for acoustic playing with medium strings. The action may be lowered or raised to your requirements with the adjustable bridge.
Case: Original deluxe arched black Gibson hardshell case, wth blue plush lining.