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1968 Gibson Johnny Smith Double

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Serial #: 518221, stamped in headstock

Body size at lower bout:17" Scale length: 25" Nut width: 1 3/4"' Neck depth, 1st/10th frets: .76/.90

Materials: Hand graduated bookmatched carved spruce top; highly figured tiger flame maple back, sides and neck; 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 signature medallion tailpiece; solid ebony bridge with pearl inlay in base; gold Kluson Sealfast tuners; twin gold floating Johnny Smith humbucking pickups with mini-jack mounted under pickguard; "Custom" imprint truss rod cover. Vintage correct bound tortoise pickguard installed, adapter cable included.

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 ergonomic 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 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 design 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 71 examples from its model year, this outstanding instrument has been kept in magnificent original condition, complete with original case and canvas cover. Highly figured tiger flame back and neck; lustrous deep sunburst finish with no pick, buckle, thumb or fingerboard wear; original gold JS medallion tailpiece and Kluson Sealfast tuners; twin floating gold humbuckers with independent volume and tone controls and rotary selector switch; comfy light D profile neck with ebony fingerboard, solid ebony bridge with inlaid base. Apart from some fogging on the pickup covers, this gleaming pre-Norlin guitar shows few signs of age, except for the warm tone of a finely graduated soundboard aged over half a century.

Now unavailable for over 20 years, the JS is a definitive milestone in the evolution of the modern jazz guitar. And it'd take some doing to find one nicer than this. One only: call now.

(Note: this guitar may be converted to single pickup operation here on request.)

Setup: 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 conditioned; body and neck cleaned and hand polished.

This instrument is strung with medium gauge nickel flatwound strings. 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. The action may be lowered or raised to your requirements with the adjustable bridge.

Case: Original black deluxe Gibson Faultless gold plush hardshell case, with original zippered canvas case cover.

































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