Home / Instruments /Accessories / Ordering / Tips / Friends



1968 Gibson Johnny Smith Natural

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 #: 529590, stamped back of peghead. FON# 08 306

Body size at lower bout:17" Scale length: 25" Nut width: 1 3/4"'

Materials: Handcarved 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; solid ebony bridge with pearl inlay in base; gold Kluson Sealfast tuners; gold floating Johnny Smith humbucking pickup with mini-jack mounted under pickguard; "Custom" imprint truss rod cover. Quintuple-bound tortoise pickguard with volume and tone controls.

Notes: Original 60's Johnny Smiths are hard enough to find. And the blondes are the hardest to find of all. And when we find one in virtually unplayed condition, it's time to pop a cork or two around here.

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 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 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.

This stunning example is one of just 8 built in its model year, and one of only 82 blonde Johnnies total produced between 1962 and 1970 (compared with 433 sunburst examples in that time period.) Highly figured tiger flame back, sides and neck; all original amber blonde finish with no pick, buckle, thumb or fingerboard wear; original gold JS medallion tailpiece and Kluson Sealfast tuners; floating adjustable gold humbucker with independent volume and tone controls; comfy light D profile neck with ebony fingerboard, solid ebony bridge with inlaid base. An extra multi-bound swirl tortoise pickguard has been installed (the original guard is included in the case), and the top centerseam has been soundly resealed. Apart from a bit of tarnish on the tailpiece and a few faint lines of finish checking near the back of the peghead, this guitar is in absolutely immaculate showroom condition. Unquestionably the prettiest Johnny we've ever had, and the rarest to boot. 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 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 Gibson gold plush hardshell case.























































Home / Instruments /Accessories / Ordering / Tips / Friends