Home / Instruments /Accessories / Ordering / Tips / Friends


c.1970-5 Gibson Johnny Smith

Status: Pricing and hold status for all instruments currently available is shown on 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 be found here. To be notified of examples of this model or similar instruments in the future, please contact [email protected],. Please be specific on which instrument(s) you're looking for, and we'll be happy to contact you as soon as they become available.

SN: 104821, stamped on headstock

Body size at lower bout: 17" Scale length: 25" Nut width: 1 3/4"' Neck depth, 1st-10th frets: .80-.95

Materials: Handcarved bookmatched solid spruce top; solid 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, graphite nut.

Hardware: All original hardware includes engraved gold-plated tailpiece; solid rosewood bridge with inlaid base; gold Kluson Sealfast tuners; gold floating Johnny Smith humbucking pickup with volume control and 1/8" mini-jack mounted to pickguard; original truss rod cover. Vintage correct quintuple-bound tortoise pickguard.

Notes: Introduced in 1961, the Gibson Johnny Smith combined classic body styling with unprecedented technical innovation. The JS debuted the world's first floating humbucking pickup, and resurrected the classic X-braced top, a design used by Gibson in the 1930's. This model also revived the more generous 1 3/4" fingerboard, a favorite of finger-style players, and 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 design of the Johnny Smith is drawn from a number of top-of-the-line models as well. 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.

Gibson's records allow us to date this guitar to sometime between 1970 and 1975, as factory serial numbers are redundant during this period. This example shows fine grained solid carved spruce in the soundboard, handsome rock maple in the body, and an intensely figured tiger maple neck. The instrument has been maintained in immaculate original condition; without pick, buckle, thumb or fingerboard wear, and equipped with all its original gold hardware and electronics, plus a recent vintage correct bound tortoise pickguard. Apart from a few incidental lacquer nicks, the guitar appears all but unplayed, and the tailpiece in particular sports some of the best preserved gold plating we've seen from this vintage.

The neck profile is fast and easygoing, tapering to a smooth flat contour at the back of the neck, with the original medium-jumbo frets, and has no volute bump at the peghead. The tone is rich, warm and responsive with the sustain and depth of a vintage X-braced body, and the guitar is fitted with its original black Gibson logo deluxe plush lined hardshell case. A special plus, the case contains an original 1/8"-1/4" cable, factory brochure and shipping advisory, and most remarkably, an original Gibson string gauge selector wheel, a handy accessory (cost: $1) we've never even heard of before.

A uniquely pristine instrument, and a matchless piece of jazz guitar history, from one of it's greatest innovators. 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 roundwound strings. 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.






































Home / Instruments /Accessories / Ordering / Tips / Friends