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1981 Gibson Johnny Smith Double

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SN#: 82151056

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

Materials: Handcarved bookmatched solid spruce top; solid AAA figured maple back, sides and neck; solid 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: All original gold hardware includes adjustable finger tailpiece; solid ebony bridge with abalone inlay in base; Kluson Sealfast 'speed crank' tuners; floating Johnny Smith humbucking pickups. Original truss rod cover, pickup selector switch, and 1/8" mini-jack. Vintage correct bound tortoise guard, correct replacement volume and tone controls, originals included in case.

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.

Twin pickup Johnnies are rare, and rarer still in the desirable blonde finish. (Though production totals for this year are not available, annual output of this model in previous decades rarely exceeded single digits.). This striking guitar was built in the original Kalamazoo factory, and is carved of maple of remarkable depth and intensity, with an extravagantly quilted back, and barber-pole flame in the neck and sides. The X-braced soundboard shows bookmatched, quartersawn spruce of exceptionally fine grain, with annular rings so fine as to virtually disappear at the centerseam.

The instrument has been maintained in exceedingly fine condition, without pick, thumb or fingerboard wear, and its all-original blonde finish ambered to a warm glow. (Apart from a few random lacquer nicks, the instrument shows few signs of play for its long career.) The gold hardware is all original as well, and includes the individually adjustable 'finger' tailpiece, which debuted the previous year. Most notably, the guitar is equipped with Kluson's innovative 'speed crank' tuner keys, with small levers that flip out from the tuner buttons, greatly speeding the process of re-stringing. These rare tuners were available only in the early 80's, and this is the only set we've seen on Kluson's top-line Sealfast tuners.

The neck profile is fast and easygoing, with an elegant gentle D profile, original medium-jumbo frets, and no volute bump at the peghead. The twin adjustable mini-humbuckers are all original, and the pots have been professionally replaced, with the originals stowed safely in the case. The multi-bound tortise pickguard is vintage correct, and the tone is rich, warm and responsive with the sustain and depth of a vintage X-braced body. A matchless piece of jazz guitar history from one of it's greatest innovators.

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 Gibson logo deluxe black arched plush lined hardshell case.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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