Wednesday, December 19, 2018
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Gibson J-35 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1941)
Gibson J-35 Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1941), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, natural lacquer finish, mahogany back, sides and neck, spruce top, rosewood fingerboard, black hard shell case.
The J-35 was Gibson's "working man's" Jumbo flat-top in the late 1930s and early '40s. Selling in 1941 for just over forty dollars, it was a direct competitor to Martin's D-18, especially in cowboy and radio string band areas. Like the similarly constructed D-18, the mahogany-and-spruce J-35 has been recognized as one of the all time classic flat-top designs. This well-worn 1941 guitar is an example of the natural top finish option first cataloged for in 1939, which largely replaced Gibson's traditional sunburst for a couple of years.
The neck is a very comfortable and surprisingly modern feeling C profile, which by this point replaced the 1930s heavy "V" shape some players find awkward. Other original features include a thin "French" heel, narrow rectangular bridge, "firestripe" tortoise celluloid pickguard, and silkscreen white script Gibson logo. The instrument is quite lightly built for a jumbo-sized instrument, making for a very responsive guitar.
Overall length is 40 11/16 in. (103.3 cm.), 16 in. (40.6 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 4 7/8 in. (12.4 cm.) in depth at side, taken at the end block. Scale length is 24 3/4 in. (629 mm.). Width of nut is 1 11/16 in. (43 mm.).
This guitar has seen a LOT of use and shows many scars of a long active life, but has been restored to excellent playing condition. The finish shows small dings, dents, and scrapes virtually everywhere, with most of the heaviest pick wear around the sound hole. The lacquer has been polished out somewhat, but the only added finish is some small touch-ups to crack repairs, and some work to the back of the neck.
The old cracks are many, and have seen many years of repair by different hands. The top center seam has been resealed from bridge to endpin, with a very small splice towards the back edge. There are repaired grain cracks to both sides, the top behind the bridge about an inch above the center seam, along the top edge of the pickguard from bridge to sound hole, and several on the back. All are cleanly sealed up, some more visibly than others.
The most notable restoration is that the main X-brace and two tone bars behind it have been expertly replaced with exact reproductions of the originals made of old stock spruce. This major work was required, as someone long ago unfortunately attempted to shave down the originals in a fairly crude manner. The restoration is very cleanly done, with the replaced braces aged to match the rest of the guitar's interior. The bridge is original but the maple bridgeplate new; again an exact replica of the original.
The neck has been reset and the frets and tuners are new, again in the original style. The back of the neck had a lot of capo wear that has been polished smooth, with a very thin overfinish just to the back. The original ebony nut is still in place, and a new bone saddle is fitted. This is a great-playing guitar with a powerful sound; not as deep as some, but just starting to mellow in again. A real veteran guitar looking for a new loving home! Very Good Condition.
Item # 7957
Prices subject to change without notice.
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