Gibson J-35 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar , c. 1937

Gibson  J-35 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar ,  c. 1937

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Item # 7898
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Gibson J-35 Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar, c. 1937, made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, sunburst top, dark back and sides finish, mahogany back, sides and neck, spruce top, rosewood fingerboard, black hard shell case.

We love the original Gibson J-35 in any form; this early example shows evidence of play time but remains one sweet-playing and sounding prewar Gibson Jumbo! This guitar was built in 1937 or early '38; the ink-stamped part of the factory order number on the heelblock has faded into oblivion, but we can tell it was #15 in its batch.

The model had only recently been introduced, so this example represents the first style of J-35 with a dark sunburst top that would later be supplanted by a natural top version first cataloged in 1940. The neck is big and chunky with a 1 3/4" nut and the typical mid-1930s "V" profile, which was also replaced in 1939 with a slimmer "C"-shaped neck. Other original features include the "firestripe" tortoise celluloid pickguard, small straight bridge with two pearl dots, and silkscreened white script Gibson headstock logo.

The J-35 was Gibson's "working man's" Jumbo flat-top in the 1930s and early '40s. Selling on introduction for under forty dollars, it was intended as a direct competitor to Martin's D-18, and has since been similarly recognized as one of the all time classic flat-top designs. This is a guitar to be reckoned with, extremely light for its size and superbly responsive -- a good flatpicker and a very nice fingerpicking guitar as well. This particular J-35 has a fairly bright but even sound, and would make an excellent recording or performance guitar.
 
Overall length is 40 11/16 in. (103.3 cm.), 16 in. (40.6 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 4 13/16 in. (12.2 cm.) in depth at side, taken at the end block. Scale length is 24 3/4 in. (629 mm.). Width of nut is 1 3/4 in. (44 mm.).

This guitar is in excellent playing condition and in nicely preserved condition with some general wear overall. The neck has been cleanly reset; the frets and fingerboard are original with only minor wear. There are several small and well-sealed grain cracks to the spruce top between the fingerboard end and the soundhole, and a longer one in the typical spot on the top edge of the pickguard. There is one small side crack to the mahogany side in the bass side waist area. All are solidly repaired with minimal touch-up. The bulk of the guitar's finish remains original with a nice, moderately checked patina and dings and dents overall. The only notable strumwear is to the soundhole edges.

The bridge and bridgeplate remain original; the saddle has been subtly re-shaped, but bridge has never been cut down and at least some of the celluloid pins appear original. The bone nut appears to be an old replacement. The oldest-style Kluson tuner plates have some light corrosion, but the buttons are fully intact and are still fully functional. Playability is excellent, and this guitar has a big slightly raw sound with more power than many later J-35s. Overall Excellent - Condition.