Gibson J-35 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1937)

Gibson  J-35 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar  (1937)
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Item # 11617
Prices subject to change without notice.
Gibson J-35 Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1937), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, sunburst top, dark back and sides finish, mahogany back, sides and neck, spruce top, rosewood fingerboard, original black soft shell case.

We love the original Gibson J-35 in any form, but this 1937-era example is probably our favorite variant, one featherweight and powerful sounding pre-war Gibson Jumbo! This one is hard to date exactly as the ink-stamped factory order number on the inside heel is mostly gone. We CAN tell you it was number 4 in its batch; the red pencil mark has survived perfectly. As far as we can tell it appears to have had a "C" suffix indicating the guitar was built in 1937, an early style J-35. Distinctive features of these include a dark sunburst top, later to be supplanted by a natural finish option first cataloged in 1939 and more important sonically the 3-tone bar construction under the top.

This guitar's neck is slimmer than some from this period but is built with the typically 1930s deep V profile and narrow "French" heel this was replaced by 1939-40 with a sleeker, more modern feeling "C" neck . Other notable original features include the "firestripe" tortoise celluloid pickguard, small rectangular bridge and the silkscreen white script Gibson logo on the headstock. The tuners are the very earliest pattern Kluson strip units with flat-ended baseplates.

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 early model is absolutely a guitar to be reckoned with, extremely light and very responsive for a larger instrument, a good flat-picker and a very nice finger-picking guitar as well. This particular J-35 has a quite powerful but still even sound perfect for a 1930's string or cowboy band, but for today's player an excellent recording or performance guitar in just about any style.
Overall length is 40 3/8 in. (102.6 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 3/4 in. (44 mm.).

This guitar is in well preserved and nicely original condition for 85 or so years on Earth, showing just some light typical wear and only standard maintenance repair work. The finish has some light "spiderweb" checking on the top and checking overall but is far better preserved than on most pre-war Gibson flat tops. There are small dings, dents, and scrapes scattered around but no large areas of loss. There is one noticeable scrape to the back, some dings on the lower side and the most visible spot of deeper wear through to the wood on the lower edge of the soundhole. The back of the neck is far cleaner than most with only a few small dinks in the spine, none of the major capo wear often seen. There is an old tape mark on the back rim below the endpin.

This guitar is amazingly crack free, one of the VERY few of these lightly built Gibsons we have ever seen that have survived in this state. The top is also in far better shape than many with only a very has a subtle arch behind the bridge as originally built.

The guitar has recently had the neck re-set very neatly, with minimal finish disturbance along the heel. The rosewood bridge is an excellent correct style replacement, made without the pearl dot bolt covers. The small maple bridgeplate remains original; the old twin holes from the deleted retaining bolts can still be seen. The frets are original with some minor wear, the bone nut is original as well. Early model J-35's like this are notoriously difficult to find in clean condition; this is the nicest we have seen in some time, a really great playing and sounding guitar still in the even rarer original chipboard case. Overall Excellent Condition.