Recording King Ray Whitley Jumbo Model 1028 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar, made by Gibson (1940)

Recording King Ray Whitley Jumbo Model 1028 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar, made by Gibson  (1940)
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Item # 6350
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Recording King Ray Whitley Jumbo Model 1028 Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar, made by Gibson (1940), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # 920-F-14, sunburst top, dark back and sides finish, mahogany back, sides and neck; spruce top, rosewood fingerboard, original black hard shell case.

This beautiful guitar is one of the rarest of Gibson's custom brand instruments, made for Montgomery Ward's catalog and endorsed by Singing Cowboy (and Gibson consultant) Ray Whitley. While most of Gibson's sub-brand flat-tops were built to a lower standard with heavier ladder-braced tops, this model has a typical Gibson Jumbo X-brace pattern, and is crafted every bit as well as its full-line equivalents. The only concession to the budget status of this instrument is the neck which lacks the Gibson adjustable truss rod.

The nearest equivalent to this model in Gibson's line is the equally rare J-55, the company's top 16" Jumbo flat-top in 1940-41. This particular guitar has the same pickguard as the J-55, and unusually the same carved bridge, usually reserved for its upscale rosewood brother, the model 1027. These models were only available in 1940-41, and were listed at the amazingly low prices of $19.95 for this #1028 and $10 more for the rosewood #1027. This is a very light and responsive guitar for a Jumbo, with a bright and punchy sound -- the perfect cowboy guitar, just as advertised!
Overall length is 41 1/4 in. (104.8 cm.), 16 1/8 in. (41 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 exceptionally well-preserved for an instrument from the pre-WWII era; it is in structurally fine condition and there is only light wear to the finish overall. The top and back are extremely clean, with only some very small chips, mostly around the edge, and a bit of strumwear above the fingerboard. The back of the neck has more notable finish wear, with some loss to the lacquer along the spine for the first few frets. There is a feelable capo divot behind the first fret, and a smaller one behind the third.

Amazingly, the "Recording King" headstock decal is completely intact -- it had often flaked off the pearl background on these instruments over time. The neck has been recently reset and refretted with period-correct wire; playability is excellent. The original HSC (a rarity in itself) is still intact, and the original Gibson neck cord and mounting hardware are still present and quite usable. Excellent Condition.