Gibson SJ Southern Jumbo Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1951)

Gibson  SJ Southern Jumbo Flat Top Acoustic Guitar  (1951)
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Item # 9462
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Gibson SJ Southern Jumbo Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1951), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # 7027-2, sunburst top, dark back and sides finish, mahogany back, sides and neck, spruce top, rosewood fingerboard, original brown hard shell case.

The SJ or "Southern Jumbo" sometimes feels like a bit of a forgotten model in Gibson's postwar flat top line. It was not as simple a working man's guitar as the more austere J-45 but not as yee-haw fancy as the big 17" SJ-200 or the similar J-185. The SJ features a bit more flash compared to the J-45 using the same basic formula; a sunburst spruce top on a 16" slope-shouldered mahogany jumbo body, with a mahogany neck and rosewood fingerboard.

The cosmetics of the SJ are fancier all around. There are multiple layers of binding around the body and soundhole; and the bound fingerboard is fitted with pearloid double parallelogram inlays. The rosewood bridge is a top-belly design, which looks pretty much like an upside-down Martin bridge. The neck is a fairly shallow "C" profile slimmer than many early '50's Gibsons.

This 1951 SJ sports a very sharp look but more importantly a big warm sound. One very unusual feature of this guitar is an original pre-war style "Firestripe" celluloid pickguard; someone must have found some of that then 10-year-old plastic around the factory and it got used. This is the first one like this on an early 1950's guitar we have seen, but is definitely original. The tuners are also unusual; a set of flat-plate strip Klusons that are probably not original but are period and work fine.

Among SJ fans perhaps most prominent is Don Everly, who used a 1953 SJ to create the famous open-tuned chord hooks on the Everly Brothers' early records. This guitar has plenty of ring with some of that same punch when pushed. This is a fine playing and great sounding example of this classic Gibson flat top; the kind of guitar that makes you want to sit around singing country songs all night, even if you're in the middle of the city.
Overall length is 40 3/4 in. (103.5 cm.), 16 1/4 in. (41.3 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 old Gibson shows some general wear but remains a superb playing and sounding guitar. The finish has its share of dings, dents and scuffs but overall the instrument is cleaner than many of this vintage. The only deep pickwear on the top is a few digs around the front edge curve of the pickguard. There is some minor chipping around the soundhole edge. The only crack in the instrument is a tiny repaired grain split in the common spot starting off the top edge of the pickguard back to the bridge

The original bridge has been neatly reglued and the old bolts removed; the pearl dots that covered them remain. The small maple bridgeplate is original with the screw holes for them filled. The top center seam has been resealed with no finish work added. The back and sides have mostly fairly light wear; there is one deep spot of buckle wear into the wood on the back/side edge in the upper waist. The back of the neck has some fairly deep dings, with one larger mark into the wood behind the nut/first fret area.

The neck has been very nicely reset, the original narrow frets have been lightly crowned and playability is excellent. A strap button has been added to the back of the heel. This SJ has that classic Gibson sound, warm yet incisive with a decent amount of power when pushed. This is a very versatile guitar and a superbly player-friendly instrument, still housed in its original brown HSC. Excellent - Condition.