Gibson SJ Southern Jumbo Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1951)
Gibson SJ Southern Jumbo Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1951), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # 9600-20, sunburst top, dark back and sides finish, mahogany back, sides and neck, spruce top, rosewood fingerboard, original brown chipboard case. Item # 7705
Despite years of popularity since the 1940's, the SJ (or "Southern Jumbo") sometimes feels like a bit of a forgotten model in Gibson's postwar flat top line; not as simple a working man's guitar as the more austere J-45, but not as yee-haw fancy as the 17" SJ-200 or J-185.
The moderately upscale SJ features the same construction and materials as the more familiar J-45, with a sunburst spruce top on a 16" slope-shouldered mahogany jumbo body, mahogany neck, and rosewood fingerboard.
The cosmetics of the SJ are fancier than the J-45 all around; there are multiple layers of binding around the body and soundhole, and the fingerboard is bound with pearloid double parallelogram inlays. The rosewood bridge is a top-belly design, which looks rather like an upside-down Martin bridge.
This 1951 model is extremely well-preserved and has a very sharp look, but more importantly, a big warm sound. Don Everly used a 1953 SJ to create the famous open-tuned chord hooks on the Everly Brothers' early records, and this guitar has some of that same punch when pushed.
This is a superb 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 lovely guitar remains in very original and fine playing condition overall, with some light wear overall but no major repairs or alterations.
There are some very small areas of pickwear to the top, mostly around the soundhole rim, with a few errant pick scrapes above. The only crack is on the neck just off the center seam by the tailblock; it is so tightly sealed as to be almost invisible. The back of the neck has just a bit of finish wear to the wood down in the first position.
The guitar retains its original early Kluson Deluxe tuners with what look like older replacement buttons. The top-belly bridge has been reglued -- possibly more than once -- quite neatly done with some light touch up visible. The original frets have been re-crowned down a bit, but still have good height play well.
This guitar sounds great with the typical throaty midrange and sweet chunky sound these are well known for; a lovely example of one of our favorite Gibson Jumbos. Excellent Condition.
Prices subject to change without notice.
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