Museum: Gibson Guitars

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1951 Gibson SJ

FON 5709. Post-war Gibson Jumbos really don't get much more exciting that this '51 SJ. This guitar's magical combination of finish wear and patina, that incredible firestripe pickguard, a phenomenally comfortable neck, and the kind of tone that only happens to well-used, scallop-braced Jumbos makes this one unstoppable.

Completely original but for a forgery-grade bridgeplate, new Henkes and Blazer tuner buttons, and a bone saddle. Nicely done older neck reset, no finish touch-up, one minor side crack and back center-seam reglued, no top or back cracks. A couple of braces have been very cleanly reglued, and the guitar set up by our repair crew. Overall, it's in excellent condition, and plays well with original frets.

Spruce and mahogany body, bound rosewood fingerboard with pearloid parallelogram inlays, and decal headstock logo. First-issue Kluson patent applied for tuning machines. The firestripe pickguard was used briefly again in 1951 -- the only postwar year that saw its use until a version of the material was reintroduced recently. The neck carve is round, full, and comfortable, with a nut width of 1-11/16".

A marvelously thumpy and open bass register is coupled with full and lively upper mids, thick overtones, and round trebles. It's the kind of guitar that would sound just as good with dead strings as with new ones; and the neck feel is inspiring. An easy guitar with which to pass hours on end and not notice.

With newer hardshell case



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