Museum: Gibson Guitars

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1956 Gibson J-185

FON V5850-10, Serial # A23626. On its tonal merits alone this J-185 will grab your attention and not let go. This model is renowned for its bold but balanced response and you can expect to be anything but disappointed with what this particular 185 offers. To a growing number of players, the J-185 represents the pinnacle of flat-top guitar design, and there simply isn't anything else that sounds at all like one. About the most versatile instrument you'll encounter, the guitar is an incredible strummer; but is equally suited for fingerstyle blues, open tuning instrumentals, and even flatpicking fiddle tunes. Truly a desert island instrument of choice, this might be the last guitar you buy (although we certainly hope otherwise!).

Sitka spruce top, solid flamed maple back and sides. Faded sunburst finish to all sides, and a healthy amount of scratching and aging. Frets, saddle, and endpin are newer, but the balance of the guitar is completely original. Finish is unmodified, tuners are in good working order and original to the guitar. Bridge has been shaved in height somewhat, and the endpin hole has been enlarged to accommodate a pickup output jack (now removed). There are repaired cracks at the pickuguard's inner and outer margins, a repaired crack between the sound hole and fingerboard, and the back's center-seam has been reglued. Reglued back braces, a couple of cleanly reglued top braces as well. Perfect top arch, excellent neck angle and set up.

A very comfortable guitar to play, the 16" small jumbo body sits lower on your leg than a dreadnought, making the J-185 feel much smaller than it actually is. The neck is the typical mid 1950's shape, with its round full C profile and 1-11/16" nut it feels natural in the hand. Set up in shop.

With original hardshell case

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