1936 Gibson Trojan

FON 1078B-7. The very first J-35 model guitars are most easily differentiated from those built later by their absence of back body binding. These guitars have come to be known as "Trojans" thanks to a single guitar's listing in the Gibson order ledgers. The moniker "Trojan" was never advertised in Gibson's catalogs, and the emergence of this model -- a transitional instrument bridging the original Jumbo model and the J-35 -- is a relatively recent event in the vintage guitar world. These are rare guitars; how rare, exactly, remains unknown. But J-35's without back binding seem to vanish by 1937.

Back binding, or lack of it, isn't the only design element characteristic of the Trojan. There are at least two documented Trojans that feature the Jumbo's deep and un-tapered body, although the three instruments we've personally encountered all have body depths typical of later J-35s, with a depth of 4-3/4" at the endpin and a 1" taper to the neck heel.

Perhaps a more significant difference between the Trojans and J-35s is the top's small soundhole (3-3/4" diameter, the same as the Jumbo's), and thinner top (measuring .100" versus .120"). The tonal results of building a large guitar with a thin top and small soundhole can't be understated -- this Trojan is quite different than the '37 J-35 that is also currently at Folkway. It has a warmer and more open bass response than the dry and articulate 3 tone bar J-35 norm, but retains the treble power and overall quick attack.

This Trojan is a perfectly original, crack-free, un-repaired, two owner guitar. We were told that the guitar's first owner was Country Music Hall of Famer Hank Snow, from whom the guitar was bought by the father of the gentleman who ultimately sent the guitar to us. His father took guitar lessons from Hank back in the day. The guitar has lived its life, until now, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and has the Made in USA export stamp on the back of the headstock indicative of instruments exported out of the US. No lose or repaired braces, no changed parts of any kind, and completely original finish. The guitar has been played well, with heavy fretwear in the first position, worn finish on the back of the neck and by the soundhole. There is the usual assortment of dings and scratches on the finish, but no areas of excessive finish damage.

It's an awe-inspiring instrument, with more headroom and volume than you'd expect for any un-amplified guitar; but, somehow retains the warmth and character vintage Gibson guitars are sought for. Deliciously comfortable V neck with a nutwidth of 1-3/4"; action currently set at 6 to 8 64ths, and there's enough saddle height above the full-thickness bridge to lower it further.

With new deluxe hardshell case