Gibson / SJ Southern Jumbo / 1950 / Sunburst / Guitar For Sale
FON 4341 16. Exceptional example of a postwar Southern Jumbo. The FON dates it to 1949 or 1950 and as such it has some of the wartime features – such as the light, knife-blade bracing and small guard. It’s in very clean condition. I purchased this one from the grandson of Ray Whitley who was selling it for an elderly member of his church. The story was that the guitar was played only in church and that the owner was selling the guitar to donate the proceeds to the church. The tone is heavenly and the condition is divine.
The specs on the guitar are interesting. It has the double bound top and fire stripe pick guard, harkening back to the original 1942 SJ. The back is bound and though it’s a single piece of mahogany, has a center seam painted on. Inside it has the afore mentioned knife blade bracing, the original bridge plate with original bridge bolts, and two lightly scalloped tone bars. The inside is quite clean, the FON looks like it was stamped last week and the linen sealing the x-brace is intact and clean.
The top is Sitka and the original finish has just a few light dings and one or two scratches but it is exceptionally clean. The finish is quite thin compared with what we’d see on a Gibson just a year or two later. It has settled into the grain nicely and is only lightly checked. The fret board is bound and has the parallelograms and position dots down to the first fret. The neck profile is quite tailored and with the 1 11/16th nut it feels very comfortable and “modern”. It has a block logo and a very clean headstock and tuners. I was told John Greven looked over the guitar and replaced the tuner buttons before pronouncing it healthy.
After buying it, I played the guitar for a year or so and sent it to David Sheppard in South Carolina for a neck reset. It is David’s best work. It is set up with a new saddle, the original frets have been dressed, and the bridge reglued. David also discovered a very slight grain separation coming off the pick guard and secured it before it became a crack. The saddle isn’t super tall but the action is low and, for a bluegrass player, a taller saddle will be required.
The tone is all Gibson. It features a lot of midrange and will produce the Gibson “bark” when played aggressively. But my sense is that this is a guitar for ballads, with hammers and pulls a subtle lead runs. It can produce a sound that is aggressive or sweet, depending on the player and the style. Perfect, perhaps for church.
It will ship in a newer, very good quality purple plush-lined Gibson hard shell case. Thanks for reading this far. If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to email or call.
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