1936 Gibson J-35

NO LONGER AVAILABLE | Far from being your ‘regular’ vintage Gibson. This guitar would be quite rare, fine and desirable by simply being a j-35. Actually, this is one of very first j-35’s ever made, with many transitional features common to the earlier and short-lived Jumbo (1934 – 1936).¬†Gibson collectors refer to the very first j-35s ever produced as trojans. Actually, there seems to be only one documented trojan in Gibson ledgers, bearing FON 960B-12. Still a few other guitars dating 1936 with identical features to 960B-12 have surfaced, thus making the ‘trojan’ a de-facto, unofficial Gibson model.

This particular guitar bears several trojan features, but sports back binding, big round heel, regular soundhole and nickel Klusons with square plate ends, which make it ‘officially’ a j-35. Still, we’d like to highlight the deeper and almost non-tapered body depth of 4 5/8″ (at the endpin) to 4 1/4″ (at the heel), in contrast to the regular j-35 body which tapers from 4 1/2″ to 3 7/8″. Other early j-35 features include 3 non-scalloped tone bars and a hard-V shaped neck with 1 3/4” nut and a square neck block (with faded FON). Missing the FON, we can date this guitar by its features anywhere between late 1936 to early 1937.

Other than that, just for the records: adirondack spruce top, mahogany back, sides and neck. Neck with adjustable (and perfectly working) steel truss-rod, brazilian rosewood fingerboard and bridge. Guitar is all original (not sure about the bridge pins) and in fine shape. It had the neck reset at least two times, the first of which could have probably gone better. As a matter of fact, the neck heel sports a wedge-shaped shim (visible in close-up photo) typical of work done to restore a previously overset neck. Also, the area of the sides close to the heel and the neck heel itself have been clearly touched up. Again, to recover from the mentioned previous so-so ‘repair’ work. Also to mention the back of the neck has been chewed up a bit by an aggressive mobile capo user. Doesn’t look pretty, but doesn’t bother a bit when playing. The guitar is now in fine shape and nicely setup. Fretwork looks recent, too and very well done. As a result, this j-35 plays quite effortlessly and, provided you like V-shaped necks, is sure to put a smile on any picker’s face.

The tone emanating from this thing is quintessential ’30s Gibson: raw, uncompressed, dry and cutting. Thunderous bass and trebles that are a slap in the face. Quite a bit a ‘bazooka’ guitar, but not missing subtlety and dynamic range. Quite a treat for anybody, but pure bliss for old-time flatpickers and country blues fingerpickers. As mentioned, it’s pure, quintessential 1930s Gibson tone. You do the math. Comes with a newer, rather rugged, hard shell case.

<- back to instruments list

Comments are closed.