Vintage 1973 GIBSON J-55 Jumbo Acoustic, VGC, OHSC, NR!

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  • Item Category: Entertainment
  • Source: eBay
  • Sold Date: Oct 27, 2010
  • Channel: Auction House

According to The Blue Book of Acoustic Guitars, 325 Gibson J-55s were produced from 1939 to 1942, which now sell for $10,000-20,000! This is not one of those. This is one of the 3900 or so re-issued from 1972-1982, and is essentially the same as the vintage J-45 except the natural finish replaces the J-45’s sunburst finish.

Like some earlier J-45s, the J-55 has a round-shouldered jumbo body with a solid spruce top and mahogany back and sides, although the J-55 has a maple neck rather than the J-45’s mahogany neck. Like the post-1975 J-45s, it has a non-adjustable rosewood bridge, a 14/20-fret rosewood finger board with pearl dot inlay, a multi-stripe inlaid rosette, the re-designed larger tortoise pick guard, and tortoise body binding. The only other difference of which I am aware is that the J-55’s mahogany back is laminated, allowing it to be arched; this design naturally helps it to project the huge sound for which vintage Jumbo Gibsons have been famous for decades.

This guitar is serial number A314135 (visible in picture 12 of the back of the headstock), which with the orange and white rectangular label inside probably dates it as 1973—thirty-seven years of making music. In excellent condition for this vintage, there are very few cosmetic concerns: some finish crazing “to let the sound out,” and some small dings, scratches, and bruises visible in the pictures. The main cosmetic concern was the typically crumbling 1970s Gibson binding, all of which has been professionally replaced.

What structural issues it had have also been dealt with: a small professionally repaired crack at the sound hole which I doubt you can see in the pictures, and a hairline crack in the bridge. The neck is straight, the bridge is sound, the top is flat, the frets are in good shape, but there is some minimal wear on the finger board at the 2 nd and 3 rd frets. The luthier just re-strung it and set it up for comfortable, medium-low playing, and it’s ready to go.

In other words, it is just what it looks like: a great Gibson jumbo guitar which has been playing the hard-driving music for which it was made. And, of course, playing the music for thirty-plus years has made that Gibson sound even better, more resonant, and more powerful. This guitar is probably not for a collector to put in a museum; it’s impressive, but not quite cosmetically perfect. This is a player’s guitar, and I sincerely hope that its next owner is someone who will continue to play it hard, well, and often.

The case is a vintage hard shell case, which may not be original. It is in very good shape, inside and out, aside from a few dings around the edges. The hardware all works, and it is an excellent complement to this fine vintage guitar.

Buyer pays a low flat rate of $45 for insurance and shipping to the lower forty-eight states; shipping costs elsewhere will be negotiated as necessary. Payment by Paypal is preferred; cashiers and personal checks are acceptable, but c hecks must clear before the guitar will be shipped.

I have tried to be perfectly clear and accurate in describing this vintage instrument, so its return will not be accepted unless it can be shown that it was somehow misrepresented in this listing. Please check out the pictures and ask any questions you might have before bidding.