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1941 Gibson J-35 Pre-War Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar Natural w/ Case


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Up for sale, a 1941 Gibson J-35 in excellent condition. This Pre-War Gibson dreadnought was the successor to Gibson's "Jumbo" model, marketed as a workingman's guitar and first offered in 1936, while the Natural-topped iteration of the J-35 didn't make its catalog debut until '39.

With its legacy cemented by the enduring popularity of its successor the J-45, this J-35 holds its own in the pantheon of legendary slope shoulder Gibson flattops. Effortlessly broad and powerful, a single strum reveals an incredibly nuanced and rich sound. There’s simply no substitute for an 80 year old piece of seasoned Adirondack spruce as a soundboard, and the guitar offers a high volume ceiling without distortion, yielding bass frequencies that retain both clarity and breadth with a rumbling warmth that never sounds loose. The trebles are crisp and sparkling while still retaining plenty of body and a relaxed, sweet sound that’s never strident, and there’s a smooth lower midrange muscle and growl when you dig in hard with a flatpick. Each string has equal presence and notes within complex chord voicings are very balanced. Lightweight at 3lbs 12oz, we've had this Gibson dialed in to perfection here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar with 12-53 strings and comfortable action.

The mahogany neck has a round baseball bat C-shaped profile carve with ample substance and generous shoulder, measuring .920" deep at the 1st fret and .999" at the 9th. The Brazilian rosewood fretboard has been professionally refretted with 6230 vintage-style fretwire that is still firmly in the “slender” camp, yet offers more meat and crown than the “banjo” wire originally used. The guitar plays easily in every register, exhibiting finger wear into the Brazilian on the treble side of the board primarily from frets 1-6, extending more faintly until fret 9. The nut is a hand-carved piece of ebony measuring a full 1 11/16" in width. There is some speckling through the black lacquer on the headstock face, retaining the original silkscreened Gibson script logo and open-gear strip tuners, fitted with new white buttons. The G-suffix factory order number is intact on the heel block, visible through the soundhole.

The original Brazilian rosewood bridge sits flush with the top, reseated in the instrument's lifetime and finished over as with many Gibson bridges of the era, fitted with a tall slotted bone saddle that has optimal height. The neck has been professionally reset in the past, meeting the body at an ideal angle. The original tiger-stripe pickguard is intact, and prominent strum wear extends across the soundhole and upper bout, with lacquer checking across the instrument.

The original Natural nitro lacquer finish is present, and the top is crack-free save for the repaired "B string crack" between the pickguard and bridge. There are a few repaired cracks in the mahogany on the bass-side lower bout, and three additional very faint and slender professionally addressed splits at the waist (two on the bass side, one on the treble side). Wear is otherwise limited to the minor scuffs and nicks on the body as a whole consistent with age, particularly on the treble-side lower bout. The neck shows palm wear through the gloss on the majority of the profile, and the profile is extremely smooth with only a few small marks beyond where the palm makes contact.

This J-35 presents extremely well, having received all the attention it deserves to play its best and be a structurally sound, viable instrument for decades to come.

A vintage heavy-duty black tolex hardshell case is included.