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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 exceptional condition, complete with a hardshell case. 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-sounding, a single strum delivers 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, with bass frequencies that yield both clarity and breadth, plus 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 digging 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 Honduran mahogany neck has a very substantial baseball bat C-shaped profile carve with ample shoulders, measuring .960" deep at the 1st fret and 1.005" 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 frets show no wear, and the guitar plays cleanly in every register up the 24 3/4" scale. The replacement bone nut measures a full 1 11/16" in width. The headstock face retains the original silkscreened Gibson script logo and the open-gear strip tuners are a vintage set, circa 1950s. The G-suffix factory order number is intact and notably bold 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 from the factory, as with many Gibson bridges of the era, fitted with a replacement tall carved bone saddle. The neck has been professionally reset in the past, meeting the body at an ideal angle for decades of future viability. The original tiger-stripe pickguard is intact, sitting very flat with no curling or deflection of the top in this area.

The original Natural nitro lacquer finish has no touch-up or overspray, and the instrument is crack-free save for a professionally repaired split parallel with the center seam behind the bridge on top. The finish presents extremely well, exhibiting extensive lacquer checking, with limited buckle worming on the back, requisite light pick wear across the soundhole, and some minor marks from careful use, largely along the mahogany rims at the lower bout. The neck profile similarly retains its smooth gloss, virtually free of palm wear.

A modern Gibson black tolex hardshell case with blue crushed velvet interior is included.