Up for sale, a 1961 Gibson Country Western in collector-grade condition, complete with the original hangtag and hardshell case. A guitar originally released concurrently with the J-45 in 1942 as the Southern Jumbo (and subsequently the Southern Jumbo Natural, or SJN, when a natural-finished top became an available option), the Country Western designation was first used in 1955 to denote a Natural finish on the Southern Jumbo model.
Utilizing the same tonewoods as a J-45, the Country Western features a solid spruce top, solid Honduran mahogany back and sides, and a one-piece Honduran mahogany neck with a slender, effortless C-shaped profile carve, indicative of the fast-feeling neck shapes offered by Gibson in the early '60s. Visually, the split parallelogram pearloid fretboard inlays, headstock inlay, and mutli-ply top and back binding elevate the Country Western above the J-45/J-50.
A true powerhouse in terms of sheer volume and nuanced projection, ths Country Western has a broad, relaxed sound that has no shortage of woody, percussive cut. Trebles are sparkling and round, yet not overly punchy, offering a chiming sweetness, while the wound strings are warm and defined. The guitar weighs 4lbs 1oz, professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar with 12-53 bronze strings and easy-playing action.
The one-piece Honduran mahogany neck has a slender C-shaped profile carve, measuring .805" deep at the 1st fret and .850" at the 9th. The bound Brazilian rosewood fretboard is an extremely dark, tight-grained cut, and the board retains the original medium jumbo frets which have plenty of meat and well-rounded crowns, showing only very light wear beneath the plain strings on frets 1-4. It's clear the previous owner (appropriately) didn't make it beyond the "cowboy chord" realm. The scale length measures 24 3/4", and the original nylon nut measures 1 11/16" in width. The headstock retains the original set of Kluson Deluxe single line tuning machines, and these tuners retain their original white buttons and function as intended.
Visible through the soundhole, the original Country Western oval label is flawless. The neck retains its original neck set, and the original Brazilian rosewood bridge sits flush with the top. The bridge has been shaved down from the underside, fitted with a newly carved bone saddle which has plenty of height. The thin tortoise pickguard sits flush with the top on all edges with a very tiny repaired “B string split” between the guard edge and bridge, and a center seam reglue on top as well.
The Natural nitro lacquer gloss finish is 100% original with no touchup or overspray, and the finish is stunningly well-kept. Cosmetic wear is limited to a small area of light buckle rash just to the treble side of the center seam on the back, some small nicks on top largely behind the bridge, and just a few additional minor marks on the instrument as a whole. A vintage strap button was added to the bass-side of the neck heel, and the gloss on the neck profile is extremely smooth, flawless save for very faint lacquer checking.
The original hangtag is included and equally as nice as the guitar, stamped "Country Western" on the back. The unopened case keys are also included and the original black tolex case is in great shape with functional latches and the original handle.