PO Box 942, Fourways, 2055, South Africa Tel: +27(11) 465 9088 Fax: +27(11) 465 0994 E-mail: hughsfineguitars@iafrica.com


My latest great find! 1938 Gibson Advanced Jumbo

I’m always on the hunt for legendary guitars, and it seems I finally lifted up a stone with something special lying underneath. With only 271 originals produced between 1936 and 1940, I can safely say I have managed to get my hands on a rarity – you guessed it! - the classic Gibson Advanced Jumbo, (a 1938 model), for many, the Holy Grail of Gibson flat top guitars.

It’s large “slope-shouldered” dreadnought-style design with Brazilian Rosewood back and sides, and Adirondack Spruce top, was definitely intended to give the popular Martin Herringbone D models a run for their money, and was aptly named: “the bone crusher”. It’s tone, clarity, power and balance in sound is unrivalled in the Gibson stable. The 1938 model that I now have in my possession is characterized by a larger sunburst pattern, with more yellow area, and its Collectibility rating is A+.

I challenge anyone to dispute that this baby is the only one of its kind in South Africa – in fact, if you prove me wrong I might just buy it! The good news is, Gibson decided to reintroduce the AJ in 1990, due to the legendary status of the original. A writer for “Acousticville” describes the new Gibson AJ as: “the best flatpicking Gibson I’ve ever played. Its sound and playability rival any new factory-made guitar, regardless of manufacture or price” This sentiment is echoed by flat picker extraordinaire – Randy Scruggs, who has one of his own.

All I can say is that its ancestor, the 1938 Gibson Advanced Jumbo, is a masterpiece. The classic Gibson sunburst finish and fancy pearl designs in the peghead and fretboard, clearly set it apart from other similar models (Jumbo J-35, J-45). Though the bracing was of the classic|
X design, the size and placement of these braces differed from other brands and gave the Advanced Jumbo a full, robust, and distinctively Gibson tone.

I have owned this guitar for a couple of months now, and I am bowled over by its wonderful, rich, vintage tone, and love every moment that I pick it.

Click here to take a closer look at this beauty. Or drop in at Hugh’s Fine Guitars, if you would like to get to grips with a rare legend!