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
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.
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!