1935 Gibson Jumbo 

An absolutely incredible find, this 1935 Gibson Jumbo came to us from the family of the original local owner. It is about as perfect and clean as a vintage guitar can be, 100% original, and has just had its neck carefully reset by Folkway’s own, Mark Stutman.

The Jumbo was introduced in 1934 and has the distinction of being Gibson’s very first Jumbo-sized flat-top Spanish model. It was the forbearer of the J-35, J-45, and every other slope-shouldered Dreadnought that followed. To say that the Gibson Jumbo is an historically important model is a huge understatement; and this example is, without any exaggeration, among the finest of its kind in existence.

The Jumbo was a fairly expensive model upon its release at the depths of the Great Depression. At $60, the Jumbo was a lot of money for most people (an L-00’s $27.50, by comparison), and sales were sluggish. As such, Gibson simplified the guitar’s appointments in 1936 and settled upon what became the J-35, which was accordingly priced at $35.

The Jumbo was designed with certain unique features that make them quite unique among slope-shouldered dreadnoughts. The body depth was almost untapered from the endpin to the neck heel, which adds considerable air-volume to the guitar and, by extension, more bass. In order to make the guitar’s bass less overwhelming, the soundhole size was reduced by ¼” to 3-3/4”, and the top was braced with three tonebars rather than two. Most Jumbos were built with tops that measure thinner than J-35 spec, which, in combination with the stiffer bracing, results in a guitar that can really be thought of as a really big L-00. The mids and trebles are thick, forward, and round; there is huge headroom, and the bass is there to support all the strength and power the guitar has to offer. If you’re lucky enough to play a Jumbo that’s not been heinously repaired, you’ll likely discover that there’s no better flatpicker in Gibson’s model history. Sadly, there are so few Jumbos remaining today that most who read this post won’t get a chance to experience one of these incredible guitars first-hand.

This example is in near-perfect condition. Playwear is limited to light string grooves on the first three frets and capo wear on the back of the same part of the neck. The only crack is at the inner pickguard margin, and there is a 1” back seam separation that has been glued. The neck has been reset and the bone saddle is a look-alike replacement of the original, which was cut low; but the bridge, pins, bridge plate, bracing, nut, frets, and all the finish are factory stock and are without repairs or modifications. It’s a seriously clean guitar. Original Grover G-98 tuners, original rope strap, endpin, and ‘Challenge’ case, too.

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides, mahogany neck with bound rosewood fretboard and inlaid pearl dots. Bone nut, nickel tuners, pearl headstock logo. Small rectangle bridge with factory original bridge bolts and pearl dots, firestripe pickguard. Bound top and back, sunburst lacquer to all surfaces.

The body is 16” wide with depth that tapers from 4-1/2” to 4-3/16. 3-3/4” soundhole diameter. V-shaped neck with 1-3/4” nut, 24.75” scale, and 2-3/8” string spacing at the saddle. Neck depth measures .968” at the 1st fret and 1.065” at the 9th. Set up with Darco 12s and an action of 5-6 64ths. The original frets are untouched.

With original case