1940 Gibson J-35

An excellent sounding J-35 from the early part of the 1940-2 transition period. This example is clean and balanced, wonderfully warm and quite strong, with well-defined bass, classic Gibson midrange presence and robust trebles. The top is straight-braced with the more Martin-like X-brace angle that Gibson pioneered in 1940. This 96 degree angle (compared to the wider 102 degree X) has a lot to do with this guitar’s Gibson-meets-D-18 tonality. It’s a wonderful flatpicker and strummer and does bluegrass with the best of them while also maintaining ample classic 30’s Gibson treble-fatness and some really rewarding overtones.

One-family owned since the mid 1940s, this J-35 was brought to us by its local owner of the last 55 years, whose father bought the guitar around the end of WWII. An export guitar, this J-35 has likely spent all of its 80 years within just a few miles of our shop. 

A very appealing guitar with no cracks or repairs to its top or back and original finish throughout, this J-35 still has its original and unmodified lacquered bridge and original bridgeplate and has never needed any brace regluing. It must have been built during the winter months! There are a few repaired side cracks, and the Kluson tuning machines are period-correct replacements.

This guitar has just received a neck reset and new frets in our shop. We’ve replaced the saddle and installed a reproduction ebony nut as well. The fretwork was done in such a way so as to avoid any sanding of the fingerboard and thereby preserve the original patina and feel. The action is set at 5-6 64ths with a full height saddle. Playability is excellent.

The guitar’s neck has a medium-deep and round profile, typical of Gibson’s early 40’s production, and a wide heel carve. The nut measures 1-11/16” and the strings spread to the 1930’s standard 2-3/8” at the bridge. 24.75” scale.

Red spruce top, mahogany back, sides, and neck, fingerboard and bridge are of what may actually be Santos mahogany or some particularly dense mahogany-like species. They are not made from rosewood though, so there is not a need for CITES permits on this guitar.

With hardshell case