1937 Gibson Roy Smeck Stage Deluxe

Introduced in 1934 alongside the Jumbo, The Roy Smeck Stage Deluxe was the 12-fret ‘Hawaiian’ variant of the 16” wide Jumbo that Gibson designed to cash in on the Hawaiian music craze of that era. The costly HG-series guitars were discontinued in 1932, and in the depths of the Great Depression it was logical and cost-effective for Gibson to look to its standard production Spanish flat-top shapes for its Hawaiian models. As such, the Roy Smeck Stage Deluxe shared the same body shape and woods as the Jumbo at first, and the J-35 by 1937. The Smeck’s 12 fret neck joint required modifications to the bracing, bridge, and soundhole location, of course.

This example was built in 1937 and features a J-35 body with Smeck style bracing (unscalloped X bracing with two tone bars). The body dimensions, woods, and appointments are identical to a J-35, but the soundhole diameter is the smaller 3-3/4” size that seems to have been the norm on all the Smecks.

The guitar has been converted to Spanish style and the neck carved into a very mid/late 30s Gibsony V shape, with a 1-3/4” nut and 1st fret depth of .980”. The original bridge has had its saddle slot filled and recut for correct intonation, and the guitar’s original fretboard has been radiused and fretted; there are pearl side dots as well. We do not know who converted the guitar.

A loud, focussed, and dry guitar, this Roy Smeck Stage Deluxe offers huge power and headroom, excellent string balance, and a strong midrange that is well-proportioned to the bass and treble output. It’s an excellent flatpicker.

Original body finish throughout with a foot-ball shaped finish repair by the pickguard that doesn’t appear to be hiding any top repairs. The neck’s back and heel have been refinished as part of the conversion but the headstock finish is unaltered. The neck’s color match is quite nice. Original bridge and bridge plate, no repairs to the original braces. No side or back cracks but there are handful of repaired top cracks and a minor repaired crack at the base of the heel as well as a few small glued chips on the headstock face behind the nut and the B string tuner bushing. The tuners are period correct, but there have been other non-original tuners installed in the past and the headstock bushings holes have been slightly enlarged.

The guitar has been set up in our shop, and we’ve installed a new aged bone nut and saddle. The bridge pins are original, and the bridge bolts have been removed. The guitar is strung with Darco D220 Lights and has an action of 4.5 to 7 64ths at the 12th fret with a full height saddle.

Mahogany back and sides, red spruce top, rosewood board and bridge.

With period Geib ‘Racing Stripe’ hardshell case