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1948 gibson Southern jumbo


Shardin
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Hello ,i am hoping to get some feed back on what the value of this guitar would be. I am thinking about buying it ,the fon # is 2696 and the owner said that the guitar was sent to gibson Kalamazoo about 30 years ago fo some minor repairs ,the front was also blacked and the pick guard was put on at that time . i also have not seen any more adv for sale with the herringbone strip down the back. Any help would be appreciated

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Really hard to determine a value, I am not an expert on vintage Southern Jumbos.  There is one on  Reverb right now that is pretty beat up looking, but almost looks like it has a brand new fingerboard.  The guy is asking $7500 for it.  Doesn't mean anything, as you can ask any price you want.

As to this particular one, like you, I have not seen one with the backstrap like this has, the tuners have obviously been replaced.  The back and the sides look pretty nice, so why did the top need to be refinished and a new pick guard fitted?  Would tend to make you think there was something wrong with the top.  Anyway those things detract from the value.

But most important is how it plays and sounds.  If it plays well, and the neck has a good angle, good action without buzzes, then it's probably worth quite a bit.  But if it's all warpy and doesn't play well, then it's just an old hunk of wood that may need a lot of repairs.

Sorry, I guess I'm just stating the obvious, but I'd certainly want to play it before considering buying it.

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Hello Shardin ,  more pictures of the  bracing inside the  guitar, back ,sides and top ...if you can  get a small mirror in there would be more helpful .

Looks like the neck ,back and sides have been stripped and refinished ...the top has obviously  been refinished .

Use the mirror to inspect the top from the inside for major repair .

Best wishes ...get back with info .

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Completely refinished, replaced tuners and pickguard, replaced or modified bridge, all the marquetry on the back (including the herringbone edge binding) is not original.

FON says 1948 or 1949.

The things I see were probably not done by Gibson. That does not mean Gibson didn't work on it at some time, but when Gibson did extreme things in the repair shop, it usually meant making the guitar more like a new Gibson, rather than these types of mods.

Value is driven by condition, playability, and originality. It flunks on originality, and the other two factors are unknowns. Even if it's a great player, it's hard to see it selling for as much as $3k. At most, value would be about half that of the same guitar without all those changes.

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Thanks to everyone for the info ,after looking on the internet some more this afternoon i found some other examples of some early 40s sj guitar s on guitarhq.com that has the same back strip and binding as the one i am looking at. I don't actually have the guitar right now to take pictures of the inside .i am planning on seeing it this weekend and as far as price it is below $3000. Again thanks for the information!

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1 hour ago, Shardin said:

Thanks to everyone for the info ,after looking on the internet some more this afternoon i found some other examples of some early 40s sj guitar s on guitarhq.com that has the same back strip and binding as the one i am looking at. I don't actually have the guitar right now to take pictures of the inside .i am planning on seeing it this weekend and as far as price it is below $3000. Again thanks for the information!

Could you provide a link to those photos on guitar hq showing that centerline back strip marquetry and the back binding detail? I can't find them there. In any case, the other details we see are from the late 1940's--bound fretboard, block logo. Both of those say 1948 or later, and they are consistent with that FON. The bridge may be original, but the subtle re-shaping suggests that it may have been taken down to lower the action.

When you look at the guitar, check inside for vertical strips of wood (similar in size to popsicle sticks) reinforcing the sides at regular intervals. Those are other specific dating characteristics.

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36 minutes ago, 75 Hummingbird said:

 Also the brace seen through the sound hole seems to be awfully thick for a 48 -49 ...

 

 

Good catch!

I also just looked inside both of my J-45s from the same period, and there is no back brace in that location. The back braces are actually located more or less in line with the N and S ends of the soundhole.

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Yeah. Not feelin' this one.

Yes, mighty thick brace, and as Nick says, position off.

Nick, here is the marquetry the  OP references from GuitarHQ. Not nearly as wide. 3rd world copies always go too far to try n' overcompensate:

 

jntYFEh.png

Edited by 62burst
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Also- heel cap. . . taller (north -> south) than any I've seen.  A little too much meat under that shoulder strap?

Looks to be a fairly flat neck profile north of the block. Also looks flat at the back shot of the tuners. 

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Edited by 62burst
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Headstock look ok to you? And a terrible photo to illustrate the "kiss" at the top. Placement of the logo.  Are those real Roto's? My, what broad buttons you have(?). Washers, too.

Looking at that neck stamp, just now, comparing to one on GuitarHQ, on the right. Mostly staring at the serif on the "2". Two different "6's"? Nah... couldn't be.    'Suppose all is fine. Different stampings can happen. Right?

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They doing mahogany neck blocks then?

 

Edited by 62burst
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20 minutes ago, 62burst said:

Yeah. Not feelin' this one.

Yes, mighty thick brace, and as Nick says, position off.

Nick, here is the marquetry the  OP references from GuitarHQ. Not nearly as wide. 3rd world copies always go too far to try n' overcompensate:

 

jntYFEh.png

Interesting, since that's one of the rosewood SJs, if it's an SJ. That one also has a very thick heelcap, which I haven't seen, and a bound fretboard, which is a later characteristic.

I just looked at a picture I took of the back of the FON 910 rosewood banner SJ now owned by Tom Barnwell. It has no centerline back strip at all. Given the other anomalies on the guitar in this picture above, I wonder whether the marquetry backstrip in this photo is original? Plenty of older SJs have an inlay of dark wood, maybe ebony, on the back centerline, but that marquetry is new to me. It's more of a Martin type of detail.

Likewise, the OP's photos show herringbone marquetry inside the back binding, which is definitely a Martin detail.

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Re the FON stamps:

It appears Gibson used at least two different rotary wheel stamps for the FON in this period. I have two J-45s with FONs about 300 apart. On one, the numbers are smaller and a bit more delicate, on the other they are larger and fatter. I had never pulled them out to look at both FONs at the same time before. So much for my powers of observation.

Both of those FON stamps are offset to one side of the centerline back strip on the neck block, just like the two FONs posted above

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11 minutes ago, 62burst said:

I'm sure the OP's guitar is fine. Just a little country customization. The photos did tend to skew the perspective:

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I think you are right. I did a fair bit of that myself, when I was young and stupid.

There are definitely some things there that never saw the inside of the Kalamazoo plant, however.

Edited by j45nick
additional clarification
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The quality  of the work notwithstanding, from my experience if the guitar had been "restored" by Gibson they would have replaced the  pickguard, tuners and such with whatever parts they were using at the time.  Also they would have stamped the FON on the back of the headstock.    You might be able to narrow down at least the period the transformation took place by the tuners, whether they have the "pat. pending" stamp and other features.

Other than that, I would think of the SJ as an ultimate player's guitar.  A price tag of under $3K would appear reasonable as you would  be looking at taking at least 70% off the value of one in really nice condition.  

Anyway, good luck with it.

 

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5 hours ago, zombywoof said:

The quality  of the work notwithstanding, from my experience if the guitar had been "restored" by Gibson they would have replaced the  pickguard, tuners and such with whatever parts they were using at the time.  Also they would have stamped the FON on the back of the headstock.    You might be able to narrow down at least the period the transformation took place by the tuners, whether they have the "pat. pending" stamp and other features.

Other than that, I would think of the SJ as an ultimate player's guitar.  A price tag of under $3K would appear reasonable as you would  be looking at taking at least 70% off the value of one in really nice condition.  

Anyway, good luck with it.

 

Given that the OP's "seller says it went back to Kalamazoo 30 yrs ago" can be taken as +/- several years, could Gibson have put the Rotomatics on there? Also note in the OP headstock, back pic- one set of tuners had offset screw holes, and some Grovers (mini Rotos) had that?

In praise of a good beater, . . . I mean "player" grade vintage guitar. Add to the lower "in" cost, less stress in taking it around, and the old thing, if well-sorted, might very well sound better than a new guitar costing the same amount. Just bear in mind, the cost to make it play it's best can be just as much, or even more than work required on a pristine example.

Here's the OP's bridge next to the 1946 Southern Jumbo that Gary Burnett took a shine to. It was just too nice, and sounded that way- to me/for me:

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Edited by 62burst
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How'd you like to test drive this one with these strings? Have a close look at the wound ones, esp the "A". . . are these nickel cadmium?

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OP's original photos also underscores the importance of having a look with a mirror under the top- looks to be a crack on the bass side, upper bout, up to the binding? , and pickguard crack to the left of the high- e. It would be good to check that all is well there.

So, '48- they had already reduced nut width from  1 3/4"  to 1 11/16" , a slimmer neck. (?) 

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That's at least the third set of tuners that have been on that guitar. The original footprint looks like the standard individual closed-back Klusons that came in about that time, but ZW will know if they could also have been open-back.

There are some Rotos that have that single offset screw, but I don't know that product line well enough to date them.

In about 1970  I swapped out the original closed-back three-on-a-plate Klusons for a set of Sta-Tites on my original 1950 J-45.That was a pretty common swap at that time, since they fit on the guitar in a similar fashion.

As ZW says, when a guitar went back to Parsons Street for substantial work, Gibson as a rule used replacement parts that were the same as were then in use on the production line. That's how my original 1950 J-45 ended up with a new cherryburst top, adjustable bridge, batwing pickguard, and narrowed neck with 20-fret board when I sent it back for a top re-glue and a new fretboard in 1968.  And, as ZW says, they stamped the FON on the back of the headstock, even though it is still on the neckblock.

They re-used the original Kluson tuners on my J-45, by the way.

That bridge is probably original, but the crisp edges of the transition from the thicker top  of the bridge to the thinner wings appears to have been sanded. That's pretty common, and it often means someone has sanded down the top of the bridge to lower the action, rather than re-setting the neck.

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11 minutes ago, 62burst said:

 

So, '48- they had already reduced nut width from  1 3/4"  to 1 11/16" , a slimmer neck. (?) 

 

Pretty sure the necks got narrowed to more-or-less 1 11/16" by the time the block logo came in. I had an early '47 L-7 (script logo) with just over 1 11/16" at the nut, and the '50 J-45 I bought last year is also just a hair over 1 11/16".

I don't think you can assume a specific neck width by year in the 1940s.

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