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1953 Southern Jumbo


Sdan

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I bought this 1953 guitar that I paid perhaps a little too much for, but with which I am completely in love, because it has an incredible sound, it sounds almost overdriven-the typical instrument that you can never put down. It has some unusual features, though, like the color of the back and sides, a color that seems to be too light compared to the standard for acoustic Gibsons. Someone told me that it might be an instrument that some worker at Gibson might have requested or built exclusively for himself. My opinion, among others, is that the neck to me seems to have even been replaced, and probably the bridge as well. I wonder if any experts can give me any insight on this, and I thank everyone who can help me.

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FON is printed inside, but there is no serial number on the back of the headstock. My guess is that the neck has been replaced, for some reason and who knows when, but  the fingerboard seems original; so the instrument does not seem to be completely correct. On the other hand it is obviously impossible to reconstruct everything that happened during the lifetime of such an old instrument which, at some point, arrived in a different continent.

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There would not be a serial number on the back of the headstock.  Gibson did not start doing this until 1961.  The only exception to the rule is that if Gibson got the guitar back for extensive work they for whatever reason did stamp a number on the back of the headstock.  That is how we knew my wife's 1960 J200 had been worked on in Kalamazoo.  I would not, however, expect to see three on a plate Klusons on an SJ.  

Edited by zombywoof
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Thank you for your reply and attention; on the Klusons I also had some doubts, and so I took them apart and on the headstock there are no other holes in any other position, for that I believe they are an initial supply.  I think at Gibson in those days, and also for many years afterwards, they were not so careful to mind these things. (I have a ES 330 1966 electric in which the pickups are mounted seemingly without any attention to impedance, so that the PU bridge has much more power than the one at the bridge...)

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My recollection is the screw holes of the three on a plate and individual Klusons lined up.     A clearer photo though would for determination of what period they were manufactured in.   I would, as example, expect a 1953 Gibson to have what are referred to as "no line" tuners.  Hopefully, somebody with better eyes than mine will chime in here.  If they are period correct though than I would agree they were what was put on the guitar in 1953.  But as you are probably figuring out this is the kind of stuff you needed to know going into it when it comes to determining originality.  

But make no mistakes that Gibson of the 1950s was a far cry from what they had been.  Starting in 1950 the factory was enlarged and re-tooled and the workforce re-organized.  As a result, guitars started to be built heavier to avoid being returned under warranty while certain characteristic features were abandoned to cut costs and speed up production.  It was pretty much the birth of the modern Gibson Guitar Co.  Not saying though they would not go with what parts they had on hand if others were not available.

Edited by zombywoof
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