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How Many Gibson Acoustics are original shapes ?


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Folks ,

 

I was wondering which body styles or shapes are actual gibson creations ... I get stuff like Doves and Hummingbirds being gibsons shot at the Dreads but what about the Jumbo ( J 35 , J 45 and Advanced Jumbo) style bodies or the L series ?

 

 

 

I mean I know that the Super Jumbo is a gibson original but I'm not so clear on the others

 

 

thanks

 

 

 

 

 

JC

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I believe the cutaway archtop would qualify as a unique Gibson body shape The first I know of would have been the Super 400 Premiere in the late 1930s.

 

Also The Style O seems pretty unique although I would not vouch for the fact Stromberg Voisinet or somebody else did not make a similar style archtop.

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The Ditsons were 12 fret dreads with slope shoulders - as were the later 12 fret Martin dreads. But then the Stradivari guitar is a wide waisted, slope shoulder design, so the precedent for this design goes back a long way. The L and O model Gibson archtops were pretty original in comparison to their contempories: the tight waist recalls European guitar design where the majority of US makers were producing long, narrow guitars, but the proportion of upper to lower bout was unlike anything that went before them.

 

I'm not sure if any of Gibson's classic models prior to the Hummingbird / Dove have an outline identical to a previous guitar design - sure, there are vague comparisons but the L-00 and Jumbo were aesthetically very strong, well executed outlines that quickly became a benchmark for others. Even the Hummingbird is a distinctly different shape to the Martin it is supposed to be based on - although I seem to remember the Hummingbird was originally an Epiphone model that was quickly co-opted into the Gibson range as a competitor to Martin.

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although I seem to remember the Hummingbird was originally an Epiphone model that was quickly co-opted into the Gibson range as a competitor to Martin.

 

The Hummingbird was designed from the get go to be a Gibson version of a Martin dread. It first appeared in 1958 as the Epiphone Frontier and then as the HB.

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The Hummingbird was designed from the get go to be a Gibson version of a Martin dread. It first appeared in 1958 as the Epiphone Frontier and then as the HB.

Interesting news to me, zomb, you vintage eyewitness have the feeling the Frontier had the 25,5 scale length though.

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I've been thinking about posting to this thread, but I guess I really don't totally understand the question. A lot of guitars have similar shapes, but the concept of invention of a general shape is kind of vague.

 

So let me just talk a bit about what I do know something about -- the evolution of the body shape of Gibson Flattops.

 

The first that I know of in their regular like was the L-0 and L-1 from around 1925/26. Here is a1926 L-1 from that time.

 

1926L-1a.jpg

 

This was basically a archtop L-1 with an flat top.

 

There was some fumbling around in the late 20s, but another major shape emerged in the L- series in the early 30s. Here is an example -- a 1931 L-2.

 

1931L-2a.jpg

 

The 14 fret arrives about 1933 -- here is an example 1938 L-Century,

 

1937L-Centurya.jpg

 

In about 1935 the 3/4 L came out -- here is a 1935 L-00 3/4.

 

1937L-00ThreeQuartersa.jpg

 

The deep Jumbo was first introduced in the Hawaiian line -- here is a 36 Roy Smeck Stage Deluxe

 

1937RSSDa.jpg

 

That body (shape and depth) was used on the Smecks, Jumbos (34-36) and Trojan J-35 (36-37).

 

The next major player as the Advanced Jumbo. Here is one of the first from 1936.

 

1936AJa.jpg

 

This shape, including the body taper, went on the rule the Gibson J flattop line for a long time -- J-35, J-45, J-55, SJ, ....

 

Here is a 42 J-45

 

1942J-45a.jpg

 

In 1938, Gibson introduced the SJ-200 -- we don't collect these, so I have no personal pictures.

 

This shape also ruled the Gibson Super J line, and still does. JC posted this picture earlier.

 

1938GibsonJ200.jpg

 

Finally in 1942 Gibson introduced the LG (1,2,3). Here is a 1942 LG-1.

 

1942LG-1a_zpsc1f7970e.jpg

 

I can do more later but I have to go now.

 

Best,

 

-Tom

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I've been thinking about posting to this thread, but I guess I really don't totally understand the question. A lot of guitars have similar shapes, but the concept of invention of a general shape is kind of vague.

 

Tom ,

 

Ok basically I am asking which gibson models were not a direct copy of a Martin ... I heard D.Boak say that gibson copied a design off of them in the 30's and since they were afraid Martin might sue them what they did was turn the bridge the other way round . but I also heard Chris Martin in another interview say that Martin didn't have all the iconic designs and that some other people do beautiful sunbursts and that he wanted to put out a model that was similar to gibsons J 45 ... so again I don't understand one guy says gibson copied martin and the CEO says Gibson came up with an iconic design .

 

 

thanks if you can shed any light on the matter =D

 

 

 

here's the interview with Chris Martin :

 

 

 

 

 

btw great and beautiful guitars you have

 

 

God Bless

 

 

 

 

 

JC

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If you look at history, Martin always considered RW to be the top tone wood while Gibson considered mahogany to have that slot. By 1930, this had been true for decades for Gibson and for Martin, nearly a century. But this is certainly true -- Gibson Js and Martin dreads are fundamentally different guitars, even if they look a bit alike. Maybe it can be argued that the addition of RW and the long scale of the AJ may have been a response to the 14-fret D-28, but arguably the Jumbo was actually a bit ahead of the 14-fret D-18. The AJ, as well considered as it is now, was not really a great success during its relatively short run (late 36 to 40, with only 2 made in 40) -- really only three years. When the RW SJ was introduced in 1942, they dropped it immediately and went back to their favorite wood -- mahogany -- and never looked back.

 

Because music was changing -- cowboy singers and country string bands --there was a need for larger guitars with more frets. Both companies basically created quite different guitars and offered them to the public. Because what is different about guitars is not how they look but how they sound -- and that has to do with what goes on inside, and not outside.

 

Nearly everyone on earth copied the Martin D-28 eventually -- just look at the racks of guitars in music stores -- except Gibson. That guitar Chris Martin is holding may look like a Gibson -- but I'll bet you it sounds like a Martin.

 

Let's pick,

 

-Tom

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