1953 Gibson Southern Jumbo Slope Dreadnought Guitar

I'd adjusted the setup on this guitar last year in the summer and suggested to the owner that he might want to get it entirely fixed-up at some point. That's because when it came in last year there were big gouges (from a rat-tail file) in the bridge so the saddle could be lowered past its "deck," many non-cleated cracks, frets with generous divots in them, and all manner of other small things to fix-up. He'd been playing it continuously that way for decades, however, so who can complain too much for the guitar's ready-to-go longevity even with all of the issues? I think he bought this secondhand in the '60s for very little money.

I'm going to get to my point, though: now that this thing is in cracking shape -- what a sound! It's got a huge, warm, woody bottom-end that would easily anchor a duo or trio folk act. This sucker was built for strumming and flatpicking, though, and as a fingerpicker it's not as impressive. Often, these guitars just mellow-out that way when they've been hit hard with flatpicks for years and years. The wood takes you in the direction you're leaning, afterall.

Repairs included: a neck reset, cleats and extra crack repairs to the top and back, a new bone saddle, patch-up/fill/clean-up of the original bridge, brace reglue work on the top and back, center-seam lining replacement for the back, cleaning, and general setup.

Setup notes: it plays perfectly with 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE action at the 12th fret. The neck is straight, the truss rod works, and it's strung with 54w-12 gauges.

Scale length: 24 3/4"
Nut width: 1 11/16"
String spacing at nut: 1 1/2"
String spacing at bridge: 2 1/8"
Body length: 20"
Lower bout width: 16 1/4"
Waist width: 10 7/8"
Upper bout width: 11 3/4"
Side depth at endpin: 5"
Top wood: solid spruce
Back/sides wood: solid mahogany
Neck wood: mahogany
Bracing type: x-braced
Fretboard: Brazilian rosewood, synthetic (orig) nut
Bridge: Brazilian rosewood, new bone saddle comp'd
Neck feel: slim-medium C-shape, ~10" board radius

Condition notes: the tuners, saddle, neck's strap button, and bridge pins are replacements but the rest appears to be original to it. The finish shows bigger nicks, dings, and scratches throughout and the usual nitro weather-checking and fine finish cracking all over. Still, despite all that, it sure is a looker, eh?


Rob Gardner said…
Boy, this is a beautiful guitar. Lovely old Gibson sunburst, lots of honest play wear and sound for miles. Lucky owner, that guy...
Jake Wildwood said…
Big 10-4 on that, Rob!! I miss you coming around the shop to play toys and bullshit about guits. :D
Unknown said…
Lucky owner feeling really lucky! Did you get my email response I sent you from aol on April 28?

- Fritz

Aaron said…
What a gem...is the stripe on the back of the Southern Jumbo’s of that era painted or is it a black wooden strip?
I have a ‘53 SJ that was stripped and poorly refinished at some point...uggh
I’m getting it redone and any info would be greatly appreciated :)
Thanks kindly,