According to George Gruhn’s Guide to Vintage Guitars, the Gibson Blue Ridge is a jumbo-style guitar with a solid spruce top and laminated rosewood back and sides (with maple showing as the inner layer), and a mahogany neck. Gibson introduced the line in 1968 as a "no frills," stripped-down, rosewood, more economically friendly version of Gibson's famed J-45—something like the “Working Man” series which would replace the J-40 in the 1980s. The standard Blue Ridge guitar has a 14/20-fret rosewood finger board with pearl dot inlay, a black pick guard, and full black body binding. It has three-per-side “Gibson Deluxe” nickel tuners and a screened logo on the blackface Gibson headstock. It is clearly designed to represent a working man’s guitar, with no frills and no fuss—nothing but the huge sound for which vintage Gibsons have been famous for decades.
This particular guitar is one of the many different 12-string models Gibson produced in the late 1960s and early 1970s, generally echoing its six-string guitar models. The 12-fret-to-the-body neck, belly-down adjustable-saddle bridge, rosewood back and sides, and three-piece neck say "Blue Ridge 12." However, this is evidently a significantly upgraded limited edition of the Blue Ridge 12, starting with the beautifully figured Rosewood of the back and sides. While the instrument’s label is long gone, its embossed serial number (622233) indicates it was made in 1968, although Gibson’s serialization is notoriously slippery.
Now, in 1965 the Gibson Heritage was introduced with a solid rosewood back and sides, and some of the first ones were solid Brazilian Rosewood. In 1968—the year the Blue Ridge was first officially distributed—the Heritage also began using laminated Rosewood for their guitars. What I believe to have happened is that this Blue Ridge guitar and a few of the Heritage guitars in the transition period of 1966 to 1969 shared in the last of the Brazilian Rosewood supply, which was being stretched by slicing it into sheets of laminates to be parceled out among whatever guitars were in production at the time. Including this one.
I am not really a wood person, but I have not seen the contrasts in color and grain of this guitar’s back and sides in Indian Rosewood, and I know of no Gibson guitar which has used the similarly figured Coral or Jacaranda Rosewood exploited by Kazuo Yairi and others after him—certainly not in the 1960s. While the grain inside the guitar clearly does not match the dramatic figures of the outside (presumably because it’s the layer of maple laminate), the laminate is clearly special in some way, for better or worse. Whatever: it looks gorgeous, it sounds great, and you won’t be seeing any more of it from Gibson outside of custom shop instruments costing thousands of dollars more than this one!
The original nickel tuners on this guitar are labeled “Kluson Deluxe,” rather than the “Gibson Deluxe” described as the norm, and the headstock is not the blackface veneer described by Gruhn, but obviously solid mahogany. The highly figured rosewood of the fret board looks to me like Brazilian Rosewood, but even if it’s not, it clearly was chosen for its beauty. The multi-stripe ivoroid binding is also an obvious upgrade from the plain black of the “working man’s” Blue Ridge. This is a really striking guitar, not just because of abalone inlay or cute designs, but because of the careful use of the best materials available. This is essentially a 49-year-old Brazilian Rosewood B-45-12, which makes it the vintage guitar equivalent of the Rosewood Martin D12-28—except this guitar’s Rosewood is laminated--and this particular guitar is probably rarer than a Rosewood D12-28, fine though they are.
Cosmetically, this 49-year-old veteran has only a few nicks and dings in the beautiful rosewood back and sides, but the softer spruce of the top has a number of ‘em, there’s some pick wear at the sound hole, and there’s substantial “crazing” of the finish all over—“to let the sound out,” as my luthier says. Remarkably, I see no actual cracks anywhere. The 1 7/8” nut and the adjustable-saddle bridge, the saddle, and the pins look to be original, although there are signs that the bridge has been re-set. The action is a bit over 3/32” at the 12th fret low E, which is pretty good for a vintage 12-string. And after 49 years of seasoning, this ol’ boy sounds and plays great, truly as full and resonant as I’ve heard in years.
The case may be the original—or at least vintage--hard shell case rather than the typical Gibson “working man’s” chip board case. The plush gold interior is in good shape, the strap to hold the top is even intact, and the guitar fits perfectly. It’s an excellent vintage complement to this fine guitar.
Buyer pays a flat rate of $55 for insurance and shipping to the lower forty-eight states; shipping costs elsewhere will be negotiated as necessary. Payment by Paypal is preferred; cashier’s checks are acceptable, but checks must clear before the guitar will be shipped.
I have tried to be perfectly clear and accurate in describing this vintage instrument and its case, so its return will not be accepted unless it can be shown that it was egregiously misrepresented in this listing. Please check out the pictures and ask any questions you might have before offering to purchase it.
Thank you for your interest in this outstanding vintage Gibson guitar.
Payments by Paypal, cashier’s checks, money orders, or personal checks are acceptable, but all payments must clear my bank before the guitar will be shipped. I will CONSIDER reasonable offers, even including installment payments and trade-ins, but generally since I already attempt to price my guitars very competitively, unusual deals must be unusually sweet.
From henceforth [that's how retired English teachers talk], insurance and shipping to the lower 48 states is $55 due to constantly rising shipping costs unless a specific listing says otherwise; shipping costs elsewhere will be negotiated as necessary. I have sold guitars to Russia, Japan, Australia, and over 50 other countries, as well as almost every state in the USA. Since some of my guitars travel thousands of miles, I take care to use lots of packing materials, protect the neck inside the case, and of course de-tune the strings.
I make every effort to describe and illustrate each guitar and case with scrupulous accuracy. However, many of my instruments are well-played vintage items which are many years old, and I am not a luthier. One should assume that any guitar will require some set-up to satisfy your personal requirements, and that not every flaw or ding will be seen/recognized/described in the listing. Thus the return of an instrument will not be accepted unless it can be shown that it was egregiously misrepresented in this listing. Please read the listing carefully, check out the pictures, and ask any questions you might have before offering to buy.