Description

FON: Z1684 27. Here is an outstanding example of a second year Gibson J-185. This fascinating model was made in small numbers in Kalamazoo Michigan between 1951 and 1959. The book “Gibson’s Fabulous Flattop Guitars” notes that “many guitar devotees have fallen in love with this relatively rare model but to the general public is has remained a well-kept secret ever since it’s discontinuation in 1959.” To Gibson aficionados it remains a highly desirable guitar. Back in the day, if was favored by Delta blues man Skip James and Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s Jeff Hanna. The model was introduced with tall scalloped braces and tone bars. When Gibson shifted to shorted unscalloped braces in 1955, the J-185 followed suit. Both models sound great but players and collectors prefer the early configuration.

The shape resembles a smaller J-200. The back and sides are constructed with figured silver maple and the top made from Sitka spruce. The top, back and sides are finished in tobacco sunburst and triple bound. The belly up bridge and fretboard are made from Brazilian rosewood and the fretboard is bound in white. The decorative inlays are the unusual combination of Maltese crosses on the bridge, parallelograms on the fretboard and the standard crown and squared Gibson script logo on the faceplate. May sound weird but it all works. The pickguard is a subtle tortoise shell finish with a shape that follows the contours of the body. This would become the standard flattop pickguard in 1955. Tuners are gold plated Klusons with Tulip buttons. For such a large body (16”) the narrow waist feels very comfortable in the lap and the short scale makes for some easy playing.

It’s in terrific condition for a 72 year old Gibson – played but never abused. It shows playwear around the sound hole, the usual bumps and scratches of a well-played guitar played well including some buckle rash on the back. This was a personal guitar of mine for a couple of years. On my watch, it received a full refret, neck reset and setup by Mark Tossman. Structurally it’s quite solid with no weird pulling or cupping of the top. The neck is a comfortable “D” shape of moderate depth – very modern feeling. It’s set up with low action so it’s very easy to play and make sound good. It’s an ideal strummer to accompany singing, excelling with hammers and pulls and a strong rhythm guitar that can take a solo or two. The maple give it a nice attack and the big chamber lends some nice sustain.

Comes with a new Gibson case with purple plus lining made for the J-185 reissue.

SPECS:

Top: Sitka spruce
Band & Sides: Silver maple
Bridge & Fretboard: Rosewood
Appointments: Inlaid Maltese crosses, parallelograms, logo and “crown’
Nut width: 1-11/16”
String spacing: 2-1/8”
Body width: 16”
Depth: 4-7/8”
Scale length: 24.5”
Case: HSC

Jet City Guitars, LLC

Jet City Guitars, LLC

1952
Gibson
Excellent
Sunburst
Hard
23 Years
$22,000
Jet City Guitars, LLC
Jim Brown
206-669-7099
Seattle, WA
5:07 AM
By Appointment.

Payment is by personal check or money order. Payment in full, including shipping and insurance, is required before shipment. Personal checks must clear your bank. Please specify preferred shipping method when you order the instrument and we will calculate the exact price for you.

We represent the instruments as accurately as we can. All instruments are shipped on 48-hour approval. If there is damage as a result of the shipping, please contact us immediately and we will deal with the insurance company. If the instrument is damaged in transit from you to me, then you are responsible for dealing with the damage and insurance. For refunds, all instruments must be returned in the same condition as we shipped them in.

All instruments are shipped on 48-hour approval. If there is damage as a result of the shipping, please contact us immediately and we will deal with the insurance company. If the instrument is damaged in transit from you to me, then you are responsible for dealing with the damage and insurance. For refunds, all instruments must be returned in the same condition as we shipped them in.