Look what just breezed through the shop: a near mint 1965 Gibson SJ or Southerner Jumbo. It seems likely nearly every single one of these got hammered pretty hard during the folk boom of the 1960s. Somehow, this one escaped that fate. I suppose that nice hard shell case helped preserve it as well.
Gibson’s SJ model, or Southerner Jumbo, debuted in 1943 with only about 74 examples made that year according to the Gibson shipping ledger records published in John Thomas’ Kalamazoo Gals: A Story of Extraordinary Woman And Gibson’s “Banner” Guitars of WWII. The model initially received Rosewood backs and sides until it was substituted for Mahogany after only about two batches. Neck binding was added to the model in about 1948 as the gold script logo transitioned to the new updated block style Gibson logo. The scalloped X style bracing lasted until 1955 when the change to shorter unscalloped bracing was made across all models of the Gibson lineup. The most significant change to the model was made in 1962 when Gibson discontinued the round shoulder dreadnought body style in favor of the square should body introduced in 1958 on the newly acquired Epiphone brand’s FT-110 Frontier model.
After the transition to the square shoulder body style, the Gibson SJ and and the Hummingbird differed only slightly in both construction and aesthetic. It seems that the only differences between the two during this time period are the scale length of the neck, shape of the headstock, pickguard material and engraving, and the tuner shape. The Hummingbird featured a long scale length of 25 1/2″ compared to the SJ’s typical Gibson 24 3/4″ scale.
Let’s hope that the clean ones keep coming this way. If you’re looking for more information on vintage Gibson acoustic guitars then I recommend two books for you: Gibson’s Fabulous Flat-Top Guitars and Kalamazoo Gals: A Story of Extraordinary Woman And Gibson’s “Banner” Guitars of WWII. Both are excellent sources of information to fuel your passion for these instruments. Note that these are affiliate links to Amazon. You’ll pay the same low price on Amazon as if you found them organically but if you follow through those links then I’ll get a little kickback for connecting you with them. I personally have both books and reference them often.
Do you have a vintage Gibson acoustic guitar like an SJ or a Hummingbird? I’m always looking for clean vintage guitars. You can reach out to me here to Sell My Vintage Gibson Guitar if you like. Please send all the pictures and information you can. I’m looking forward to checking it out!