The Gibson Southern Jumbo model had risen in popularity in the 1940s and early 1950s. People were commonly ordering them with a natural finish instead of the traditional sunburst, calling it an “SJN” starting in 1954. Sometime in 1955, Gibson introduced the Country Western model as part of the standard Gibson line up. It came with a new paper label with the model name and a rope border. The guitar featured a Sitka Spruce top, Honduran Mahogany back and sides, and the attractive slope shoulder body shape . The headstock received the upgraded Holly overlay with inlayed pearl Gibson logo and “crown.” The neck was upgraded with fret board binding and split parallelogram inlays.
This Country Western was purchased by a southern baptist preacher in 1956. He sang and preached for 30 years to congregations throughout the south with this guitar in tow. The preacher’s daughter ended up with the guitar after his death some 20 years ago. The daughter played very little during that time and eventually decided to sell. That’s how I ended up in trailer park at midnight outside of Johnson City, TN with a big wad of cash in my pocket. The guitar needed some standard maintenance items including a neck reset, bridge reglue, back braces reglued and a crack repair on the back. The tuner buttons were replaced and a new bone saddle was custom made. The repairs were expertly performed by another one of my trusted luthiers, Ross Teigen of Teigen Guitars.
Now the Country Western plays beautifully all over the fretboard. The action is medium-low with good saddle height. It’s got that great Gibson slope shoulder tone that is equally at home on the front porch, in a live band setting and in the studio. This is a great example of the model from the first year of its introduction. I am very proud to be presenting it to you. Please enjoy the sound clips on the right side of the page.