Gibson Custom Shop 1936 J-35
Working Man's Blues
During the Great Depression, musicians faced a real quandary: how do you sing the blues away if you can't afford a guitar? While musicians struggled to find instruments, guitar companies faced an equally-perplexing problem: how could they keep their doors open when musicians were even broker than normal? In 1936, both parties found a solution in the Gibson J-35, a spruce-topped dreadnought with mahogany back and sides that only cost 35 bucks--or 617.21 in today's dollars. It wasn't cheap by any means, but it was much closer to a working man's budget than the guitar it replaced in Gibson's lineup, the Jumbo, which was more than twice as expensive.
Though it may have been more of a budget instrument in the thirties, the J-35 quickly earned a stellar reputation among vintage collectors for its versatility and dynamism. Nowadays, a thirties J-35 in good shape will run you about twenty-five times what they cost new in '36 even if you adjust for inflation! Thankfully, the Gibson Acoustic Custom Shop has put together an incredible tribute to those original J-35s for players who desire vintage tone with modern playability. Wildwoodians, we are proud to show off the Custom Shop 1936 J-35, a guitar that captures the vibe of the original working man's dreadnought with impeccable accuracy.
So, how do Gibson's luthiers imbue these modern guitars with so much vintage mojo? The answer is twofold: they use high-quality tonewoods, and they assemble them using time-consuming old-world manufacturing techniques. With spectacular materials and tons of elbow grease, they are able to achieve incredible levels of vintage accuracy. They hand-scallop every brace, and they use hot hide glue to attach each brace to the body with hot hide glue to maximize energy transfer. Though these procedures are time-consuming, they pay incredible dividends to each instrument's resonance and responsiveness.
Speaking of which, this guitar also comes with a super-thin VOS nitrocellulose lacquer finish that allows the wood to breathe and resonate like a vintage guitar.
Take it From the Top
When talking tonewoods, it I always most appropriate to start at the top--the thermally-aged red Adirondack spruce top, that is! Here at Wildwood, we love Adirondack spruce because of the way it supercharges an acoustic guitar's tone. It imparts a woody, articulate attack, extra headroom and midrange punch, and a big volume boost--all of which are present in these '36 J-35s.
Adirondack spruce was what Gibson used in the thirties, but vintage J-35s have the benefit of "opening up" over decades of use. So, to help these modern recreations sound more like vintage instruments, Gibson thermally ages the tops. By removing excess moisture from the wood, the fine folks at Gibson Montana are able to simulate the tonal properties of old wood from one of these "played-in" old guitars. As a result, the ’36 J-35 has incredible openness and warmth.
Paired with the warmth and midrange punch imparted by the mahogany back and sides, this thermally-aged Adirondack spruce sounds glorious. All in all, the 1936 J-35 sounds big, open, and warm with a wide dynamic range. It captures the spirit and vibe of those original J-35s with impeccable accuracy, and playing one feels like stepping into one of your favorite old records.
We are proud to showcase the Custom Shop '36 J-35, a guitar that practically drips with vintage mojo. It's a wonderful tribute to the Depression-era dreads that helped working men and women strum their blues away, and the wizards at the Gibson Acoustic plant in Bozeman, Montana have imbued it with a true-to-vintage sound with their old-world manufacturing techniques and elbow grease. We have no doubt that it will inspire you to reach new heights on your fretboard journey!
|Model||Custom Shop 1936 J-35|
|Finish Color||Vintage Sunburst|
|Finish Type||Thin VOS Nitrocellulose Lacquer|
|Top Wood||Solid Thermally-Aged Adirondack Red Spruce|
|Back & Sides Wood||Solid Mahogany|
|Neck Joint||Compound Dovetail|
|Neck Shape||V Profile|
|Neck Dimensions||.880 1st - .940 9th|
|Fretboard Material||Indian Rosewood|
|Fingerboard Inlays||Mother-of-Pearl Dots|
|Width at Nut||1.77"|
|Binding||Multi-Ply Top, Single-Ply Back|
|Tuners||Straps w/Cream Buttons|
|Bridge||Rectangle w/Open Slot and Historic Spacing|
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