Sunday, December 8, 2019


Enter keyword(s) below
to search entire inventor

Include Sold Items

New York String Service
87 Luquer Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231

Mon - Fri 12noon - 7pm
Sat 12noon - 6pm

718 237 4040

Contact Us

Pay online securely with    

Gibson J-35 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1938)

Gibson  J-35 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar  (1938)

Gibson J-35 Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1938), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # DG-4034, sunburst top, dark back and sides finish, mahogany back, sides and neck, spruce top, rosewood fingerboard, original period brown hard shell case.

We love the original Gibson J-35 in any form; this 1938 example is one sweet playing and fantastic sounding prewar Gibson Jumbo! Built around mid-1938 this is an example of an "early" style J-35 with the dark sunburst top that would be supplanted by a natural top finish option first cataloged in 1939. The neck still carries the fairly chunky 1930's V profile with a large heel, replaced within a year by a slimmer "C" neck. Other original features include the "firestripe" tortoise celluloid pickguard and silkscreen white script Gibson logo on the headstock. The tuners are very early Kluson strip units with celluloid buttons.

The J-35 was Gibson's "working man's" Jumbo flattop in the 1930's and early '40's. Selling on introduction for under forty dollars it was intended as a direct competitor to Martin's D-18, and has since been similarly recognized as one of the all time classic flat-top designs. This is a guitar to be reckoned with, extremely light and very responsive-a good flatpicker and a very nice fingerpicking guitar as well. This particular J-35 has a powerful but very even sound, perfect for those 1940's honky-tonk nights but for todays player an excellent recording or performance guitar.
Overall length is 40 3/8 in. (102.6 cm.), 16 in. (40.6 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 4 7/8 in. (12.4 cm.) in depth at side, taken at the end block. Scale length is 24 3/4 in. (629 mm.). Width of nut is 1 3/4 in. (44 mm.). This guitar is in nicely original condition with some typical wear and minor repair. The finish shows checking overall and numerous dings, dents and scrapes overall but no large areas of loss except to the lower edge od the soundhole rim. There are no top cracks at all, but the mahogany back has a number of tightly repaired grain splits, mostly centered towards the bottom edge. The bridge and small maple bridgeplate are original; one of the old retaining bolts is missing from the underside and one remains.

The guitar has likely had a neck reset some time ago, cleanly done with very little evidence left behind besides an excellent playing angle. It has recently been refretted with period correct wire, with a new nut and saddle. There are still some shallow divots in the fingerboard in the lower positions. This is an extremely fine playing and sounding guitar, not the cleanest J-35 we have seen but one of the most muscular sounding. It is housed in a period brown HSC that may well be original to the guitar although not a typical Gibson-issued item. Overall Excellent - Condition.

Item # 8841

Prices subject to change without notice.

Click on a thumbnail above for a detailed view.

All text and photographs © 2003 New York String Service
and may not be reproduced without permission.

Retrofret Online Retrofret Online!
Visit our companion site,, dedicated to vintage guitars and fretted instruments.

The Musical Eye The Musical Eye
Our selection of historical musically themed images.

Audio Samples
Audio Samples

Link to instruments with audio samples.

Recent Sales
Recent Sales

View some of our recently sold items.

New York String Service | 87 Luquer Street | Brooklyn, New York, 11231 USA
718 237 4040 Voice | 718 237 6092 Fax | contact us
© 2003 New York String Service - All rights reserved