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 Gibson Johnny Smith

25th Anniversary

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Notes: In 1961 Ted McCarty, CEO of Gibson at that time, visited Johnny Smith and offered him to design his own model. Johnny Smith was responsible for the entire construction and design including all the measurements and the curvature of the top and even the binding was decided by him. While some of his innovations were revolutionary, some have been evolutionary. Smith introduced a 25" scale to facilitate difficult chords without sacrificing a fast response and the depth of the body was reduced to 3". Also, it was the first guitar fitted with a floating mini humbucker pickup. The visual appointments were drawn from Gibson's L-5C for the 17" Venetian cutaway body and from the Super 400 the neck and peghead was adopted. For the 25th year of production Gibson slightly revised the model and they made only very few as an anniversary model. The most important changes are a special 6-finger tailpiece with individual fine tuners and a changed cable connector position which is combined with the strap button

Materials: 17" X 3" body with a hand-carved, tap-tuned solid spruce top, highly flamed maple neck, back and sides made of solid maple, ebony fingerboard and 14 / 20 frets, saddle width 1 11/16", scale 25", MOP inlays on the fingerboard and split diamond inlays on headstock, "25th Anniversary" MOP inlay on the 19th fret, 7-ply binding for body, 5-ply for neck and pickguard, 3-ply on headstock, single-ply binding on f-holes, bone nut, ebony bridge with MOP inlay on base plate

Hardware: Original Johnny Smith floating humbucker with an input jack - strap button combination, volume pot pickguard mounted, "Custom" truss rod cover, original Kluson Sealfast tuner, 6-finger tailpiece with fine-tuner

Facts: The serial number 80696xxx on the Master Model Label dates it to 1986. The guitar was built in Nashville, TN and only very few were made at all. This 25th Anniversary Johnny Smith guitar was signed by Master James W. Hutchins on 4 April 1986, who was a long-time employee of Gibson since the 60ties. He held the flickering torch in hard times of the company after the shut down of the Kalamazoo plant. "Hutch" also became the key figure when Gibson established the Custom Shop as a division in 1993

Condition: The guitar is completely original. The tobacco sunburst finish is still in very good condition after three decades. The frets have very little wear. The golden hardware is still shiny. The tuners work accurately and smooth

Playability: The strings are set quite low without string buzz. The neck feels great and plays like butter, the profile is a slight D

Tone: Rich, warm and balanced clear sound with very fast response. Pure jazz tone

Case: Original Gibson luxury hardshell case with genuine leather and green plush lining in top condition. All latches, handle and hinges work perfectly

Setup: Currently strung with wound Thomastik strings (.012-054). The entire guitar has been inspected and fretboard oiled.

To Summarize: 55 years ago, the Gibson Johnny Smith was introduced and this 25th anniversary edition is a historically significant guitar because it was made at a time when the Gibson company reached a turning point. In January 1986, Gibson was sold from Norlin to three enthusiasts Henry Juszkiewicz, David Berryman and Gary Zebrowski. The reputation of Gibson had been badly hurt during the Norlin era (late 1969 - 1986). Therefore, the year 1986 was very important in Gibson's long history and only through a recall and return to traditional standards of quality and the use of best tone woods, it was not only possible to gain back the confidence of customers but also to immediately improve the quality to a level comparabel with Kalamazoo's best just as this example shows us.

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