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NMM 10876.  Guitar by Gibson, Inc., Kalamazoo, 1939.
Jumbo "55" (J-55) (16″).  Factory Order Number EA-5651 / 613 E. 
Brian Fischer Collection, 2005.

NMM 10876.  Guitar by Gibson, Inc., Kalamazoo, 1939

The J-55 was introduced in 1939, adding a third grade of Jumbo dreadnaught to Gibsonís line at the time. Gibsonís Jumbo was very close in dimensions to Martin's D-28 model, although with slightly more rounded shoulders. The two designs competed head-to-head in the marketplace, but the J-55 sold for only $55 compared to $100 for the D-28 just before World War II. J-55s made before 1941 feature Gibsonís iconic "moustache" bridge and Zigzag Moderne stairstep peghead.

Inscriptions:  Inlaid in mother-of-pearl on headstockGibson

Branded on back of head (image at right):  EA-5651

Rubber-stamped in purple ink on neck block (image below):  613 E

Number stamped on neck block
Number branded on back of head

Front, Side, and Back Views

NMM 10876.  Guitar by Gibson, Inc., Kalamazoo, Michigan, 1939 Treble side view Bass side view Back view

Body:  Soundboard:  two-piece spruce: wide, irregular grain. Back:  two-piece mahogany; no back stripe; joint to treble side of center. Ribs:  two-piece mahogany; reinforced on interior with series of spruce grafts. Head:  mahogany veneered with dark tropical hardwood; "Gibson" mother-of-pearl inlay; black celluloid bell-shaped truss rod cover secured with nickel-plated steel philipís head screws. Neck:  mahogany.

Front of body Back of body

Front and Back of Peghead

Front of peghead Back of peghead

Inlay:  Binding:  white celluloid. Rosette:  three-ply (white-black-white) celluloid purfling strips set in from inside edge. Back stripe:  none. End graft:  none.


Fretboard, Soundhole, and Pickguard


Trim:  Heel cap:  none. Fingerboard:  ebony bound in white celluloid; 20 nickel-silver frets; single mother-of-pearl dots inlaid behind 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, and 15th frets; double mother-of-pearl dots inlaid behind 12th fret; single imitation tortoise-shell celluloid side dots behind 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, and 15th frets; double imitation tortoise-shell celluloid side dots behind 12th fret. Nut:  bone. Bridge:  ebony with decoratively curled ends and cutouts, known as "moustache"; two mother-of-pearl dots, once each inlaid on sides of bridge pins; angled bone saddle; white celluloid bridge pins with mother-of-pearl eyes. Tuners:  six chrome-plated steel worm-gear machine tuners with decoratively cut plate outlines; clear plastic heads. Endpin:  white celluloid. Pick guard:  imitation tortoise-shell celluloid; decoratively cut upper edge. Lacquer:  dark-brown sunburst.

Neck Heel

Neck heel

Bridge and Bottom Rib


Bottom rib

Interior:  Linings:  kerfed maple. Neck block:  mahogany; beveled corners. End block:  mahogany. Top bracing:  spruce X-brace, the joint of main cross brace reinforced with white cloth; transverse and finger braces with tapered ends; maple bridge plate. Back braces:  four spruce back braces with tapered ends ends and chamfered edges, the two in the lower bouts wider. Back graft:  spruce.

Measurements:  Total guitar length:  1037 mm (40-1/2″)
Back length:  516 mm (20-1/4″)
Upper bout width:  291 mm (11-17/32″)
Waist width:  268 mm (10-11/16″)
Lower bout width:  406 mm (16-1/16″)
Rib height (including edging) at heel:  96 mm (4-29/32″)
Rib height, at waist:  107 mm (4-1/4″)
Rib height, at end block:  122 mm (4-27/32″)
Head length:  167 mm (6-17/32″)
Head width, top:  73 mm (2-13/16″)
Head width, bottom:  85 mm (2-5/16″)
Neck length (nut to ribs):  355 mm (13-7/8″)
Neck width, nut:  42 mm (1-23/32″)
Neck width, heel:  54 mm (2-5/32″)
Soundhole diameter:  101 mm (3-31/32″)
Vibrating string length (nut to bridge edge):  high E:  644 mm (24-7/8″); low E:  646 mm (25″)

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Most recent update: March 24, 2014

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