National Music Museum Logo   National Music Museum  
Home  Collections
Virtual Tour
Calendar Gift Shop FAQ Site Index Maker Index


NMM 12575.  Guitar by Gibson, Inc., Kalamazoo, ca. 1953.
Jumbo "185" (J-185) model (16-1/4″).
Factory Order Number Y6946-32.
John R. Barmeyer Collection, 2006.

NMM 12575.  Guitar by Gibson, Inc., Kalamazoo, 1953.

The J-185, a guitar with a narrow-waisted body shape known as the "jumbo," was first offered in 1951. It features a lightly figured maple back and ribs that bring out the classic, shaded, lacquer finish described in a catalog of the period as the "Gibson Golden Sunburst."

Front, Side, and Back Views

Click on any image on this page to see an enlargement
NMM 12575.  Guitar by Gibson, Inc., Kalamazoo, ca. 1953. Treble side of guitar Bass side of guitar Back of guitar

Inscriptions:  Printed on oval paper label with double-line border, the outer line thicker, the style and letter "A" of number written in black ink, the instrument name and number rubber-stamped in black ink:  Style J-185 / Gibson GUITAR / NumberA16591 is hereby / GUARANTEED / against faulty workmanship and materials. / GIBSON, Inc. / KALAMAZOO, MICH. / U. S. A.
Inlaid in mother-of-pearl on headstock:  Gibson
Rubber-stamped in black ink on neck block:  Y6946 -32
Written in pencil on inside of back below uppermost brace, on bass side:  X


Front and Back Views of the Body

Front of guitar Back of guitar

Body:  Soundboard:  two-piece spruce: wide grain broadening toward the flanks. Back:  two-piece, slab-cut maple with faint, narrow curl and pith flecks. Ribs:  two-piece, slab-cut maple with faint, narrow curl and pith flecks, reinforced on inside with 10 spruce reinforcement grafts with tapered ends glued to inside of ribs. Head:  mahogany veneered with black lacquered maple; black-over-white celluloid bell-shaped truss rod cover secured with nickel-plated, steel, phillip’s-head screws. Neck:  mahogany; integral with head.

Fretboard, Front and Back of Peghead, Bridge

Fretboard Front of peghead Back of peghead Back of neck


Trim:  Heel cap:  none. Fingerboard:  rosewood bound in white celluloid; 19 nickel-silver frets; imitation mother-of-pearl, plastic, split-parallelogram inlays behind 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 12th, 15th, and 17th frets; single, imitation tortoise-shell, celluloid side dots behind 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 15th, and 17th frets; double, imitation tortoise-shell, celluloid side dots behind 12th fret. Nut:  translucent white plastic. Bridge:  rosewood with curved upper end; single mother-of-pearl dots inlaid beside E-string bridge pins; mother-of-pearl Maltese crosses inlaid at each end of bridge; angled, translucent, white plastic saddle; white plastic bridge pins. Tuners:  six Kluson gold-plated, steel, worm-gear machine tuners with enclosed mechanisms; tulip-shaped, marbled, white plastic heads. Endpin:  white plastic. Pick guard:  imitation tortoise-shell celluloid. Lacquer: dark red-brown sunburst.

Neck Heel, Soundhole, and Pick Guard

Neck Heel

Soundhole Pick Guard

Inlay:  Head:  mother-of-pearl "Gibson" and geometric crown. Binding:  white celluloid; with two-ply, black-and-white celluloid trim. Rosette:  five-ply (white-black-white-black-white) celluloid purfling strips set in from inside edge. Back stripe:  none. End graft:  none.

Interior:  Linings:  kerfed mahogany. Neck block:  mahogany. 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. Back graft:  maple.

Bottom Rib

Bottom Rib

Measurements:  Total guitar length:  1030 mm (40-9/16″)
Back length:  513 mm (20-3/16″)
Upper bout width:  294 mm (11-19/32″)
Waist width:  236 mm (9-9/32″)
Lower bout width:  411 mm (16-3/16″)
Rib height (including edging) at heel:  99 mm (4-29/32″)
Rib height, at waist:  109 mm (4-9/32″)
Rib height, at end block:  123 mm (4-27/32″)
Head length:  169 mm (6-21/32″)
Head width, top:  78 mm (3-1/16″)
Head width, bottom:  69 mm (2-23/32″)
Neck length (nut to ribs):  350 mm (13-25/32″)
Neck width, nut:  42 mm (1-23/32″)
Neck width, heel:  54 mm (2-1/8″)
Soundhole diameter:  101 mm (3-31/32″)
Vibrating string length (nut to bridge edge):  high E:  632 mm (24-7/8″); low E:  635 mm (25″)

Return to Gibson Acoustic Guitar Checklist

National Music Museum
The University of South Dakota
414 East Clark Street
Vermillion, SD 57069

©National Music Museum, 2006-2014
Most recent update: March 24, 2014

The University of South Dakota
Return to Top of Page