A 1940 Gibson J-35 acoustic was recently featured on the Vintage Guitar website, as part of the publication’s “Classic Instruments” series. After providing a brief history of Gibson’s entry into the dreadnought market, the article focuses on the mid ‘30s introduction of the J-35, pointing out that the instrument’s name derived from its list price of $35.00.

“Though budget-priced, the J-35 was a well-made instrument with lightweight construction, giving it a fine sound,” notes the author. “Early J-35s have a so-called French heel with pointed tip, but by ’39, Gibson introduced a wider, more-rounded heel and offered the option of clear natural finish. By 1940, the top bracing was altered with two scalloped tone bars below the bridge. Production of the J-35 continued through ’43.”

The article also notes that Gibson manufactured J-35s in far greater quantities than any other pre-war Gibson dreadnought, with the average annual quantity totaling 380 units from 1937 through 1940. In 1941, production of the J-35 surged to 855.

“Though the J-35 was an inexpensive guitar when new … today, it is held in high regard by collectors and musicians, its desirability and superb sound due not only to woods, but the fact it was lightly built with thin top and light bracing, which gives great power as well as fine tone,” states the author, adding that “ … those that are properly maintained are inspiring guitars, and prove that an instrument’s list price is not always proportional to the quality of its sound or its desirability as a vintage model.”

To read the article in-full, and to view photos, click here.