Ask someone who owns a Nick Lucas special, if they imagined a guitar worth $20,000 today could have been purchased for $125 dollars new from the factory in the 1930s. Gibson Acoustic Guitars have proven to be a good investment over time, but none so much as those early limited-edition runs.
The master luthiers at the Gibson facility are seeking to change that. Today’s equivalent of those special limited-edition runs is Gibson’s Five Star Dealer exclusive custom models.
In order to help support our valued Five Star Dealer network as well as offer the guitar connoisseur a choice in collectable instruments, the Gibson development team builds a series of unique models each year that are only available to our Five Star network of dealers.
The exclusive Five Star Dealer guitars offered in 2011 are a master collection of pieces that cover the gamut from early classics to modern interpretations of Gibson icons, each with unique qualities designed to be assets in the collectible market.
For the historic 1930s series, Gibson Master Luthier Ren Ferguson set out to build the most authentic limited-edition reissues from Gibson’s early classic period: the J-35, L-00 and L-1 models.
Each of these master works is hand crafted from a Red Spruce top in order to reproduce the vintage tone of the original 1930s models. The top braces are precision cut to match the originals, hand fit to the top by Ferguson using historic bracing patterns and techniques then set with Gibson’s custom hide glue in his personal workshop. The L-1’s back and back bracing is finished by Ferguson in the same fashion.
Inside each guitar collectors will find inscribed and dated “For Gibson by Ren Ferguson.”
After the tops for each guitar leave Ferguson’s workshop, the back and sides on the L-00 and J-35 are fashioned from Mahogany by the master craftsmen in Bozeman.
Each guitar dons a customary bone nut and saddle. The J-35 is finished in an antique natural lacquer, while the L-00 and L-1 bear the traditional ‘30s dark burst lacquer. And, for the first time since Gibson Acoustics have been made in Montana, all three include a period-correct silk-screened peg head logo.
These models, as with their counterparts from the last century, are exceptionally responsive due to their lightweight and traditional construction. They are crafted from the same woods, have slim, tall braces and traditional finishes which provides the perfect foundation for an instrument’s personality to mature and blossom. We expect these guitars to exceed the connoisseur’s expectations in tone, performance and value. The Historic Luthier’s Choice run is available only to Five Star Dealers in the United States.
In this year’s second offering, Ferguson and his team are highlighting the 60th Anniversary of the J-185 and the 75th Anniversary of the Advanced Jumbo. This anniversary run will be available to Five Star Dealers worldwide.
The J-185 model, one of Gibson’s best kept and highly coveted secrets, was originally released in 1951. A relatively rare model, Ferguson celebrates this classic flat-top with a 60 -piece run. The anniversary model’s Adirondack Red Spruce top, Quilted Maple back and sides, and traditional bracing pattern give this guitar a bold and powerful voice. This model is available in an antique natural or vintage sunburst finish. With only 60 guitars being produced, the J-185 60th Anniversary is certain to be as desirable to collectors as the originals.
When Gibson designed the Advanced Jumbo in 1935, they set out “to produce the best-sounding, most powerful flat-top to date.” The 75th Anniversary Advanced Jumbo lives up to its ancestor’s reputation as the standard by which every other flat-top is judged. The 75th Anniversary AJ features a premium Bavarian Spruce Top, considered one of the finest soundboard material woods ever used for instruments. The guitar’s back and sides are crafted from Indian tonewood, handpicked by Ferguson for its exceptional reflective nature and superior resonance. Finished in a brand new “Montana Sunset” bursted-top, the guitar enjoys ebony-bound fingerboard and bridge, a Baggs Element pickup system, solid bone nut, saddle, and bridge pins for maximum tonal power, and an engraved 75th Anniversary truss rod cover. Only 75 guitars will be produced in this model.
Any connoisseur of rare special-run guitars knows how instruments such as these grow in value. For example, a 1930s AJ in good condition will Blue Book around $60,000. Other Master Works by Ren Ferguson have been known to command as much as $100,000.
Gibson is proud to have a network of dealer partners who recognize and appreciate the unique offering of these collectable instruments. With a select few Five Star Dealers worldwide and an even fewer number of guitars built with this level of hand craftsmanship, we look forward to seeing these guitars grow not only as exceptional players, but also as investments.
To find a dealer that carries any of these unique models, go to the Five Star Dealer page at http://www2.gibson.com/Support/5-Star-Dealers.aspx