The Twelfth Fret ~ Since 1977 ~

❌SOLD❌ Gibson J-185 Jumbo Natural, 2003


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Here we have a Gibson J-185 Jumbo bodied steel string in Antique Natural finish, built during December of 2003 at the Gibson Acoustic plant in Bozeman, Montana. The J-185 is a very good but likely under-appreciated guitar, being overshadowed by the better known and slightly larger J-200. Currently, the available version is the J-185 Original.

Making its debut in 1951, the Gibson J-185 is a spruce and maple jumbo body guitar, sharing materials with but smaller than the Super Jumbo J-200. The clarity and punch from the maple back and sides make it an excellent guitar for rhythm or fingerstyle, particularly in country or folk genres.

J-185 production first ran from 1951 to 1959, then from 1990 to 1995, and resumed in 1999 till today, with the current production at the Gibson Acoustic shop in Bozeman, Montana.

The Gibson J-185 and J200 have many similarities and the key differences are not always seen at first glance. Both feature the Jumbo body shape, Sitka Spruce top with Figured Maple for the sides and back, and Rosewood for the fingerboard and bridge. The J-185 however has a Mahogany neck with 24.75 inch scale length to the J-200’s Maple neck with 25.5 inch scale length. As well, the J-185’s body is .75 inches smaller than the J-200’s 16.75 inch body width. These differences can make the J-185 more comfortable to the average-height player.

This Gibson J-185 dates to December 18, 2003 and was built at Bozeman, Montana. It is in good overall condition, with little fret or finish wear. The original Kluson-style tuners have been replaced with Grover Roto-Matics.

It’s likely that this guitar originally had an undersaddle L R Baggs VTC system installed, and this has been fully removed. An L R Baggs M1 magnetic, hum-cancelling soundhole pickup has been installed in its place, with the cables running to and endpin jack; an extra strap pin has been added at the tail block.

Overall, this is a very nice guitar to play, with good action, great tone, and comfortable physical proportions.

The original Gibson branded arched top hard shell case is included.

Here’s What L R Baggs says about the M1 pickup system:

“The M1 is a patented humbucking pickup with a twist. In a common stacked humbucker, the lower coil cancels hum, but doesn’t contribute anything positive to the sound. We unlock the lower coil with a carefully tuned support that allows it to capture higher frequency resonances. As the pickup moves with the guitar’s soundboard, a body signal is created in the suspended coil that adds presence and realism to your amplified sound.”

More From The Builder On The Current J-185 Original:

“The Gibson J-185 is believed by many to be one of Gibson’s best acoustic instruments, yet it seems to be fairly obscure, much to the delight of devoted Gibson lovers. Originally released in the early 1950s and designed to be slight smaller than its larger companion, the SJ-200, the J-185 still offers superior performance and tone. The J-185 Original maintains unsurpassed balance of lows, mids, and highs, with equal response to every note on the fretboard. Acclaimed by many as the perfect body size and shape for any player. “

Current Gibson J-185 Original Specifications:

  • Body Shape: J-185
  • Top: Sitka spruce
  • Back: Flame maple
  • Side: Flame maple
  • Bracing: Traditional hand scalloped X-bracing
  • Binding: Multi-ply top, multi-ply back
  • Finish: Nitrocellulose
  • Neck Material: Mahogany
  • Profile: Slim Taper
  • Scale Length: 24.75″ / 628.65mm
  • Fingerboard Material: Rosewood
  • Fingerboard Radius: 12″
  • Number Of Frets: 20
  • Frets: Standard
  • Nut Material: Bone
  • Nut Width: 1.72″ / 43.81mm
  • Inlays: Mother-of-pearl Parallelograms
  • Neck Joint: Compound Dovetail Neck-to-body
  • Tuner Plating: Nickel
  • Bridge: Traditional belly up
  • Saddle Material: Bone
  • Tuning Machines: Gotoh Keystone
  • Pickguard: J-185
  • Truss Rod Cover: Black and White
  • Bridge Pins: Tusq
  • Strings Gauge: 0.053, 0.042, 0.032, 0.024, 0.016, 0.012
  • Case: Hardshell Case

Price: $2,750.00 CAD
  • Model: J-185
  • Year: 2003
  • Finish Antique Natural
  • Class: Used
  • Serial Number: 03523006, dated to December 18 2003 at Bozeman MT
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Condition: Good
  • Date Posted: 14/09/2023

  • This instrument has been sold
  • Consignment Item

  • Including original Hard case
  • Instrument Weight: 5.06lbs 2.3kg
  • Scale Length: 24.64in 626mm
  • Nut Width: 1.748in 44.39mm
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