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The First Loudness War With the advent of digital recording technology in the 1990s, the airwaves became a battleground as record companies competed to see who could get their releases to sound the loudest in a contest known as "The Loudness War." But, did you know that there was another loudness war of an entirely different sort during the Depression? The guitar to the right, a Custom Shop 1934 Jumbo, was part of the opening salvo in the conflict.

During the Depression, live sound reinforcement was hard to come by. So, for bigger gigs, you needed a loud guitar--no ifs, ands, or buts about it. To meet player's demands, the C.F. Martin Guitar Company introduced their first dreadnought guitar--a big-bodied beast named after a battleship. Not to be outdone, Gibson decided to escalate the volume war by building a wooden cannon of their own. When the sawdust settled, the Gibson Jumbo arrived in all of its resplendent glory. It cost sixty dollars, so it was something of a Depression-era luxury item, but that didn't stop it from capturing the hearts of players like Charlie Monroe, who played his Jumbo on his recordings with his brother, Bill, the father of bluegrass.

Because the original Jumbo was so expensive, it only stayed in production for two years before Gibson discontinued it in favor of the budget-friendly J-35 and the luxurious Advanced Jumbo. Since they didn't produce many Jumbos, vintage examples have achieved holy grail status, and they sometimes fetch over 25,000 on the vintage market. Thankfully, Gibson's Acoustic Custom Shop has reissued the '34 Jumbo, and it sounds like it came out of a time capsule, so it's much, much easier to find that sweet, sweet pre-war tone. Let's take a closer look and see how they captured the Jumbo's mojo!

Ginormous Jumbo Tone So, how do Gibson's luthiers imbue these modern guitars with so much vintage mojo? The answer is twofold: they use high-quality tonewoods, and they assemble them using time-consuming old-world manufacturing techniques. With spectacular materials and tons of elbow grease, they are able to achieve incredible levels of vintage accuracy. They hand-scallop every brace, and they use hot hide glue to attach each brace to the body with hot hide glue to maximize energy transfer. Though these procedures are time-consuming, they pay incredible dividends to each instrument's resonance and responsiveness.

Speaking of which, this guitar also comes with a super-thin VOS nitrocellulose lacquer finish that allows the wood to breathe and resonate like a vintage guitar.

Take it From the Top When we're talking about acoustic tonewoods, it is always most appropriate to start at the top--the thermally-aged red Adirondack spruce top, that is! Here at Wildwood, we love Adirondack spruce because of the way it supercharges an acoustic guitar's tone. It imparts a woody, articulate attack, extra headroom and midrange punch, and a big volume boost--all of which are present in these '34 Jumbos.

Adirondack spruce was what Gibson used in the thirties, but vintage Jumbos have the benefit of "opening up" over decades of use. So, to help these modern recreations sound more like vintage instruments, Gibson thermally ages the tops. By removing excess moisture from the wood, the fine folks at Gibson Montana are able to simulate the tonal properties of old wood from one of these "played-in" old guitars. As a result, the '34 Jumbo has incredible openness and warmth.

Paired with the warmth and midrange punch imparted by the mahogany back and sides, this thermally-aged Adirondack spruce sounds glorious. All in all, the 1934 Jumbo sounds big, open, and warm with a wide dynamic range. It captures the spirit and vibe of those original Jumbos with impeccable accuracy, and playing one feels like stepping into one of your favorite old records.

Louder Than Bombs We're proud to showcase the 1934 Jumbo from Gibson's Acoustic Custom Shop. It's a fitting tribute to Gibson's first big-bodied guitar, and it is a true wooden cannon. We know it will inspire you to embark on all sorts of epic fretboard adventures!
  • Model: 1934 Jumbo
  • Type: Slope-Shoulder Dreadnought
  • Finish Color: Vintage Sunburst
  • Finish Type: Thin VOS Nitrocellulose Lacquer
  • Top Wood: Solid Thermally-Aged Adirondack Red Spruce
  • Back & Sides Wood: Solid Mahogany
  • Neck Wood: Mahogany
  • Neck Joint: Compound Dovetail
  • Neck Shape: Historic Thick V
  • Neck Dimensions: .990 1st - 1.140 9th
  • Fretboard Material: Indian Rosewood
  • Fingerboard Inlays: Mother-of-Pearl Diamonds and Arrows
  • Scale Length: 25"
  • Width at Nut: 1.75"
  • Nut Material: Bone
  • Binding: Single-Ply Top, Single-Ply Back
  • Tuners: Waverlys
  • Bridge: Rectangle w/Open Slot
  • Saddle: Compensated Bone
  • Case: Hardshell Case

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ConditionBrand New (New)
Brand New items are sold by an authorized dealer or original builder and include all original packaging.Learn more
Brand
Model
  • Jumbo
Finish
  • Custom
Categories
Made In
  • United States
Body Shape
  • Dreadnought

Wildwood Guitars

Louisville, CO, United States
Sales:4,711
Joined Reverb:2014

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