Gibson J-185 Flattop Guitar

Description: Gibson J185 guitar
Available: 1951 to 1959 (the 1959 models were probably made in 1958 and shipped in 1959). Also recently reissued by Gibson.
Case: Brown hardshell case with a pink lining was the top-end Gibson case. The mid-line case was a brown hardshell with a green or brown lining. Also sold a cardboard aligator case for those on a budget.
Collectibility Rating: B+
Production: 1951:77, 1952:161, 1953:151, 1954:128, 1955:76, 1956:124, 1957:104, 1958:69, 1959:28
General Comments: This is an amazing jumbo guitar by Gibson. Though they didn't make a ton of these in the 1950s, it's a great guitar. The feel, size and sound is very punchy, but not as dry sounding as a J-200. Also the look of the bridge and maple back and sides is very impressive. The mahogany neck seems to smooth out the maple body, making the J-185 a better sounding guitar than the J-200. Not as fancy or big or as impressive looking as the J-200, but the J-185 is a nice sound, comfortable guitar to play.

If you need to figure out the exact year of your Gibson J-185 guitar, use the serial number. This is located inside the body, on a white or orangle label inside the body's sound hole. See the Gibson Serial Number Info web page for help determining the exact year.

If you have a vintage Gibson J-185 guitar for sale, please contact me at

1951 Gibson J-185 guitar introduction specs:
16" wide jumbo body shape, maple back and sides, 2 pearl Maltese cross inlays on the top belly (belly towards soundhole) bridge, triple bound top and back, mahagony neck, tortoise shell pickguard with a point. (On many 1951 models the pickguard color is often a light tortoise color, different than other Gibsons. In 1952 the pickguard color falls more in line with other Gibsons models, being a deeper red/brown color.) Tall scaloped braces, 24.75" scale length, single bound rosewood fingerboard with 19 frets, double parallelagram fingerboard inlays, pearl logo, crown peghead inlay, gold plated parts, individual "tulip" single ring Kluson tuners, natural or sunburst finish.

1954 Gibson J-185 guitar specs:
bridge saddle changed from slide-from-the-side style, to a "drop in" shorter bridge saddle.

1955 Gibson J-185 guitar specs:
shorter non-scaloped braces used, an additional 20th fret added to the fingerboard.

Gibson J-185 guitar discontinued 1959. Re-introduced with different specs in 1990.

A 1957 Gibson J-185 guitar.

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