This is a very limited edition re-issue of a guitar that Gibson released in the late 30’s/early 40’s. Even when it was initially released, the original run of this particular guitar was extremely limited. Gibson created 100 of these guitars–with ebony mustache bridge and unique, stair-step headstock–in 1994 and a quick consulting of The Google suggests that the amount of original j55’s released all those decades ago was just as scarce as this hand-made re-make.
It is essentially either a long scale j45 or a mahogany Advanced Jumbo–depending on how you look at it. Unlike those two models, though, this one has a beautifully smooth ebony fretboard.
Gibson J-55 (Jumbo 55) ( 1939 – 1943 )
In 1934 gibson introduced the first jumbo flat top which was called the gibson jumbo , this guitar led to the gibson jumbo 35 (j-35) in 1936 , the j-35 then was replaced by the j-45 in 1942 .
While these historic gibson guitars were making history , in 1939 they also introduced about 400 guitars that were very similar to the J-35 with some features like the SJ-100. These acoustic guitars were named the gibson Jumbo 55 or J-55 and were priced at $55-$60 .
In 1939 the gibson jumbo 55 had a 16″ wide body , mahogany back and sides , round shouldered , moustache bridge ( see 2nd pic ) like the sj-100 but smaller , stairstep peghead shape with pearl inlaid logos, sloped scalopped pickguards , and were made in sunburst finishes .
In 1940 standard gibson pegheads replaced the stairstep pegheads , in 1941 moustache bridges were replaced with batwig bridges ( see 1rst pic ) . The jumbo 55 was discontinued in early 1943 .
In 1973 they reintroduced the gibson j-55 with square shoulders , arched backs , laminated mahogany back and sides , square bridges and were made in natural finishes ( very similar to the j-50 ) , these gibson guitars were discontinued in 1982 .
In 1994 they made a Jumbo 55 limited edition, they were 16″ wide more like the original model and only 100 were made . ( sunburst finishes )