Gibson Jumbo 55 (J-55) Flattop Guitar

Description: Gibson Jumbo 55 (J-55) flat top guitar
Available: 1939 to 1944.
Collectibility Rating: Moustache Bridge models: A, Batwing bridge models: B+.
Production: About 400 total made.
General Comments: Introduced as a slightly fancier J-35. About 400 of the J55 was made, and I would love to find one! Please contact me if you have one for sale.

The J-55 was third best in Gibson's acoustic line up at the time (1939). It was meant to compete directly against Martin. At the instroduction price of $55, it certainly was less expensive than a D28 (about $100). In 1941 when the model changed from the very ornate moustache bridge to the easier-to-make batwing style (along with a change in the peghead from stairstep to smooth), the model was less elegant. In 1942 the price increased too to $68.25 reflecting the changing economy due to war efforts. The J-55 was eventually discontinued in 1943.

If you need to figure out the exact year of your Gibson Jumbo 55 guitar, use the FON Factory Order Number. This is located inside the body's sound hole on the neck block. See the Gibson Serial Number Info web page for help determining the exact year.

J.Spann's book on FON numbers shows us some pre-war examples of SJ-55 batches:

    • 166f = J-55
    • 522f = J-55
    • 754f = J-55
    • 758f = J-55
    • 808f = J-55
    • 1285g = J-55
    • 2670g = J-55
    • 3002g = J-55
    • 3285g = J-55
    • 3570g = J-55
    • 4260g = J-55
    • 4935g = J-55
    • 5227g = J-55
    • 5285g = J-55

If you have a vintage Gibson J55 guitar for sale, please contact me at

1939 Gibson Jumbo 55 (J-55) guitar introduction specs:
$55 retail list price, 16" wide, 10 5/8" wide at the waist, 20.25" long body, 4 3/16" thick, round shoulder dreadnought shape, mahogany back and sides and neck, fire strip "terraced" pickguard does not follow contour of body edge, open moustache shaped bridge with cutouts at bridge ends and two pearl dots, bridge pins in a semi-circular pattern, one piece saddle, bound "coffeewood" (ebony) fingerboard, dot fingerboard inlays, pearl "fat" peghead "Gibson" logo, stairstep peghead shape, bound top and back and neck, individual Kluson tuners with amber buttons, baseball bat style neck shape, round neck heel, 25.5" scale length, sunburst finish.

1940 Gibson J-55 guitar specs:
standard Gibson peghead shape (too hard/expensive to make the stair step pattern).

1941 Gibson J-55 guitar specs:
a 3-point "batwing" rosewood bridge with beveled edges and 3 pearl dots replaces the moustache bridge, bridge pins in a straight line, rosewood fingerboard, two unscalloped tone bars, 24.75" scale length, often a white line inlaid down the center of the fingerboard, less expensive white button tuners now used, a few made with rosewood back/sides or rosewood sides and mahagany back.

Gibson J-55 guitar discontinued 1943 (though in the Gibson shipping records shows up July 1944). Retail price at discontinuation was $68.25. Re-introduced 1973 with different specs.

1940 Gibson Jumbo 55 guitar with moustache bridge:

1941 Gibson Jumbo 55 guitar with "batwing" bridge:

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