10/22/2016

1968 Fake "Gibson" Everly Brothers Jumbo Flattop Guitar





Update November 2016: It was determined that this guitar is actually a fake! The owner was contacted by a knowledgeable person and so I've updated the post.

Gibson only made so many Everly Brothers guitars and this is not one of them, unfortunately. To begin with it's an odd duck with its mahogany back and sides (most are maple or walnut). Its "serial" dates it to 1968 -- though it's likely a 70s build -- and the owner was informed that it's possibly Japanese in origin. The interior label is incorrect as well and the extra-skinny neck is strange even for the slick 1 5/8" SG-style necks I think of when dreaming about late-60s Gibson. The stars are too big in the fretboard, the headstock veneer isn't right and is bound when it shouldn't be, and the herringbone purfling is something Gibson just didn't use. Now that I'm looking at it more suspiciously, too the rosette is wrong as well.

The size and shape is basically an alternate version of Gibson's highly-collectible J-185 model with its 24 3/4" short scale, 16" jumbo body (compared to the 17" of a J-200), and flashy trim. The neck on this is rock-and-roll quick and slim (C-shaped) with a 1 1/2" nut width. Barred chords and cowboy shapes are easy-peasy, here, and you could definitely imagine this as a heavy-handed strummer's dreamboat -- or a good choice for an old-fashioned lady country singer.

I worked on this for a customer and it was a difficult job due to the presence of a botched neck reset done in the past (1973 to be exact, per an interior stamp on the backstrip). The rest of the old repairs (some hairline cracks, a replacement bridge, and a headstock crack repair) were done quite well and have passed the test of time. My work included resetting the neck again (which involved shoring-up a "pinched" neck joint), a fret level/dress, bridge pinhole fill/redrill, modification of the saddle slot, a new saddle, regluing the treble-side broken pickguard, and general setup.

After work it plays on-the-dot at 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE at the 12th fret, has a healthily-tall saddle, and is structurally stable. It also, of course, looks grand!


This guitar has a solid spruce top, solid mahogany back, sides, and neck and an ebony bridge and fretboard. It's got binding on the top, back, and board edges and herringbone purfling at the top edge.


You can see the old headstock crack repair right below the E-string tuners. The job was well-done and it remains stable.


It looks like the fretboard may have had a leveling in the past as the top of the biggest star has its point "nipped" out due to a shallow board. The nut, once again, is 1 1/2" and the neck has a fast, slim, C-shaped profile. The frets are possibly replacements and are jumbo-sized with plenty of meat left after my level/dress job. The neck is straight and the truss works well.


There are a lot of little cracks in the fretboard binding.


When I reset the neck, I knocked the angle back a bunch and had to wedge the board up a bit at the extension. This area is not the most beautiful aesthetically because of mucky repair-work done in the past, but it's "all good."

The "pinched" neck block area is due either to damage sustained when the guitar originally was dropped (I'm guessing) or to someone not fully-regluing the neck block to the top. It's stabilized, now, and good to go.



It's nice to have those original guards!

The trim is pretty nice on this guitar, though the herringbone purfling is bizarre on a Gibson-style guitar.


This style of bridge does not match Gibson-style bridges used on the Everly Brothers guitars. They should have an oversized "reverse belly" bridge with pinless loading from the rear (like a classical or late-60s Harmony Sovereign). It's ebony and has been shaved down at least once in its past.

The original bridge plate (which is very thin 1/32" or so rosewood) was also capped with a very thin 1/32" or so maple plate in the past.


When I did my work I filled the "swooped" pin holes (in an arc) and then drilled a new set of holes on a line to get more of a 45-degree back-angle on the saddle. I also enlarged and deepened the saddle slot so I could put a nice, tall, drop-in saddle in place and have it remain nice and snug. It's worked-out swell.




The treble-side pickguard was off when this came in and was broken in a few pieces. I reglued it back on and suggested to the owner that even though the celluloid has some "outgassing" (crumbling) issues, that it would be cooler to re-use the original. I think you can't beat the look of the real thing even with some flaws.






The original tuners were long gone and it looks like someone added "steps" for these 70s Rotos to be installed. It looks good, though.






Please don't blame me for some of the mucky edges around the neck area -- it was a bit murky in spots when it got here.




I forgot to mention that there's an old 70s Barcus Berry installed! It's the long "bar" type and I reglued it under the saddle area. The output is good and it sounds like a less-articulate K&K. These are some of my favorite old transducers and they're far better than an old undersaddle pup.



"1973 - Restored by Valdez - West Hollywood."


An original Gibson hard case comes with it -- in good shape!



Let's talk condition issues. I mentioned that the neck had a previous reset before mine -- and it also has a previous reglue of a split in the lower portion of the heel. No worries -- it's good.


There are also a few small hairlines (glued-up in the past) on the side, here.


You saw the headstock break from the front before -- here it is from the back.


There are also some clumsily-reglued small hairlines on the back of the guitar. Here's one.


Here's another. I've added small cleats to both of these where I could get them in spots not cluttered with glue beading on the inside...


This one is good and I can't even spot it on the inside.


The ugliest is this 2 1/2" one that wasn't glued-up "flat." It's been glued-up and is stable but shows a little "edge." It's way in the lower bout so I couldn't really reach that far in to scrape off the excess glue and cleat it. No worries, though -- it doesn't move and has been this way, presumably, since '73.

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