The top of the Super Dove is made from beautiful AAA-grade Sitka spruce, while the back and sides are constructed from AAA-grade Eastern curly maple, giving the Super Dove all the deep, rich tone, clarity and presence expected from a Gibson Super Jumbo. Selecting the right wood, and the formula to dry it out, are two of the most central procedures to Gibson’s guitar-building process. Beginning with its first catalog in 1903, Gibson has assured its customers that every guitar would be built using woods with “the most durable, elastic, and sonorous qualities,” and today’s guitars from Gibson Acoustic are no different.
Serial # 10140014
Every acoustic guitar made by Gibson features hand-scalloped, radiused top bracing inside the body, a feature normally found only in limited run, hand-made guitars. By scalloping each brace by hand, the natural sound of the acoustic is focused more toward the center of the body, enhancing the instrument’s sound projection. The lightweight bracing pattern inside the Super Dove—the same pattern used in Gibson’s first Super Jumbo in 1937—is constructed to support and strengthen a very large surface, thus allowing the top more freedom of movement to vibrate and project sound. The placement of the braces inside the Super Dove also creates powerful, deep lows with full frequency range, producing the incredibly balanced, huge sound Gibson’s Super Jumbos are so noted for.
A rosette is the beautiful, hand-crafted circle around the soundhole, and can be one of the most ornamental elements of any acoustic guitar. It is also one of the most subtle and complicated woodworking decorations on any acoustic guitar. The rosette on the Super Dove is a double-ring rosette, with the main ring consisting of seven-ply binding, and the second ring three-ply binding, adding a stylish, understated elegance to the Super Dove.
The top of many “flat-top” guitars are under a lot of stress from the pull of the strings, which can eventually compromise the top. So, while most acoustic guitars are true “flat-top” guitars, all of the acoustics produced by Gibson in Bozeman, Montana have a radiused, or “tuned” top. Instead of being perfectly flat, a radiused or “tuned” top is raised slightly, and a special instrument is used to shape the top braces to the radius of the top. This process adds tension and strengthens the top, creating a less stressful joint where the top meets the sides and reducing the stresses of string pull. It also results in a “speaker cone” effect that maximizes sound projection, adding a significant boost to mid-range levels for a more balanced acoustic tone.
Applying a nitrocellulose finish to any Gibson acoustic guitar—including the Super Dove— is one of the most labor-intensive elements of the guitar-making process. Unlike the polyurethane finishes used by many guitar manufacturers, a nitrocellulose lacquer finish is porous when cured, allowing the wood to naturally “breathe” and mature. Microscopically thin, many finish colors require up to seven evenly applied layers to complete, each of which is inspected, leveled, and wet polished between coats for a glass-like finish. The time-consuming nature of a nitro finish has been employed ever since the first Gibson guitar was swathed with lacquer back in 1894. Why? For starters, a nitro finish means there is less interference with the natural vibration of the instrument, allowing for a purer tone. It’s also a softer finish, making it easily repairable. You can touch up a scratch or ding on a nitro finish, but you can’t do the same on a poly finish.
In general, a guitar’s binding serves as a cosmetic feature, adding a subtle elegance to any Gibson acoustic while hiding the joints between the top, back, and sides, and helping to protect the guitar’s body from any nicks or dings. But to see the process of putting the binding on a Gibson acoustic is to really appreciate the effort and attention put into each instrument. After the body has been glued together, the excess from the top and back are trimmed off and a groove is cut for the binding. The binding is then glued on and held on to the body using tape, and hung to dry. When the tape comes off, any excess glue is removed and the body is moved into the next phase of production. It has been done the same way for over 100 years, and is a fundamental part of Gibson Acoustic’s rich guitar-making history.
Tapered Dovetail Neck Joint
The dovetail neck joint is one of the oldest—and best—ways of securely joining the neck to the body of a guitar. It is also a complex and expensive neck joint to build, but the result is a tight, locking connection that supports the neck at the proper neck-pitch angle, allowing the body and neck to become one solid piece of resonating wood, with no metal to impede vibration. This process is done entirely by hand, requiring patience and skill.
Gold Grover Rotomatic Tuners
Grover’s original Rotomatic tuners are an engineering marvel, with style and performance exactly suited for the Super Dove. With a gear ratio of 14:1, the Rotomatics deliver precision tuning in a durable housing that provides maximum protection for the gear and string post. All moving parts are cut for exact meshing, eliminating the possibility of slippage. A countersunk tension screw lets players regulate the tuning tension to any degree. A special lubricant inside the gear box provides smooth and accurate tuning stability.
Crown Peghead Logo
Gibson put the first crown peghead logo on an ES-300 back in 1940, and it has graced the headstocks of many legendary Gibson guitars ever since, including today’s Super Dove. Over the years, it has also been called a “thistle” because of the group of flowering plants with the sharp prickles, though Gibson has preferred to call it a “crown.”
Fishman Aura Pro Acoustic Pickup System
Gibson’s Super Dove comes equipped with a built-in Fishman Aura Pro, featuring Fishman’s popular Aura Acoustic Imaging Technology. This ground-breaking pickup system reproduces the natural sound of the Super Dove as miked in a professional studio, and onstage, thus eliminating the complicated setups of expensive microphones. Auro Pro uses digital algorithms to create images of various microphones’ captured sounds. Players can then blend these images with an acoustic guitar’s pickup to produce an immediate and dramatic improvement in amplified sound. The Fishman Aura Pro’s preamp includes a tuner, and is mounted on the bass side rim of the upper bout.
The Gibson name has graced the most innovative and revolutionary acoustic guitars of our time—the Super Jumbos, the J-45, the Hummingbird, the Dove. There is no mistaking the classic, mother-of-pearl logo, pressed onto the face of the headstock. It represents more than a century of originality and excellence. There is simply no equal.