Cisco Houston Web Site

Ol' Pals

The Cisco Southern Jumbo Banner Gibson

A German Guitar Lover

Obsession is a fascinating topic, as Proust convincingly demonstrated for several thousand pages. Many years ago, my good friend John Luchene described his dad, who knew everything there was to know about 19th Century weapons. His greatest joy in life was to watch Westerns and screech, "You see that Winchester rifle there?? See it?? Look carefully. This movie is set in 1869, but that gun was first manufactured in March 1871 and didn't cross the Rockies until early 1872, at the soonest!! Don't these people know anything?" (Because I am utterly ignorant about firearms, those dates are made up, so don't write correcting me!)

With Paul Robeson, Sonny Terry & Maybe Leadbelly Well, now we've met some folks with an equally intense interest in Gibson guitars manufactured during World War II. They are planning a book about them, and as Cisco had one, they contacted me asking if I knew anything about its whereabouts. As I explained, we are hobbyists with no contact with Cisco's family or friends. Where his guitars might be is unknown to us.

However, as you can see, Cisco did play a Gibson, for a while at least. As a guy without what the government calls a "fixed address," and often with a single dime in his pocket looking for a pal to rub against, a pricey guitar would seem to be worth more as food or bourbon or car fare. So how long he had it, where it went, or who (if anyone) has it today are all mysteries to us.

Woody, Lee Hays, Burl Ives & Cisco So, here's some details about Cisco's Banner Gibson:
Manufacturer: Gibson
Model: SJ (Southern Jumbo), nicknamed the "Banner Head" SJ, as there is a banner slogan on the head stock saying: "Only a Gibson is Good Enough". This banner only showed up on Gibsons manufactured from 1942 to 1945.
Features: Mocking type pick guard, heel cap, V-shaped maple neck rod (no adjustable truss rod), mahogany back and sides, red spruce top
FON: Could be: 2110, 2224, 2225, 2317, 2318 or a number in-between. You can view these guitars at the site when you scroll down for these numbers.
Date: Estimated as sometime from 1943 to early 1944

To see lots of images of what these Banner Gibsons look like, see:

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