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Both the 1956–62 (round shouldered) and the subsequent square shouldered version, at least up to 1968, are well regarded by collectors and players.Of the square shouldered version, Whitford, Vinopal & Erlewine write: By far the most desirable of the square-shouldered SJs [and SJN/Country Westerns] are those from 1962 to 1968, a period in which their bodies were lightly built, with top bracing wide-spread and set forward.The tuner buttons were replaced and a new bone saddle was custom made.The repairs were expertly performed by another one of my trusted luthiers, Ross Teigen of Teigen Guitars.Sheryl Crow is a noted modern user of this instrument in its 1962 version, and a modern reissue based on her 1962 instrument has been released under her name.A 1964 Gibson "Country Western" acoustic guitar (left) with a 1964 Southern Jumbo (SJ) (right).For the first 6 its years of existence, the Country Western – along with its "sister model" SJ – possessed a round- or slope-shouldered design, which changed for both models to the more "modern" square-shouldered design (as debuted on the 1960-introduced Hummingbird) in 1962.
The daughter played very little during that time and eventually decided to sell.
In 1970, additional structural reinforcement to the top (the (in)famous double-X bracing) was introduced which, although it contributed to improved structural stability, had a deleterious effect on the tone.
Along with the SJ, the Country Western was discontinued in 1978.
Note the square shoulders, "upside down" bridges and 3-point pickguards characteristic of both instruments of this period.
Gibson introduced the Country Western guitar in 1956, as a version of their pre-existing Southern Jumbo but with a natural finish, as opposed to the sunburst finish of the Southern Jumbo (SJ).