The Gibson J200 Standard Electro gave purveyors of the new American music scene of the 1930s a reliable, well built instrument, capable of projecting the sound of the guitar well beyond that of any other acoustic on the market a fact that still holds true today.
The top of the Gibson J200 Standard is made from beautiful AAA grade Sitka spruce, while the back and sides are constructed from AAA grade Eastern curly maple, giving the J200 Standard all the deep, rich tone, clarity and presence expected from a Gibson Super Jumbo.
The fingerboard of Gibsons J200 Standard is constructed from the highest grade rosewood on earth, which is personally inspected and qualified by Gibsons team of skilled experts before it enters the Gibson factories. The resilience of this durable wood makes the fingerboard extremely balanced and stable, and gives each chord and note unparalleled clarity and bite.
It is simply the worlds most famous acoustic guitar, and certainly one of most popular, as evidenced by the list of players that have made it their primary acoustic instrument, among them Ray Whitley, Emmylou Harris, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Gram Parsons, and Pete Townshend.
A dazzling new addition to Gibson’s acoustic lineup. The Custom Mystic Rosewood J200 marries a body of sitka spruce and rosewood to a 3-piece maple/rosewood/maple neck and headstock sporting vintage gold tuners. Every detail including abalone top binding plus abalone inlay in the bridge and soundhole surround as well as the fretboard and headstock, is aimed at the discerning musician and collector.
I always loved the 53-55 wrap-around Goldtops. I bought one from Tony Beastie at Antone’s Guitars in Hull a few years ago but couldn’t afford to keep it. I always regretted selling it, even though it had the original skinny frets, which I find hard work. About a year later, in 2004, I found another one on the internet in Vienna. I rang the shop and luckily the owner’s wife, Sandra, was Scottish and could understand me. I got a flight out and bought the guitar – which had been very accurately described. Changed tuners, re-fret, non-original input surround. The 9000 Euros was a bit of a struggle at the time but boy am I glad I hung onto it when I see what they’re going for now, only two years later! Nothing sounds like a 50s P90. This is the guitar I used on I Never Left on the new Alarm album Under Attack for all the picking parts. Killer!
In presenting these photographs, I intend only to introduce the basic idea that flat top steel string guitars come in a large variety of sizes, as well as materials, and designs. There are innumerable variations of these sizes and models, but I won’t even attempt to discuss them here. Mostly, I think it’s important for beginning guitarists to know that there is a wealth of choice available. As they develop their playing style and technique, most guitarists will find it useful and interesting to get out and try some of the different guitars available. After all, there are so many models because there are so many different tastes.
Following is a sampling of new instruments from three of the largest American guitar factorie
Description: Gibson J-200 flat top guitar
Available: 1938 to present.
Case: Brown hardshell case with a pink lining was the top-end Gibson case. The mid-line case was a brown hardshell with a green or brown lining. Also sold a cardboard aligator case for those on a budget. 1938 to 1940s model could also have a black case with a red strip around the outside lid.
Collectibility Rating: Rosewood models: A+, Maple models: B+, 1961 and later models: C
Production: 1938:25, 1939:20, 1940:21, 1941:30, 1942-1947:unknown, 1948:166, 1949:111, 1950:101, 1951:204, 1952:201, 1953:201, 1954:250, 1955:131, 1956:181, 1957:229, 1958:131, 1959:172, 1960:167, 1961:125, 1962:139, 1963:259, 1964:277, 1965:204, 1966:214, 1967:285, 1968:404, 1969:392
General Comments: A very fancy Gibson flattop. Unfortunately, because of the maple design (maple back and sides and neck) the Gibson J200 guitar does not have the warmth in sound of the J-45 and other mahogany or rosewood models. Lots of treble and bite to the sound. This is why rosewood Gibson J200 guitars are so nice (warmer tone). I love the rosewood versions, but the maple ones are still a beautiful guitar.
The “singing cowboy” phenomenon of the 1930s was the main inspiration for the “king of the flattops”—Gibson’s J-200. Cowboy movie idol Ray Whitley approached Gibson in 1937 about having a guitar designed to outdo rival Western crooner Gene Autry and his fancy motherof- pearl adorned Martin D-45. The result was the prototype for the Super Jumbo (soon to be called SJ-200 due to its original $200 price).
The original Super Jumbos shared dimensions with Gibson’s 17″-wide L-5 archtop (the very earliest Super Jumbos were 16 7/8″ wide). But unlike the L-5, with its maple back and sides, the original SJ-200 came standard with rosewood back and sides. Interestingly, two pre-war SJ-200s with maple back and sides are known to exist.
The guitar featured this month is one of 41 natural-finished J-200s made in 1955 (the “S” had been dropped from the name by this time). This beautifully aged instrument has the characteristics typical of other J-200s from early 1955. It has the distinctive rosewood “moustache” bridge (changed from the original ebony in 1941), a rosewood fretboard with “cloud” inlays (also changed from ebony in 1941), and a two-piece maple neck with a rosewood center strip. The top is spruce, while the back and sides are maple (this was changed from the original rosewood spec after 1946). This guitar’s elaborately engraved flower-andvine pickguard still has the stripe along its border, which disappeared from later versions by the middle of ’55.
You are now looking at one gorgeous guitar, a 69 J200 in amazing condition, it shows some light surface marks and scratches, also some lacquer cracking around the bridge as you would expect on a guitar of this age. The proof is in the playing it’s fantastic, just as you would want it to be, a big bold sound with great playability, on top of which it looks stunning( at the time of writing this there is one on eBay same year at £4500 and it’s a wreck)….Check out the stinger on the back of the neck, also included is the original case, altogether a great package. The flame on the sides of this are unbeleivable.
The Gibson SJ-200 Modern Classic Acoustic-Electric Guitar features a hand-selected solid Sitka spruce top; tuned and scalloped bracing; flamed maple back and sides; checkerboard marquetry; mother-of-pearl inlay on the headstock, fingerboard, and bridge; and engraved SJ-200 pickguard. Madagascar rosewood fingerboard and bridge. 6-ply top binding, 4-ply back binding, and bound headstock. Gold Gotoh tuners with pearloid keystone buttons. The active electronics with soundhole-mounted volume control let you plug it in while retaining the great acoustic tone. Includes deluxe Gibson hardshell guitar case.
The Gibson J-200 Standard is another member of the J-200 series of guitars, a series that is built on almost a century of experience in building guitars. The rotomantic tuner has a gear ratio of 14:1 and provides precision tuning as well as a durable housing to protect the string post and the gear. The crown peghead logo is a relic from the 1940s and identifies the J-200 Standard as a distinct member of the Gibson line. The fingerboard is made out of high grade rosewood which is resilient for a stable, balanced tone with clear notes and chords. The Gibson J-200 Standard is built with AAA-grade Sitka spruce for the top of the guitar, and AAA-grade Eastern curly maple for the back and sides. Built into the guitar is the fishman ellipse aura electronics package which keeps the sound to a natural and acoustic quality while staying easy for the artist to work with.
The Gibson TRUE VINTAGE SJ 200 6-String Super Jumbo Acoustic Guitar, Inc. Case, Gold Hardware, Antique Natural. Stunning True Vintage Series Super Jumbo, a 1950’s SJ-200 Replica.
The Gibson True Vintage SJ 200 Super Jumbo Acoustic Guitar is a classic. From singing cowboy stars of the 1930s to rock and country superstars of today, the most influential artists have chosen Gibson’s SJ-200, the King of the Flat-Tops, to make a bold statement of musical excellence. Today’s SJ-200 is modeled on the classic early-’50s, maple-bodied model. It has a AAA Flame Maple back and sides, gold Gotoh tuners, Madagascar rosewood fingerboard with Mother Of Pearl Crown inlays, premium sitka spruce top, Madagascar rosewood moustache bridge and a maple neck. Four mother of pearl bridge inlays, top/back/fingerboard/headstock binding add further class to this popular classic. This classic guitar has superb playability, projection and balanced tone.