When Gibson introduced this model in 1938, it was known as the Super Jumbo (SJ-200) and it featured rosewood back and sides (only approx 100 made). In 1939, this model was renamed the Super Jumbo 200. In 1947, it was renamed in the company catalogues to the J-200.
In 1948, natural finish became an option and in 1961, pearl block inlays became standard.
An amazing and powerful-sounding acoustic guitar, the J-200 was – and still is – the largest among Gibson’s flat tops with its 17” of width measured across the lower bout. It is widely referred to as “The King Of The Flat Tops”.
The model has a long history but through the decades it has maintained its main features. The J-200 has always been easily identifiable by the wide maple body, the flashy western look, the rich pearl inlays, the moustache (or buffalo-horn) bridge, and the flower-trimmed plastic pickguard. It is a true classic in both looks and sound – a powerful voice with clear highs and mids, with a particularly enhanced bottom end thanks to the huge rounded body.
All these features have made of the J-200 the instrument of choice for a wide range of performers, from finger-picking legend Rev Gary Davis to Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan.
The instrument you see here was made in a very special year – 1961 marks a turning point in the history of the model, and is often referred to as the last of the good years. Shortly after this one was made, Gibson introduced two modifications which brought a highly negative impact on the guitar’s sound – an additional top brace and the metal tune-o-matic bridge saddle. These two “improvements” resulted in a heavier and less-responsive guitar, which simply did not sound nearly as good as the original. This guitar, however, was built in Kalamazoo in early 1961, so does not feature either of these later changes. And it retains its distinctive “moustache” rosewood bridge.
It features flamed maple back, sides and neck, x-braced spruce top, rosewood bridge and fingerboard. The guitar is in great condition for an instrument over 58 years old.
This one shows some expected player wear, with a few dings, small dents & scratches on the top. But the back, sides and neck are remarkably clean. It has had some small interior cleats fixed on the internal bracing to sure up its structural integrity, and this guitar presents as rock solid after almost 60 years.
The original gold-plated Grover Roto-Matic tuners are reliably accurate, the truss rod works fine, and it plays with a lovely low medium action. Frets are in excellent condition with very minimal wear showing. The number 542 is lightly stamped on the back of the headstock. The serial number 36xxx is stamped on the orange Gibson sticker below the sound hole.
This J-200, unlike later models (especially those from the ’70s) is very light for its size at 5.3lbs and it projects a big sound.
This is a fabulous true vintage classic which offers all the characteristic beauty and bold sonic performance you expect from a Gibson golden era J-200.
Comes in a later high quality hard case in good condition.