Gibson SJ-200

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Description.

The Gibson SJ-200, often referred to as the “King of the Flat-Tops,” has a storied history that dates back to its introduction in the 1930s. Here’s a brief overview of the history of the Gibson SJ-200 guitar:

1930s – The Birth of the SJ-200:

  • The Gibson SJ-200 was first introduced in 1937. It was designed by Gibson’s legendary acoustic guitar builder Lloyd Loar, who was responsible for many iconic Gibson designs.
  • The “SJ” in SJ-200 stands for “Super Jumbo,” highlighting the guitar’s large body size, which was larger than the traditional dreadnought shape.

1930s – Iconic Features:

  • The SJ-200 featured a jumbo body with a solid spruce top and solid maple back and sides.
  • One of its most distinctive features was the elaborate, hand-cut, and hand-engraved pickguard, often referred to as the “moustache” pickguard.
  • The guitar was originally marketed as the “Super Jumbo” model and was aimed at professional players and artists.

1930s to 1950s – Popularity and Use by Legendary Musicians:

  • The SJ-200 quickly gained popularity, thanks in part to its powerful and well-balanced sound, large size, and eye-catching aesthetics.
  • It became a favorite of country and western musicians, and in the 1940s and 1950s, it was played by artists such as Roy Rogers and Hank Williams.

1960s – Continued Success:

  • In the 1960s, the SJ-200 continued to be associated with folk, country, and rock musicians, including Bob Dylan and Elvis Presley.
  • The pickguard design was modified, and the “moustache” design was replaced by a simpler floral pickguard.

1970s to Present – Evolutions and Variations:

  • Over the years, the SJ-200 has seen various model variations and design changes, including the introduction of different tonewoods and finishes.
  • It has remained a symbol of Gibson’s acoustic excellence and has been played by an array of artists in different genres.

Modern Era – The SJ-200 Today:

  • In the modern era, the SJ-200 continues to be a flagship model for Gibson’s acoustic guitar lineup.
  • The guitar is available in different variations, including those with cutaways for easier access to higher frets and models equipped with electronics for amplified performances.

The Gibson SJ-200 has solidified its status as an iconic acoustic guitar. Its unmistakable appearance, rich and resonant sound, and a legacy of use by legendary musicians have made it a symbol of acoustic excellence and a highly sought-after instrument by professional players and enthusiasts alike. It remains a key piece of Gibson’s acoustic guitar heritage.

The Gibson SJ-200, often referred to as the “King of the Flat-Tops,” is an iconic and legendary super jumbo acoustic guitar that has been a favorite among professional musicians and enthusiasts for many decades. It’s known for its large body, stunning aesthetics, and rich, full-bodied sound. Here’s a detailed overview of the Gibson SJ-200:

Key Features and Specifications:

  1. Body Style: The Gibson SJ-200 features a super jumbo body style, which is larger than a traditional dreadnought. This design results in a rich, resonant sound with exceptional projection and volume.
  2. Tonewoods: The top of the SJ-200 is typically made of high-quality solid spruce, which is known for its strong, clear, and responsive tonal characteristics. The back and sides are often constructed from solid rosewood, which adds warmth and depth to the sound.
  3. Scalloped X-Bracing: The top is reinforced with scalloped X-bracing, a bracing pattern that allows for greater vibration of the soundboard, contributing to the guitar’s rich and open tone.
  4. Neck: The neck is made from mahogany and is set into the body with a dovetail joint. It typically features a comfortable and playable slim taper profile.
  5. Fingerboard and Inlays: The fingerboard is often made of rosewood and adorned with mother-of-pearl crown inlays, adding to the guitar’s striking visual appeal.
  6. Bridge: The SJ-200 comes with a rosewood bridge with a traditional belly-up shape, contributing to its classic appearance.
  7. Pickguard: One of the most distinctive features of the SJ-200 is its ornate and highly recognizable tortoiseshell pickguard, which adds to its unique visual identity.
  8. Nut and Saddle: The guitar typically comes with a bone nut and saddle, which is known for its resonance and sustain.
  9. Binding: The body, neck, and headstock are often bound with multiple layers of binding, enhancing the guitar’s aesthetics and durability.
  10. Hardware: The SJ-200 is equipped with gold hardware, including Grover Rotomatic tuners, adding to its premium feel.
  11. Electronics: Many models of the SJ-200 are available with built-in electronics, allowing for easy amplification and live performances.
  12. Finish: The guitar is often finished in a high-gloss nitrocellulose lacquer, which not only protects the wood but also contributes to its resonance and vintage appeal.

Sound and Playing Experience:

The Gibson SJ-200 is renowned for its powerful and well-balanced sound. It offers deep, resonant bass, clear and sparkling treble, and a lush midrange. The super jumbo body size provides a significant amount of volume and projection, making it ideal for solo performances and ensemble playing.

Aesthetic Appeal:

The SJ-200 is famous for its stunning aesthetics. The ornate pickguard, crown inlays, intricate binding, and the classic sunburst or natural finish all contribute to its eye-catching and iconic appearance.

Legacy and Popularity:

The SJ-200 has a rich history, having been favored by countless musicians over the years, including icons like Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, and Emmylou Harris. It has made appearances in a wide range of musical genres, from country to rock, folk, and more.

Whether you’re drawn to it for its legendary sound, striking visuals, or its historic significance in the world of music, the Gibson SJ-200 is a classic and beloved instrument that continues to be a symbol of acoustic excellence.

The Gibson SJ-200 is a legendary acoustic guitar, and it has made appearances in a wide range of songs across various genres. Its rich, full-bodied sound and iconic appearance have made it a favorite among many artists. Here are some songs that prominently feature the Gibson SJ-200:

  1. The Eagles – “Hotel California”: The acoustic guitar intro in this iconic Eagles song was played on a Gibson SJ-200. Its jumbo body and rich tone are instantly recognizable.
  2. Bob Dylan – “Blowin’ in the Wind”: Bob Dylan, known for his acoustic folk sound, has used the Gibson SJ-200 in many of his performances. “Blowin’ in the Wind” is one of his classics featuring this guitar.
  3. Elvis Presley – “Can’t Help Falling in Love”: Elvis often used the SJ-200, and this romantic ballad showcases the warm and melodic qualities of the guitar.
  4. Pete Townshend – “Pinball Wizard” (The Who): The intro to this rock classic was played on a Gibson SJ-200, demonstrating its versatility in various genres.
  5. Jimi Hendrix – “Little Wing”: Jimi Hendrix used an SJ-200 in a recording of “Little Wing,” showcasing its suitability for blues and rock as well.
  6. The Everly Brothers – “Wake Up Little Susie”: This classic pop-rock song features the sweet and melodic tones of the SJ-200.
  7. The Band – “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”: The Band’s acoustic-driven sound is complemented by the SJ-200’s rich, resonant sound in this song.
  8. Elton John – “Your Song”: Elton John’s iconic love ballad features the SJ-200, adding a warm and intimate quality to the track.
  9. Bobby McGee – “Me and Bobby McGee”: This classic song by Kris Kristofferson features the SJ-200, known for its warm and expressive qualities.
  10. Tom Petty – “Wildflowers”: Tom Petty’s heartfelt and introspective song highlights the SJ-200’s ability to convey emotional depth.
  11. Neil Young – “Old Man”: Neil Young’s SJ-200 is practically legendary. “Old Man” is just one example of how he’s used the guitar to craft his distinctive folk-rock sound.
  12. Chris Cornell – “Seasons” (from the “Singles” soundtrack): The late Chris Cornell used an SJ-200 in this acoustic masterpiece, showcasing its versatility in modern rock music.
  13. Paul McCartney – “Calico Skies”: Paul McCartney’s beautiful acoustic ballad features the SJ-200, contributing to its warm and inviting sound.

These songs represent just a sample of the many tracks that have featured the Gibson SJ-200, emphasizing its widespread use and appeal across different musical genres. Whether in the hands of rock legends, folk troubadours, or pop icons, the SJ-200 has left its mark on the world of music.

WHERE TO BUY…

When looking to buy a Gibson SJ-200 guitar, it’s essential to purchase from reputable and authorized dealers or sellers to ensure you’re getting an authentic instrument and good customer service. Here are some of the best places to buy a Gibson SJ-200:

  1. Authorized Gibson Dealers:
    • Official Gibson dealers are your best bet for getting a genuine SJ-200. You can visit their physical stores or buy from their websites.
  2. Gibson’s Official Website:
    • Gibson’s website often features an online store where you can browse and purchase their guitars, including the SJ-200.
  3. Local Guitar Shops:
    • Many well-established local guitar shops are authorized dealers for Gibson and can provide you with a good selection of SJ-200 guitars. Visiting these stores allows you to see and play the instrument before purchasing.
  4. Specialty Guitar Retailers:
    • Some specialty guitar retailers focus exclusively on high-end and vintage guitars, including Gibson SJ-200 models. These stores may offer a range of options and expertise in vintage instruments.
  5. Online Music Retailers:
    • Reputable online music retailers like Sweetwater, Guitar Center, and Musician’s Friend often carry Gibson SJ-200 guitars. Be sure to verify that they are authorized Gibson dealers.
  6. Secondhand Markets:
    • Websites like Reverb, eBay, and the used sections of major guitar retailers often have secondhand SJ-200 guitars for sale. Ensure the authenticity and condition of the instrument before purchasing.
  7. Auctions:
    • Occasionally, SJ-200 guitars appear at prestigious auctions, where you might find vintage or limited-edition models.
  8. Guitar Shows and Festivals:
    • Guitar shows and festivals may have vendors selling SJ-200 guitars. It’s an opportunity to see and try various models.
  9. Private Sellers:
    • If buying from a private seller, especially for a used or vintage SJ-200, make sure to authenticate the guitar and research its history thoroughly.
  10. Collector and Vintage Guitar Dealers:
    • If you’re specifically interested in vintage SJ-200 models, consider reputable vintage guitar dealers who specialize in collectible instruments.

When purchasing a Gibson SJ-200, it’s crucial to take your time, do thorough research, and, if possible, play the guitar in person to ensure it meets your expectations in terms of sound and playability. Be aware of potential counterfeit instruments and buy from trusted sources to avoid any issues. Additionally, consider factors like the model year, tonewoods, and finish that best suit your preferences and musical needs.

 

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