Gibson Acoustic’s guitar workshop in Bozeman, Montana, is known for crafting some of the finest instruments ever produced in the 120-plus-year history of this storied company, and for fans of great vintage-spec flat-tops the True Vintage series is the cream of the crop. Now Gibson is releasing an extremely limited edition of just 167 pieces each of three selected True Vintage models, the J-45, SJ-200, and Hummingbird, all of which will receive deluxe upgrades.
A Gibson True Vintage acoustic is already the closest thing to hopping into a time capsule and traveling back to the era when your favorite classic flat-top was born, but add these limited deluxe treatments to the brew and each model offers a rare opportunity for both players and collectors. Each Limited Edition True Vintage SJ-200 is built with a top made from solidAdirondack Red Spruce, a rare and highly prized tone wood, and is constructed with hot hide glue, just like back in the day. Each comes with a custom-made, period-correct case (recreated from meticulous study of the original cases), and a Certificate of Authenticity. Each is also be labeled inside the body as a limited run of 167.
Of course, keep in mind that these Limited Edition upgrades are being applied to guitars that are already the most accurate vintage reproductions that Gibson’s Bozeman luthiers can create. According to Mike Voltz, Production Manager of Gibson’s Acoustic Division, all have period-correct details such as binding that is applied over the fret ends, traditional tuners, genuine bone nut and saddle, extra dark vintage-look amber toner, and a traditional orange label. The SJ-200 sports AAA-grade flame maple back and sides. The fingerboards and bridges on all the models are made from solid AAA Madagascar rosewood, and each employs historically accurate construction methods, such as hand-scalloped top bracing, thin back braces on the SJ-200, and plenty more. “These are for the true collector,” Voltz says of the standard True Vintage range. “They’ve got that vibe.”
The SJ-200, or Super Jumbo, was born in 1937 when “Singing Cowboy” star Ray Whitley commissioned Gibson to build a grand, 17″-wide flat-top with a unique rounded profile and deluxe appointments. Soon other stars placed custom orders for similar guitars, and in the hands of Gene Autry, Tex Ritter, Roy Rogers and Ray “Crash” Corrigan this guitar’eventually made an official model as the SJ-200 ‘ became the ultimate badge of acceptance for Country & Western artists. These early examples were generally constructed with rosewood back and sides, but following WWII the SJ-200 was reintroduced with solid maple back and sides, a move that gave the big-bodied guitar more brightness and definition. Post-1947, the spruce-and-maple SJ-200 retained its status as “King of the Flat-Tops”, a claim justified by its use by Porter Wagoner, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Buddy Holly, Pete Townshend, Graham Nash, and Emmylou Harris, among many others. This is the version of the guitar that is accurately presented in today’s SJ-200 True Vintage model
- Worldwide Limited Edition of 167
- Solid Adirondack Red Spruce top
- Solid AAA Flamed Maple back and sides
- Madagascar Rosewood fingerboard
- Vintage Original Spec finish
- Period correct historic custom style hardshell case
- Unique Gibson Limited Edition soundhole label