Ask a guitarist to name the ultimate Gibson acoustic, and many will reply that it’s the J-200. Elegant and flamboyant even by Gibson’s top-line standards, the J-200 has found fame in the hands of numerous legends: Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Pete Townshend, Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jimmy Page, Neil Young, and The Edge, to name but a few. The J-200 is known as the “king of the flat-tops” for good reason: it is simply the world’s most famous acoustic guitar, and certainly one of the most popular.
Gibson entered into production of this model in 1937 as its top-of-the-line flat top guitar, initially calling it the Super Jumbo, but changing the name in 1939 to the Super Jumbo 200 to reflect its retail price at the time, $200; note the comparison to the $45 for the early J-45. The SJ-200 was noted for its super-large 16 7/8" flat top body, with a double-braced red spruce top, rosewood back and sides, and sunburst finish. From its inaugural appearance in 1937, Gibson’s SJ-200 immediately filled a need for a deeper, more balanced and powerful sound, and 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— setting a standard others have been trying to match ever since.
Due to the weak post-depression economy and wartime austerity, demand for this high-end guitar was very limited and production quantities were small. It was 1947 when the tonewoods changed – the back and sides were now being made of maple, which many guitar aficionados prefer as it allows for clearer separation of the notes. In 1955 the name was simplified: from here on, it was mostly called the Gibson J-200; then production was shifted to the Bozeman, MT, factory, and it reverted back to the SJ prefix. The SJ-200 has generally been available in sunburst and natural finishes, featuring gold Gibson Deluxe tuners, a solid Sitka Spruce top with scalloped X-bracing, figured maple back and sides, and a three-piece laminate neck (maple/rosewood/maple). It also has a bound rosewood fingerboard with mother-of-pearl crown inlays, a rosewood “moustache” bridge with striking mother of pearl double inlays, and an engraved pickguard to add visual impact to its wonderful playability, with a 25.5” scale and a nut width of 1.725”. All of this makes it well worth its MSRP, which currently starts at $3799, and usually is hundreds more.
This particular SJ-200 was made in 1997 (serial number 91077018), and judging from the visible fret wear up through the 12th fret or so, it has been played very well and frequently for 21 years. There is also some finish crazing all over “to let the sound out,” as my luthier says, with a bit of the finish actually flaking off in one place on the back side. However, there are no visible cracks or repairs anywhere, everything looks original, and the sound, of course, is phenomenal. The action is set up for fast and aggressive playing at 3/32” at the 12th fret low E (with lotsa saddle and the truss rod if you want to tweak it lower). This is an icon which actually plays and sounds like an icon in addition to its eye-catching beauty.
The original hard shell case is also in very good used condition, with the never-set combination lock’s instructions in the pocket and a gorgeous royal purple shroud to protect the magic inside. The rest of the hardware all works great, the famous purple plush interior is suitably fuzzy and fits this guitar like the proverbial glove, and the big Gibson logo on the top is a nice touch. It certainly provides outstanding and authentic protection for this valuable instrument.
Buyer pays a flat rate of $55 for insurance and shipping to the lower forty-eight states; shipping costs elsewhere will be negotiated as necessary. Payment by Paypal is preferred; cashier’s checks are acceptable, but checks must clear before the guitar will be shipped.
I have tried to be perfectly clear and accurate in describing this unique instrument and its case, so its return will not be accepted unless it can be shown that it was egregiously misrepresented in this listing. Please check out the pictures and ask any questions you might have before offering to buy it.
Thank you for your interest in this great guitar.
Payments by Paypal, cashier’s checks, money orders, or personal checks are acceptable, but all payments must clear my bank before the guitar will be shipped. I will CONSIDER reasonable offers, even including installment payments and trade-ins, but generally since I already attempt to price my guitars very competitively, unusual deals must be unusually sweet.
From henceforth [that's how retired English teachers talk], insurance and shipping to the lower 48 states is $55 due to constantly rising shipping costs unless a specific listing says otherwise; shipping costs elsewhere will be negotiated as necessary. I have sold guitars to Russia, Japan, Australia, and over 50 other countries, as well as almost every state in the USA. Since some of my guitars travel thousands of miles, I take care to use lots of packing materials, protect the neck inside the case, and of course de-tune the strings.
I make every effort to describe and illustrate each guitar and case with scrupulous accuracy. However, many of my instruments are well-played vintage items which are many years old, and I am not a luthier. One should assume that any guitar will require some set-up to satisfy your personal requirements, and that not every flaw or ding will be seen/recognized/described in the listing. Thus the return of an instrument will not be accepted unless it can be shown that it was egregiously misrepresented in this listing. Please read the listing carefully, check out the pictures, and ask any questions you might have before offering to buy.