Finally heard a GOOD SJ-200: OMG!!!

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by Griz, Jul 4, 2008.

  1. Griz

    Griz Member

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    I admit it: I am fascinated with the Gibson J-200. Nevertheless, I have up till now been totally unimpressed with the examples I've hear/played in stores.

    Until yesterday.

    Lordy, Lord! (hopefully that's neither religious nor political).

    Everything I've been told about the legendary guitar is true. The one I heard and played the other day (a new one) has the absolute best acoustic rhythm voice I have ever heard. And I'm 53.

    To put it in perspective, I've heard or played a ton of very well made (and expensive) acoustic guitars by Collings, Santa Cruz, Martin, Larrivee, Taylor, and many many others.

    Although the J-200 will never equal instruments such as Lowdens for fingerstyle playing, a prime example of this model (and the one I heard was prime) will crush everything else for strummed rhythm tone.

    Quite simply, it altered my expectations as to what an acoustic guitar can sound like. Recording, all you'd need to do is put a decent mic in front of it. Done.

    No wonder it is legendary.

    :AOK
     
  2. David Collins

    David Collins Member

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    I don't hear too many J-200's that impress me, but every once in a while one will come along that is really amazing. And though there have been too many inconsistencies between them for me to claim anything other than correlation, the ones I've been drawn to have always been soft, quilted, big leaf maple back and sides. I might conjecture that the backs really need to work to make those instruments shine, and the tight fiddleback or birdseye rock maple examples don't seem to shine through as often as the big leaf maple ones.

    But yes, my experience is similar to yours. I haven't found what I would call a great success rate with Gibson's J-200's but when you find one that works, it can be something special.
     
  3. The Pup

    The Pup Supporting Member

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    I haven't had my J-200 moment yet...but I will continue the search.

    It's definitely a must play before bidding purchase.
     
  4. fuzz_factor

    fuzz_factor Supporting Member

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    Did you buy the guitar? If you did:

    :worthless
     
  5. Vintage-tone

    Vintage-tone Gold Supporting Member

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    I Love the J200 prior to the 61 adjustable bridge.
    If you ever get your hands on a pre war model you d be amazed as well. They don t sound like the 50's models at all tho but what a guitar ...
    Even the laminated back and sides introduced in 55 models usually sound amazing.
    The problem is that the SJ200 and J 200 changed so much over the years ( different braces, woods, bridges, depth etc ) that it s really hard to talk about "THE J200 Sound".
    The pre 61 ones are so damn rare nowadays also that it s hard to put your hands on them and try them out ...
    The later 60's model are interesting also, huge guitar with a very thin sound but they can make miracles in recordings.
    70's and 80's are 99% of crap but that s nothing new :D
    Basically, I really feel that they made a pretty good job with the Montana division, I ve had loads of really good sounding J200 from Gibson Montana Acoustic era.
    Try a vintage J185 with scalloped braces (51 to 55 ) also whenever you d get a chance, the smaller J200 is an amazing and way under priced instrument !
     
  6. zombywoof

    zombywoof Member

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    Agree with Vintage-tone. The adjustable bridge and floating brace which became standard on the J200 in 1961 were not the best ideas in the world. On the other hand, both can be removed.

    I own a 1960 J200 and it remains the best sounding and playing acoustic I have ever laid my sweaty little hands on. These guitars, even with the Gibson plant expansion in 1960, were considered custom instruments with only between 150 and 200 or so being made a year.

    If you do find a good newer J200 you are lucky. To my ear, many of the Montana-made guitars tend to sound a bit brighter and do not quite have the projection of the older big box Gibsons. But as Vintage-tomne said, since pre-61 J200s are not that easy to get your hands on it is hard to compare the new school to the old school Gibsons.
     
  7. dylumph

    dylumph Member

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    My searches ended in the past 5 years for band usable accoustic guitars. First I found a J-150 that had magic with very good electronics. Then I came across a sunburst SJ-200 that topped the other. I have played some, well lots, of other Gibson accoustics that didn't (for me) have it. It took me many years to come across them.
    I like not having EQs onboard to never be satisfied with!
     

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