1957 GIBSON J-200N


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A dazzling Gibson J-200N from 1957, in superb original condition.

We find on this jumbo all the elements that probably make it the most emblematic of its kind among the pantheon of Gibson guitars in the 20th century, the King of the Flat-Tops: the first appearance of the Gibson Super Jumbo dates back to 1937, when it was introduced to Hollywood star Ray Whitley, omnipresent in film productions featuring singing cowboys against a backdrop of intrigues around life in rural America. Through his aura, Whitely promoted the Super Jumbo as the largest and fanciest acoustic guitar available anywhere in the world, and aroused envy among his peers in the Californian studios, like Roy Rogers or Gene Autrey, who were quick to follow suite and grab a jumbo of their own. From then on and over the following decades, the model has continuously drawn attention in the hands of the greatest, from Elvis Presley to Noel Gallagher and Neil Young, especially since 1947 and the introduction of the Natural finish: this option reveals in all its splendor the tight grain of the spruce top and the patterns of the curly maple on the back and sides of the instrument.

The instrument presented here will have left the production line in the fall of 1957, one of 93 Naturals shipped during the year – undoubtedly to end up in the hands of a Presley admirer, who’s own J-200N, shipped in October 1956, predates this one by just about a year! The guitar has all the typical features of the late 1950s: the “N” in the name denotes the natural finish on the spruce top and the stunning flamed maple back and sides – this suffix is not present on the label of the guitar but allows it to be distinguished from the other finish option offered by Gibson at the time, a flamboyant Sunburst. The table has a multi-ply binding around its edge and features a large and double celluloid pickguard decorated with floral motifs, as well as the iconic “moustache” bridge decorated with multiple pearl inlays, the two most recognizable characteristics of the model. Note that the two pickguards are factory original, Gibson offering as an option the addition of the bass side ‘guard for an even more ostentatious look! The neck is as typically found in the 1950s, two pieces of maple interspersed with a strip of rosewood, and features a Brazilian rosewood fingerboard with pearl crown-shaped inlays. The J-200N was Gibson’s most expensive flat-top acoustic guitar, designed in a format capable of holding together the rhythm of an entire band, all with splendor – it is in any case still unrivalled in this role up to this day.

Superbly preserved over the last six-plus decades, this guitar has received all the necessary care in our workshop to ensure and perpetuate its perfect playability: neck-reset, refret, a new set of bone nuts, topped off with the full optimization of its setu, making it possible to recover all the playing comfort and spot-on intonation that one should expect from such a high end instrument. We note the discreet addition of a strap button on the bass-side shoulder.

Sold in its original Lifton case, accompanied by its certificate of authenticity produced by us.

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