Recording

Gibson J-200 Celebrates 65 Years

This year, Gibson Montana celebrates the 65th year of the J-200 alongside its 15th year of making acoustic instruments in Montana. “The older Gibsons 12/26/2002 7:00 AM Eastern

This year, Gibson Montana celebrates the 65th year of the J-200alongside its 15th year of making acoustic instruments in Montana.

“The older Gibsons sound great, but the new ones already soundgreat, right out of the factory,” said Tony King, who playsguitar with country-music artists Brooks & Dunn. “Those guysat Montana love their instruments.”

Kelly Jones of Stereophonics agreed: “We’ve been usingthe Gibson Montana acoustics for a while on the road now. They’revery versatile and work on a whole range of different types of songsand stages.”

Gibson’s flat-top acoustic guitars were famous from the 1930sthrough the ’60s, played by everyone from cowboy movie stars tocountry music legends, from the Everly Brothers to Elvis. But by themid-1980s, Gibson was near death, and the J-200s and J-45s thattrickled out of the Nashville plant were no longer worthy of the Gibsonname. New owners Henry Juszkiewicz and Dave Berryman took over inJanuary 1986, and immediately brought Gibson’s electric guitarsback to life in Nashville, but the acoustic line needed somethingdifferent.

In 1988, on the 50th anniversary of the J-200, Gibson began toolingup the newly acquired Flatiron mandolin company in Montana to makeGibson acoustic guitars. “Montana is a long way from Nashville,and from an administrative point of view, it was a very risky move tohave a factory so far away,” Juszkiewicz said. “But the‘patient’ was very sick, and the best guitar‘doctors’ were in Montana.”

The J-200, which was introduced in 1938 as the Super Jumbo, remainsthe flagship model of a wide range of Gibson flat-tops made in Montana.Familiar Gibson models such as the Hummingbird, the Dove, the SouthernJumbo and the J-160E (the John Lennon model) also carry onGibson’s tradition.

For more, visit Gibson online at www.gibson.com.