1963 Gibson J-200 Jumbo Guitar

How often does a beautiful, big old blonde Gibson walk in the door? This '63 J-200 has lived a little rough in the past, but it's still a glorious box that sounds really full and deep when you give it some juice and it plays like a champ, too.

This is a pure, countrified big-box strummer that can double-duty as a decent flatpicked fill/lead machine here and there, too. Its voice is silky, loud, and gutsy in the lower-mids and bass. The maple keeps it from getting too boomy but you can definitely hear it woofing the mic in the soundclips despite my best attempt to move the mic back and point it towards the fretboard. She's punchy.

A consignor dropped this off and I set to work getting it going. Post-work it plays spot-on and has a fast, modern-feeling neck that's easy to chord and pick up, down, and all around.

Repairs included: a fret level/dress, several brace reglues to various top braces, mild bridge resculpt near the saddle area and forward of it, new saddle-slot cut, new compensated bone saddle, cleaning, and setup.

Setup notes: it plays perfectly with 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE action at the 12th fret, strung with 54w-12 gauges. The neck is straight and the truss rod works as it should.

Scale length: 25 3/8"
Nut width: 1 11/16"
String spacing at nut: 1 7/16"
String spacing at bridge: 2"
Body length: 20 7/8"
Lower bout width: 17"
Waist width: 10 3/8"
Upper bout width: 12 1/2"
Side depth at endpin: 4 7/8"
Top wood: solid spruce
Back/sides wood: solid flamed maple
Neck wood: maple/flamed maple
Bracing type: x-braced, lightly-cut
Fretboard: rosewood, bone nut
Bridge: rosewood, bone saddle
Neck feel: slim C-shape, ~10" board radius

Condition notes: the big boo-boo is that the neck must've taken a bad hit in its past because it shows "pinch" to the block area on either side of the neck joint's top. The neck block appears to have been entirely replaced with an oversize one that spreads-out to either side of the fretboard extension and has a tongue that extends to the brace above the soundhole as well.

Next-up: the bridge has been modified over time, too. Originally, it had a Tune-O-Matic-style adjustable bridge, but someone filled the slot for it with rosewood and removed its under-soundboard mounting studs, then cut a saddle slot in the wrong location. Currently, I've spruced that up in the repairs mentioned above. There are light string ramps leading from the pinholes to the back of the saddle, too.

Also: there are two repaired hairline cracks to either side of the fretboard extension and one repaired hairline crack to the bass side of the center seam on the lower-bout (it was cleated/filled in the past). The only other cracks on the guitar are short, tiny, dryness cracks on the top right where the waist is its tightest. I find these a lot on old Gibsons and they're not at all an issue as they're directly over kerfing that stabilizes them.

Also: there are two tiny hairline cracks in the lower part of the heel and in the outer pieces of maple. They're a non-issue but probably happened when the neck joint had trauma in the past.

Also: the inside of the guitar looks pretty clean until you get a mirror and look at the bracing. Someone did some sloppier-looking (but perfectly functional) old brace reglue work and then there's a bit of my own excess/wiped-off glue residue from repairs to other loose bracing. It's all good to go, however.

Also: the tuners are non-original but older gold-plated Grover Rotomatics. I had to replace one with the exact same type of vintage tuners and I've stashed most of a set of additional replacements of the same type in the case pocket for use as spares in the future. There are 6 filled-in screwhole mounts on the back of the headstock for the original waffleback Klusons that would've been on this before the Grovers.

Also: the truss rod cover is a replacement gold-plated piece of hardware with a prior owner's initials engraved on it. Said Mr/Ms "Dodge" also placed their name in a pearl block at the 17th fret which replaced an original inlay block. Both of these customizations were well-done.

Also: the finish shows the usual weather-checking throughout and some longer check on the maple back/sides here and there. Overall the whole instrument looks gorgeous, though, and has a respectable aged/buttery color to the top.

Also: the maple bridge plate has a light split in it along the line of the pinholes, so I lightly capped it with very thin ply birch (under 1/32" thick and high quality) to both give the pinholes better grab and to reinforce it. It adds almost zero weight but has a lot of structural value and can easily be removed if desired.

Also: while there's 1/16" saddle height proud of the bridge, that's on the lower side for adjustment room. I don't think it's an issue, however, as the guitar has been 100% stable since stringing-up this time last week and I haven't even had to adjust the setup at all (that's rare) since stringing it. Usually things settle-in a bit over a week or two but this one's solid.

It comes with: its original, brown-outside, pink-inside jumbo Gibson case. This has some seam separation and plenty of scuffs, scrapes, nicks, dings, and general wear-and-tear throughout, but functions fine and would clean-up really easily with a little bit of effort.

Mmm, pearl-city goodness.

It's amazing how well the pickguard survived. It looks gorgeous!

The bridge pins are original as far as I can tell.

Hubba-hubba to that figured maple, huh?

The headstock rear has a typical "stinger" painted on it.

The neck is three-piece maple with a flamed center block. The two side pieces have a bit of light figure, too, here and there.

The flame figure on the sides is thrilling.

If you look really closely near the G-string tuner you will find a 1/2" replacement bit of binding I added. It was missing when it came in.

In this pic you can see the "tongue" of the oversized replacement neckblock that comes up to the brace just above the soundhole.