“The pre-WWII SJ-200 sounds utterly huge with very deep and punchy bass, strong mids and clear highs”: How Gibson’s legendary SJ-200 acoustic wowed Elvis, Bob Dylan and more to become ‘King of the Flat-tops’

Gibson SJ-200
(Image credit: Future / Adam Gasson)

Sometimes referred to as a ‘narrow waist jumbo’, the J-200 is the model that unites Roy Rogers with Elvis, Pete Townshend, Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Yusuf/Cat Stevens, Noel Gallagher and countless others. 

Since the very first one was presented to Ray Whitley in December 1937, it has been a constant in Gibson’s product line barring a brief pause during America’s participation in WWII.

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Huw Price

Huw started out in recording studios, working as a sound engineer and producer for David Bowie, Primal Scream, Ian Dury, Fad Gadget, My Bloody Valentine, Cardinal Black and many others. His book, Recording Guitar & Bass, was published in 2002 and a freelance career in journalism soon followed. He has written reviews, interviews, workshop and technical articles for Guitarist, Guitar Magazine, Guitar Player, Acoustic Magazine, Guitar Buyer and Music Tech. He has also contributed to several books, including The Tube Amp Book by Aspen Pittman. Huw builds and maintains guitars and amplifiers for clients, and specializes in vintage restoration. He provides consultancy services for equipment manufacturers and can, occasionally, be lured back into the studio.