“Whichever model you choose, you’ll never be underdressed”: Four of Gibson’s most enduring acoustics have received the Custom Shop tuxedo treatment inspired by the Les Paul Custom

Gibson Custom Acoustics 2024
(Image credit: Gibson)

Gibson has announced four new custom model editions of some of its most popular acoustic builds. The new versions of the J-45, Hummingbird, SJ-200, and the Songwriter EC Custom editions retain the key features that made them so well revered in the first place, but adorn them with new cosmetic appointments inspired by the Les Paul Custom.

The story of the Les Paul Custom started when Les Paul personally requested a guitar that “looks like a tuxedo.” That sharply dressed aesthetic permeates from these new builds, which are all handcrafted in Bozeman, Montana.  

The quartet’s premium appointments include ebony finishes and a gloss ebony nitrocellulose lacquer.  With ebony fretboards, multi-ply binding, dashing mother-of-pearl block inlays and a Custom Shop split diamond headstock inlay, the luthier has gone out of its way to make these acoustics look like they were dressed by James Bond himself.

They all feature a solid Sitka spruce top, commonplace on Gibson Custom acoustics. It’s a tonewood chosen for its “rich, well-balanced and highly responsive” tone.

Each model is primed for studio sessions and live performances, too. Onboard L.R. Baggs Session VTC electronics take in an onboard preamp and under-saddle piezo pickup in a bid to provide crystalline amplification. Tone-tweaking can be achieved via the soundhole-mounted volume and tone controls found on all these new acoustics.

First under the Guitar World microscope is the J-45 Custom. Complementing that Spitka spruce top is mahogany back and sides and a mahogany SlimTaper neck measuring up with a 24.75” scale length.

The build is rounded off with gold Grover Rotomatic tuners. Owning one will set you back $9,999. The guitar also comes with a hardshell case.

The Hummingbird was the first acoustic Gibson built with a square-shoulder shape and, as a result, it quickly became a songwriter’s staple. Much of the spec mirrors the J-45 Custom, with the same Sitka spruce top, mahogany back and sides and ebony fretboard present.

Neck-wise, it mixes it up by offering a more rounded profile with the same 24.75" scale length, with a traditional belly-up ebony bridge found at the other end. Those tuxedo accoutrements remain too, but there are more angles to its pickguard to subtly dial up its dressed-to-kill aura.

It comes in at $5,999 and too comes in a “show me the money” hardshell case.

Typically given an antique or tobacco burst finish, the Hummingbird received a notable cosmetic revamp back in August, when country icon Miranda Lambert helped create the Bluebird.

Gibson humbly calls its SJ-200 “the king of flat tops”. First introduced in 1937, it offers huge projection through its Sitka spruce top and Super Jumbo flame maple body.  

That tonewood duo is utilized again and is paired with a two-piece maple/walnut stringer neck. This setup, which offers a slightly smaller 25.5” scale length and 20 frets, is noted for its light, rounded profile and snappy feel. Gibson has opted for a two-bar moustache bridge for this hourglass-shaped acoustic.

Once more, those Custom appointments finish off its visuals, including the Custom split diamond inlay on the headstock and those gold Grover Rotomatic tuners. It’s the priciest of the bunch at $7,499, hardcase n’ all.

Lastly comes the Songwriter EC Custom. Just over a decade on from its 2003 introduction it draws on Gibson’s time-honored bracing patterns first devised in the 1930s and its original dreadnought shape.

This time, its Sitka spruce top is joined by rosewood back and sides, which together offer richness and balance. It differs itself from the pack with its cutaway body, giving better access to the upper frets as players travel along its slim tapered and rounded profile mahogany neck.

It has a 25.5" scale length for its 20 frets, with the belly-up ebony bridge found in the Hummingbird also chosen here. Like the J-45 Custom, adding one to your collection will cost $4,999 and ships in a hardshell case.

In other recent Gibson news, it has revived Gibson Amps after teasing its revival earlier this month. The Mesa-made Falcon has landed and is looking to get its claws into the boutique amp market, some 57 years after its initial production run was ended. 

The dapper-looking acoustic quartet is available to pre-order and will be distributed to Gibson dealers worldwide.

For more information on its new Custom acoustics, head to Gibson.

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Phil Weller

A freelance writer with a penchant for music that gets weird, Phil is a regular contributor to Prog, Guitar World, and Total Guitar magazines and is especially keen on shining a light on unknown artists. Outside of the journalism realm, you can find him writing angular riffs in progressive metal band, Prognosis, in which he slings an 8-string Strandberg Boden Original, churning that low string through a variety of tunings. He's also a published author and is currently penning his debut novel which chucks fantasy, mythology and humanity into a great big melting pot.