Gibson Everly Brothers SJ-200

Full Dress
Gibson Everly Brothers SJ-200
Price: $7,999

Gibson has always had a knack for producing distinctive guitars. The EDS-1275 in Cherry finish will forever be tied to “Stairway to Heaven,” while the white version veritably proclaims “Hotel California!” Les Paul was a bigger-than-life figure in the early days of electric guitar, but his eponymous model was so ubiquitous among the blues and rock artists of the ’60s that the guitar’s fame eclipsed that of its namesake.

As Kalamazoo was shipping those famed guitars of hard rock, it was also making a pair that were undeniably recognizable far and wide in the hands of the Everly Brothers; the J-200 with the double pickguard was the “Everly Brothers model,” whether or not it was marketed that way.

Phil Everly’s son, Jason, tells the story about how each year, Gibson produced a pair of the J-200s for Phil and Don. This latest Acoustic Custom Shop version is re-created from two of their personal guitars.

Sporting a big, rounded lower bout, skinny waist, and unmistakable rounded shoulders, this iteration has a VOS nitrocellulose Ebony finish on its thermally aged Sitka-spruce top. The rosewood mustache bridge sits between the matching cream-colored pickguards and has a four-bar mother-of-pearl inlay framing the bone saddle. Bone pins are another fine touch. Like a proper Super Jumbo, the back and sides are maple, with multi-ply binding top and back.

The maple neck is glued to the body with a compound dovetail joint, and the rosewood fretboard is tastefully bound from the bone nut to the stylized open-book carved terminus at the soundhole. Mother-of-pearl crown inlays complete the classic look on the 25.5″-scale surface, while gold Grover Rotomatic tuners adorn the single-bound headstock. Paired with a 12″ fretboard radius, the Rounded neck profile is familiar; setup was superb, fit and finish immaculate.

While it is big, bold, loud, and lively – the Everly SJ-200 is not a hog. Its spruce on maple construction produces a warm, room-filling sound with enough jangle to stand out in a mix and not go bass-heavy.

Price and availability will keep it out of the hands of many, but let it never be said that Gibson didn’t give the Everly Brothers SJ-200 the full treatment.

This article originally appeared in VG’s July 2023 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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