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NGD Gibson J-180 (Lefty) Custom Shop Made 2 Measure Order

#1 User is offline   Leonard McCoy 

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 05:31 PM

Storytime

Long time coming... Pictures at the bottom of the post.

Inspired by Cat Stevens's recordings and live performances, I had been actively looking for a preowned Gibson J-180 (Lefty) for over three years, but neither the secondary market nor inquiring with major retailers for a brand-new guitar yielded any results. Until that fateful day I heard of a retailer specializing in custom orders including Gibson with their Made 2 Measurement program—success!

Around the time Gibson filed for chapter 11 insolvency protection, I decided to put my money where my mouth is and order a Gibson J-180 (Left Handed) from the Custom Shop at Bozeman, Montana.

The order was placed through Gibson's own Made 2 Measurement program with my German dealer Musikhaus Hermann OHG (whom I can wholeheartedly recommend) on June 14, 2018. And, CITES notwithstanding, I got my hands on the guitar in Berlin, Germany, on this 12th day of January, 2019.

Model History

The Gibson Everly Brothers guitar (in 1986 and once again in 1996 reissued by Gibson as the J-180 with different specs) is a stage and recording guitar mainly for singer/songwriters.

During the 1950s the Everly Brothers played J-200 models with two large white pickguards on either side of the soundhole because of their heavy upstroke when strumming quickly which would eat through any soundboard. The Everly Brothers model was introduced in 1962 with tortoise colored pickguards. It was conceived as a striking stage guitar that geled well with the Everly brothers who required a classic-looking, comfortable, compact rhythm guitar that would not interfere with their tuxedo look, their singing, and with how closely they stood together on stage playing and singing into a single mic.

Under the bottom line, the J-180 is but a funkier J-185, which in itself, generally speaking, is a more compact, more affordable SJ-200 (sans the maple neck).

Specs (concerning this particular custom order)

Model name: J-180 (Custom Shop)

  • jumbo shape
  • spruce top
  • maple back & sides
  • huge dual tortoise grain pickguards extending below bridge
  • wbw-ply binding top & single-ply binding back
  • bound rosewood fretboard
  • star fretboard inlays
  • 24.75"-scale mahogany neck
  • pearl logo
  • nickel Gotoh keystone tuners
  • ebony finish
  • pearl star peghead inlay
  • L.R.Baggs VTC preamp w/ volume & tone controls
  • black Gibson Acoustic case w/ gold-plated hinges (incl. certificate of authenticity, dark-brown leather guitar strap, yellow Gibson polishing cloth, keychain plectrum holder, truss rod adjustment tool with Phillips screw head)
  • Gibson Gold Warranty

Sound and Feel

Warm and mellow, yet clear and articulate. Lots of low end, yet bell-like highs. Tactile and responsive but with quick decay. Strong string separation. Great dynamic range in terms of volume and responsiveness. Great for fingerstyle and rhythm.

Due to its compact size she's very comfortable to play in whatever position you're in, whether you're standing or sitting at your desk with your feet up on the table. The neck is very comfy; it fills my hand pocket nicely. In the higher registers she plays nice as well and allows full-note bending. The (narrow) frets are well plekked.

And the mesmerizing smell of new nitro-finished Gibson—there's nothing quite like it!

Build Quality

Impeccable finish, no buildup. The interior is super clean—no glue lines or spills. The neck is straight and not twisted and correctly centered. The pickguards are firmly attached. The LR Baggs pickup elements are neatly tucked away and out of sight.

The frets are nicely plekked. However, I don't like how the nut is plekked not because of the depth of the nut slot (they are perfect) but how steep and not rounded off they were cut. This causes the string to catch on the nut slot and causes difficulties for the tuning keys. I will have to further lubricate and round off those slots (with some old strings of the same gauge).

In hindsight I wish I had ordered in time locking tuners or those vintage Kluson Wafflebacks.

Factory Setup

Spot on. The string action at the 12th fret is 5/64th (bass) and a little under 3/64 (treble). The nut action is fine. The saddle could sit a little tighter within the bridge slot. I only had to tighten the truss rod a little to straighten out the neck leaving the slightest bit of relief.

I strung her up with brand-new light Gibson J-200 phosphor bronze strings.

Photos

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This post has been edited by Leonard McCoy: 13 January 2019 - 09:56 AM

2018 Gibson J-180 (Everly)
2009 Gibson Les Paul Standard Ebony
2004 Fender 50th Anniversary American Deluxe Stratocaster
2002 Gibson "Goldtone" GA-15RV
1990 Ovation Legend L717 (A-bracing)

Finely transcribed Cat Stevens Guitar Tabs (fan project)

"Believe me when I say that some of the most amazing music in history
was made on equipment that's not as good as what you own right now."—Jol Dantzig, founder of Hamer Guitars
0

#2 User is offline   Dave F 

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 05:37 PM

Nice!
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#3 User is online   FZ Fan 

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 05:40 PM

Damn - did you have to give Gibson a spare kidney?

This post has been edited by FZ Fan: 12 January 2019 - 05:41 PM

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#4 User is offline   j45nick 

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 06:06 PM

That is truly a beautiful guitar.

The background and history lesson were a big plus.

Worth the wait.
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#5 User is offline   Leonard McCoy 

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 06:11 PM

View PostFZ Fan, on 12 January 2019 - 05:40 PM, said:

Damn - did you have to give Gibson a spare kidney?

Actually, she was reasonably priced.

This post has been edited by Leonard McCoy: 12 January 2019 - 06:12 PM

2018 Gibson J-180 (Everly)
2009 Gibson Les Paul Standard Ebony
2004 Fender 50th Anniversary American Deluxe Stratocaster
2002 Gibson "Goldtone" GA-15RV
1990 Ovation Legend L717 (A-bracing)

Finely transcribed Cat Stevens Guitar Tabs (fan project)

"Believe me when I say that some of the most amazing music in history
was made on equipment that's not as good as what you own right now."—Jol Dantzig, founder of Hamer Guitars
0

#6 User is offline   JuanCarlosVejar 

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 07:58 PM

Yowza ...


Wow .Wish I could strum that beast!


Congrats.She’s gorgeous !!

With the Tulips it looks just like the Billie Joe Armstrong sig.


I’d like to order one with the pinless bridge .But I think Bozeman only does those for the japanese market.




JC
2000 Yamaha FG720SL
2007 SJ 200 TV [RETIRED]
2011 Hummingbird TV [RETIRED]
2011 L200 Emmylou Harris
2012 L00 5 star
2012 J35 5 star
2012 Elvis Costello Century Of Progress
2012 J200 Golden Era Rosewood Edition (Carter Slade)
2012 75th Anniversary J200M (Banana)
2014 Martin 1921 000 28K Authentic
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#7 User is offline   Leonard McCoy 

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 05:25 AM

View PostJuanCarlosVejar, on 12 January 2019 - 07:58 PM, said:

Yowza ...


Wow .Wish I could strum that beast!


Congrats.She’s gorgeous !!

With the Tulips it looks just like the Billie Joe Armstrong sig.


I’d like to order one with the pinless bridge .But I think Bozeman only does those for the japanese market.




JC

They'll probably do it. That's what the M2M program is for.
2018 Gibson J-180 (Everly)
2009 Gibson Les Paul Standard Ebony
2004 Fender 50th Anniversary American Deluxe Stratocaster
2002 Gibson "Goldtone" GA-15RV
1990 Ovation Legend L717 (A-bracing)

Finely transcribed Cat Stevens Guitar Tabs (fan project)

"Believe me when I say that some of the most amazing music in history
was made on equipment that's not as good as what you own right now."—Jol Dantzig, founder of Hamer Guitars
0

#8 User is offline   Buc McMaster 

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 08:22 AM

Very nice looking instrument, sir! And apparently well worth the wait to land it. I think the only guitar that would tempt me these days is a 180-185 body, maple or mahogany. 200s are quite nice but a bit on the large side and long scale, neither of which appeals to me. New wood in the house!
J35 - J45 Vintage
Knowin' where you're goin' is mostly knowin' where you have been.
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#9 User is offline   Cougar 

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 08:46 AM

View PostLeonard McCoy, on 12 January 2019 - 05:31 PM, said:

Long time coming...

Wow! That's fantastic! Major congrats!


  • 2018 Gibson Songwriter Deluxe 12-string rosewood burst
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#10 User is offline   JuanCarlosVejar 

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 08:49 AM

L,


Did you ask for it to be drilled for a strap button?

I think most 2018 models came that way.




JC
2000 Yamaha FG720SL
2007 SJ 200 TV [RETIRED]
2011 Hummingbird TV [RETIRED]
2011 L200 Emmylou Harris
2012 L00 5 star
2012 J35 5 star
2012 Elvis Costello Century Of Progress
2012 J200 Golden Era Rosewood Edition (Carter Slade)
2012 75th Anniversary J200M (Banana)
2014 Martin 1921 000 28K Authentic
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#11 User is offline   kidblast 

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 09:15 AM

Normally I don't like black acoustics, BUT -- THAT sure is nice
/Ray
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#12 User is offline   vacamartin 

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 09:51 AM

Holy Mother of PearlPosted Image
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#13 User is offline   Leonard McCoy 

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 12:50 PM

View PostJuanCarlosVejar, on 15 January 2019 - 08:49 AM, said:

L,


Did you ask for it to be drilled for a strap button?

I think most 2018 models came that way.




JC

Nope, it's got no strap button at the heel. I'll go via the headstock with a leather extension just like Cat Stevens did (even though structurally it's not in the guitar's best interest but I'll watch out).

This post has been edited by Leonard McCoy: 15 January 2019 - 12:51 PM

2018 Gibson J-180 (Everly)
2009 Gibson Les Paul Standard Ebony
2004 Fender 50th Anniversary American Deluxe Stratocaster
2002 Gibson "Goldtone" GA-15RV
1990 Ovation Legend L717 (A-bracing)

Finely transcribed Cat Stevens Guitar Tabs (fan project)

"Believe me when I say that some of the most amazing music in history
was made on equipment that's not as good as what you own right now."—Jol Dantzig, founder of Hamer Guitars
0

#14 User is offline   gearbasher 

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 01:55 PM

Just curious...What model is typed on the label? And, is there any sort of custom shop decal on the back of the headstock?

Edit: BTW...she's lovely.

2nd edit: After reading your post I saw: "Model name: J-180 (Custom Shop)". I guess that's what's on the label.

This post has been edited by gearbasher: 15 January 2019 - 01:58 PM

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The only thing I'm looking to achieve is room temperature.
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#15 User is offline   Leonard McCoy 

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 03:14 PM

View Postgearbasher, on 15 January 2019 - 01:55 PM, said:

Just curious...What model is typed on the label? And, is there any sort of custom shop decal on the back of the headstock?

Edit: BTW...she's lovely.

2nd edit: After reading your post I saw: "Model name: J-180 (Custom Shop)". I guess that's what's on the label.

Yes, there's the custom shop decal on the back of the headstock, and the label says,
"Style J-180
Number 12418018
CUSTOM SHOP
GIBSON
Bozeman, Montana U.S.A."
2018 Gibson J-180 (Everly)
2009 Gibson Les Paul Standard Ebony
2004 Fender 50th Anniversary American Deluxe Stratocaster
2002 Gibson "Goldtone" GA-15RV
1990 Ovation Legend L717 (A-bracing)

Finely transcribed Cat Stevens Guitar Tabs (fan project)

"Believe me when I say that some of the most amazing music in history
was made on equipment that's not as good as what you own right now."—Jol Dantzig, founder of Hamer Guitars
0

#16 User is offline   JuanCarlosVejar 

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 03:39 PM

Cat’s Everly looks to be in good shape still.
I’m sure your J 180 will due just fine.




JC
2000 Yamaha FG720SL
2007 SJ 200 TV [RETIRED]
2011 Hummingbird TV [RETIRED]
2011 L200 Emmylou Harris
2012 L00 5 star
2012 J35 5 star
2012 Elvis Costello Century Of Progress
2012 J200 Golden Era Rosewood Edition (Carter Slade)
2012 75th Anniversary J200M (Banana)
2014 Martin 1921 000 28K Authentic
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#17 User is offline   Jinder 

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 05:17 PM

So beautiful...thrilled that the story ended so well!! Worth the wait methinks. My J180 has grown on me more than any guitar I've ever owned, I liked it originally but LOVE it now. Ditched the undersaddle pickup and went with a soundhole pickup which made it even better. Glorious guitars and so iconic!
#######
2016 Custom Shop Advanced Jumbo Maple (Ltd to 65)
2015 SJ200 Standard
2014 Custom Shop J180 Everly (Ltd to 65)
2005 Custom Shop Hummingbird 12 String (Ltd to 12)
1990 Hummingbird (Fullerplast and Paddle neck joint. Yuck...My favourite 6 string ever!)
1968 F25
1967 J45
1935 Dobro M32
2017 Epiphone Masterbilt Century Deluxe Archtop
2003 Takamine EAN20C
1998 Fender Classic Series '60s RI Telecaster
1988 Fender Strat Plus

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#18 User is offline   QuestionMark 

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 07:33 PM

Beautiful instrument! Enjoy!

QM aka “ Jazzman” Jeff
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#19 User is offline   livemusic 

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 07:33 PM

Leonard, that is a stunning guitar, congrats!
~~~
Bill

1956 Country Western, natural
1968 J-50, natural
1992 J-30, all-mahogany
1993 Gospel, sunburst
1994 Gospel 100th Anniversary, natural
1995 Gospel w/Gibson Accuvoice pickup, natural
2004 WM-45, sunburst
2010 J-45 Standard, Gibson pickup, sunburst
2011 Jackson Browne Model A, sunburst
2016 J-45 1942 Legend Limited, Torrefied, sunburst
2017 J-45 1960s J45 Ebony VOS (black, white pickguard)
Too many more (other brands)
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#20 User is offline   aliasphobias 

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Posted 16 January 2019 - 05:59 AM

Wow what a great looking J180 Mr. McCoy! After the long wait I am glad it didn't disappoint. It must be a great feeling to finally have it in your hands. Patience rewarded!!
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