Jump to content
Gibson Brands Forums
Sign in to follow this  
Ronnie DP

Difference between J and SJ model designation

Recommended Posts

I'm not clear as to why some models are described as SJ and others as J.

My recently purchased J-200 standard has a label inside which reads SJ-200. Does the SJ just mean super jumbo?

 

Thanks

Ronnie.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, it means yours is more super than the average jumbo. [thumbup]

 

 

Someone will be along soon with the full technical answer, but this has come up before and from what I recall it's nothing to do with the specs, more just a case of nomenclature.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, it means yours is more super than the average jumbo. [thumbup]

 

 

Someone will be along soon with the full technical answer, but this has come up before and from what I recall it's nothing to do with the specs, more just a case of nomenclature.

 

Thanks.

 

What has me confused is that the True Vintage is described on the website as a SJ-200. This also applies to the Pete Townshend. So maybe used for select models.

As you say someone will hopefully explain the technicalities around this.

 

Ronnie.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe in the early days it was called SJ-200 then dropped to J-200. Such is our fascination fo rthe early days stuff they now tnd to use a lot opf those names and reissue early days styled models.

 

I have the SJ-200TV myself and alwaysd refer to it as a J-200... go figure......

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The history of these designations is long and checkered.

 

In 1934, Gibson introduced the Jumbo, its first 14-fret slope shouldered guitar. It looked like this.

 

35jumbpfronts.jpg

 

Then, in 1936 they discontinued the Jumbo, and issues a new version of that guitar -- they first called it Trojan, but then the officially renamed it the Jumbo35 and soon after the J-35. It cost $35.

 

It looks like this.

 

1936TrojanJ-35a.jpg

 

At the same time the introduced a new model, the Advanced Jumbo or AJ. It had a slightly different body shape than the Jumbo and J-35, but somewhere around 1937 they changed the J-35 body shape to match the AJ. Here is a 1936 AJ.

 

1936AJa.jpg

 

Then, in 1938 they introduced the Super Jumbo SJ-200 -- it cost $200. The first use of the SJ designation -- it looks like this.

 

20U-9003_front_sm_.jpg

 

They subsequently discontinued the AJ (1940) and introduced the J-55 (also 1940). It was shaped like the AJ -- the use of the J to designate that body shape was now in place.

 

In 1942, they revamped the line again -- and introduced two new guitars in the J line -- the now iconic J-45 and the Southerner Jumbo.

 

They look like this.

 

1942J-45a.jpg

 

1943SJa.jpg

 

People quickly started calling the Southerner Jumbo the Southern Jumbo and then the SJ -- so Gibson did too. Of course the SJ-200 was also still around, and started having other models -- SJ-180, SJ-100 -- that all had the SJ-200 body shape.

 

But the Super Jumbos are bigger than the Js, and Gibson did not have a guitar called the Jumbo after 1936, so people naturally started calling the SJ-200 and its decedents Jumbos. This was never correct, but eventually Gibson gave in and started calling them that too.

 

I hope this has cleared everything up but if you can say how, your a better man than I.

 

Best.

 

-Tom

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for this Tom. Probably need to read this many times over [smile] .

Except maybe to conclude that the super jumbos are all in fact officially designated SJ-xxx, but just referred to as J-xxx for short? And also that the Southern Jumbo is also referred to as SJ?

 

I think I'm confused for sure [smile]

 

Ronnie.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for this Tom. Probably need to read this many times over [smile] .

Except maybe to conclude that the super jumbos are all in fact officially designated SJ-xxx, but just referred to as J-xxx for short? And also that the Southern Jumbo is also referred to as SJ?

 

I think I'm confused for sure [smile]

 

Ronnie.

 

 

Don't worry, Ronnie. You'll get used to it.

 

After all, we're talking Gibson here.

 

I'm working out a new tune, to be called "Walking Contradiction Blues", or "Gibson Blues".

 

Haven't gotten very far yet, but it starts out:

 

"Don't know who you really are, but I'm still in love with you..."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't worry, Ronnie. You'll get used to it.

 

After all, we're talking Gibson here.

 

I'm working out a new tune, to be called "Walking Contradiction Blues", or "Gibson Blues".

 

Haven't gotten very far yet, but it starts out:

 

"Don't know who you really are, but I'm still in love with you..."

 

Looking forward to hear the finished song.

 

Ronnie.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Tom, do you have any other '30's AJ you can show us??? Have AJ's always been long scale???? Have they historically always been rosewood?

 

Wily I do believe that your short-scale hog AJ is a modern chimera (a nice one for sure), but I'm now waiting with bated breath for Tom to reveal that in fact he has a 1937 short-scale hog AJ which is not a J35.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wily I do believe that your short-scale hog AJ is a modern chimera (a nice one for sure), but I'm now waiting with bated breath for Tom to reveal that in fact he has a 1937 short-scale hog AJ which is not a J35.

 

Alas, no. I believe all 30s AJs were long scale and EIRW (there in still come argument about the IE part). Jumbos, J-35s, J-55s, J-45s, etc. I believe are all short scale.

 

But I would not shoot myself if a counter example shows up -- I mean we are talking Gibson here.

 

Best,

 

-Tom

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Alas, no. I believe all 30s AJs were long scale and EIRW (there in still come argument about the IE part). ...But I would not shoot myself if a counter example shows up -- I mean we are talking Gibson here.

 

I do know of one exception both to the back and side wood and the scale length: the one and only original AJ with maple back and sides. As for scale length, it is either both long and short scale or neither. It has a short scale neck and long scale fingerboard, or perhaps the other way around. My friend Kim Walker worked on it when he was head of George Gruhn's repair shop.

 

As Tom pointed out, "we are talking Gibson here."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do know of one exception both to the back and side wood and the scale length: the one and only original AJ with maple back and sides. As for scale length, it is either both long and short scale or neither. It has a short scale neck and long scale fingerboard, or perhaps the other way around. My friend Kim Walker worked on it when he was head of George Gruhn's repair shop.

 

As Tom pointed out, "we are talking Gibson here."

 

I think I can grasp the concept of short-scale neck with long-scale fingerboard, John, but the other way round? How would that look?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do know of one exception both to the back and side wood and the scale length: the one and only original AJ with maple back and sides. As for scale length, it is either both long and short scale or neither. It has a short scale neck and long scale fingerboard, or perhaps the other way around. My friend Kim Walker worked on it when he was head of George Gruhn's repair shop.

 

As Tom pointed out, "we are talking Gibson here."

 

How could it be in tune if the neck was one scale length, but the frets were spaced for another?

 

Red 333

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think I can grasp the concept of short-scale neck with long-scale fingerboard, John, but the other way round? How would that look?

 

I do think that it was short neck/long fingerboard, resulting in the fingerboard extending 3/4 an inch farther over the body than it should have. But, if the opposite, the fingerboard would have stopped 3/4 an inch short of where it would usually have ended. In any event, it had intonation issues, of course.

 

I'll ask Kim.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do think that it was short neck/long fingerboard, resulting in the fingerboard extending 3/4 an inch farther over the body than it should have. But, if the opposite, the fingerboard would have stopped 3/4 an inch short of where it would usually have ended. In any event, it had intonation issues, of course.

 

I'll ask Kim.

 

Would it automatically have intonation issues if the bridge were placed correctly for the scale-length of the fingerboard? The neck would then just become a shorter neck, surely, much like a twelve-fret guitar with a short-scale length has a shorter neck than a 14-fretter with the same scale-length.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Would it automatically have intonation issues if the bridge were placed correctly for the scale-length of the fingerboard? The neck would then just become a shorter neck, surely, much like a twelve-fret guitar with a short-scale length has a shorter neck than a 14-fretter with the same scale-length.

 

The bridge was placed correctly for the scale length of one but not the other. I can't remember how Kim addressed this. He also removed a whole lot of rhinestones. George still tells me that Kim is the best craftsperson he's ever seen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
How could it be in tune if the neck was one scale length, but the frets were spaced for another?

 

Exactly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How could it be in tune if the neck was one scale length, but the frets were spaced for another?

 

Red 333

 

How does a 12-fret SJ stay in tune when it has a shorter neck than a 14-fret SJ? They both have the same scale length, and surely the same fret spacing? Surely it's all in the bridge placement, unless the neck is so long that the fretboard doesn't cover it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How does a 12-fret SJ stay in tune when it has a shorter neck than a 14-fret SJ? They both have the same scale length, and surely the same fret spacing? Surely it's all in the bridge placement, unless the neck is so long that the fretboard doesn't cover it.

 

The 12 fret SJ has frets spaced for the scale length. That maple AJ did not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The 12 fret SJ has frets spaced for the scale length. That maple AJ did not.

 

Yes, understood. Would love to know how it came about. Perhaps the resulting oddness brought about the rapid end of the original maple AJ line?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Perhaps the resulting oddness brought about the rapid end of the original maple AJ line?

 

Oh, I doubt it. The maple AJ would have been a special order. I imagine someone at Gibson grabbing an AJ fingerboard, done in long scale, and then grabbing a maple neck blank, made for an L-Century, and building a maple AJ without realizing that the L-C neck was short scale.

 

Remember, this was before the Kalamazoo Gals arrived to make sure that things were done right. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, I doubt it. The maple AJ would have been a special order. I imagine someone at Gibson grabbing an AJ fingerboard, done in long scale, and then grabbing a maple neck blank, made for an L-Century, and building a maple AJ without realizing that the L-C neck was short scale.

 

Remember, this was before the Kalamazoo Gals arrived to make sure that things were done right. :)

 

If that would be an AJ, then this is an archtop Nick Lucus[biggrin].

 

l4fronts.jpg

l4heads.jpg

 

Gibson did stuff like that all the time -- the banjos were even more crazy.

 

Let's pick,

 

-Tom

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a 75th Anni. AJ which i purchased last year. You all comment on the scale/fret/intonation/etc. I have noticed on mine that the bridge is higher on the bass side than on the treble side. Would this have something to do with the scale/.../etc.? Was it introduced back in the day, or a new modern modification? Go figure.

 

 

Great post Tom.

 

 

Teer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a 75th Anni. AJ which i purchased last year. You all comment on the scale/fret/intonation/etc. I have noticed on mine that the bridge is higher on the bass side than on the treble side. Would this have something to do with the scale/.../etc.? Was it introduced back in the day, or a new modern modification? Go figure.

 

 

Great post Tom.

 

 

Teer

 

Can't say why, but it is original -- although you should have to look close to see it. Ours in 1936 (first year), and the bridge is original.

 

I imagine Gibson has not actually seen all that many of them. Like the first Trojans (J-35s) -- both of ours would have been built in oct, nov, or dec 1936 --our AJ has three tone bars. It is the only one I have ever documented for sure, but at least one other has been rumored. So they were not all the same.

 

Best,

 

-Tom

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...