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Joe M

J200 Laminate Back and Sides??

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I was looking at a thread on another site that said that J200's were made with laminate back and sides. Sounded like he meant in the past sometime. When, if ever, did Gibson make the 200 with laminate back and sides? [confused]

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It doesn't surprise me. Some models came through with solid sides, laminated backs, vice versa.... I don't know how closely that decision was documented. Something tells me it was an ad hoc decision rather than "All model X guitars henceforth shall be..."

 

I guess all the individual can do is examine their own guitar and accept it. I had a '68 Dove a few years ago that someone had mounted an output jack in the side. Pretty clear THAT was laminated. Other times all you can do is compare the inner and outer grains.

 

I don't know how quickly I would be disappointed if I found out one of my Gibsons had lam. Maybe not at all! A lot less likely to crack, that's for sure!

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To my guess laminated back and sides won't affect tone significantly. The back is usually dampened by the player's torso and clothing, and the sides' contribution to tone is negligible I think. Sturdiness and rigidity are what counts here I believe.

 

Just my two cents.

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Zombywoof will know the history on this. I believe his wife has a J-200 from the late 1950's or so.

 

It is definitely true that the J-200 and other models have had laminated B&S at some point or points in the past.

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I suspect all of the modern J200s (90's to the present) are all solid wood). Likely true for the vast majority of Gibby models. I wouldn't be surprised at anything from the "Norlin era." Lots of changes at Gibson during that time. No doubt there were some sweet guitars made, but a lot of quality issues occurred and some models tended to go downhill until the late 80's. Before approx. the real late 60's when Norlin took over, I have idea. Some say Norlin got involved in Gibson in 66. .......... Aside from that, there are many people who feel that a laminate guitar is better and stronger than solid wood. I'm always expecting solid top and solid back & sides in any Gibsons or Martins I look at, but things can change. I prefer solid wood over laminate, but I'm conditioned to believing that solid is automatically better. Don't know if that's actually true.

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It is definitely true that the J-200 and other models have had laminated B&S at some point or points in the past.

 

The early 60's square trio Hummingbird/Southern Jumbo/Country Western is supposed to have examples in laminated wood.

 

How does one check it ?

 

Recognize wood-grain seen inside the guitar on the outside.

 

Pull out the endpin and examine the hole.

 

Regarding the top, a master-luthier here told me to hold the guitar towards a lamp/the sun to see if any light comes through. Guess that doesn't count for bursts.

 

 

 

So all in all easier said than done - any better suggestions !?

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J-200s were made with maple laminate back and sides from 1955 on. Gibson though made their own laminate - essentially two even layers of the same wood glued together. Back then it cost them more in materials and labor to produce than to use solid wood. If I had to guess why Gibson went to a laminate body on the J-200, they always seemed to worry about those big old tops. Hence the several bracing changes. They probably felt the stiffer laminate would provide better support.

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Thanks for the clarification, zomby, makes sense to me. I was just more curious about the fact that Gibson ever used laminate on any of their higher-end guitars. I'm sure they did the same with other models also.

 

Thanks again.

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The early 60's square trio Hummingbird/Southern Jumbo/Country Western is supposed to have examples in laminated wood.

 

How does one check it ?

 

Recognize wood-grain seen inside the guitar on the outside.

 

Pull out the endpin and examine the hole.

 

Regarding the top, a master-luthier here told me to hold the guitar towards a lamp/the sun to see if any light comes through. Guess that doesn't count for bursts.

 

 

 

So all in all easier said than done - any better suggestions !?

 

A Humming Southern-Western Country Jumbo Bird would be an interesting find in a lam. I do recall a '60's maple example on these pages a few years back; 'would be good to check for laminate construction there.

 

Your standard checks listed above are all good. Some will also try to give a close look at the soundhole cut-out. But what the luth told you held some interesting findings just now, as a few maple Gibsons are around here . . . one being a lam. Using a (blindingly) high intensity LED lamp with fresh batteries, the light was directed point blank up against the back from the outside, allowing the light a chance to shine through to the soundhole. The guitar with the sunburst maple back allowed the grain to be readable, when looking inside. But the lam guitar only allowed for the smallest amount of faint light to be seen from inside- a moderately dark amber (the glue?) color. Attempts to photograph this dim glow were futile.

 

The other giveaway: the weight.

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Pardon my ignorance, but do they still use a laminate?

 

Not to my (limited) knowledge. The only contemporary lam that comes to mind would be the reissue of the J-160; the ladder braced John Lennon J-160 with it's laminated top. Any others?

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Good one, Ponty. If you have a B-25, any chance of putting a high intensity light up against the back, comparing with a solid back?

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On 2/2/2016 at 9:21 AM, Joe M said:

I was looking at a thread on another site that said that J200's were made with laminate back and sides. Sounded like he meant in the past sometime. When, if ever, did Gibson make the 200 with laminate back and sides? [confused]

always; original Epi's, archtop acoustic and semi hollow electrics had carved top and back. Modern manufacture presses the tops and sides.  They clearly should be superior or equal but will lack the nuances of single hand builds.  Gibson reintroduced the PAF Humbucker; but, it, too,  is not really a PAF because it is computer wound, no chance for those, " errors," overwinds, underwinds that lets you find that unique sound.

 

Edited by Erl
  • Haha 1

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On 2/3/2016 at 6:10 PM, 62burst said:

 

Not to my (limited) knowledge. The only contemporary lam that comes to mind would be the reissue of the J-160; the ladder braced John Lennon J-160 with it's laminated top. Any others?

Gospel reissue

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1 hour ago, Dave F said:

Gospel reissue

Well, that explains the "limited" knowledge-part of my post from back then. I hadn't seen the light of the Gospel yet.  ; ) .

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5 minutes ago, 62burst said:

Well, that explains the "limited" knowledge-part of my post from back then. I hadn't seen the light of the Gospel yet.  ; ) .

😇 ^

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The F25 I had for a bit (1968, great tone but neck far too wide for my Carpal Tunnel Syndrome) had lam sides. The Gospels (both original '70s Maple ones and the reissues) had a laminate arched back but solid sides. Fantastic guitars which prove that lam doesn't necessarily equate to poor tone. 

The late '50s to late '60s J200s had instances of laminate back and sides as has been noted, not sure if they were all build the same way though due to the vagaries of Gibson history...

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