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Advice needed on adverticed used Gibson True Vintage SJ-200 2003 model


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I have been offered a used SJ-200 True Vintage 2003 model but pictures and other

info makes me a bit concerned. Price is a little too high I think but I'm not sure how much the seller

is willing to drop the price. According to the seller there is no Gibson papers for the guitar. When I bought my

SG Faded I got a user manual and a packing list/ control paper with the S/N written on it and a sinature probably from the person packing and checking the guitar.


According to info from the seller this is a SJ-200 True Vintage sunburst with pickup fitted later.

I think its looking more like a Modern Classic vintage sunburst but I could wery well

be wrong. The tuners looks like the ones on True Vintage. Modern Classic has gold looking tuners.


I think I see fret wear:


(zoom the picture )


More pictures of the guitar can be found in the folder at


(serial no. is listed on one of the picktures).



The seller also tells me that the pickguards on Gibson acoustics are worn quite easy. I think it is a bit strange that the pickguard figures should be worn out after 5 years. I never touch the pickguard when I play but thats probably related to the playing style.


Is there anything else than fret wear that could be a problem in a 5-6 year old SJ-200 ?

What should I look for ?


Unfortunatly I do not have time to travel and test the guitar so I need to gather as much information

as possible and a lot of pictures. I still wait for more picktures, closeups of the first frets etc.


I have other non Gibson acoutstics which has fret wear that look similar to the pictures of the SJ-200. That is not causing a problem.

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Gibson did not introduce the True Vintage line until 2007.

A 2003 model would be a standard SJ-200.


Ok, thanks for the info. As the seller bought it used too I guess he could have misunderstand as the finish is called vintage sunburst. That could have made him think it is a true vintage when I asked him if it was a true vintage.


Hopefully someone will comment the fret wear and pickguard wear I think I see. I fear it has been given "The Who" treatment ;-)

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Fret wear would probably depend on how much it was played and by whom. They did have problems with the pickguards fading back in 2003, so that could be the case with that one. Mine has never faded, but I know of many people who's did. The original owner could have it replaced under warranty, but otherwise they are very expensive.


As was already mentioned, it can't be a True Vintage model, so just make sure it's not priced as a True Vintage model. The TV's are more expensive.

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Hopefully someone will comment the fret wear and pickguard wear I think I see. I fear it has been given "The Who" treatment ;-)


As far as the fret wear, I can see the little notches. It took me less than 5 years to do that to my '94 J-45. Mine actually looked worse. I did not abuse it. Just my playing style. I traded it in for another instrument and the dealer considered it a "boarderline partial refret". He knocked off a bit of money toward my trade-in because of that (it was a while ago and I can't remember how much). Also, I started to wear "divots" into the rosewood fretboard. I don't know if the picture is showing that or the board is just dirty.

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I have an identical '03 SJ200!


Sure enough, if you so much as touch the original scratchplate on those guitars the design comes off. Mine wore out in a year, I bought another and lacquered it but that curled up at the edges, and finally Gibson sent me a new 'guard with the design sealed into it in the way modern Hummingbird 'guards are.


I see a spot of fretwear in the pics but you have to remember that a dress (or even a refret) isn't monstrously expensive.


The only other issue with mine is that the neck angle is such that it is debatable whether it needs a reset or not. It plays just fine, but there is no room for further saddle adjustment. I'm sure that is particular to mine, but it is worth checking out.


On the upside, these are tremendous guitars. Mine has been all over the world with me, and I won't leave home for a solo show without it. After 700 or so gigs it is fairly well worn, but looks, sounds and plays fantastically.

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