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SJ-200

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Looking for some tips on buying a second hand SJ-200 w/electronics.  Are some manufacturing years of this model better than others? 

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I have 2016 that bought new that had a LR Baggs Anthem in it.  I replaced it with a fishman matrix when the Anthem module started to make noises and rattle.

I've heard............ the recent Bozeman builds are among the finest products coming out of Gibson.

 

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Also my advice is patience! Take your time, & a good price will show up. I got mine off reverb. Asking price was $2300. I offered $1900, & the guy jumped on it. Got a 2007, Dove for $1750. Patience is the key.

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Thanks..found a few on Reverb which are   close to my price range..I see some have the traditional ivory looking pegs..others have gold pegs.....do you have a preference.

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34 minutes ago, Bx2PA said:

Thanks..found a few on Reverb which are   close to my price range..I see some have the traditional ivory looking pegs..others have gold pegs.....do you have a preference.

I’m assuming you’re talking about the tuners? Mine has gold kluson’s , with pearloid, tulip buttons.but I see the newer models have Grover rotomatic’s.  The kluson’s are lighter than Grover’s. However that’s a decision you have to make. I’m not sure, I would base my decision, on the tuners. If I liked the guitar, I would buy it regardless.

 

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My 2016 came with gold Grover rotomatics.  Historical photos show mix of Grover roto and pearloid tulip klusons through years.   Bob Dylan’s basement tapes sj200 and George Harrison’s late era Beatles both had Grover rotos, fwiw 

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10 hours ago, Bx2PA said:

Thanks..found a few on Reverb which are   close to my price range..I see some have the traditional ivory looking pegs..others have gold pegs.....do you have a preference.

I know there are some that like Grovers on Gibson; I, for one, think they look terrible. Klusons with the tulip buttons should be on all Gibsons, regardless of model. JMHO, but you asked for a preference....FWIW, my 200 has gold Kluson's with tulip buttons, my Dove, Grovers. Still thinking about swapping out the Grovers, but it sounds so good I don't want to upset the mojo....🙄

Edited by Joe M

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23 minutes ago, blindboygrunt said:

Tulip buttons on a j45 ?! 

You're out of your mind man 

Oval ivory buttons on three-on-a-plate Klusons every time on a J-45, although I put a set of Grover sta-tites on my "old" J-45 back around 1970.  Thank God I didn't have the money for a set of Rotos back then. That's the headstock with all the fancy inlay in my avatar, and the sta-tites look ok there. But I wouldn't do it today.

Incidentally, the best, most accurate replacement oval buttons for vintage Klusons are the Antique Acoustic ones that Elderly sells. I just put them on my "new" 1950 J-45, as the original buttons were badly shrunken. The only things non-original on that guitar are the tuner buttons, bridge pins (Antique Acoustics), end pin (ditto), and saddle. I still have the original bits, including most of the shrunken black plastic bridge pins. The end pin crumbled away, as it has on most J-45's of that vintage.  Ross Teigen re-set the neck and made a taller saddle.

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7 hours ago, blindboygrunt said:

Tulip buttons on a j45 ?! 

You're out of your mind man 

Ok, ok, grunt, so I missed one model.....🤪

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I have a 2012 SJ200 Standard in Black, with gold Grovers and the factory Fishman Aura Ellipse system. Awesome guitar, and I can plug into any amp or board. The Fishman takes some getting used to and find-tuning. But once dialed in, it’s good!

 

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We have owned a 1960 J200 for decades.  Objectively it is an amazing instrument with a build quality which represents the pinnacle of the luthiers  craft.    Subjectively it is my least favorite Gibson flattop.  I would have a let it go had my wife not stepped in and claimed it as her own.  The J200 has been described as the Grand Piano of acoustics but I guess sometimes you just need a bit of barrelhouse.  

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I love my SJ200. It's a 2015 Standard. The onboard Ellipse Aura it came with was rattly rubbish, so that went and it now has a Sunrise fitted. A great all-rounder which plays and sounds terrific.

Look out for neck angle on the 200s. Underset necks can be a major issue which requires a reset to fix. My 2015 is fine, but my previous SJ200, a 2003, was born with an underset neck and required quite a bit of work to correct it. 

I'd seek out a '90s example if you can. Just the right combo of aging and consistency. My '95 Dove is sensational. On that note, if you like Maple and long scale, please do audition a Dove...basically an SJ200 in the shape of a Dread.

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53 minutes ago, Jinder said:

Look out for neck angle on the 200s. Underset necks can be a major issue which requires a reset to fix. My 2015 is fine, but my previous SJ200, a 2003, was born with an underset neck and required quite a bit of work to correct it. 

 

This is excellent advice. An underset neck means the guitar is screwed right out of the gate. They should never get out of the factory this way but stuff happens I guess. There are a few good ways to check for an underset neck:

  1. Sight the neck.  Put the end of the guitar on your toe and look down the neck trying to align the edge of the treble or bass side of the neck until it becomes a straight line to the bridge. If the top of the bridge (not the saddle) and the end of the fretboard align, then the neck is set properly. If the line of the fretboard points below the bridge towards the body, then it is underset.
  2. Put a straight-edge down the fretboard, on edge, between the D and G strings. As you slide the straight-edge towards the bridge, the bottom edge should slide smoothly over the top of the bridge and then butt up against the saddle. If it hits the front thickness of the bridge, the neck is underset.
  3. Check for a low saddle. If the guitar is new or just a few years old, the saddle should have substantial material above the bridge. If you are looking at a new guitar and the saddle is low, then the neck was underset when it was made and the factory lowered the saddle to compensate. Once the guitar ages, there will be no saddle material left to adjust the saddle down to lower the action from the rising neck. 

In EVERY case, a new guitar with an underset neck should be avoided as more trouble than it is worth. I don't care if it is a new $5000 Gibson or Martin, they aren't worth being reset. Find a good one.

On a personal note, any SJ200 with an Adirondack (red spruce) top will be superior to a standard J200 in my opinion. 

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Very nice posts, drathbun and Jinder. That type of info is tough to come across sometimes when learning this material.

My 2018 is good on that topic, too, fwiw. I had a Taylor 314 that was not good like that and it didn't stay here long. It helped fund my 'Bird. I wish I knew what to look for when I originally got it years ago, but it worked out in the end. My 614 exhibited a similar trait after becoming too humid with lat year's humid rainy year. I caught it beforeit got too bad and was able to manage the two nice Gibsons accordingly and all has been well since.

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I had a J200 Standard that was ordered from my local dealer that had a bad neck angle and I returned it. The replacement was perfect. They both had Ellipse Aura.

I have a J200 Custom RW, it came with an Ellipse Aura.

I have a J 200 Custom Koa. It came with a very basic piezo.

I seldom plug in so I do not have any opinion on the quality of the pick ups.

The only pickup system I have that impresses me is the Trance system that came with the Jackson Browne.

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My SJ200 is a vintage reproduction model; the Ray Whitley Golden Age 1930's. So there was no pickup option of course. I've decided to keep it unaltered by an onboard pickup. However, when I'm recording with it, it is sometimes more convenient to plug in rather than set up a mic. So I bought an iRig Acoustic Stage pickup that clips to the sound hole and the lead run on the exterior of the guitar to a beltpack. I've never played it live with this setup but this coming Friday I'm playing at the Tribal again and have decided to take the SJ200 with me. I was concerned about feedback (small club with two Bose L1 Compacts close to the stage) so I've improvised a feedback buster to accommodate the iRig. 

Ky9xhQV.jpg?1

Sorry for seemingly hijacking this thread, but I thought it might be instructive that you don't actually NEED to install a pickup in your guitar if it doesn't come with one already.

Here is the YouTube I did when I first got the iRig Acoustic Stage.

 

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