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1969 sj200


Motherofpearl

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I know this is close to or is in the norlin era. But there's one I'm interested in. Any info or a review would be great? I can find info on the 68 I'm assuming they are the same? This one does not have a tune o matic bridge

 

 

The only thing I might offer is that most Gibsons of this period--except the 12-string acoustics--have the narrow 1 9/16" nut. Be sure you are comfortable with this before buying. I have two narrow-nut Gibsons that I've adapted to just fine, but a lot of people find them uncomfortable to play.

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First thing you would need to do is look to see if that big nasty floating brace is still screwed to the top. I believe there were two versions of this contraption. They make the guitar sound like it is stuffed with old t-shirts. The good news though is they are pretty easy to remove.

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First thing you would need to do is look to see if that big nasty floating brace is still screwed to the top. I believe there were two versions of this contraption. They make the guitar sound like it is stuffed with old t-shirts. The good news though is they are pretty easy to remove.

 

 

Been there, done that, and it's worth removing. I'd be surprised if many of those are still in place.

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Thanks nick and zomby ill check it out! So other than the nut width and brace they are a decent guitar. Would you say $4000 for one in great shape Is a decent buy?

 

 

I'd say that's a lot of money, but you gotta look at it and play it to know. For a reality check, compare it to the price of a new or recent model, which may well be superior musical instrument.

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Thanks nick and zomby ill check it out! So other than the nut width and brace they are a decent guitar. Would you say $4000 for one in great shape Is a decent buy?

Depends on what you're comparing to, but you can get a late model SJ-200 TV for less money and these are far better guitars. The only reason to get a '69 is if you want that particular sound -- the same reason that people buy J-160Es -- because you heard it on songs you like back in the day. Generally, I think vintage J-200s are seriously overpriced relative to how good they are, with the exception of superior examples from the early- through not-too-late '50s.

 

-- Bob R

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It would seem a lot to me, but Gruhn's has a '68 for 5K

 

 

"Big name" shops like Gruhn and others though tend to ask top dollar because they can afford to sit on inventory. A smaller store or individual can't so will give you a better deal. Then again, when you buy from a place like Gruhn you know you will not get ripped off - you know exactly what you are getting and what condition it is in.

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Would this 'loating' brace also exist on my 69' Bird ?

 

If yes how can I identify it, and if I removed it would it improve the tone ?

 

This guitar doesn't have the resonance of my other Gibsons, but 'stuffed with socks' is not a remotely accurate term either.

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Except that Gibson put one in my old J-45 when they re-topped it in 1968, so it may exist elsewhere as well.

 

The first time you mentioned that it kinda freaked me out. I am wondering if Gibson was having increased warranty issues about tops or something. Gibson always worried about the big old top on the J-200. They started off placing that second wide angle brace above the soundhole and then went to a single X brace. In the mid-1950s they went back to adding the second brace in the mid-1950s. My opinion though, for what it is is worth, is the J-200s made between 1955 and 1960 with the second wide angle brace and laminated maple bodies were the best they ever made.

 

I have always wondered if the J-200s were subjected to the heavier bracing Gibson started using in the late 1960s culminating in the much dreaded double X bracing. J-200s were already overbraced and, especially when you throw in the tune-o-matic bridge, about as heavy as some electrics.

 

My other question would be by the late 1960s were all J-200s still being made in the Custom Department. They certainly upped production and were turnig out maybe double the number they had in earlier years. But the total production by 1969 still stands at no more than maybe 400 a year.

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Would this 'loating' brace also exist on my 69' Bird ?

 

If yes how can I identify it, and if I removed it would it improve the tone ?

 

This guitar doesn't have the resonance of my other Gibsons, but 'stuffed with socks' is not a remotely accurate term either.

 

No floating brace but your 1969 HB does have a much heavier top bracing than you find in earlier guitars. Gibson started putting heavier bracing in their guitars in 1968 and then made it even heavier in 1969.

 

You could, of course, have the braces shaved. But you never know what you are going to end up with. I would think it wise to just leave the guitar alone or if you do not like it to part company with it.

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No floating brace but your 1969 HB does have a much heavier top bracing than you find in earlier guitars. Gibson started putting heavier bracing in their guitars in 1968 and then made it even heavier in 1969.

 

You could, of course, have the braces shaved. But you never know what you are going to end up with. I would think it wise to just leave the guitar alone or if you do not like it to part company with it.

 

 

Interestingly, I recently did a thorough inspection of the bracing of the top that Gibson put on my old J-45 in 1968, using the Collins J-45 plans (1957 J-45) as a reference. The bracing pattern of this 1968 top is identical to that of the 1957 top, although the end scalloping of the braces is very slightly different, and the cross-section og the braces is slightly different. I suspect the top brace ends are hand-scalloped in any case, so it's no surprise they might vary a bit.

 

Since this job was done in the Gibson repair department, rather than on the production floor, I don't know how the bracing would compare with that of a "standard" 1968 J-45 top. They did put the floating brace in, which confounded me when I got it back. I think it lasted about a month before I got up the nerve to remove it. Night and day change in tone, as I recall.

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Nick, how did you 'inspect' the top bracing on your J-45? I mean, how the hell does one see it all when you can't stick ones head in there ? I'm guessing some kind of mirrors and strong light ?

 

I would love to compare the top bracing on my 69' and TV Birds.

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Nick, how did you 'inspect' the top bracing on your J-45? I mean, how the hell does one see it all when you can't stick ones head in there ? I'm guessing some kind of mirrors and strong light ?

 

I would love to compare the top bracing on my 69' and TV Birds.

 

I did it when I was changing strings. I have an auto inspection mirror (telescoping handle, tilting head, about 35mm diameter) that I can maneuver around inside the guitar, and a very compact mini Maglite flashlight that I position inside the guitar to get light where I need it. You can also just use a flat piece of mirror glass that is smaller than the soundhole. The tilting feature on the compact inspection mirror is a plus.

 

I can also get my hand inside through the soundhole to feel things I can't see clearly. I can get just enough of my forearm in to reach most of the inside. You don't want to sneeze when you've got your forearm jammed into the soundhole, however, or bad things could happen to the guitar.

 

With the bridge pins out, you can also shine a strong light down through those holes for more illumination.

 

The ideal tool might be a compact video inspection camera with the lens on a flexible stalk, but I don't have one of those.

 

Once again, having the Collins plans for the J-45 was a huge plus, as they help you understand what you are feeling and looking at.

 

It gives you a new respect for people that do repairs on the insides of these things.

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Cheers Nick. Are the Collins plans online anywhere, would love to know what to look for.

 

I got them from Stew-Mac, but if you google Collins Gibson J-45 plans, they are probably available elsewhere. There are other J-45 plans, but I think these are the best: full-scale, and virtually every single detail, including such things as every top brace and back brace in cross section and profile, all the different bridges, etc.

 

Of course, this was taken off a single guitar, but it seems to be prototypical.

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Nick, how did you 'inspect' the top bracing on your J-45? I mean, how the hell does one see it all when you can't stick ones head in there ? I'm guessing some kind of mirrors and strong light ?

 

I would love to compare the top bracing on my 69' and TV Birds.

I recall the talk about doin' some additional sanding and admit it is a tempting thought. A rather expensive experiment also - Imagine the vintage beauty tilt into some unusable weird. Like meeting a beautiful and charismatic so called milf, totally cracked up inside. Lords and lads, don't ever mess with such misery. . . .

 

Regarding looking inside the cabinet – I use a 150 % sized t.r. cover shaped fragment of a normal mirror and an adjustable hand-light. First I place the lamp in front of the neck-block (direction bridge and hind end), then the mirror goes down and in various needed positions leans on the back braces.

Voila – there the concert-hall ceiling shows in all its wonder.

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A compact facial mirror can work very well for inspection. Duct (or other) tape can be used to fashion a long tether in order to place it wherever you want & then pull it back out. Very small LED flashlights also can easily be placed in the guitar, with a string attachment to pull it out when done. Inside inspection is always a good idea, if nothing other than to make sure the ball end of your strings are seating properly on the bridge plate (rather than digging into the wood of the top). As for that '69 J200, I'd recommend having a look at it if you can view it in person, just to add it's characteristics to your knowledge base.

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man, you guys are good. A person can learn a lot hanging around here... A question I have, is what exactly is a "floating" brace??

 

It was an additional top brace that Gibson starting screwing onto the J-200 in 1961. If I recall correctly, one version ran from just south of the soundhole down to the bridge. The other was set lower down. As these were just screwed on though they are simple to remove.

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