Gibson Western Classic Prewar SJ-200 2007, taken back in trade, mint condition with original hardshell case. Call for price.
The Gibson Super Jumbo first appeared in 1937. It was built for Hollywood singing star Ray Whitley as the world's biggest and fanciest acoustic guitar. Other singing cowboys who later owned Super Jumbos includes Roy Rogers and Gene Autry. Western movies were tremendously popular and the singing cowboy heroes needed an instrument that was as big and bold as they were. As a consequence, the details were grand in scale and the bindings high in contrast to look good in black and white on the silver screen.
This model started production in 1938 as Gibson's top-of-the-line flat top guitar. It was initially called the Super Jumbo but the name changed in 1939 to the Super Jumbo 200. The name derived from its large 16 7/8" lower bout, with a double-braced red spruce top and rosewood back and sides and sunburst finish. In 1947 the name changed to the J-200 and the standard back and sides became highly figured maple. Gibson changed the name again in the 1950s to the SJ-200. Due to the depression and the following wartime austerity; demand for this expensive instrument was limited and production quantities were small.
The Gibson Western Classic Prewar 200 is a recreation of the prototype guitar developed for Ray Whitley.
The photograph is of Ray Whitley's Super Jumbo Custom. The photograph was found on the internet but also appears in the book: "Gibson Guitar - 100 Years of an American Icon" by Walter Carter and is credited to Gruhn Guitars.
The woman holding Gene Autry's Gibson 12 fret SJ-200 is Cindy Walker - songwriter in the Country Music Hall of Fame. Note the similarities to Ray Whitley's guitar. Once Autry saw Whitley's guitar he had to have one.