Country music history wouldn’t be what it is today if not for Ray Whitley. The country music and film star, with over 50 Hollywood film credits, also imagined the most famous and distinctive guitar in the world.
Whitley’s collaboration with Gibson in 1937, resulted in the biggest, boldest flattop guitar ever built – the world’s first Super Jumbo.
After seeing Whitley’s custom SJ-200, his co-stars Tex Ritter, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and Jimmy Wakely all requested their own. The Gibson SJ-200 has been in the hands of musical greats since it first accompanied Whitley on stage.
In support of Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s Working on a Building Campaign, Gibson is proud to offer a limited-edition run of SJ-200 Ray Whitley Specials. Gibson’s world-renown master luthier Ren Ferguson builds each with the same hand-tooled care as Whitley’s original. A few more appointments have been added to this limited-edition offering, including a diamond dotting the “i” in Gibson’s famous logo on the headstock and handpicked, precious gems unique to Montana, are set in each bridge pin.
For connoisseurs, the guitar is built from AAA Adirondack red spruce and mystic rosewood with traditional tree-rope marquetry binding. The neck, hewn from highly flamed Eastern curly maple has a square heel and is finished with an ebony fingerboard. Whitley’s original country-western icon inlays are hand engraved by Ferguson. With Gibson’s signature Tri-burst finish, gold imperial tuners, a four-bar moustache bridge, bone saddle and pins, this Super Jumbo is truly the King of the Flattops.
Each guitar will be accompanied by a handmade, gold-leaf, custom frame, a custom case and will be associated with a year in the life of country music of the buyer’s choice. The year associated with the guitar will be imbedded in the guitar’s serial number.
In meticulously recreating the SJ-200 Ray Whitley Special, Gibson recognizes Whitley's significant contribution to country music history and the tremendous efforts of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum to preserve and celebrate country music in America.
For anyone interested in making a donation to the Country Music Hall of Fame, please contact Pamela Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org, 615.416.2024