The British folk-rock legend and guitar stylist visited the Gibson bus while at SXSW and checked out all the new Acoustic products. According to USA Today’s Mike Snider, Thompson was especially impressed with the new J-35.
"This is a classic Gibson-shaped guitar just slightly different from the old J-45s,” he said. “J-45s from the 1950s were one of the great acoustic guitars ever, for some reason, that era they were absolutely spectacular guitars. And they have matured well. A lot of people on the U.K. folk scene in the ‘60s, Sandy Denny, Trevor Lucas had those guitars. .... It's a classic shape and I presume they are drawing on that as much as possible. I like the fact that is a small bridge, a lot smaller than Gibson bridges usually. This seems a well-balanced guitar. I'd probably say it's a guitar that is probably going to sound better in 15 or 20 years when it's been played. It sounds new to me. It needs playing. If you play it then wonderful things can happen, as the vibrations seem to realign the molecules. Some magical atomic level property happens when you play instruments."
Thompson, who started his recording career in 1967 with Fairport Convention, is a long-time Gibson player. “My father had Les Paul records so that was on my mind from an early age. The first decent guitar I could afford was a Gibson ES-175D, which is a big bodied cutaway jazz guitar. I played it in a rock and roll way. That was a great guitar. Then I got a solid body 1954 gold Les Paul. I had strange things like a Gibson ES-120T, a thin big hollow body guitar with big ugly back scratch plate with a pickup built into it. It's a great slide guitar. I used to use it for slide. I had two of them at one point."