My guitar collection - Acoustics


One of the most popular models among song writers and performers alike is Gibson’s SJ-200, or Super Jumbo 200, with a 17” wide body. The Everly Brothers played this model, as did Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Pete Townsend, Emmylou Harris, Tom Petty, just to name a few. And even though it got renamed to J-200 as far back as 1955, musicians as well as Gibson itself stubbornly keep referring to it by its original name. It has a smaller brethren in the J-185 which has a 16” body and is considered to be one of the greatest acoustics available although not as popular and well known as its big brother. Collings has their own interpretation of this “small jumbo” model in the SJ. Very confusing naming! “Small Jumbo” for Collings, “Super Jumbo” for Gibson. The Collings SJ is available with many body woods like rosewood and mahogany and your usual selection of different tops. But its most traditional version, as evidenced by the lack of any qualifiers in the model name of this guitar, is the use of figured maple), not just for the back and sides but also the neck, and a Sitka spruce top. At 4½”, the body of the SJ is ⁷⁄₁₆” thinner than the J-185. But the main differences between these two are in the fretboard, rosewood vs. ebony, respectively, and the scale length, 24¾” vs. 25½”, i.e. the same as for an SJ-200. The appointments on this guitar are gorgeous, from its rosette to the binding to the modern diamond fretboard inlays to the Schaller gold plated tuning machines w/tab. All the specs of this model are tabulated on this webpage:


Collings SJ

The story behind this guitar


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The final impetus to buying a jumbo of some kind was this video comparing an SJ-200 and an SJ. As described above, not exactly an apples to apples comparison but still fair given the same scale length. Both are great guitars, where the versatility and the slightly more pronounced midrange of the Collings won it out for me. One became available in mid-2023 at a more than reasonable price through the Bonsai Guitars store on Reverb. And what a great guitar it is! It is abundantly clear that the top has open up nicely over its now decades long life. You strum it and classic tones bloom, tones heard on many classics. Very balanced with a nice midrange, crisp, and present. Of course it is a beauty as well. I hope that is captured well in the pictures below. Yes, it also has a passive K&K saddle pickup which works. But I do not anticipate it using very much. For now, it will just be played acoustically. As it should.

The story behind this guitar



D’Addario EJ17 Phosphor Bronze Medium (13-56)