1984 Gibson J-200 - The Last Kalamazoo Flat Top

By Gibson


Stunning, unique and historically significant Gibson J-200 made in June 1984 at 225 Parsons Street, Kalamazoo. This incredible instrument was the Last Flat Top Guitar made in the original Gibson factory. Highly appointed and made from the finest materials available this guitar was built as a celebration and thank you to the city of Kalamazoo and a farewell to the original factory and headquarters.

Incorporated as the Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Mfg. Co. Ltd in 1902 Kalamazoo, Michigan, the company quickly outgrew its initial smaller, adapted manufacturing location downtown in the city before the company purchased a plot of land on Parson Street and hired local architect George Gilbert Worden to design a new, purpose built factory and office building. Opening in 1917, 225 Parsons Street would become Gibsons home and sole factory until 1975. The site was regularly expanded upon as Gibson, under the stewardship of Ted McCarty and CMI would see production numbers increase such that by 1965 the factory would fill the entire city block. From Orville Gibson's original designs of the teens and early 20’s to the Lloyd Loar-era F-5 Mandolins and L-5 archtop guitars, the Banner Headstocks and the Kalamazoo Gals, Super 400s and J-200s of the Guy Hart period onto the solid body Les Paul and futuristic Explorer and V of the McCarty electric-era all were conceptualised, designed and produced at 225 Parsons St. Kalamazoo. After 82 years of production in the city the factory and company headquarter's doors were closed and shuttered on the 29th of June 1984 and fully relocated to Nashville.

This stunning instrument - #81674001 was stamped on Friday the 15th of June and bears the unique title, The Last Kalamazoo Flat Top. A fitting instrument was chosen in the flagship J-200 - Gibson's own, “King of the Flattops”. The guitar is a masterclass in exotic timbers with the star of the show being the finest quilted Maple set we have seen for some time. The guitar features a multi-bound headstock with Brazilian Rosewood faceplate with Mother of Pearl inlayed Gibson Logo, Crown and Commemorative plaque that reads “The Last Gibson Flattop Guitar Made At The Kalamazoo Plant 1984”. The 20 fret bound neck is built from highly figured Quilted Maple, the 5-piece neck has a Rosewood Heel Cap and is topped with a figured Brazilian Rosewood fingerboard. The double bound fingerboard has inlayed Pearl Crown position markers and pointed extension, features reserved for only the finest appointed instruments. The multi-bound, quartersawn Spruce top is uniformly grained with silking emanating from the centre seam and is appointed with a pearl inlayed and elegantly embellished version of the trademark J-200 Moustache Bridge and pickguard. The bound pickguard is crafted of figured  Rosewood with beautifully engraved J-200 flower motif. The Quilt Maple used for back and sides are nothing short of spectacular, with a depth and exaggerated 3D quality to the Maple rarely seen.

The guitar is in fantastic condition throughout, it has seen little playing time and has just come out of a collection where it has been well maintained and preserved. In addition to its commemorative status the guitar plays very well and sounds fantastic. Time was obviously spent ensuring that the guitar not only looks stunning but is also a great sounding instrument.

This is an excellent opportunity to own a historically significant instrument that celebrates the city, factory and craftspeople that were so important to the Golden-era of Gibson Guitars. A stunning, highly collectable guitar in excellent condition, complete with original hard case.

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