For a while, there were actually “affordable” Gibson guitars. I’m talking about real Made in USA ones.
The SGJ and LPJ first appeared in the 2013 lineup. They featured basic, stripped down appointments. There are no bindings or excess bling on these entry level guitars. They have satin finishing that I feel suits the whole design scheme very well. I also loved the fact that these guitars have no pickguards.
I remember the SGJ 2013 was selling for $799 at our local music store Swee Lee. It came in four colours.
The more expensive LPJ should be about a couple of hundreds more. They also came in the same choices of colours.
Both SGJ and LPJ had black covered 490 and 498 Alnico 2 humbuckers and black tuning keys. While the SGJ had mahogany bodies, the LPJ had a carved maple top along with the mahogany body.
Fast forward to the 2014 lineup and the J series became even more affordable. This was totally amazing.
The SGJ 2014 sold for $699 at the same local guitar store while the LPJ went for $999. These were really attractive prices to pay for owning that bonafide rock n roll guitar we’ve always dreamed of. The original USA ones, not the Mexico, Korean or even Japanese variants.
This time, the SGJ and LPJ come with 61 zebra humbuckers and vintage pearloid tuning buttons. One new introduction here is the 120th inlay on the 12th fret. Although this was a love or hate affair with most collectors, I think it made the J series much more interesting. There are also more colours to choose from in the 2014 model. Again, the SGJ featured mahogany bodies while the LPJ had the “extra” maple top that probably accounts for the price difference.
Gibson also rolled out the cousins to the J series. These are called the SGM and LPM, which are really the same SGJ/LPJ guitars fitted with the Min-E Tune electronic tuner. I think those things bumped up prices by another couple of hundreds.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. Gibson has not rolled out new J series for 2015. No more SGJ or LPJ. 😦
Judging from how the LPM 2015 is priced ($1659), it looks like the days of affordable Gibsons have come and gone within 2 years.
If you find balance stocks of the SGJ and LPJ guitars, I suggest you get it fast.
I’m glad I brought Choco home in Dec 2014.
*Only Choco’s photos are originals. All others were borrowed from the internet.
I can’t play electric for nuts.