“It was my favorite guitar, and it had a very easy action,” recalls Yusuf aka Cat Stevens, remembering the black Gibson Everly Brothers J-180 he bought from London’s famous Selmer music store in 1969.
“I played it almost percussively, and that sound gave real character to my recordings. It looked amazing too!”
The singer-songwriter who used this rare vintage acoustic guitar to record such classic albums as 1970’s Tea for the Tillerman and 1971’s Teaser and the Firecat has just been honored by Gibson with a signature model based on the historic flat-top.
“Handling the new model is like going back in time to when I first started playing,” he says, recalling how the revered Gibson J-180 helped his playing turn a corner.
Distinguished by its star inlays and large, symmetrical double-pickguard, the Gibson Everly Brothers/J-180 appeared in the early ‘60s as a signature collaboration with the legendary duo.
Though it appears similar in shape to the 17-inches-wide Everly Brothers-endorsed J-200, the J-180 is 3/4-inch narrower – something many players find beneficial in terms of feel and sound.
The J-180 itself was based on the J-185 (effectively, a more compact version of the J-200) that was released in the early ’50s and discontinued a few years before the original Everly Brothers model appeared.
Priced $7,499, just 50 Gibson Cat Stevens J-180 Collector's Edition instruments will be shipped in this limited run.
Constructed with a mahogany neck and maple back and sides, these nitrocellulose VOS-finished Acoustic Custom Shop guitars boast a thermally aged Sitka spruce top and traditional hand-scalloped x-bracing.
A mother-of-pearl moon and star inlay graces the headstock along with a signature truss rod cover, while graduated star inlays adorn the instrument’s bound rosewood fretboard.
Visit Gibson for more information.
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Rod Brakes is a music journalist with an expertise in guitars. Having spent many years at the coalface as a guitar dealer and tech, Rod's more recent work as a writer covering artists, industry pros and gear includes contributions for leading publications and websites such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Guitar World, Guitar Player and MusicRadar in addition to specialist music books, blogs and social media. He is also a lifelong musician.
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