On February 18, 1962, Don and Phil Everly – aka the Everly Brothers – returned to The Ed Sullivan Show decked out in their Marine Corps uniforms.
Taking advantage of some well-earned weekend leave, the duo performed two numbers – “Crying in the Rain” and “Jezebel” – while sporting a pair of equally swanky-looking acoustic guitars.
As a mark of their success, that year the brothers would be honored by Gibson with the introduction of the J-180 Everly Brothers signature flat-top model.
Known for playing the ‘king of flat-tops’ J-200 model (opens in new tab), the Everly Brothers were already synonymous with Gibson by the time the project got underway.
“An unusual concept in jumbo flat top guitars, designed and developed in close cooperation with the Everly Brothers,” reads Gibson’s catalog.
“A new principle in bridge design combined with the finest in materials and workmanship has resulted in an instrument that is unique in every way. It offers a powerful resonant tone and wonderful sustaining qualities.”
Instantly recognizable by their large, symmetrical pickguards the J-180 Everly Brothers was based on Gibson’s earlier model, the J-185 (opens in new tab).
Essentially a more compact and affordable version of the J-200, the J-185 was released in 1951 and discontinued in 1959.
Both the J-185 and J-180 Everly Brothers flat-tops measure 16.25 inches in width while J-200s of the same era measure 17-inches in width.
Aside from being a more comfortable instrument to handle, many players find the J-185 and J-180 guitars possess excellent power and projection without sounding overly boomy.
Last shipped in 1971, the J-180 Everly Brothers signature guitars are regarded as some of the best flat-tops Gibson ever made.
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 (opens in new tab), Guitar Player (opens in new tab) and MusicRadar (opens in new tab) in addition to specialist music books, blogs and social media. He is also a lifelong musician.
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