We first saw the Gibson Billie Joe Armstrong Signature J-180 at the 2011 NAMM Show, and immediately dug it. Basically the same guitar also made famous by the Everly Brothers, but with some special Bille Joe touches, this big acoustic has a big tone, and a heck of a lot of pickguard. MSRP is $3,868.00, and we’re taking orders now. Follow the jump for Gibson’s official info sheet and specs on the Billie Joe J-180.
He can crank out the grind with the best of them, and his electric chops have helped to establish his band Green Day as the premier punk band of its generation. But Billie Joe Armstrong has proved his prowess at a more nuanced acoustic tune time and again. The acoustic guitar propelled Green Day’s international mega-hit “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life),” and was a cornerstone of the band’s epic 2004 release American Idiot. Through it all, Armstrong’s instrument of choice has been a Gibson.
With the cooperative effort of this talented artist and the master acoustic builders in Montana, Gibson introduces the Billie Joe Armstrong J-180, crafted by the acclaimed luthiers of Bozeman, Montana, and now available in a first initial run that will be limited to 100 guitars for 2011. The instrument is styled after the J-180 “Jumbo,” a guitar designed as a scaled-down version of the big, rounded SJ-200 “Super Jumbo” (played by Elvis, Johnny Cash, and others). Legendary in its own right, the J-180 formed the basis for the distinctive Everly Brothers model of the ’60s, and remains one of Gibson’s most popular flat-tops. With its big 16”-wide body, the Billie Joe Armstrong J-180 can bang out the rhythm with gusto and fury – as countless country, blues, and rock and roll frontmen have discovered for five decades – but it’s also a sultry performer for mellower moments, purring with a tone that only premium solid tonewoods and uncompromising Gibson construction can achieve.
And when you need to take it up on stage, a built-in Fishman VT pickup system makes it a snap, providing an easy plug-n-play solution through any amplification or PA rig, without impeding the guitar’s natural acoustic tone. Being the main squeeze of a guy who’s still a punk at heart, though, the Billie Joe Armstrong J-180 is dressed to impress, in a hand-sprayed Ebony nitrocellulose finish with custom double tortoiseshell J-180 pickguards, graduated mother-of-pearl star inlays on its Indian Rosewood fingerboard, and a black truss-rod cover with Billie Joe Armstrong signature. Whether you’re looking to drive the band through the home stretch, or accompany your solo singer/songwriter moments with deep, rich acoustic tone that’s classic Gibson, the Billie Joe Armstrong J-180 one to check out. But hurry – the 2011 first run of 100 instruments is certain to go fast.
Made in the image of the seminal J-200 “Super Jumbo,” the biggest acoustic flat-top guitar of its day, the J-180 is designed to pump out plenty of volume while remaining crisp, clear and well-defined. To that end, Gibson partners a premium solid Sitka spruce top with solid maple back and sides, a tonewood combination that yields unparalleled punch and articulation, while remaining sweet and rich for more nuanced playing styles. Scalloped traditional J-180 X-bracing under the top, a graduated Tusq saddle and a genuine bone nut further ensure a lively, resonant instrument.
Taking all this masterful tone through your amplification system of choice is a Fishman Matrix VT preamp and piezo pickup system. Providing hassle-free amplified performance and accurate acoustic tone in a low-profile package, the Matrix VT system comprises the world’s most popular under-saddle acoustic pickup along with active volume and tone controls in a soundhole-edge-mounted preamp that minimizes impact on the instrument’s acoustic qualities. As you would expect, the Billie Joe Armstrong J-180 is equipped with a top-flight hardware set, including nickel Gotoh tuners with efficient 14:1 turns ratio, and a traditional “belly up” pin bridge made from East Indian rosewood.
And to make it all superbly playable, Gibson gives the 24-3/4”-scale mahogany neck a modified “V” profile to Armstrong’s own specs, creating a feel that’s extremely comfortable in the hand, with a 1.725” width at the nut for a roomy, un-cramped fingerboard. Each Billie Joe Armstrong J-180 comes with a black Gibson hardshell case with plush blue lining, an Owner’s Manual, and Gibson Gold Warranty so you’re covered on the road and at home.
This big-bodied, round-shouldered jumbo is built from the classic tonewood combination of solid Sitka spruce top and solid maple back and sides, a formula established with the original SJ-200 “Super Jumbo” some seven decades ago. The top is supported by a scalloped X-brace, and the guitar is hand-finished in Ebony black nitrocellulose.
The guitar’s neck and headstock are made much in the tradition of many classic Gibson flat-tops, with the 24 3/4” scale length that many players enjoy, and a 1.725” width at the nut. The neck is carved from solid quarter-sawn mahogany to a modified “V” profile and a 17-degree back-angled headstock, and topped with a select rosewood fingerboard.
The Billie Joe Armstrong J-180 carries a hardware set that enhances the class and quality of the instrument, without impeding its acoustic resonance. Nickel Gotoh tuners with an efficient 14:1 turns ratio grace the headstock, while a traditional “belly up” pin bridge made from rosewood carries a Tusq saddle for superb intonation and resonance. Its end pin also carries the 1/4” jack that accesses the pickup system.
The Billie Joe Armstrong J-180 comes equipped in to a standard you would expect from a top-class Gibson acoustic. Each guitar includes a formfitting hardshell case with plush blue lining, an owner’s manual, and Gibson’s acclaimed Gold Warranty.