Hank Thompson's association with Gibson guitars is firmly embedded in his career as a performer. His first J-200 he purchased in 1942 while still in high school. With the income he was making as a radio repairman and the three day a week performance schedule on WACO, he paid $60 on an installment plan to a Waco, Texas music store. That guitar saw him through his tour with the United States Navy during World War II and was his primary instrument until it was retired after 1948 when he acquired this J-200. This guitar was purchased from Gibson through the Houston music store of Red Novac, who was a friend and fan of the Brazos Valley Boys. It would be his primary stage guitar for the next nine years.
Following in the foot steps of his friend Merle Travis, Thompson sent his J-200 to Paul A. Bigsby to be re-necked in the early 1950's. Shortly after this time he had the instrument re-finished in a blonde color. This guitar is considered by many to be the second neck Bigsby ever made for another manufacturer's guitar. The diamond motif fingerboard inlay, headstock, and custom pickguard were all signature Bigsby appointments and their imagery has become forever associated with Thompson's career.