• Country Music Sale auction at Christies

    Sale 2276

    Country Music Sale

    3 December 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 110

    HANK THOMPSON

    GIBSON INCOPROATED, A GUITAR, J-200, KALAMAZOO, MI., 1948, WITH LATER NECK BY PAUL A. BIGSBY

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    HANK THOMPSON
    GIBSON INCOPROATED, A GUITAR, J-200, KALAMAZOO, MI., 1948, WITH LATER NECK BY PAUL A. BIGSBY
    The headstock inlaid Bigsby and Gibson, labeled Style S-J-200 Gibson GUITAR Number A 1815 is hereby GUARANTEED against faulty workmanship and materials. Gibson INC. KALAMAZOO, MICHIGAN, U.S.A., stamped internally on the neck block 2505, fitted with a custom pickguard by Paul A Bigsby bearing the name Hank Thompson, length of back: 20 15/16 in. (53.2 cm) with a brown Tolex covered Gibson case with pink plush interior and an AMERICAN AIRLINES, Admirals Club luggage tag imprinted with the name Hank Thompson (2)


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    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.

    Literature

    A. Babiuk, The Story of Paul Bigsby, Savannah, 2008, pp. 77, 80-83.