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Spotlight On the Kristofferson SJ

Gabriel J. Hernandez

The master luthiers at Gibson Acoustic are proud to present The Kristofferson SJ — an accurately detailed recreation of Kris Kristofferson’s beloved Southern Jumbo acoustic, and a tribute to his legendary songwriting skills and genuine love of Gibson acoustics.

Throughout his storied songwriting and filmmaking career, Kristofferson’s Southern Jumbo has faithfully remained his No. 1 acoustic, helping him pen such treasured classics as “Me and Bobby McGee,” Help Me Make It Through The Night” and “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down.”

His journey from sweeping the floors at Nashville’s Columbia Studios in the mid-1960s to his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2004 is a folk tale made true by his dogged determination and the harmony he achieved with his Southern Jumbo.

Limited to just 300 guitars, The Kristofferson SJ captures the vintage feel and classic details of Kristofferson’s original Southern Jumbo and blends them with several modern features, among them the new Fishman Matrix Infinity undersaddle pickup system with endpin mounted preamp and soundhole mounted controls.


The body tonewoods of The Kristofferson SJ are traditional Gibson: AAA-grade premium solid Sitka spruce top with pattern-grade, quarter sawn solid mahogany back and sides. This combination of wood delivers a volume that really projects and a sound quality that is rich and warm, with highs and lows balanced to near perfection.

The 24¾-inch scale neck is a solid piece of mahogany, topped with a 20-fret Indian rosewood fingerboard with single-ply binding and split parallelogram inlays made from mother of pearl. The Gibson logo on the headstock is also mother of pearl, as is the classic Gibson tulip that adorns it.

The KristoffersonSJ’s bracing patterns are also identical to those in his original Southern Jumbo, which matches the bracing patterns in the legendary Gibson J-45 — “X” bracing behind the soundhole, tall and thin braces for the back, and scalloped tall and thin braces for the top.

What’s With the UFW Logo?

This guitar’s neck sports Gibson’s traditional soft “V” profile, and Kris’ long-time support for the United Farm Workers is fully acknowledged with the genuine mother of pearl UFW logo on the fingerboard’s 12th fret. Additionally, a donation to UFW will be made in Gibson’s name for every guitar sold.

Finishing Touches

The revolutionary Fishman Matrix Infinity is an undersaddle pickup system with a completely redesigned active, endpin-mounted preamp that accurately reproduces The Kristofferson’s rich bass and sparkling highs. Other features include open back, nickel Gotoh tuners, Gibson’s traditional rosewood bridge, and a fat ’50s-style tortoise shell pickguard. An aged Vintage Sunburst finish gives The Kristofferson SJ a beautiful yet understated look that faithfully captures the distinct feel of his beloved original. 

Additionally, Kristofferson’s autograph is notably featured on each Songwriter Series label, and each guitar comes with a certificate of authenticity and exclusive hardshell case designed specifically for this special issue.

Take a closer look at the Kristofferson SJ here.

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