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.