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Ray Whitley Custom "party guitar" (13-5/8"). Factory order number 923F.
Ex colls.: Ray Whitley, Glenn Strange. Arne B. and Jeanne F. Larson Fund, 1996.
This Gibson flat-top guitar was custom-built for Ray Whitley, the cowboy movie star and writer of Gene Autry's theme song, Back in the Saddle Again. Whitley was involved with Gibson’s Super Jumbo 200 guitar from its inception, having worked with Gibson during the production of several prototypes.
In 1940, Whitley received from Gibson this special, custom-made guitar that resembled the SJ-200, but on a smaller scale. He called this instrument his "Party Guitar," and it appeared with him on the 1940 RKO comedy short, Bar Buckaroos. The instrument later belonged to Glenn Strange, best known as Sam the Bartender on the TV series, Gunsmoke.
Block Stamp Seen Through Soundhole
Literature: George Gruhn, "The Party Guitar: Ray Whitley’s Mini SJ-200," Gruhn Guitars Monthly (December 1995), cover, pp. 4-5, 20.
Eldon Whitford and David Vinopal, "Gibson SJ-200: On the Trail to the Original," Vintage Guitar, Vol. 11, No. 5 (February 1997), pp. 108-111, 184-185.
André P. Larson, "Legends of the American West . . . Museum Acquires Cowboy Singer Ray Whitley’s 'Party Guitar'," America's Shrine to Music Museum Newsletter, Vol. 25, No. 5 (November 1998), pp. 1-3.
André P. Larson, "Major Guitar Exhibition Taken to Nebraska Museum," America's Shrine to Music Museum Newsletter, Vol. 26, No. 3 (August 1999), p. 8.
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