Elvis Presley Signature Gibson J-200 Guitar Prototype Handmade for Graceland Approval by Master Luthier Ren Ferguson, Serial Number 90834035 (Gibson, 1994). Elvis' first Gibson J-200 was a 1956 model that he played heavily up until the time he went into the Army. Upon his return, he requested that Scotty Moore send it back to Gibson for a bit of refurbishing and customization. Scotty requested that Gibson make repairs and decorative changes and when it came back to Elvis from Gibson, the red floral pickguard had been replaced by a modern odd-shaped design and his name was inlaid in pearl into the fingerboard for a completely unique instrument. Elvis loved this guitar and played it regularly until the early 1970s. It is currently on display at Graceland.
In 1994, Gibson Custom Guitars made two prototypes of a reproduction of Elvis' beloved customized 1956 J-200. These were presented to Graceland for approval in hopes of producing a limited edition Elvis Presley Signature guitar. This handmade instrument is simply gorgeous with a Sitka spruce top and flamed maple back and sides; the body is bound front and back. The neck is maple with a bound rosewood fingerboard inlaid with a mother of pearl "ELVIS PRESLEY" bordered by crowns (note that the later production model had stars instead of crowns). The familiar "mustache" bridge is inlaid with four mother of pearl bars and two dots. The tuners are gold and the guitar is accompanied by the original custom hardshell case. There is some play wear on the front of this guitar and light buckle rash on the back. We note one minor gouge on the lower edge. Gibson did eventually issue a series of 250 of these Elvis Signature guitars starting in 1996. These limited editions are quite collectible; this original prototype much more so.
Accompanying this instrument is the original Certificate of Authenticity from Gibson Montana Division stating that this is an "Elvis Presley Graceland Presentation" guitar custom built in 1994. It is signed by the president of Gibson and the luthier.