The Twelfth Fret ~ Since 1977 ~

❌SOLD❌ Gibson J-160E Steel String Acoustic Electric Sunburst, 1966


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The Gibson J-160E is one of the most recognisable steel string guitars, due largely to a series of recordings and performances during the early 1960s by The Beatles. Both John Lennon and George Harrison had J-160E models, while McCartney used an Epiphone Texan strung as left handed.

Though it looks a lot like the traditional classic J-45 round shoulder dreadnought, the Gibson J-160E has major structural differences. First, because the design goal was to reduce feedback at high stage volumes, the guitar body is entirely laminate, including the top. Rather than X-braced, the top is strongly Ladder braced.

As well, it has a P-90 pickup bolted to the top at the end of the sound hole. Volume and Tone controls are bolted to the top as well, and the output jack goes through the lower treble bout.

Originally, these guitars used a bridge with an adjustable ceramic saddle, and following typical Gibson practice it had a pair of bolts at either end of the pin row. In this case, the original bridge and all the metal associated with the adjustment and the bolts, and a traditional style bridge with a ‘through’ style saddle was installed.    The rest of the guitar and its hardware seem original.   

This Gibson J-160E example dates to 1966 and was built at the historic Gibson Kalamazoo plant. It is in overall good condition. The saddle is fairly low. This guitar does not look like it has had a neck reset, as virtually all steel string guitars eventually will. There is no sign of the finish effects that that task would incur. Gibson’s production model is to fit the neck to the body prior to lacquer finishing. Removing the neck for purposes of resetting the joint breaks the lacquer seals around the heel and fingerboard tag. There’s none of that here, though the fingerboard ‘tag’ at the body drops off fairly sharply.  There is also no sign of any breakage or damage at the headstock.  Fret wear is moderate, and the frets are original.  

These guitar are made for a specific context, and work very well in it. That context is plugged into a guitar amp at fairly high volume, and used as a rhythm instrument. It isn’t the same kind of instrument that, say, a highly skilled fingerstylist like Don Ross would seek out as a concert guitar. But within their context, they are great guitars.

A non-original hard shell case is included.


Price: $3,999.99 CAD
  • Model: J-160E
  • Year: 1966
  • Finish Sunburst
  • Class: Vintage
  • Serial Number: 382740
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Condition: Good
  • Date Posted: 18/09/2018

  • This instrument has been sold
  • Consignment Item

  • Required CITES documentation
  • Instrument Weight: 4.88lbs 2.22kg
  • Scale Length: 24.75in 628.6mm
  • Nut Width: 1.57in 40mm
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