The Twelfth Fret ~ Since 1977 ~

Gibson J-160E Electric Flat-Top Sunburst, 1956

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Introduced in 1954 and intended as a companion to the then-new Les Paul solidbody, the Gibson J-160E was one of the first mass production electrified steel string guitars. This model was discontinued in 1979, and is occasionally re-issued. One of the greatest contributors to the success of this model was a 1962 model’s appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, in the hands of one John Lennon. That was The Beatles first US performance, and made all their gear quite popular.

Looking very much like the successful J-45, the Gibson J-160E uses the same body shapes, but the construction is quite different. The very first models had solid Spruce tops, but this was quickly dropped in favour of feedback-resistant laminates. The top and back are both laminate, while the sides are solid Mahogany. The top is also stiffly ladder braced. The neck is Mahogany, with a Rosewood for the bridge and bound fingerboard – and in this period that means Brazilian Rosewood. And of course, to qualify for the ‘E’ designation, a P-90 pickup is mounted under the fingerboard tag.

For a very short time, the Gibson J-160E used an unusual adjustable bridge seen here. You’ll notice a pair of thumbwheels at either end of the bridge, which is very low. These adjust a fairly thick Maple carrier block, moving the saddle up and down.

This Gibson J-160E example is in overall good, and quite playable condition given its age. There’s lots of natural lacquer checking, some buckle rash on the back and pick wear to the top. It plays well, and has a distinctive tone, without a lot of bottom end – which is actually helpful in controlling feedback when played at volume.   This guitar has had some recent repairs at The Twelfth Fret Repair shop, including removing, repairing and re-gluing the bridge.   At some point in the guitars life the electronics were removed, now replaced, and the  installed P-90 pickup is new as are the control knobs. 

A non-original faux-gator fibre (cardboard) case is included.

Price: $4,999.99 CAD
  • Model: J-160E
  • Year: 1956
  • Finish Sunburst
  • Class: Vintage
  • Serial Number: FON: V5835 22 dated to 1956 at Kalamazoo MI
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Condition: Good
  • Date Posted: 28/06/2022

  • Consignment Item

  • Including Soft case
  • Instrument Weight: 5.28lbs 2.4kg
  • Scale Length: 628.6mm 24.75in
  • Nut Width: 43.13mm 1.698in
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