The Twelfth Fret ~ Since 1977 ~

❌SOLD❌ Gibson J160E Steel String Guitar Sunburst, 1956


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Introduced in 1954 and intended as a companion to the then-new Les Paul solidbody, the Gibson J160E 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 J160E 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 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. The Kluson Deluxe tuners, truss rod cover and control knobs are not original, and it looks like several low-position frets have been replaced.

For a very short time, the Gibson J160E used an unusual adjustable bridge. 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 guitar is in overall good, and quite playable condition given its age. There’s lots of natural lacquer checking, 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.

A non-original hard shell case is included.


Price: $4,750.00 CAD
  • Model: J-160E
  • Year: 1956
  • Finish Sunburst
  • Class: Vintage
  • Serial Number: N/A, dates to 1956
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Condition: Good
  • Date Posted: 07/11/2019

  • This instrument has been sold
  • Consignment Item

  • Required CITES documentation
  • Including Hard case
  • Instrument Weight: 5.15lbs 2.34kg
  • Scale Length: 24.75in 628.6mm
  • Nut Width: 1.692in 43mm
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