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J-160E, ’65

Sunburst, Serial number 252074.

The Gibson J-160E was introduced in July of 1954 as its second electrified flat top guitar. It had the look of a regular slope-shoulder Gibson like a J-45 or Southern Jumbo, but was specifically engineered for optimum use as an electric guitar. Unlike its predecessor, the small cutaway solid-top CF100E, the J-160E had a 3-ply laminated spruce top with ladder bracing. This construction made the guitar more rigid, and less prone to feedback when amplified.

The early catalog copy read: “Country and Western artists are particularly enthusiastic over this full size, Jumbo flat top electric guitar – the first instrument of its type to be equipped with patented Gibson adjustable bridge, permitting lowering or raising string action.” The guitar may have originally been intended for Country musicians, but it is better known today for its association with the Beatles. John Lennon and George Harrison used their J-160Es extensively on many of the Beatles’ hits. The guitar remained in production until 1978. It has been reissued off and on since the ‘90s.



The 1965 J-160E pictured has the typical features seen that year. These include: a one-piece mahogany neck with a 20 fret bound rosewood fingerboard joining the body at the 15th fret, an unbound headstock with pearl Gibson logo and crown inlay, double ring nickel Kluson Deluxe tuners, top and back bound slope-shoulder mahogany body with laminated spruce top (became square shoulder by the late ‘60s) a P-90 pickup with the coil beneath the top in the neck position, a jack on the body near the tone and volume controls, and a top-belly bridge with an adjustable saddle.

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