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I am such an idiot


mighty4th

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Hey, I just bought a 2005 J 160e. It is just fabulous. Here is what I did wrong. I put on a new set of premium acoustic strings and then realized they probably would not be so compatible with the P 90 pick up. Upon plugging it in I found that while the plain strings sounded fine, the wound strings do not. They really lacked the volume of the plain strings. So, if any of you veteran J 160 players could tell me what you use to get the best compromise between plugged and unplugged sound, I would be very grateful. Thanks.

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I have a 2012 J160e and did the same. It is supposed to have electric strings to get the best from your pick-up. If it's the X-braced solid wood version the pick-up may be a P100.

 

I switched to Elixir 12 gauge electric strings. They feel great, you get a decent acoustic sound and it sounds good plugged in. You'll get a much more even sound when you plug in.

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Here's another thread worth looking into, as it concerns strings for the model you have, a J-160E Standard (a solid top, x-braced guitar), which sounds miles different from the guitar asked about in the other link, which was a '50s/'60s spec J-160E--a laminated top, ladder braced guitar. Their non-amplified performance (especially) is poles apart, and your choice of strings will effect it quite dramatically.

 

My link

 

In short, I would suggest trying Gibson Masterbuilt Phosphor Bronze strings on the Standard if you want the amplified sound to duplicate the characteristics of the guitar acoustically as much as possible. In other words, the Standard will sound like an acoustic either way with these.

 

If you want the Standard to sound more electric-like (or Beatley), try Gibson L-5 nickel strings. You'll get a very cutting tone through the pickup, but the acoustic tone will be a less-warm and resonant one.

 

By the way, your 2005 Standard may have a P-100 stacked humbucker for a pickup, and not a P-90. They look the same from the top of the guitar, but the P-100 has a second tier of magnets/wire as seen from the soundhole. Gibson used a P-100 when they created the J-160E Standard in 1991, and only changed to a single-coil P-90 in the late 2000's, and the P-100 does have different tonal characteristics from the P-90, which may complicate your string choice even further...

 

Red 333

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By the way, your 2005 Standard may have a P-100 stacked humbucker for a pickup, and not a P-90. They look the same from the top of the guitar, but the P-100 has a second tier of magnets/wire as seen from the soundhole. Gibson used a P-100 when they created the J-160E Standard in 1991, and only changed to a single-coil P-90 in the late 2000's, and the P-100 does have different tonal characteristics from the P-90, which may complicate your string choice even further...

Red 333

I have a 2005 and I know that it is a P-100 ..

 

And sorry for the misleading old thread I attached :(

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And sorry for the misleading old thread I attached :(

 

 

No biggie. There's a lot of confusion around the J-160E since the '50s/'60s models and their reissues vary so wildly in construction from the post-1991 Standards, and neither is that common compared to other Gibson slopes. It was nice of you dig that thread up for the OP, and much of it is relevant, depending on how you want the guitar to perform: as a souped-up J-45, as some people call it (not me!), or as a stage-ready deep-body electric guitar that that can make louder/richer-than-a-thin-line acoustic sound in the studio or on the couch, or some of both.

 

Red 333

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Does it sound like a J-45 unplugged with the typical acoustic strings? I've always been curious about these. They sure don't sound like the ones the Beatles played, and the ones the Beatles played were mic'd, not plugged in.

 

One thing you could try is John Pearse Pure Nickel strings. I bet the P-90 or P-100 would read them just right, and they're made for acoustic guitars. I use them a lot on my Martins and love them. Very vintage sound without all the chatter of phosphor-bronze.

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Does it sound like a J-45 unplugged with the typical acoustic strings? I've always been curious about these. They sure don't sound like the ones the Beatles played, and the ones the Beatles played were mic'd, not plugged in.

 

One thing you could try is John Pearse Pure Nickel strings. I bet the P-90 or P-100 would read them just right, and they're made for acoustic guitars. I use them a lot on my Martins and love them. Very vintage sound without all the chatter of phosphor-bronze.

 

Actually, the Beatles recorded them through an amp, purely acoustically, or in a combination of Both. Paul McCartney gave an interview on The Nerdist podcast recently where he described how the Beatles liked to record their J-160Es with in combination (mic'd and through an amp) because the amplified overtones gave them ideas for additional electric guitar parts.

 

Both the slid-top, x-braced Standard and the '50s/'60s spec laminated-top, ladder-braced models sound more or less like The Beatles'J-160E's plugged in when strung with nickel strings--the '50's/'60s spec models more, the Standard, less. I use Gibson L-5 strings, as described above, on my ladder-braced J-160E.

 

There's a MUCH bigger difference between the acoustic sound of the solid-top, x-braced Standard and the laminated-top, ladder-braced 50's/'60s spec models, regardless of strings. The solid-top Standard will give you a muscular, but not richly harmonic acoustic sound with your favorite acoustic guitar strings. The ladder-braced 50's/'60s spec model--not so much.

 

Red 333

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John Pearse Pure Nickel wound acoustic gauge strings are GREAT on my J-45; a 2005 J-160E will have a similar top and bracing, but with a shifted bridge due to the 15th-fret neck/body joint. They will work nicely with th pickup, too. Less chime than phosphor bronze, more dry and fundamental tone - and they retain their sound quality for a looooong time, too. Throw on a set and check it out. Be advised that they will feel a touch lighter and slinkier than identical gauge bronze, 'cause the nickel is less dense. I had to gently tweak my truss rod to maintain the action I wanted without buzzing.

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John Pearse Pure Nickel wound acoustic gauge strings are GREAT on my J-45; a 2005 J-160E will have a similar top and bracing, but with a shifted bridge due to the 15th-fret neck/body joint. They will work nicely with th pickup, too. Less chime than phosphor bronze, more dry and fundamental tone - and they retain their sound quality for a looooong time, too. Throw on a set and check it out. Be advised that they will feel a touch lighter and slinkier than identical gauge bronze, 'cause the nickel is less dense. I had to gently tweak my truss rod to maintain the action I wanted without buzzing.

 

Rusty, does your 2005 w/nickel strings retain its acoustic sound through the P100, or does it have a more typical electric guitar sound?

 

Red 333

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Actually, the Beatles recorded them through an amp, purely acoustically, or in a combination of Both. Paul McCartney gave an interview on The Nerdist podcast recently where he described how the Beatles liked to record their J-160Es with in combination (mic'd and through an amp) because the amplified overtones gave them ideas for additional electric guitar parts.

 

As far as I know, the only time it appears on a Beatles recording amp'd is the beginning of I Feel Fine. Mic'd, of course, it is all over their recordings.

 

John Pearse Pure Nickel wound acoustic gauge strings are GREAT on my J-45...

 

I've always wondered about that! Now I wonder how they sound on a J-160 and on a Hummingbird. Hmmmm. Have to wonder if there isn't something about short scale, mahogany and Gibson in general that works well with those strings.

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John Pearse Pure Nickel wound acoustic gauge strings are GREAT on my J-45; a 2005 J-160E will have a similar top and bracing, but with a shifted bridge due to the 15th-fret neck/body joint. They will work nicely with th pickup, too. Less chime than phosphor bronze, more dry and fundamental tone - and they retain their sound quality for a looooong time, too. Throw on a set and check it out. Be advised that they will feel a touch lighter and slinkier than identical gauge bronze, 'cause the nickel is less dense. I had to gently tweak my truss rod to maintain the action I wanted without buzzing.

 

I agree totally that the John Pearse Pure Nickels are the bomb with acoustics with magnetic P'ups. Put a set on my CF100E and I like them very much!

 

Rod

 

 

 

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A great deal of the electric guitar on the first two albums especially is the J-160E.

 

Red 333

 

Interesting!! It's funny, because plugged in, it really does sound 100% electric, sort of like an archtop maybe, not like an acoustic at all. And those original ladder-braced ones don't sound like much acoustically either of course, but they were able to mix it and record it in such a way that it is perhaps the most recognizable acoustic rock sound of all time.

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Interesting!! It's funny, because plugged in, it really does sound 100% electric, sort of like an archtop maybe, not like an acoustic at all. And those original ladder-braced ones don't sound like much acoustically either of course, but they were able to mix it and record it in such a way that it is perhaps the most recognizable acoustic rock sound of all time.

 

Archtop-like is the way I've often described the laddder-braced models, too.

 

If you've ever heard one through an a Vox AC-30, you would immediately recognize the J-160E as the electric on so many early Beatles' songs.

 

When played acoustically, the fact that the sound is so strongly fundamental, devoid of powerful overtones, and quick decaying is what makes it so distinctive and effective when mic'd, I think, too.

 

Plus, the adjustable bridge and ceramic saddle DEFINIELY adds something to the equation, mic'd.

 

Red 333

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I haven't used the Pearse Pure Nickels with an electromagnetic pickup - I have used them both acoustically and with the Fishman Matrix Natural that came stock with my '05 J-45 Historic Collection, and they sound GREAT - even with the Fishman plugged straight through a basic direct box into the church P.A. Note that I play with bare fingers, which tends to eliminate the piezo quack.

 

I would bet that, being nickel, they would be ideal through a p-90/100 style pickup.

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