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Love for J-160E's


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I bought a Bozeman Masterbilt Solid Top J-160E new 11 years ago.. Mahogany Back & Sides with Spruce Top. Of all my Guitars it is the most Played. Including my Martin's which are also great... 

I seldom hear these Guitars discussed here? Lots of J-45's though.. Which are also great Guitars... But, after playing a variety of J-45's my conclusion was this particular version of the J-160E was the one for me...

Any other J-160E players here?

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I don't own one, but I am totally with you on the love for them. I have long held the desire to own a J160E and fit a K&K or similar, with the volume or tone pot changed for a rotary blender to enable the SBT and P90 to be combined as required. 

Stylistically they are absolutely gorgeous. Weirdly, I find the golden top hat knobs against the sunburst in particular are something I could gaze at for hours.

One day...

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 I have owned a 1957 CF-100E and  still own a 1956 Harmony H40 ( with a Gibson P13 pickup)  but never a J160E.  How the CF-100E could crash and burn commercially and the J160E sell well though is beyond me.  I guess the guitar buying public was not ready for a cutaway flattop.

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I had a '55 J160E in the house for a bit somebody was trying to sell me.  This one still had a solid top.  I loved the sound  plugged it but unplugged - meh.    Then again those built in Kalamazoo were meant to be plugged in.  I do not recall ever having even played a Bozeman-made version but I am willing to bet this is  one model where they outpace what Kalamazoo turned out when it comes to playing sans electronics.

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3 hours ago, Salfromchatham said:

I think Red has a few of these??

 

I have never seen one in a store to try out amazingly enough...

Yup. I have a solid topped Standard  and a Sixties spec model with laminated top and adjustable bridge. I play the Standard a lot. It's not the most resonant of my slopes, but it has a very tight, muscular sound. I believe the way the bridge is relocated closer to the soundhole due to the neck joining the body at the 15th fret (instead if 14th, like a J-45) accounts for that.  And for that reason, too, I think it has the most Gibson Thunk of any of my guitars. And it's dang cool looking. I wouldn't call it the traditionally best sounding of my guitars, or even my favorite, but it is distinct. I can see how the Standard might be a great recording guitar (not solo guitar, but in a mix) since it's rhythmic qualities are pronounced and it doesn't have as much bottom or as many overtones that could compete with other instruments. A much undervalued and unappreciated member of the Gibson family.

 

Red 333

Edited by Red 333
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The CF-100 was on my radar for a while but all the vintage ones looked in pretty bad shape and the newer ones were so scarce I couldn’t get a good deal on one. I would still like to try one out, but like Sal, I’ve never seen one in person.  I too think their cool looking. 

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37 minutes ago, Dave F said:

The CF-100 was on my radar for a while but all the vintage ones looked in pretty bad shape and the newer ones were so scarce I couldn’t get a good deal on one. I would still like to try one out, but like Sal, I’ve never seen one in person.  I too think their cool looking. 

 

Oddly the CF-100s built  later in the 1950s are harder to come by than the early ones.  As they were not selling Gibson continued to cut production starting by mid-decade before pulling the plug on the whole project in 1959.  When I bought mine I had a choice between the '57 with the pickup and a '51 without it.  Took them both home to kick the tires.  The '51 was really beat up while the '57 exhibited only some pick wear around the soundhole.  I actually really liked the guitar but ended up throwing it into a trade which brought me the '32 L1  

L1010951.jpg

 

 

Edited by zombywoof
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Agree - the 160 gets very little attention these days - maybe it’s because it’s been out of regular production for a while. I have a 2008 solid top versh and it is well loved as an electric guitar played through a Vox. Being a Fabs/Lennon nut it sits alongside my Ric 325 Miami and gives me loads of fun thrashing through those early songs! 

248A81F1-35F4-407E-9B05-51A1A4FEBF5A.jpeg

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My Solid Top Bozeman Masterbilt J-160E sounds great plugged or unplugged.. I play it unplugged a lot & also quite a lot plugged in through Vox & Fender Amps as a rule so I use Electric Strings.. I went through many different kinds of Strings in all price ranges trying to find some that sound great plugged in or unplugged.. Currently I'm using & liking Martin Retro Monel Round XL' s.. 

I really wanted a reissue CF-100E but they were gone by the time I found out they had been reissued.. I'd love to see Gibson reissue Solid Top versions of them...

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On January 5, 2021 at 3:52 PM, MissouriPicker said:

Had an EPI J160 about 15 years ago.  Didn’t care for it at all.  It was on a different planet from a friend’s Gibson J160 which was very impressive.

Yes.. Indeed they aren't the same...

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37 minutes ago, Larsongs said:

George had at least one also...

Yes, indeed - it generated one of this Board's Kaiser-threads 10 years ago.

Enjoy ~                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

 

Plus this one from 2015 ~ 

 

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Since this thread appeared I've been unable to stop GASing for either a J160E or a CF-100E. 

I can't afford one just now (the last year hasn't exactly been fruitful for us full-time pickers and grinners/grimacers!) but in time I'd love to own one. The reissues are gorgeous and in certain cases the originals aren't a huge amount of money. The original 160s all seem fairly beaten up...probably down to the fact that the pickup made them primarily stage instruments. I think a solid top, x-braced reissue might suit my needs better than a ladder/lam original, but it would be an interesting flavour to have in my musical kitchen.

As much as I love the Beatles (and I very much do), I would have to make a point of playing no Beatles songs at all on my 160...mainly because I think once I'd heard it used that way, I would be incapable of un-hearing that connection.

A dream, perhaps, for days to come.

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2 hours ago, Larsongs said:

George had at least one also...

I just saw a 1957 CF100E on Reverb for $7500.00! 

I'd like one in addition to my Gibson J-160E but will look for a reissue..

Yeah the original CFs seem to fetch really strong money for some reason, more than most 160s, even with the Beatles connection! 

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On ‎1‎/‎12‎/‎2021 at 7:15 AM, Jinder said:

Since this thread appeared I've been unable to stop GASing for either a J160E or a CF-100E. 

I can't afford one just now (the last year hasn't exactly been fruitful for us full-time pickers and grinners/grimacers!) but in time I'd love to own one. The reissues are gorgeous and in certain cases the originals aren't a huge amount of money. The original 160s all seem fairly beaten up...probably down to the fact that the pickup made them primarily stage instruments. I think a solid top, x-braced reissue might suit my needs better than a ladder/lam original, but it would be an interesting flavour to have in my musical kitchen.

As much as I love the Beatles (and I very much do), I would have to make a point of playing no Beatles songs at all on my 160...mainly because I think once I'd heard it used that way, I would be incapable of un-hearing that connection.

A dream, perhaps, for days to come.

Jinder,

Don't want to spoil your recollections, but nonetheless thought you might appreciate this:

Hope you enjoy it.

RBSinTo

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I play in a couple different Bands normally... One does a lot of British Invasion Period music.. We call ourselves "The Fab-Tones".  We play a lot of Beatles, Byrds, Stones, Badfinger & other similar type Bands music of that time..  For Acoustic my J-160E is a natural.. It's just a really great Guitar!

The other Band I'm in plays Originals. Almost nothing like the British Invasion stuff... Rock, Country, Smooth Jazz type music..

I use many different Guitars. For Acoustic Guitars. I do use my J-160E a lot for this Band as well.. No issue with cross over as it sounds great...

I have Martin's that I use in both scenarios as well. 

Edited by Larsongs
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I’ve had 2 J160Es previously. One was a 62 reissue with ladder bracing. It was essentially a jazz box type guitar and sounded horrible as an acoustic. I later picked up a solid top J160E. I loved it, thought it was just as good as a J45. I did not like the pickup due to it being designed for nickel strings (as opposed to bronze).

With that said, I don’t think the guitar will ever lose it’s signature early 60s Beatles association - which might work for it and against it from a popularity perspective. I think that’s perhaps what makes lean towards niche instrument in addition to it’s hybrid appointments. 

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