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Gibson J165 history


Cougar
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I've always loved the CJ165.  Gotta have an abalone rosette.  I'm not into the newer ones at all though, and especially not the cutaways.  This is mainly because, AFAIK, only the early ones -- 2006-2008? -- had ebony fretboards.  Gotta have an ebony fretboard!  And I'm talking about the flamed maple back.  Some do come with a burst, IIRC, but on this model, I can break my strong preference and go either way -- the natural version is just as stunning as the burst.   The thing is, you don't see this model come up for sale on reverb or ebay very often, and especially not with an ebony board.  They're getting really rare.  Worse, the price they used to go for seems to have doubled!  I'll probably have to hit the powerball before I can fulfill this dream....

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Hey Cougar, I can share a little about the CJ-165 (later to become the J-165).  I have a 2007 maple cutaway CJ-165ec, with electronics mounted in the soundhole (later versions were mounted on the outside upper bout).

Probably most important, is that only the rosewood versions (cutaway & non-cutaway) have an ebony fretboard & bridge.  The maple versions utilize rosewood. Be aware that the ebony bridges sometimes had problems with the nitro finish lifting slightly around the upper edge, but they remain structurally sound.

The non-cutaway CJ-165 was first released in 2006, with the cutaway version being introduced in 2007.  I believe the name change to J-165 occurred in 2010, and afaik, it remained in the lineup through the following year.

I don’t post pics on this forum, but will post a few of my sunburst-cutaway over on LTG in the “other guitars” section, with the title: For Cougar, CJ-165.  It might trigger a few questions, which I’d be happy to answer!

 

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7 hours ago, bobouz said:

...only the rosewood versions (cutaway & non-cutaway) have an ebony fretboard & bridge.  The maple versions utilize rosewood.... The non-cutaway CJ-165 was first released in 2006, with the cutaway version being introduced in 2007...

Thanks for the info! 

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I did a similar search a few years ago and got a 2007 CJ165 Rosewood with the ebony. As Bobouz mentioned, while I was searching I ran into issues with the nitro finish around the bridge.

I was not impressed with the sound and eventually sold it. I still have the pickguard for it that has never been applied. 

CJ165

 

CJ165

 

CJ165

 

CJ165

 

CJ165

 

 

Edited by Dave F
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6 minutes ago, Dave F said:

I did a similar search a few years ago and got a 2007 CJ165 Rosewood with the ebony. ... I was not impressed with the sound and eventually sold it.

That top is amazing.  Yeah, I imagine the "compact jumbo" sound would not compare that well with my 17.25" lower bout jumbo Guild F50R.....

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The 15” CJ-165 will certainly never be able to match a 17” jumbo body for bass rumble, but I find my maple-bodied example to be a very satisfying & super-comfy instrument for fingerpicking. 

Although I have both Gibson & Guild versions of 17” & 16” maple-jumbo bodies, I always look forward to playing the little 165.  Can’t ask for more than that!

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I had a Maple CJ165 in 2007, it was a non-cutaway example with Rosewood board and bridge. I liked the tone, very responsive and sort of sharp, quick and dry. A bit like a good Maple Nick Lucas but with a slightly more modern twist. I like Maple in all shapes and sizes and was quite taken with it.

Sadly I had to return it as I noticed the top had a major, fairly deep crease in it between the bass end of the bridge and the edge of the top. It didn’t affect playability or tone at that point, but I didn’t fancy taking a chance on future problems developing. 
 

I bought mine whilst trying (and failing) to find a first iteration Emmylou L-200, having played one and fallen in love with it. The 165 was close, and maybe would have gotten there with age, but it wasn’t to be. 
 

I’d certainly entertain the idea of owning one again. Likewise a J185 or L4A.

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I own one too.  Mine is Rosewood with ebony fretboard.   I think these are very underrated guitars.  They are so like Martins 00028 which have been available since pre WW11 or maybe WW1  It seems to me there is an unexplored market here for Gibson

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