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NGD... Epiphone EJ-160E VC / J. Lennon


Fadedepi

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Hi All,

 

I received this guitar on Thursday, last week. I know there are some previous reviews posted, good and not so good. Here's my impressions, and please remember this is IMO AND EXPERIENCE WITH THIS EJ-160E ONLY. The guitar was manufactured in Indonesia. Serial # 0810233993.

 

Exterior Finish: Solid Spruce Top with Mahogany Back and Sides... WOW!! Very well done. I couldn't find any flaws in the workmanship or finish. Unexpected, but true.

 

Interior: Extremely clean. No visable excess glue, chips or cracks. All interior wood looks excellent, fit and finish.

 

Neck: Nicely finished, excellent job on the binding, inlays, fretwork and fingerboard. I will be replacing the tuning keys, not because it doesn't stay in tune, because I don't like the green colored keystone knobs. They should be white or creme colored. I will replace them with Grover Deluxe #3754 Nickle Machines. The nut was cut properly, with no string binding when tuning. The set-up, straight out of the box was excellent. Intonation, spot on, no buzzing. The guitar came strung with 11-48 electric strings, as it should have. Why they would string it with bronze from the factory is beyond me? (I saw a NEW one at SAM ASH this past weekend with bronze acoustic strings?)

 

Sound: IMO, this guitar sounds great acoustically, even with electric strings. No doubt, brighter than with bronze, but very clear and clean with excellent projection.

Plugged in it really shines. Kinda like a big jazz box with a P90. I dig the way it sounds. Beatles sound? You Betcha!! I'm going to try a set of electric Pyramid 11-49 Flatwounds on it. My only regret..... I wish I had bought one of these sooner.

 

Any Comments or Questions, please don't hesitate....

Only two photos at the moment.

The Keystone tuners don't look too bad, however they are much greener in color than the photo shows.

 

Faded....

 

EJ-160E_edited-1.jpgDSC03833.jpg

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Glad you like it! Lovely looking guitar and a great acoustic. I haven't played mine with electric strings yet as I've been using it as an electro-acoustic with an installed piezo but next time it needs a restring it will be getting the beatles treatment.

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I've heard so much bad about the Epiphone and Gibson versions, I have to think the only reason they still make them is because John and George had them. I've never actually had a chance to play one, though.

 

Are the new ones ladder-braced, or were the vintage that way? I know one is and the other isn't, and that's apparently why they sound different.

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I've heard so much bad about the Epiphone and Gibson versions' date=' I have to think the only reason they still make them is because John and George had them. I've never actually had a chance to play one, though.

 

Are the new ones ladder-braced, or were the vintage that way? I know one is and the other isn't, and that's apparently why they sound different.[/quote']

 

Complicated answer:

 

The real J160Es (John and George's) minus the first year production were plywood tops with ladder bracing and P90 PUs. This is the Lennon signature model now in the Peace version and the Historic Reissue thing.

 

The stock line Gibson J160E now is a souped up J45 (solid guitar with X bracing) and unless they have changed it a P100 PU.

 

The Epiphone EJ160E is a version of the standard Gibson with the solid top, but plywood back and sides. It also has the 25.5" scale vs the Gibson standard. The Epiphone has a mini HB instead of the P90 or P100.

 

The Epiphone is nice for what it is but it is not in any way a J160E. The same way the stock line Gibson J160E is a souped up J45 the EJ160E is a souped up AJ200s.

 

As far as sound, nothing sounds like a real J160E, we are talking John and George here, than a ladder braced plywood J160E. It is the only guitar that makes that sound period.

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I will say, having seen John's (second) Gibson in person, that is one ugly guitar. Thirty years of sitting in a case doesn't do much for it, but John wasn't one to leave his instruments alone - he cut the pickup cover in half, didn't clip his strings, and of course, carved him and Yoko into it - twice. The pickguard is peeling now.

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I've heard so much bad about the Epiphone and Gibson versions' date=' I have to think the only reason they still make them is because John and George had them. I've never actually had a chance to play one, though.

 

Are the new ones ladder-braced, or were the vintage that way? I know one is and the other isn't, and that's apparently why they sound different.[/quote']

 

The Epi has a solid, X braced top, laminated back and sides, fixed bridge, and a P100 pickup. It is long scale.

 

The Gibson J160E Standard has a solid, X-braced top, solid back and sides, fixed bridge, and a P90 pickup. It is short scale.

 

The Gibson John Lennon Peace model (and the Fuller's Vintage '60s Spec model) has a ladder-braced laminated top, laminated back and sides, adjustable bridge, and P90 pickup. It is short scale.

 

I've got all three of these right now. In truth, none of the three sounds like the other.

 

The Gibson J160E standard has a very muscular acoustic sound. It's got a lot of punchy bass. Notes fall away fairly quickly, giving it a strong percussive sound. Amplified, it maintains it's acoustic sound pretty well through the P90. It's a great rhythm guitar.

 

The Lennon Peace J160E sounds like a cross between an big bodied archtop and an acoustic. The bass is about as dominant as the treble. Since it doesn't produce nearly as much volume as a full-on acoustic, the sound of the pick striking the strings becomes an even more intergal part of the sound. The famous Gibson anvil-strike thunk (present in the J160E Standard) is exaggerated even more. I always thought it would sound terrible as an acoustic, but it has a very pleasant, if different sound. Amplified, it sounds like a hollow body electric (where the J16OE Standard still sounds like an acoustic). The Peace model NAILS the early Beatles electric sound, and much of the latter acoustic sound, especially when it has that far away quality.

 

The Epi has some characteristics of both. It doesn't have the bass response of the J160E Standard, or the percussive thunk of either. Amplified, it sounds more like the Standard. In general, it's not as distinctive than either Gibson model, though it's a good performer that gets you in the ballpark. It's certianly well built and finished, and looks the part, though the body is the standard Epi round shoulder dreadnaught shape, and not Gibson's.

 

Red 333

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Complicated answer:

 

 

The Epiphone is nice for what it is but it is not in any way a J160E. The same way the stock line Gibson J160E is a souped up J45 the EJ160E is a souped up AJ200s.

 

 

Both the Epi and Gibson x-braced J160Es are braced unlike any other Epihones or Gibsons. Since the neck is set at the 15th fret, the bridge and x brace is set about a 1/4 inch closer to the soundhole. The soundhole itself is much lower on the body due to the placement of the pickup. The bridge is set much higher on the soundboard. Both eat into prime soundboard real estate. That makes a huge difference in the way the guitar performs and is voiced, especially in the Gibson version. It sounds nothing like a J45. It doesn't sound like any other Gibson to my knowlege (but in a good way!).

 

Red 333

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Both the Epi and Gibson x-braced J160Es are braced unlike any other Epihones or Gibsons. Since the neck is set at the 15th fret' date=' the bridge and x brace is set about a 1/4 inch closer to the soundhole. The soundhole itself is much lower on the body due to the placement of the pickup, eating into prime soundboard real estate. That makes a huge difference in the way the guitar performs and is voiced, especially in the Gibson version. It sounds nothing like a J45. It doesn't sound like any other Gibson to my knowlege (but in a good way!).

 

Red 333[/quote']

 

Red we are pretty much saying the same thing.

 

I own the EJ160E, Peerless model, had a Lennon Peace model, sold it when I scored a burst J160E historic, and own a 42 reissue J45.

 

I have also owned an AJ200s, the guitar I left at the GFs house, and I have played several standard Gibson J160Es strung both ways, with electric and acoustic strings.

 

The very first J160E was a souped up J45 with all the differences you mention. The PU pushes the neck up and the rest follows: soundhole, bracing etc.

 

In a way I guess the current line J160E could be called a copy of the original J160E minus the P100 PU. I am pretty sure once they put in the ladder bracing and the plywood to help cancel feedback you could still get the solid top on the Southern Jumbo?

 

If you have them all then you know the Lennon guitar does not come alive until you mic it or plug it in. Just sitting there strumming it alone you don't have much.

 

I also find the EJ160E to be somewhere in the middle I would guess. It does not have the bass response of the standard J160E though Tusq bridge pins do help it in the bass response and sustain quite a bit.

 

It has a pretty bright overall tone response that I would have to say comes from the longer scale. It was the same as comparing my AJ200s to my J45. The longer scale does make a difference in the bightness of the guitar.

 

My EJ160E is the one that sits out in the living room and the one that goes to pratice now and then, but the J160E is the one that records well. The EJ160E miked up for recording does not do well. It does not have the tone to pass for a nice acoustic and it can't do the J160E sound well either. Every time I try to record with it I end up grabbing something else.

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the body is the standard Epi round shoulder dreadnaught shape' date=' and not Gibson's.

 

Red 333[/quote']

 

If you look at the newer ones from Indonesia like the one here it is much closer to the Gibson specs/shape. My bandmate has one on the newer Indonesian models also and his is very close to my both of my Gibson J160Es.

 

My older MIK Peerless EJ160E has the more rounded lower bout and is more pinched on the top slope shoulders.

 

His does sound a bit more like my J160E and less nice as an acoustic than my EJ. Doing a direct comparison at this point though is hard becuase my EJ160E has had some pretty heavy mods by this point. Plugged in I can't say because I had my PU yanked and sent it to Duncan for a rebuild and had new 250k pots installed at the same time.

 

My current EJ plugged in sounds alot like the Gibson standard J160E. It maintains more of its acoustic sound where the Lennon sounds like a fat HB electric nothing at all like an acoustic.

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Red we are pretty much saying the same thing.

 

 

I think so' date=' too. I just don't think of the Gibson J160E standard as a "souped up" J45. If guess if you think of "souped up" as meaning they have the same body, but they're different under the hood, then OK, I get it. But they seem very different guitars to me, because of the very big difference in bracing, bridge, and soundhole location (and resultant sound).

 

 

If you have them all then you know the Lennon guitar does not come alive until you mic it or plug it in. Just sitting there strumming it alone you don't have much.

 

 

It's funny, but I quite like how it sounds acoustically. Based on everything I've read or heard about the ladder braced J160Es, I never expected I would. As a matter of fact, I met Ren Fergeson once (Gibson's Master Luthier), and when I asked him about J160Es, he expressed his continued surprise that people still wanted them built with the laminated top and ladder bracing. He decribed them as sounding like they were "stuffed with old socks" LOL.

 

Though it doesn't have what anyone would describe as rich flat top tone, but it doesn't sound like a cheap or poor acoustic, either, if you know what I mean. It's got a distinctive, zippy tone all its own.

 

I've got Gibson L5 strings on mine.

 

Red 333

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If you look at the newer ones from Indonesia like the one here it is much closer to the Gibson specs/shape. My bandmate has one on the newer Indonesian models also and his is very close to my both of my Gibson J160Es.

 

 

You think? I guess I don't see that in the picture. The waist seems much to wide to me in proportion. That's kind of my benchmark for the Gibson shape.

 

I'll look out for a new one in the stores (though you don't see them much). Mine is distinctly un-Gibson shaped! I can't remember if it was made in Indonesia or China. I've lent it to someone, so will look when I get it back.

 

Red 333

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My current EJ plugged in sounds alot like the Gibson standard J160E. It maintains more of its acoustic sound where the Lennon sounds like a fat HB electric nothing at all like an acoustic.

 

You can see why John and George abandoned their Rics, and they and Paul gravitated toward the Casino. The Casino doesn't sound too disimilar to the amplified J160E in some ways, does it? Plus, you get even better distorted sounds with the Casino, so it's better for soloing.

 

Red 333

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You think? I guess I don't see that in the picture. The waist seems much to wide to me in proportion. That's kind of my benchmark for the Gibson shape.

 

I'll look out for a new one in the stores (though you don't see them much). Mine is distinctly un-Gibson shaped! I can't remember if it was made in Indonesia or China. I've lent it to someone' date=' so will look when I get it back.

 

Red 333[/quote']

 

If I had the picture thing figured out I would put my EJ and J160E side by side. My MIK EJ has the Epiphone AJ body style which is unusual as the Peerless plant did the first run of the AJ45s (1998), which I had until recently, and they got the body correct to Gibson specs. They should have used those jigs and tooling.

 

My EJ160E has the more rounded body to it.

 

My bandmates new Indonesian EJ160E is nearly right, not so pinched waist, and the correct upper slope shoulder and the wider bout on the bottom as the one in the top photo. His guitar back to back to mine are nearly the same.

 

The newer ones I am not sure when but they screwed up the inlays up the neck as in the photo above.

 

Unplugged his sounds closer to my J160E than an acoustic or standard J160E. Mine has a bone nut, bone bridge and Tusq bridge pins and he still has the stock strings on his, and probably will for the next few years LOL!

 

My bandmate had one of the standard J160Es before I ever did but lost it in his divorce. He used to keep it strung with acoustic strings and he had it at the same time I got my J45. His guitar with acoustic strings was much more like my J45 than a J160E.

 

I also played several of the standard J160Es at Naperville music before buying the Lennon Peace model. The ones at Naperville Music were strung with the Gibson electic strings and it was closer than my bandmates old Gibson. After buying the Peace model I found out about the Historic burst ones and called Gibson. They helped me track one down to a dealer and I scored it.

 

My bandmate a huge Lennon fan was going to then buy the Peace model off of me and he had it for about a year before he finally told me he hated it and it sounded terrible.

 

I got it back and turned it.

 

He then bought one of the new EJs and has been happy since.

 

I also own or have owned most of the Beatles gear at one point from the Rics to Vox AC50s, 30s and 15s. I am a Fender amp guy now days.

 

The only Rics I have left at this point are my 360-12 and my V63-320? (the one with the full scale neck not the mini thing I could never play!)

 

I also own 2 Casinos, a burst and natural........surprise! I used to spend hours trying to get the same tones before I moved on and just did my own thing, but the best way to describe the tone of the J160E plugged in is a Strat on the neck PU to me gets closer than my Casinos if you could add a bit of HB warmth that is the tone.

 

My EJ160E is the guitar that does the acoustic songs at band pratice. The PU rebuild from Duncan came back really bright, and I should have known that from the long scale neck too would add to that, so I had the pots changed to 250k to tame some of the shrill.

 

It now sounds like a loud acoustic with a bit of HB mixed in, but much more true to an acoustic than an electic and without the piezo quack that even my AE Gibsons do.

 

If it wasn't for the live use I don't know if I would keep the EJ160E around even with all the time and investment I spent on the thing.

 

My J160E like I said comes alive when I close mic it right between the neck joint and the soundhole with tube LCD and tube preamp. Instant "I'll Be Back" tone. It is not the tone for every song but it cuts through like nothing else. It does not work well on pretty acoustic things but adding an acoustic to an electic based mix it just pops out and every strum and downstroke is right there with no eq needed.

 

I am not surprised for the continued demand. Other than Beatle fans the guitar does record well and when you want that sound only a J160E is able to do it. Tom Peterson of Cheap Trick stated the same thing in his recent Vintage Guitar interview.

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Guys,

 

A lot of good discussion here about the difference between the Epi and the Gibby. Also, much talk about Gison models in general. That's great, and please don't get me wrong here, I'm not complaining. My intentions in opening this topic, was to let other forum members know my personal experience with this instrument. This guitar only, not what it isn't, but what it is. From a personal point of view, this guitar is everything I hoped it would be. But, then again, I'm not trying to make it out to be something it clearly isn't. (J. Lennon's Gibson) Having an open mind about this guitar from the beginning allowed me to have something unique and different. I'm very pleased with my EJ-160E as it is. A great guitar for me.

 

Thank You Epiphone, Faded....

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Guys' date='

 

Having an open mind about this guitar from the beginning allowed me to have something unique and different. I'm very pleased with my EJ-160E as it is. A great guitar for me.

 

Thank You Epiphone, Faded.... [/quote']

 

That's a good way to evaluate guitars! Enjoy!

 

Red 333

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