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J-160E


Tiny

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I understand that the J-160E has reached iconic status, thanks to it being a go-to guitar for the Beatles and some others. And I've seen a few positive mentions of the guitar on this forum. I'm sure there is a good explanation for why it has a laminate top -- perhaps greater stability since the 160E is equipped with a good bit of electronics under the top (?). Do folks view the laminate top (on this model) as a good idea, or does it fall into the adjustable bridge, super-heavy-bracing, forehead-slapper category, where folks wonder what Gibson must have been thinking at the time? Thanks!

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The J-160E comes in a couple of formats/specs... This leads ot confusion as to which one people are talking of.

 

Although the guitars are named the same, one has different bracing/top than the other. The Beatles used the older laminates design as it helped with feedback and is ladder braced, essentially it's an electric guitar disguised as an acoustic guitar. The other is an acoustic guitar with a fitted P-100 in it.

 

That's the short and crude answer, but there will be many more knowledgeable souls about this model along shortly.

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Personal 0.02 herewith...

 

The J-160e is a bit of a conundrum...

 

Described by many dealers as 'total rubbish' with uninspired tone unplugged and unacoustic plugged

 

It is however a Beatles' icon and appeared on TV often

 

IMO would be a big disappointment at Gibson price...J Lennon re-issue or whatever

 

Epi's MIC need a tighter QC....my dealer rejected 3 in a row for electric inadequacies

 

He then found me a cheaper 'Vintage' copy which is better built

 

And gets played every day.... [thumbup]

 

V

 

:-({|=

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I'm sure there is a good explanation for why it has a laminate top ...

You already got the story that lack of feedback is the reason. The part that got left out is that Les Paul is responsible for the change. Gibson wanted to market the J-160E as the Les Paul Acoustic, and Les said he wouldn't endorse the guitar unless they changed the top to laminate to cut the feedback. So Gibson made the change, but Les subsequently refused to endorse it anyway.

 

Of course, I'm just passing on what I've heard. However, I've seen the story in some fairly reliable sources, such as Walter Carter's Gibson centennial volume, so there's likely some truth in it.

 

-- Bob R

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You already got the story that lack of feedback is the reason. The part that got left out is that Les Paul is responsible for the change. Gibson wanted to market the J-160E as the Les Paul Acoustic, and Les said he wouldn't endorse the guitar unless they changed the top to laminate to cut the feedback. So Gibson made the change, but Les subsequently refused to endorse it anyway.

 

Of course, I'm just passing on what I've heard. However, I've seen the story in some fairly reliable sources, such as Walter Carter's Gibson centennial volume, so there's likely some truth in it.

 

-- Bob R

I can believe that.... from what I've heard of Les is that he was a very talented musician, an 'outside the box' thinker, a master inventor, and an irascible old cuss to boot.

 

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I don't see how it's considered "iconic" status, other than the Lennon/Harrison history.

The Lennon/Harrison connection is pretty much all there is to it. Even if a fan of some other British Invasion group occasionally buys one, those guys only played them because the Beatles did.

 

There's a theory that the Beatles' J-160Es were the result of a mistake. Supposedly, John and George really wanted ES-175s, like they ones they often played in Hamburg. (Tony Sheridan says they frequently borrowed both of his. I've also seen Kingsize Taylor's Gibson, also an ES-175 I believe, cited as their inspiration.) Somehow, their request for "Gibson electric Jumbos" got turned into an order for J-160Es. This theory does not seem all that far-fetched to me, especially given that there's a fair chance it was actually Brian who contacted Rushworth's and placed the order. (Possibly after receiving George's famous telegraphed request that he "Purchase four new guitars", made in response to Brian's famous telegraphed request that they "Practice new material" for the Decca audition -- although I'm not sure offhand whether the dates are actually consistent with that.)

 

Obviously, they were quite happy with the J-160Es, but still ... the iconic status of the model might well be entirely due to someone screwing up.

 

-- Bob R

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There's a theory that the Beatles' J-160Es were the result of a mistake. Supposedly, John and George really wanted ES-175s, like they ones they often played in Hamburg.

 

I don't refuse it, but would like to know the source behind this theory. Most of us know the amazing pictures from when they actually receive the guitars at Rushworths. Take a closer look into the young lad's eyes. No trace of disappointment what so ever. The J-160e was only approx. 8 years old when they got them. Must have been an exiting new thing that acou/elec-combo - woods and bracings were towns in Russia at the time.

 

Though a hot guitar, the ES-175 kind of points backwards.

 

The Fab was hip, , , and didn't they need acoustics at that specific point in time.. . . ...........................................................................

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History, who played them or other reasons don't matter as much to me. I love the way it plays, sounds, and looks. [thumbup] The vintage style of course. I never try to play it to love the sound unplugged. That doesn't mean I don't play it unplugged. I play my Strat & Tele unplugged from time to time as well just messing around. :rolleyes:

 

That being said, it does look like they both had died and went to heaven with those two beauties. I'd have liked them for sure!!

 

HHH

 

Aster

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I don't refuse it, but would like to know to know the source behind this theory. ...

AFAIK, it's sheer speculation, just one of those stories you run across every once in awhile if you read about the Beatles. All the "evidence" I've seen is completely circumstantial. For example, they'd never played a J-160E, or even seen one in person. Who would order a guitar without having a chance to check it out first? (Well, these days, lots of people. ;)) For another example, Tony Sheridan had a D-28E -- Martin's J-160E-equivalent -- in Hamburg, and there is no record they showed any interest in it (and Tony's assurance that they only had eyes for his ES-175s). Et cetera. I don't recall having heard anyone claim that they had confirmation from anyone who was in a position to know for sure.

 

Good thing it doesn't really matter whether the theory is right, since there is no way to settle the matter at this late date. I just threw it in because Tiny seemed to enjoy the Les Paul story, and this is the only other interesting J-160E story I know.

 

-- Bob R

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Good thing it doesn't really matter whether the theory is right, since there is no way to settle the matter at this late date.

Right – we could have needed B. Epsteins memory in a lot of these situations.

 

So sad he lost grip so early in the tale – I never understood why.

 

 

 

Frankly I neither ever understood why young rock musicians looked more like Mr. Rushworth than anything else somewhat 20 years after the shot above. . .

 

 

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