Gibson J-160E Flat Top Acoustic-Electric Guitar (1955), ser. #W1107-34, original brown hard shell case.

$ 6500.00

Gibson J-160E Model Flat Top Acoustic-Electric Guitar (1955), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # W1107-34, sunburst top, dark back and sides finish, mahogany back,sides and neck, spruce top, rosewood fingerboard, original brown hard shell case. One of the more specialized Gibsons of the 1950’s was this electrified flat top, the J-160E, introduced in late 1954. Designed specifically for country/Western performers getting drowned out by their increasingly well-amplified bands, this fairly fancy 16″ Jumbo sported the same electronics and cosmetic features as the earlier small-body CF-100E.The J-160E is far better remembered, however, not because of any success in the C&W field but as one of the iconic Beatles guitars of the 1960’s. John Lennon and George Harrison used early 1960’s J-160E’s as recording and touring instruments extensively during the first half of the band’s most successful period, and the Gibson remains indelibly linked to the Beatles’ legacy.This early J-160E is built with a stoutly ladder braced, laminated spruce top. The very first ones had a solid spruce top but this proved prone to feedback when amplified. This 1955 model also has an unusual and elaborate adjustable bridge system, with the saddle mounted to a cradle suspended beneath the top adjusted by the large screw knobs on the bridge wings. This was another short-lived feature. This construction makes J-160E is a distinctive sounding guitar, with less volume and depth than the standard Gibson Jumbos but the crisp and recording-friendly “Beatle-y” tone the model is famous for. Gibson’s J-160E was a fairly successful guitar in this original 1950s incarnation (487 shipped in 1955) but is now remembered primarily as one of the iconic “Beatle guitars” of the 1960s. John Lennon and George Harrison used 1962 J-160Es as recording and touring instruments extensively and this particular Gibson model remains indelibly linked to the Beatles legacy both visually and sonically. The band used their J-160E models on recordings from their first LP right through the end of the group,. Lennon retained one during his early solo career, by which point the top had been stripped to natural. This guitar is practically is subtly different from those 1962 models, with features specific to the period including the large-knob adjustable bridge, amber “hatbox” knobs, Kluson Deluxe tuners with keystone buttons, and a single sound hole ring pattern.The J-160 is admittedly a hybrid but is quite functional especially as and electric instrument. Purely as an acoustic guitar the sound is thinner than most other Gibson flat-tops with a high/midrange emphasis; the sound is distinctive and very notable on many Beatle recordings. As an electric guitar the tone is surprisingly warm and deep, provided by the p-90 pickup under the top just below the fingerboard. A number of Beatle records feature this sound as well. This particular J-160E is a fine playing, well preserved example of this rather unique Gibson.Overall length is 41 1/2 in. (105.4 cm.), 16 1/8 in. (41 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 5 in. (12.7 cm.) in depth at side, taken at the end block. Scale length is 24 3/4 in. (629 mm.). Width of nut is 1 11/16 in. (43 mm.). This guitar is relatively clean overall for nearly 70 years on. The finish shows some mostly smaller wear spots and some typical checking. The sunburst top has less pick wear than many, with areas down to the wood on the lower soundhole rim and off the back edge of the pickguard. The back is quite clean, while the sides have some small dings. The back of the neck has some dings, scrapes and dents with a couple of spots filled in discreetly with clear touchup. There are no cracks to the instrument, which appears original except for the tuners which are correct style Kluson Deluxe replacements and an old Gibson strap button was added to the side above the heel. The original frets show some light wear and this is an excellent-playing example of this Beatle-style classic, optimized for use as an electric guitar with a comfortable low action. The original green-lined brown Gibson case is provided for its long and winding road onward. Overall Excellent – Condition.