I have a Gibson J-160E from the ’60s that has seen quite a bit of playing over the years. The serial number is 8419XX, but it doesn’t have the “Made in USA” stamp. Contrary to what many players say, I think this guitar sounds great as an acoustic. Can you give me a little history on the J-160E and what its value is today? Also, I find it surprising that the J-160E is so popular, yet I don’t hear much about early Martin acoustic electrics. Thanks!
Lennon bought this john lennon gibson j160e to replace the above guitar, even though he often used Harrison’s for recording. It was first used in concert in Montreal on 8 September 1964 and served as a backup for the ’65 world tours. Except for an extra rosette around the sound hole — and a visible orange label inside — it was identical to his first J-160E, but it wouldn’t stay that way for long. He moved the pickup from the neck to the bottom of the sound hole, then in ’67 commissioned Dutch artists Simon and Marijke Posthuma, a.k.a. The Fool, to give it a psychedelic paint job, to commemorate the “All You Need Is Love” satellite broadcast. It’s seen in rehearsal shots of that event, but at air time he opted to just sing. Lennon later had it professionally stripped, replaced the pickguard and put the pickup back where it was originally. This guitar was last seen in action during the Bed-Ins, where Lennon scratched two caricatures of himself and Yoko on the front. Recently on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland, on l
Electrified guitars were the norm by the early ’50s, but a true flattop acoustic guitar with a pickup had yet to be produced. Gibson introduced the CF-100E in 1951, which was an electrified version of the CF-100, introduced shortly before. The CF-100E featured one single-coil pickup mounted at the bottom of the fretboard—a far cry in design from the acoustic/electric guitars of today. Both models had a small body and sharp Florentine cutaway, but were discontinued in 1958, as they were not very popular.
In 1954, Gibson launched an electrified version of their hugely popular Southern Jumbo (SJ) called the J-160E. Like the CF-100E, it had a single-coil pickup mounted right below the fretboard with electric-style Volume and Tone knobs mounted directly on the soundboard. The J-160E featured a 3-ply laminated spruce top (the earliest models in 1954 were solid), a solid mahogany back, laminated mahogany sides, and a neck that met the body at the 15th fret, allowing room for the pickup between the fretboard and soundhole.