If I wanted to get a J-160e that sounded like the Beatles recordings, how far would I have to go?
Obviously the new ones all have solid spruce tops. The Epiphone has laminated back and sides, and the Gibson has solid mahogany.The original guitar was ladder-braced, and I believe the modern ones are all X-braced.
I actually bought an EJ-160E in 2005 and returned it immediately because I didn’t think it sounded anything like the Beatles recordings. I’ve heard video demos of the Gibson, and, despite being constructed totally differently from the ones used in Beatles recordings, and being a nicer guitar, it did seem to sound like the recordings, but who knows.Is the modern Gibson J-160E simply a nice, nostalgic guitar? Or does it actually sound like the Beatles? Was I off-base when I thought the Epi version sounded nothing like the recordings?
(I’m aware John plugged his in for like one song (the beginning of I Feel Fine) and that it was mic’d otherwise. Sure sounds nice on the albums, though!)I don’t think I’ll ever buy one, at least not anytime soon, but it’s fun to dream!I also now realize John was using nickel wound strings, not our modern phosphor bronze.
Gibson makes a Beatles-spec J-160E without the Lennon Anniversary model price. Fuller’s Vintage Guitars in Houston special orders sunburst models. I think they are about $2600 street, but you should call them to see. A natural topped John Lennon Peace model is also available to most dealers for under 3K. Both models have the laminated top, ladder bracing, a P-90, adjustable bridge, and are short-scale. With nickel strings, they nail the sound you hear on Beatles’ records–which is like an acoustic guitar stuffed with socks, and a bit like an archtop when played through the pickup.
The J-160E Standard is the model that’s more widely available. It has a solid top, x-bracing, and fixed saddle in an effort to make it sound better acoustically.