The Gibson J-160E is one of the first acoustic-electric guitars produced by the Gibson Guitar Corporation.
The gibson 160e guitar was Gibson’s second attempt at creating an acoustic-electric guitar (the first being the small-body CF-100E). The basic concept behind the guitar was to fit a single-pickup (and associated electronics) into a normal-size dreadnought acoustic guitar.
The J-160E used plywood for most of the guitar’s body, and was ladder-braced, whereas other acoustic Gibsons were X-braced. The rosewood fingerboard had trapezoid inlays, and the guitar had an adjustable bridge. For amplification, a single-coil pickup (an uncovered P-90 pickup) was installed under the top of the body with the pole screws protruding through the top at the end of the fingerboard, with a volume and a tone knob.
John Lennon and George Harrison frequently used one with The Beatles, both on-stage and in the studio. Gibson produces a standard J-160E and a John Lennon J-160E Peace model, based on the J-160E he used during the Bed-In days of 1969. Epiphone makes an EJ-160E John Lennon replica signature model.
Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees plays a J-160E, and can be seen in several live performances of the band from 1967 to 1968.Sam Lightnin’ Hopkins played a J-160E which is on display at the Rock Hall of Fame.Richard Barone plays a J-160E as his primary acoustic guitar on solo and band performances and with The Bongos.
Pete Doherty of the Libertines/babyshambles plays a J-160E during most of his solo appearances.Chad Stuart and Jeremy Clyde of Chad and Jeremy played J-160E guitars from 1964 to 1968.Peter Asher and Gordon Waller of Peter and Gordon played J-160E guitars, and can be seen in live acts in US during the 2000s.Steve Marriott of Small Faces used a J-160E as the main acoustic guitar for the 1967 album Small Faces.Mike Viola of Mike Viola and The Candy Butchers uses a J-160e with a Fishman blend Pickup.Elvis Costello uses a J-160e.
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 loan from the Lennon Estate.