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Featured Product

Since its introduction in 1954, the Gibson J-160e has sometimes been pilloried for what it is not — an acoustic guitar fitted with a built-in pickup that naturally boosts the guitar’s volume without altering or coloring the tone — rather than celebrated for what it is: a cool design that melds Gibson’s favored mahogany and spruce combination with a P-90 pickup to create an instrument with a new and winning sonic profile. Although the comfortable neck profile invites deft single-note lines, this guitar seems designed for strumming. It puts out loud, ringing, midrange-saturated brilliance, with plenty of clean headroom even under the most brutish right-hand attack. The dynamic response, both unplugged and run through an amp, is excellent. The stock neck-position P-90 doesn’t exactly put out a crystalline shimmer, but it does deliver warm, detailed tones that will sound immediately familiar to Beatles fans. (As you probably know, John Lennon favored the J-160e through at least 1968.) We experimented with running it through various effects, and found this guitar particularly responsive to a compressor or clean boost pedal. It also sounds great "naked," or effectless. As originally introduced, the J-160e was a round-shouldered dreadnought. It was changed to a square-shouldered design in 1969 or ’70. This guitar may not have the same design as the original ‘50s models, but it exudes some of the same exploratory spirit as those iconic instruments. Among other things, it would make an ideal inspiration for a performing songwriter, who might even write a song about it. We can almost hear it now: “Baby, we were born to strum!” In very good, all original condition. With period-correct hardshell case. $1800