Epiphone has resurrected one of Gibson's most iconic acoustic guitars - the J160e, made famous by John Lennon and The Beatles.
The new Epiphone EJ-160e is a limited-edition version of the legendary Gibson J-160e, which was popularized by John Lennon and George Harrison in The Beatles. It was, in fact, the only guitar which has been featured on every Beatles album.
The J-160e is a very unique acoustic guitar, with its pickup by the soundhole/neck joint, and the tone and volume controls at the front of the body. Most pro players will say other Gibson models were better, such as the Hummingbird, J-45 or J-200 guitars. But nevertheless, maybe because it's so quirky, or maybe because of the Beatles connection, the J-160e design still has a LOT of appeal. Yes, it sounds good, of course, but the main thing is... it's simply so cool!
John Lennon & the J-160e
In 1962, John Lennon was still an up-and-coming artist, and though one of two main singer/songwriters at the heart of The Beatles, was scraping by on the little money the band was bringing in at that time. For his first quality American acoustic/electric guitar, Lennon had his sights set on a new Gibson J-160E – the problem was, he didn't have the money to buy it. With the aid of a co-signed purchase from Beatles manager Brian Epstein (who also co-signed for bandmate George Harrison's J-160E), Lennon made the guitar his own, and put it straight to the business of making rock and roll history.
Lennon used his J160e throughout his life and career. He used it on several famous Beatles recordings from 1963 to '64, including Please Please Me, With The Beatles and A Hard Day's Night. In fact, Lennon owned two J160e guitars - the first one was stolen after a gig, and only recently recovered. So the J-160e he used on early numbers such as the mentioned before is not the same he used in Help and other post-1964 songs.
Since then, many guitarists with an interest in The Beatles have been attracted by this unique electro-acoustic. Some famous names who've played it include Jimi Hendrix, Paul Weller, Noel Gallagher, Bee Gees, Elvis Costello and Pete Doherty. Bluesman Lightnin' Hopkins also played one.
The New Epiphone EJ-160e vs. Epiphone EJ-160e John Lennon Signature
This is only the second time Epiphone has released a version of the Gibson J-160e. The previous model was the John Lennon signature EJ-160e, which was quite popular and is now discontinued. But fear not - the new one is great, too!
One of the best things about the new Epiphone EJ-160e is that it's cheaper than the John Lennon signature, and also cheaper than J-160e copies made by other brands. Some of the first cosmetic differences you'll notice is that, besides not having the Lennon graphics (obviously) it has the Epiphone logo on the pickguard.
The volume and control knobs look better on the new model - more like the ones on an original Gibson. You can also notice that the back of the guitars are different.
The scale length of the new EJ-160e is 24.75", like the original Gibson model, whereas the Lennon signature was 25.5". All the rest is pretty much the same. Solid spruce top and mahogany back & sides, on both models.
The EJ-160e Pickup
What made the original J-160E so renown was its unique pickup system and to bring that sound back to life for the 21st century, the new Epiphone Ltd. Ed. EJ-160E features an Epiphone Stacked P-100 humbucking pickup at the end of fingerboard. The Epiphone Stacked P-100™ pickup is seated discreetly between the end of the guitar's fretboard and the sound hole. Master Volume and Tone controls feature Top Hat knobs with metal inserts and pointers--just like vintage models--and are located on the guitar's lower bout. And each volume and tone control use full-size 500K potentiometers.