Other Guitars

Lennon strings

1

Is anyone fairly certain of the strings Lennon used on his J160E? I tryed Pyramid gold flatwound 11's. Which by the way are tone perfect on the on the Ric. and Gretsch. They are extremely Dark on the 160e. Any Ideas? Thanx

2

Excellent question! Maybe a call to Gibson could tell you what they originally came with, and contacting Yoko could fill in the gap.

Even Paul had a J160E (right handed with cherry sunburst), and John replaced his stolen one with a new one, which went on to become the "bed-in" J160E.

In the touring years, John & George had the matching set, George ended up with the serial #'d one of John's and se Georges (which was stolen eventually).

Hope this helps you out Partsman.

3

I think he used 10's...they feed back easier as in the Beginning in I feel Fine. Much harder to do with thicker strings.

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I am using Thomastic electric 11s Jazz bebop roundwounds on my J160E. Similar Pyramid strings sound quite good too.

Flatwounds do not sound good on this guitar.

I read somewhere that Lennon used electric guitar strings and that he did not change them too often. However, I don't remember where I got the info.

There are a couple of videos in You Tube demonstrating the guitar with these type of strings.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OeCl2AdTh04 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Th4c-NzVMRU&feature=channel_page

The latter features a T Rose as well.

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The string used on the J160e was indeed the Pyramid Flatwound - a pure nickel string. The key on this guitar is that if you have the BEATLE J160e, it's a plywood top, ladder braced guitar with an adjustable saddle. Gibson makes basically two variations on this instrument, the (modern) fixed saddle version is basically a tarted up J45 (and a much better conventional acoustic guitar although it has a P100)

To say the vintage style J160e which Fuller does a regular order on and has come out under several series (Lennon, Historic...)is an acoustically "challenged" instrument is being accurate. It's dead as a door nail, but recorded with a large condenser mic and you will get that sound using the Pyramids. If you want it EXACT, there's one other key component to absolutely nail that sound, which I call the "ping" heard in records like I Should Have Known Better, where it sounds almost like an anvil is being struck somewhere in the rhythm track, and is particularly noticeable in chords like G in first position: You must install a vintage ceramic saddle.

The new Historic/Lennon/Fuller ladder braced accurate vintage reproduction falls short in this one area, and it does make a big difference. They currently use a Dupont Corian saddle, which is the same material used in kitchen counter tops. It will mute the sound further, and kill that top end "ping" you hear in those old records.

Trust me on this: You want a good balanced set of strings, and the Pyramids were used regularly during that era. Medium gauge (11-48s) + Ladder Braced Version + Ceramic Saddle = Beatle Tone.

According to the late Norbert Junger, President of Pyramid Strings, and reiterated by Max Junger his son and current President of the company, Brian Epstein had an equipment rider in his management duties which equipped The Beatles (circ. '63 to his death in '67) with Pyramid Strings supplied through Selmer in a white label agreement. That agreement extended to a marketing endorsement of Beatle Guitar Strings. The joke was that everyone got their name on that package of strings but the actual manufacturer. They read distributed by Selmer, Hofner brand. However, all Hofner strings are actually OEM by Pyramid Strings. Most of this is long forgotten minus the much higher profile Vox endorsement, but that was also plainly obvious too, as part of their stage display.

And of course the Beatles were so in a bubble about all that business dealings that when McCartney was asked about what strings he used he'd say bright shiney ones!

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Are you talking about electric guitar strings? 12s are considered "light guage" for acoustic strings. Did they have specific acoustic guitar strings back in the '60s?

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Found this incredably interesting exchange on "VOX TALKS". this exchange occured back in January of 2001 http://www.voxtalks.com/cgi-bin/UltraBoard2000/UltraBoard.pl?Action=ShowPost&Board=voxtalks&Post=3926&Idle=0&Sort=0&Order=Descend&Page=0&Session=

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partsman- you have the J160E? Could you post a good photo sometime? I have almost all the guitars I ever lusted after, but that's one I just haven't been able to do yet. And I doubt my wife will let me. I'm green with envy.

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There you go! http://gretschpages.com/forum/other-guitars/new-family-member/18165/page1/

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The strings for the J160e should be nickel strings, because bronze will impede the performance of the P-90 pickup. Fundamentally, think of this guitar as a big hollow body electric that you can use as an acoustic guitar, and you'll start to understand how this guitar fit into the Beatles arsenal.

Pyramid Gold Series Nickel Flatwounds are nickel strings that can be either used electrically or acoustically. They are really vintage jazz box strings.

In the later years (circ '68 onwards) Lennon switched to nickel roundwounds. You here the difference on Ballad of John and Yoko. Compare it to Norwegian Wood. It's the same guitar, same mic, (U-47) and same studio. The difference was the guitar strings, and a very minor increase in an open sound due to the guitar's finish being stripped.

Pyramid and many companies made bronze strings for acoustics, it's just that they weren't commonly used on this guitar.

Here's my '67 J160e: 1967 J160e

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Colon said- "The strings for the J160e should be nickel strings, because bronze will impede the performance of the P-90 pickup. Fundamentally, think of this guitar as a big hollow body electric that you can use as an acoustic guitar, and you'll start to understand how this guitar fit into the Beatles arsenal."

Once again, there's the solid truth. Proper lateral thinking. Well said, man.

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There you go!

How are those Epihone Lennon copies? Never played one.

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I have The Epi. And to be quite Honest, I played both before making my choice. Both are the same platform. As far as I could tell, the only differance was where they were built. The sound was almost exact. So based on only that, I opted for the Epiphone. I saw no reason to spend the extra $1600.00. You can best be assured, If there were a substantial differance, I would have stepped up.

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As far as I could tell, the only differance was where they were built.

I would love to play one of those guitars. Unfortunately, I got mine 16 years ago when the Epi Lennon was not available. I will check out the reviews online. At that time they were selling for 1100.00 USD. I was pissed that the guitar did not have a p-90. Instead they installed a a p-100.

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It's great you like the Epiphone. It's a fine guitar for the price, but it's not anything like either the modern X Braced J160e by Gibson let alone the vintage style ladder braced original. The body dimensions are totally different. It's a smaller guitar. The frets are smaller, the scale is different, and as mentioned it has a P100 not a P90.

In my opinion, the question one has to ask is how much are you willing to pay for Beatle tone? The cheapest Beatle Tone currently available is a Gretsch Tenny with Hi Los.

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It's a fine guitar for the price, but it's not anything like either the modern X Braced J160e by Gibson let alone the vintage style ladder braced original. The body dimensions are totally different. It's a smaller guitar. The frets are smaller, the scale is different, and as mentioned it has a P100 not a P90.

Nevertheless, the guitar looks cool. The big cosmetic difference is in the headstock. I have seen Beatle tribute bands that use this guitar, but they are usually the less well known bands.

However, I read mostly positive reviews in Harmony Central. Of course the reviewers want to bond with their guitars, so there is a bias.

This you tube video gives an idea of the Epiphone J160E sound.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PrsIsU0Q_I

Here is a so Gibson 160E 1956

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNZvalWOPtI http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oi4OyS2P3QE

The sound is different, but we don't know what strings

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Here's controlled sound clips that gives you direct A B C comparisons of Flats and Rounds on the old ladder braced (Beatle) J160e. Same song, different dubs of the lead off guitar, so you hear it in the mix. Nothing else is changed: Same Mic (Studio Projects B-3 in Omni, Positioning, Room, Levels etc...) all done in ProTools.

For kicks the third sample is flats on the modern J160e isolated (the same as a J45 in construction).

Enjoy!

Pyramid Nickel Flats on Vintage '67 J160e

Pyramid Bronze Rounds on Vintage '67 J160e

Flats on New X-Braced J160e

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Nice examples BB. +1 your time & Sgt Hans Schultz!

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Don't trust Schultz. He knows nothing!

In all seriousness, it's not a problem. I did those a while back.

If you notice, the attack in the flats is more percussive (not a bad quality in a straight rock acoustic rhythm) while the bronze are more forward with a brighter top end (good for a lead line).

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Enjoy!

I don't like the bronze strings.

I could live with the other two.

I keep forgetting this is a strumming guitar.

Do you have any samples of the Epiphone?

Thanks


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