John Lennon and his musical legacy requires no introduction. What you may not know though is that in 1962, a rising Lennon wanted to buy a quality American acoustic but was too broke to afford it. Luckily, band manager Brian Epstein was kind enough to co-sign for a brand new “electro-acoustic” Gibson J-160E and even did the same thing for George Harrison. Now three decades after his passing, Gibson has recreated three versions of the guitar complete with the same built-in pickup and electronics that made the guitar stage ready and popular immediately after its 1954 release.
The first model is finished in Vintage Sunburst ($4,700) and was produced in a limited run of 500. It mimics the look of the guitar when Lennon (and co) bought it, which he subsequently used in the band’s recordings from 1963 to ’64. The second all white Imagine model ($8,300) was requested by Yoko Ono to commemorate John’s work on Imagine. The Museum Version ($11,000) is a replica of the guitar that’s displayed in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and is the most prized guitar in the series. It’s distinguished by a thin, natural finish and Lennon’s own “John and Yoko” caricatures. Only 70 Imagine and Museum versions of the guitars were made, one for every year since John’s birth in 1940, and both include a special certificate personally signed by Yoko Ono mailed to the buyer via certified mail. Other unique details across all three models include headstocks inlaid with Lennon’s signature, and a mother-of-pearl trapezoid inscribed with Lennon’s D.O.B that’s inlaid in the Indian rosewood fingerboards at the 12th-fret marker. His song writing genius is sadly still priceless.
Editor’s Note: If you can’t afford these rare tributes, then check out the more affordable John Lennon EJ-160E which retails for $600. It may not have the same exclusive glitz, but it’s still a great way to tap into your inner Beatle without getting a bowl cut.