Wednesday, January 23, 2008, 01:22 PM - Models



Bolt neck double cutaway with maple body, maple neck, rosewood fingerboard, black painted hardware, graphite nut and Tekglide (vintage style) bridge, two humbuckers with four knobs (V-V-T-T) with pull-switches for coil tap and phase reverse, active EQ.


X160BR (H-H, active EQ)(metallic brown)


The X160 is one of the rarer Electra Phoenixes, appearing only in 1983 at the end of the appearance of the X150 with which it shared active EQ. For a guitar with premium electronics, its brown metalflake finish is strangely subdued, one can only imagine it was intended for perhaps a jazz audience.


Was active EQ really a useful feature? Gibson had asked the same question with the Artist series, which it doomed by associating with the strange and unpopular RD series. It can be useful for some players- certainly a preamp is one way of shaping distortion. But for distortion you want to boost midtones, not high and low. Active EQ tends to be most useful for players who use clean tones, especially those who, like electric acoustic players, tend to be plugging into weird PA systems not designed for guitar, or in weird room situations.


Today we have to remember that making effect devices easily available to consumers was a fairly new innovation. There were some hairy fuzz pedals, and wahs, and giants like Hendrix and Page had them, but there was not the plethora of devices we have today. So having active EQ onboard, like the MPC guitars which carried onboard effects, was a really interesting experimental way to apply the electronics. It was a different direction than we see today, one which certainly put controls at the users’ fingertips. The question remains whether the average player really wants that much control. For the specialist, however, it offers premium performance.



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