Though eclipsed by Gibson’s glitzier J-200 and the Everly Brothers-endorsed J-180 at the time of its release, the underdog J-185 has gained quite a following among acoustic players in the know — not only due to its comfortably scaled-down Gibson Jumbo body and clean, robust studio voicing, but also thanks to a little help from high-profile artists like Alan Parsons and Chris Carrabba. The spirit of the original J-185 lives on in Gibson’s J-185 EC Modern Rosewood — part of the Modern Acoustic line of guitars. The J-185 EC sees contemporized player comforts in the form of a lead-friendly Venetian cutaway and an Advanced Response neck profile. The body itself is hand built from dynamic Sitka spruce (top) and chocolatey rosewood (back and sides). This pairing delivers a unique twist on the timeless J-185 tonal cocktail, with all with the room-filling projection these early Jumbos are hailed for. Though this classic is better known for its easy recordability in the studio, the Modern Acoustic J-185 EC Modern Rosewood shines onstage thanks to its onboard LR Baggs VTC electronics.
Modernization of the classic J-185
Though it was originally marketed as a stripped-back alternative to Gibson’s J-200, the J-185 found a following with session players in the know. The slightly reduced 16″-width lower bout (versus the J-200’s 17″ width) served to reduce unwanted bass boom while bringing the midrange slightly forward. As a result, these guitars have become legendary in a studio and broadcast setting. Today’s Gibson J-185 EC Modern Rosewood acoustic-electric brings this sleeper standard back into the modern player lexicon, with understated singer-songwriter appointments, that sleeker handbuilt single-cut Jumbo body, and onboard LR Baggs electronics for great plugged-in tone onstage.
Handbuilt spruce/rosewood body
The magic behind the handbuilt Gibson J-185 EC Modern Rosewood lies partly in the fusion of its solid Sitka spruce top and solid rosewood back and sides. It’s a departure from the classic J-185 formula, yes. But in our opinion, this historic tonewood pairing creates a response in the J-185 EC that is unique among the entire Gibson lineup.
Advanced Response mahogany neck
The J-185 EC Modern Rosewood’s mahogany neck sports Gibson’s Advanced Response profile for greater comfort in the hand and playability unlike anything you’d find on a true vintage J-185. The 16″-radius genuine rosewood fingerboard supplies rich Gibson tone and excellent touch dynamics for cowboy chordin’ to lead work. As with all Gibson Modern Acoustics, the J-185 EC Modern Rosewood arrives factory Plek’d to ensure uniform fret contour and placement, eliminating string buzz and delivering perfect playability.
Onboard LR Baggs VTC electronics
The Gibson J-185 EC Modern Rosewood comes outfitted with the LR Baggs VTC pickup system. This system’s low-profile undersaddle transducer enhances coupling between the pickup and body for a robust, lively, and natural acoustic direct tone with excellent range and dynamics. Combined with its onboard preamplifier and unobtrusive soundhole controls, the LR Baggs VTC gives your J-185 EC Modern Rosewood the stage-friendly amplification you need with zero compromises to tone, appearance, or convenience.
- A sleek reimagining of the classic J-185
- Part of the Gibson Modern Acoustic lineup
- Comfortable single-cutaway body design
- Sitka spruce top + rosewood back and sides serve up a wide tonal bouquet
- Advanced Response mahogany neck with 16″-radius rosewood fingerboard feels great in the hand for leads to chordwork
- LR Baggs VTC electronics deliver outstanding amplified tone, onstage or in-studio
- Traditional belly-up rosewood bridge gives this acoustic enhanced ’50s vibe
- Traditional hand-scalloped advanced X-bracing maximizes resonance and response
- Plek’d fretting means day-one great playability
- Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners supply spot-on intonation
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