1953 GIBSON ES-175


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Magnificent Gibson ES-175 from 1953, in very good condition.

Here is a fine example typical of the early 1950s, the People’s electric hollowbody guitar at its finest! The model was introduced in 1949 and quickly proved a success, finding immediate acceptance due to its excellent combination of tone and playability at a moderate price. The serial number on the white oval label indicates that it was shipped in the late summer of 1953, one of 829 sold that year. It was also in this same year that Gibson reached the sales peak for the model, the concomitant introduction of the ES-175D with two pickups having subsequently quickly slowed down sales of the single pickup model – although many jazz musicians then and today still consider the single-pickup 175 to be an all-time gold standard for this genre of instrument.

The 16-inch wide body construction is entirely maple ply, with a Sunburst finish on the top and back, and rimmed with triple binding on the top and single binding on the back – we must note this guitar is exceptionally lightweight, especially in the light of comparison with models produced later in the 1950s and early 1960s. The mahogany neck is topped with a Brazilian rosewood fingerboard featuring split parallelogram inlays, the headstock features the Gibson logo, the typical crown-shaped inlay and original Kluson Deluxe “no-line” tuners. The electronics are also entirely original, with a single P-90 pickup in the neck position, its black plastic cover nicely rounded like you only find on guitars from the early 50s, connected to the volume and tone controls. The adjustable rosewood bridge is mounted on a full-contact base, as is common to see in the early 50s. The tailpiece was replaced, probably early in the guitar’s life, with a period Grover-type trapeze tailpiece.

This ES-175 configuration has been seen time and time again in the hands of biggest names in jazz guitar; for example, in the 1950s and 1960s, jazzman Herb Ellis often appeared photographed with a guitar practically identical to this one, before a model equipped with a humbucker gained his favor. The example presented here is in a remarkable state of conservation, clearly cherished and maintained during its seven decades of existence! After a complete refretting and the adjustment of all its tuning elements in our workshop, the guitar is once more all set to give off its voice imbued with the atmosphere of recordings from the 50s.

Sold in its original Geib cardboard case.

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