Classic Guitars, part 7: Gibson ES-175

The Gibson ES-175 is the Gibson guitar, that has been in continuous production for the longest.

When it was first introduced in 1949 it was a single-pickup model, with a P-90 in the neck position. The ES-175 was meant to be an electric Jazz-guitar from the start, so the body was constructed from laminated, pressed maple, instead of featuring a solid carved top. The neck is mahogany and the bound fingerboard made from rosewood.

For the first few years the guitar was equipped with a pre-compensated ebony bridge, later models feature a tune-o-matic bridge.

Two different tailpieces can be found on an ES-175: at first it featured a trapeze, like the Gibson at the top, later models were equipped with the special T-shaped tailpiece of the Epiphone below, but since the 1970s both types have been used on and off.

In 1953 the original ES-175 was joined by the now classic two-pickup model, the ES-175D. From 1957 onwards both models have been equipped with humbucking pickups.

In 1971 the single-pickup model was deleted from Gibson’s range, and the two-pickup model’s designation thus changed to ES-175 without the ”D”.

The ES-175 is an absolut classic among full-body Jazz-guitars, and its has become the yardstick most newcomers have to live up to.

In Rock-circles Steve Howe of Yes is by far the most famous user.

From 1952 to ’58 the ES-175 also had a foxier sister, called the ES-295:

The ES-295 is built exactly like an ES-175, except for the all-gold finish, the cream pickguard, and the fact that the original incarnation featured the long Les Paul -trapeze-bridge.

Most people associate this model with early Rock’n’Roll as well as Country-music. Elvis Presley’s original guitarist, Scotty Moore, was often spotted with an ES-295.

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