First released in 1949, Gibson's ES-175 was a revolutionary new take on the challenge of electrifying what was otherwise an acoustic archtop guitar, and it immediately set a benchmark for jazz tone and performance that remains the standard to this day. For most players, though, the ES-175 fully reached its potential a decade later in 1959, when the PAF humbucking pickups that had replaced its original P-90s in 1957 were joined by a new rounded, ultra-comfortable neck profile. Now, for 2012, Gibson Custom Memphis has recreated this vintage classic as a Vintage Original Spec (VOS) instrument that they tell us is period-perfect in every detail. Here's what they have to say about it...
The new 1959 ES-175 comes in either single- or dual-pickup versions, and is available with your choice of Vintage Sunburst or Vintage Natural finish, both with Gibson's proprietary nitrocellulose lacquer finish with VOS process for a gently aged look, and correct nickel hardware that exhibits a mellow, aged patina. All together, it's the closest thing available to the tone beloved of legendary jazz virtuosos such as Kenny Burrell, Jim Hall, Herb Ellis, Joe Pass and Pat Metheny, as well as plenty of rock guitarists such as Steve Howe and Mark Knopfler.
To recreate the 1959 ES-175, Gibson Custom Memphis employs all the tonewoods, components and constructional details that helped to make the original legendary. The body, designed by Gibson to reduce feedback in a full-depth archtop, is made from three-ply plain maple with an AAA plain maple top face. From the pointed Florentine cutaway, to the solid maple rims with replica cotton rim stays, to the precise binding dimensions and colors, every effort has been made to ensure the look of the 1959 ES-175 is dead-on. The set neck is made from solid mahogany with a bound rosewood fingerboard inlaid with characteristic split-parallelogram position markers. Carved to a comfortably rounded late '50s profile with hand-rolled binding, it exudes the playing feel of a well-aged classic. A mother-of-pearl Gibson logo and crown inlay grace the headstock, along with a set of vintage-style, single-line TonePros™ tuners with amber tulip buttons. The hardware complement is completed by a multi-ply ES-175 pickguard, traditional floating rosewood bridge, and a correct "zig-zag" trapeze tailpiece made on the original building forms, previously lost for decades.
Original late '50s ES-175s benefited from the glorious tone of some of the most revered pickups ever created, Gibson's hallowed "PAF" humbuckers, and Gibson Custom Memphis goes all out to achieve that sound in this recreation of the classic. A single or dual set of Aged '57 Classic humbuckers (depending on the guitar) accurately transmits the 1959 ES-175's acoustic voice, while adding the warmth, depth, edge and articulation that made PAFs famous in the first place. They are wired through original-spec 500k CTS potentiometers with "Bumble Bee" tone capacitors, and a three-way switch on the two-pickup guitars with original style rubber grommet. All together this guitar breathtakingly recreates the total look, feel and sound of the highly prized original, and represents one of the most comfortable, playable historic guitar reproductions Gibson has provided the market in years.
Each guitar comes protected in a plush-lined hardshell case with black exterior and charcoal interior, and includes Custom Shop Certificate of Authenticity, owner's manual and adjustment literature, and protection by Gibson's Limited Lifetime Warranty and 24/7/365 customer service.
Plain Maple body with three-ply Poplar core
Rosewood fingerboard with aged-cellulous split-parallelogram inlays
Single or Double aged '57 Classic Humbuckers
Rosewood base bridge with height-adjustable compensated Rosewood top and period-correct "Zig Zag" tailpiece
Vintage single line, tulip-button TonePros™ with 18:1 tuning ratio
Pricing and Availability:
(Single Pickup): $6,351 msrp
(Double Pickup): $7,056 mrsp More information: