The Gibson ES-175 debuted in 1949 as a mid-level laminated top alternative to the L-5 model and as an electric version of the L-4. It was also the first Gibson electric to feature a stylish Florentine cutaway.
Its first incarnation had a single P-90 pickup in the neck position and a carved rosewood bridge. The model's name is derived from its original selling price of US$175. In 1953, the ES-175 D, a two-pickup model, was introduced. The ES-175 and ES-175 D were available in sunburst, or in natural finish (add the “N” in the model name) for an additional charge.
From its introduction, the Gibson ES-175 quickly became the most popular jazz guitar ever made. Fast, clean and road-ready, the 175 has been the workhorse of touring players and studio musos from Joe Pass to Pat Metheny and Steve Howe, among others. The legendary P-90 pickups provide a bright, rich tone unduplicated before or since, but were available on this model only until 1957.
This first-year 1953 ES-175 DN in natural finish is in excellent near original condition. It has had its original tuners replaced with period correct newer Klusons. It has one newer strap button, and one relocated. It also has a Bigsby tailpiece which could have been a special factory order, or added later at some point. But apart from those items, this one is pretty much as it came off the line in 1953.
Body size at lower bout - 16"
Scale length - 24 3/4"
Nut Width - 1 11/16"
Solid mahogany neck
Solid Brazilian rosewood fingerboard
Arched laminated maple top and back
Dual-parallelogram mother of pearl fingerboard inlay
Crown headstock inlay
Triple bound top, single bound back
Twin P-90 pickups and original electonics
Nickel Kluson Deluxe single-line tuners
Bevelled 5 ply pickguard
Adjustable compensated Brazilian rosewood bridge
Raised parallelogram trapeze tailpiece
3 way toggle switch
Gold barrel control knobs
This twin pickup ES-175 DN is lightweight and compact. The 16" body is comfortable in the lap or when standing, and the 24 3/4" scale makes stretch chords and fast runs a pleasure. The instrument is in wonderful shape, with no breaks or structural repairs. There are some expected light marks on the pickguard and a little buckle rash on the back, but overall this instrument is very clean. There is almost no fingerboard wear, and the dark Brazilian rosewood board is a delight to behold, and to play.
The twin P-90 pickups are clear and detailed, with extended frequency range unknown in conventional humbuckers. They have a lovely defined tone when played clean but also have a nice growl when played with a bit of crunch added from a good amp.
At just 6.4 lbs this instrument is pounds lighter than modern versions, easier to hold, and markedly more resonant. The neck profile is a gentle C shape, with smooth low action over fine original fretwork. The aged natural finish is quite beautiful and the lacquer is in great condition.
All in all, a beautiful early Gibson that is well suited for both traditional jazz as well as blues & rock. With the added Bigsby, this a also a killer rockabilly machine that screams “PLAY ME”.
Comes in its original Gibson case (Lifton we think) which is still most functional and in quite good condition.
Video demo of this actual guitar - https://youtu.be/ZGVmca1kL8U