The 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.
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.
This particular ES 175 stared life with one pickup – in the neck position. It has had a professional conversion to incorporate a second pickup in the bridge position. This configuration matches the designation of an ES 175D – the “D” referring to a double pickup guitar.
Most importantly, it features the holy grail of pickups – 2 x Gibson PAF humbuckers. We believe it is the original PAF in the neck position, and the original owner has obviously sourced a matching PAF from the same era to pair with it – good work !!!
This also explains the fact that there is one volume and one tone control, as opposed to 2 of each on an ES 175D.
Built in Kalamazoo in 1961, this handsome instrument is stamped with an early 5 digit serial number on the headstock and on the original orange oval label. A marvel of playability, the guitar features one of Gibson's most desirable necks, combining the generous full 1 11/16" width fingerboard with a slim, elegant D profile, sitting effortlessly in the hand.
With its stunning sunburst finish, the body is in very clean condition with the original nitro lacquer showing normal light checking, with very little player wear.
There are no breaks, repairs or structural issues of any kind. There are some expected light marks on the pickguard but barley a blemish at all on the top. The back of the body is also amazingly clean. There is no fingerboard wear visible, and the dark Brazilian rosewood board is a delight to play.
Body size at lower bout: 16"
Scale length: 24 3/4"
Nut Width: 1 11/16"
Neck depth, 1st Fret- 0.80” 10th fret: 0.87”
Solid Honduras mahogany neck
Solid Brazilian rosewood fingerboard
Birdseye maple top and back
Dual-parallelogram mother of pearl fingerboard inlay and thistle peghead inlay
Triple bound top
Bound fingerboard and back
Original nickel zig-zag trapeze tailpiece
Brazilian rosewood bridge saddle & base
Original wiring harness
2 x Gibson PAF humbucking pickups
Kluson Deluxe tuners
3 way control switch with aged cream tip
Gold reflector cap knobs
Weight is 5.9 lbs
This guitar was bought by its current owner back in the mid 60s. The only change made during his ownership was the replacement of the 3 way switch some time ago.
While the two fabulous PAF pickups are present and accounted for, at some point they have been removed and replaced again – see pics of professional solder joins. The owner was not aware of this until we discovered it in our assessment of the guitar before listing. So he can only surmise it was done prior to his ownership, and for what purpose – who knows ?
The bridge pickup surround has a split on one corner, now reglued and not visible as it’s under the pickguard.
At under 6 lbs in weight this guitar is exceptionally light, and deftly balanced on the lap or the strap. The original frets show little wear and the action is low and fast. The feedback resistant 16" body is just the right size, and the tone is sweet, rich and versatile for a wide variety of styles.
And did we mention the PAF pickups ? – they don’t come much better. Exceptional clarity and definition across the entire tonal range.
All in all a beautiful vintage 1961 Gibson with PAFs that is well suited for jazz, blues & rock and anything else you may care to utilize it for.
The last pic features legendary American guitarist Louie Shelton playing this actual guitar in his studio in Queensland. It’s not Louie’s guitar, but he is a friend of the owner’s and loves to play it when he can !
Comes in a new hard shell case.