Gibson ES-175

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Gibson ES-175
Gibson ES-175 jl.png
Manufacturer Gibson
Period 1949–present
Body type Hollow
Neck joint Set
Body Maple, Poplar, Maple laminate, Mahogany (back and sides, 1983–1990)
Neck Mahogany
Fretboard Rosewood
Bridge Tune-O-Matic bridge with rosewood base
Pickup(s) one single-coil (1949–1953); two single-coils (1953–1957); two humbuckers (1957–present); models with one humbucker or two single-coils are still available
Colors available
Antique Natural, Vintage Sunburst, Wine Red

The Gibson ES-175 is an electric guitar manufactured by the Gibson Guitar Corporation, currently still in production. It is a 2434" scale full hollow-body guitar with a trapeze tailpiece and Tune-O-Matic bridge. It is one of the most famous jazz guitars in history.


The ES-175 is a single- or dual-pickup archtop electric guitar made by Gibson. Unlike Gibson's L5 and Super 400 guitars, the ES-175 has an all-laminate construction, which allows the cost of materials and construction to be kept down, as well as assisting in keeping feedback at higher volumes manageable. The ES-175 has a rosewood fingerboard with parallelogram inlays, a 3" deep body, a floating bridge, one or two humbuckers (current models are equipped with Gibson's 57 Classic pickups, replicas of the PAF pickups from the late 1950s), 20 frets (earlier models had 19 frets) and independent volume and tone controls for each pickup. The guitar has the standard Gibson scale length of 24.75" and is available in sunburst and natural finishes, though Gibson has produced limited runs in white, and currently makes small runs in Wine Red with gold hardware instead of the model's usual chrome or nickel.

The ES-175 was originally designed to be a cheaper alternative to Gibson's high-end archtop models, though current production ES-175s feature figured maple laminates (the 1959 reissues retain the plain maple found on the original models).


The ES-175 debuted in 1949, as Gibson's mid-level laminate top alternative to the L-5 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 one single-coil pickup (a P-90) in the neck position, and a carved rosewood bridge. The model's name is derived from its original price of $175. In 1953, the ES-175D, a two-pickup model, was introduced. The ES-175 or ES-175D could be ordered in either sunburst finish or in natural finish (for an additional charge).

Beginning in February 1957, ES-175s came equipped with humbuckers. Many new jazz guitarists such as Pat Metheny used these to emulate the sound of Joe Pass and Wes Montgomery's "heart" L5. The ES-175 with humbuckers is prized for its full, rich tone. Some guitarists will try to mimic the rich resonant sound of this rather large hollow-body instrument by turning the tone knob all the way down on smaller, or solid body, guitars.

In 1969, shortly before Norlin acquired Gibson from CMI (Chicago Musical Instruments), Gibson began to implement changes across the line, including changing the headstock pitch from 17 degrees to 14, phasing in three-piece maple necks in lieu of one piece mahogany, and the addition of a volute to the neck. The ES-175 was largely spared these changes until the mid-1970s. In 1976, the three-piece maple neck replaced the one-piece mahogany neck, a volute was added, and the wooden bridge was replaced by a Nashville bridge.

By the mid-1970s, Gibson had discontinued the single-pickup model.

In 1976 Gibson introduced the ES-175T, a thin-body variant on the ES-175 (much like an ES-125TCD with more fancy appointments). It was made for only three years, and available in sunburst, natural (more expensive) and wine red. The model proved fairly unpopular and was discontinued in 1979.

In 2002, Gibson released a Steve Howe signature model, based on Howe's 1964 ES-175. In 2012, Gibson released a pair of 1959 ES-175 reissues, a single-pickup and a dual-pickup model. It is the first production ES-175 single pickup model since the 1970s.

Jazz guitarist Joe Pass played his ES-175, donated to him ca. 1962, for many years. This model guitar is used not only by jazz guitarists. Scotty Moore, the guitarist for Elvis Presley, played an ES-295, dual P-90-equipped, all gold ES-175.[1][2] Steve Howe also plays an ES-175. Gibson released the Herb Ellis ES-165 as a signature reissue of his original 1957 ES-175. Roddy Frame used one during the first years of Aztec Camera.

The Epiphone company also produces an ES-175 model, available only in golden and black colours. The Epiphone model has an arched back as well. It is also equipped with two AlNiCo wax-dipped humbuckers.[3] It also briefly produced an ES-295, with all the original trimmings, plus a B-7 bigsby vibrato tailpiece. This last model is now discontinued.

Notable ES-175 users[edit]


  • Bacon, Tony. Electric Guitars - The Illustrated Encyclopedia
  • Marshall, Wolf. Best of Jazz Guitar, pp. 4–5

Other references[edit]

  1. ^ Carter, Walter (2007). The Gibson Electric Guitar Book: Seventy Years of Classic Guitars. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 42. ISBN 9780879308957. Retrieved 28 March 2012. 
  2. ^ Marcus, Greil; Dregni, Michael; Guralnick, Peter; Luc Sante; Robert Gordon; Sonny Burgess (2011). Rockabilly: The Twang Heard 'Round the World: The Illustrated History. Voyageur. p. 40. ISBN 9780760340622. Retrieved 28 March 2012. 
  3. ^ "Epiphone ES-175". 

External links[edit]