Gibson ES-175D Arch Top Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1957)

Gibson  ES-175D Arch Top Hollow Body Electric Guitar  (1957)
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Item # 10090
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Gibson ES-175D Model Arch Top Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1957), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # A-25553, sunburst lacquer finish, laminated maple body, mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard, original brown hard shell case.

The guitar is a lovely example of a double pickup ES-175D from arguably Gibson's finest era, the late 1950s. It mounts the very earliest examples of the new pickups Gibson had just developed, the now-venerated PAF humbuckers. These first versions do not feature the titular sticker on the baseplate but still have all the sonic glory, just not the signpost!

This guitar was shipped May 1957; the ES-175 was actually the first model to receive this new pickup upgrade, the earliest production guitars to receive them were a batch of ES-175's with serial numbers shipped 25000 to 25030 in late February. This guitar carries a stunning set of original untampered with "Pre-sticker" nickel-plated PAFs with some corrosion to the covers but untouched solder joints on the covers and wiring. Over the years, many of these fine hollowbody guitars have been stripped of their electronics (material for all the "extra" 1950s Sunburst Les Pauls floating around had to come from somewhere), so finding one with the pickups and wiring rig completely intact is now a distinct treat.

Apart from its now-legendary electronics this ES-175D features a sunburst finish laminated maple body with triple-bound top and single-bound back. The mahogany neck is topped with a bound rosewood fingerboard inset with pearloid double parallelogram inlays. The unbound headstock features a pearl Gibson logo and crown inlay, and carries repro Kluson Deluxe tuners with "single line" keystone buttons. These are also often pilfered today but remain intact on this example. The nickel-plated tailpiece is the second "wavy" version specific to this model, the original bridge is the standard Gibson rosewood adjustable piece.

This guitar represents the apex of Gibson's 16" electric Jazz guitar perennial, which had been enduringly popular since its introduction in 1949. With two humbucking pickups and the four knob/one switch wiring rig that has become the standard Gibson electric layout, this is a truly classic Gibson creation and remains one of the company standards. While the model has long been a mainstay of too many jazz players to count, the double-pickup ES-175 is a very versatile instrument suitable for a range of styles. Steve Howe famously played one with Yes in the early 1970s; in the lower volume environments common today this ES-175D can handle practically anything with grace, style and that always amazing PAF tone.
Overall length is 41 in. (104.1 cm.), 16 in. (40.6 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 3 3/8 in. (8.6 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 24 3/4 in. (629 mm.). Width of nut is 1 11/16 in. (43 mm.).

This is a beautiful guitar overall, clean and original with some light wear and a couple of minor alterations. The most notable is a small Les Paul style jackplate added on the side; there is no notable splitting to the wood underneath, just a bit of movement in the veneer so it was probably added as an extra re-inforcement some time ago. There is an ancient Gibson strap button on the center of the heel, which is a pretty typical addition. The pickguard and bracket are correct period Gibson pieces but just slightly later than the guitar, from the 1959-60 period, distinguished only by the small cutouts allowing access to the pickup adjustment screws.

Apart from these small anomalies this ES-175 is very well preserved, with some light general wear overall including light checking, minor dings, dents and scrapes to the finish and some typical corrosion to the nickel plating. Except as noted above all parts are original including crucially the two early PAF pickups and wiring, which at this late date are often removed from this model for Les Paul recreations. The ES-175D is the prime victim in these PAF abduction cases, having the two correct pickups plus pots, switch, wiring and caps and tuners that are also coveted.

The frets and fingerboard on this guitar have some wear in the lower positions, with a visible divot behind the first fret. The original small wire frets are still intact, crowned down flatter than the original profile but still playable. There are small dings and dents in the back of the neck but no heavy finish wear. This is, as expected a truly superb sounding instrument; while these pickups are prized for their hard rock capabilities they also offer a lovely touch-sensitive sound on a hollowbody with many nuanced tonal shades. While originally a very popular guitar these PAF-equipped ES-175D's are something of an endangered species today. This is one of the nicest early examples we have seen recently, complete in its original brown HSC. Overall Excellent Condition.