Gibson ES-295 Arch Top Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1954)

Gibson  ES-295 Arch Top Hollow Body Electric Guitar  (1954)
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Item # 11456
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Gibson ES-295 Model Arch Top Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1954), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # A-18277, gold lacquer finish, laminated maple body; mahogany neck with brazilian rosewood fingerboard, original brown hard shell case.

Rockabilly Heaven! This is a beautifully original, great playing and sounding example of one of Gibson's all-time flashiest archtops, the ES-295. This guitar shows some light wear but really for almost 70 years on the planet is MUCH cleaner and more original than most. Finished overall in gleaming gold overall with a cream-colored floral decorated pickguard, the 295 has been long recognized as one of the most iconic guitars of the 1950s. The model is equipped with double P-90 pickups under white plastic "dog ear" covers and the classic four-knob tone/volume control array with amber "hatbox" knobs and switch tip. The top is triple-bound; the back and fingerboard are single-bound. The 19 fret rosewood fingerboard has double parallelogram inlays; the headstock has a pearl crown and "Gibson" inlay.

The guitar features all gold-plated hardware including the adjustable patent pending "Les Paul" trapeze style bridge/tailpiece with the strings looping over, a defining element in its powerful tone. Other than this bridge, the ES-295 is essentially a flashier ES-175D featuring the same laminated maple body and mahogany neck of that model with the eye-catching finish of an all gold Les Paul. The idea originated with Les himself, who ordered an all-gold ES-175 as a presentation piece in 1951.

Gibson built a total of 1,770 ES-295s between 1952 and 1958, and they remain one of the company's most recognizable 1950s classics. This particular guitar was shipped in October 1954, one of 357 sold that year. The commercial peak of the model was the early 1950s, actually pre-dating the 1950s rock and roll explosion it has come to symbolize. This one has a small "2" impressed on the back of the headstock marking it as a factory second; we can find no particular flaw on the instrument to merit that.

The ES-295 was famously the guitar played by Scotty Moore on Elvis Presley's iconic Sun records, so is often considered the ultimate Rockabilly guitar. There is a classic 1950s photo of Ersel Hickey that epitomizes the Rockabilly aesthetic; it features him with an ES-295 and drape suit, the quintessential image of a real-gone bopper. The all-gold showboat ranks alongside the Gretsch 6120 as the quintessential "Cool Cat's" guitar and a great-playing/sounding instrument to boot! This one is one of the cleanest we have had, and a small plate affixed to the case (and some paraphernalia inside) indicates the instrument once passed through the semi-legendary Pete's guitar of Minneapolis.
Overall length is 40 3/4 in. (103.5 cm.), 16 1/16 in. (40.8 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 3/4 in. (44 mm.).

This is a great-looking and playing all-original ES-295, not heavily used but still with tons of vibe; since 1954 it appears to have been only lightly played and never abused. It retains all the original finish and hardware and is quite clean for one of these all-gold guitars, which are prone to finish damage from even moderate play time.

There very little checking overall, just some light lines on the top which also shows scuffing near the bridge and a couple of tiny dinks. The top is completely free of the typical "greening" and finish loss along the edge in the armwear area. There are some handling marks around the instrument and a few small chips and dings, one through the lacquer above the tailpiece on the upper side and one on the edge of the heel.

The back of the neck on this model typically has extensive wear; the gold lacquer generally reacts to the player's hand over time, turning greenish and flaking off, so many are in this state. This one is far better preserved than most, with only very slight loss along the binding line on the treble side. The binding itself has shrunken up just a bit so the edge can be felt but it remains quite comfortable to play, the original finish far more intact than most. The headstick has some minor chipping and discoloration.

All hardware is original and complete; the gold plating retains a very nice patina, with the most loss on the top of the bridge from contact with the player's hand. The nuts on the pickguard bracket are not gold, so may have been replaced. The pickup covers have some minor pick scratching on the top. The original small frets show minimal wear and there are no repairs or alterations, not even a strap button added to the heel. This is an exceptional ES-295; superbly playable of course flashy as always -- and just a great-sounding 1950s Gibson with a fantastic feel and character. It includes a the original brown HSC with some light typical wear, with a bag of swag from Pete's guitar and an original 1950s Gibson string box included. Overall Excellent Condition.