Gibson ES-175DN Arch Top Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1959)

Gibson  ES-175DN Arch Top Hollow Body Electric Guitar  (1959)
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Item # 12292
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Gibson ES-175DN Model Arch Top Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1959), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # A-29002, natural lacquer finish, laminated maple body, mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard, original brown hard shell case.

This is a generally well preserved blonde double-pickup ES-175D from Gibson's finest era, showing some fairly minor wear and tear but a nicely original instrument. This guitar represents the design apex of Gibson's 16" electric Jazz guitar perennial, fitted with a pair of the original classic '58-9 "PAF" humbucking pickups that have become legend in the decades since. These are controlled by the now-ubiquitous Gibson four knob/one switch wiring rig. Over the years many of these very fine instruments have been stripped of this electronics package which is much sought after for Les Paul "Burst" re-creations. A complete and unaltered ES-175D from 1959, considered perhaps Gibson's single most classic electric year, is now unfortunately fairly rare.

This guitar features a natural finish 16" wide laminated maple body with triple-bound top and single-bound back. The mahogany neck is topped with a single-bound rosewood fingerboard inset with pearloid double parallelogram inlays. The neck has the classic round-profile '59 feeling somewhat slimmer than some, and is extremely comfortable to play. The nickel-plated tailpiece is a special design used only on the ES-175, the bridge is the standard rosewood adjustable style. The unbound headstock features a pearl Gibson logo and crown inlay, and carries Kluson Deluxe tuners with "single line" keystone buttons, another part often poached for other guitars.

The "A" Artist serial number on the white label under the bass soundhole indicates this guitar was shipped right at the turn of January/February 1959.The Factory Order Number (FON) ink stamped under the treble side f-hole indicated the guitar was fabricated in 1958. The list price at the time was $325 in that year plus another $47 for the case; that was considerably higher than the cost of a sunburst Les Paul Standard! A surprisingly small total of only 129 double pickup natural finish 175's left Kalamazoo that year, under half the number sold in Sunburst and way under the total of "burst" Les Pauls: 643.

Although often pigeon-holed as a jazz guitar the ES-I75D is actually a very versatile instrument suitable for a range of styles. Steve Howe famously played one with Yes in the early 1970s; Richard Thompson also did so on the earliest Fairport Convention records. In the lower volume environments common today this ES-175D can handle practically anything with grace, style and that always amazing PAF tone. This Lovely blonde has some wear and tear but remains all original, sounding fantastic and is still housed in the original pink plush-lined brown HSC.
 
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 nicely original guitar, generally well preserved with some typical wear and a couple of minor scars from some long-ago decorations, since removed (not by us!). The original natural lacquer finish shows noticeable longitudinal checking on the top and back, with lighter checking on the sides and neck. There are dings, dents and scrapes overall but no large areas of wear. The center of the back has the heaviest scratching and belt buckle wear, mostly into but not through the lacquer. The back of the neck has a few minor dinks and scrapes but no heavy scarring.

There is a spot on the lower body below the controls where it looks like some initials (either painted or applied) were removed, leaving some staining , scuffing and light fill-in to the buffed out area. A musical note motif was similarly removed from the headstock face leaving enough minor scarring to see the shape of it. Neither of these spots are particularly tragic but they are visible.

All hardware remains original including crucially the two PAF pickups and wiring. The ES-175D is the prime victim in PAF abduction cases, having the two correct pickups for a '59 Les Paul plus the original pots, switch, wiring and caps and single-line Kluson Deluxe tuners that are also coveted. This guitar has fortunately escaped that fate; the cover was once removed and replaced on the neck PAF, probably to inspect the color of the coils as '59's are often expected to have cream or "zebra" coil pickups.

The nickel plating shows some clouding and light corrosion; the pickup cover have some minor plating loss as does the tailpiece. The pickguard has some minor scuffing on the top and has only curled up slightly, less than many do. The tuner buttons on the original Kluson Deluxe machines are exact correct repros; this is common as '59 buttons are notorious for crumbling.

The original thin frets and fingerboard on this guitar show some minor wear. It never even had a strap button added. 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 a perennially popular guitar these original unaltered PAF-equipped ES-175D's are rarer than generally thought of and something of an endangered species today. This is a very nice playing '58-9 blonde, complete in its original brown HSC with some general wear and a couple period Gibson string envelopes in the pocket. Overall Very Good + Condition.