Gibson ES-140 Arch Top Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1955)

Gibson  ES-140 Arch Top Hollow Body Electric Guitar  (1955)
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Item # 9707
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Gibson ES-140 Model Arch Top Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1955), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # W3234-2 (FON), sunburst lacquer finish, laminated maple body, mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard, period black chipboard case.

The 1950s ES-140 is an extremely cool little Gibson, but also a surprisingly great sounding guitar. Gibson offered this diminutive 3/4 size electric archtop through the early 1950s, described in the catalog as perfect for students, "ladies", guitarists "with smaller hands", or anyone desiring a compact fully hollow guitar. It was a steady but fairly low volume seller over the decade with 244 shipped out in 1955. For the 1957 catalog the model was converted to a thinline instrument, so this is a fairly late example of the original (and cooler, we think) full-depth model.

Looking deceptively almost like a toy ES-175, the ES-140 is in fact a fully professional quality instrument with a small but great-feeling round profile neck, single P-90 pickup and simple appointments. With a smaller body cavity the tone is a bit brighter and snappier than the typical ES-175. This ES-140 shows some signs of use but remains in nicely original condition. It plays beautifully and has an amazingly big honking tone for such a small instrument -- we think it sounds better than many full-sized archtops!
 
Overall length is 36 1/2 in. (92.7 cm.), 12 3/4 in. (32.4 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 3 1/4 in. (8.3 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 23 in. (584 mm.). Width of nut is 1 5/8 in. (41 mm.).

This is a nicely original example, showing general wear but all original except for new buttons on the Kluson Deluxe tuners. The finish shows a decent amount of checking overall and typical small dings, scratches, and chips, the most notably on the headstock edges. There must have been a name spelled out with five mailbox letters on the upper bout; there are subtly darker spots where these were removed, and a few small finish pulls. And no, we did not remove them, we leave things like that in place! At any rate it is pretty inconspicuous.

The back of the neck has some minor dings and dents, the deepest behind the second fret, but nothing to serious. There is a small strap button hole patched in the heel. All hardware is complete and original (except those tuner buttons) and the guitar presents very well. This ES-140 has a very good neck angle and the original frets are still in solid shape with just some minor wear, making for a very nice playing example. It is super cool little Gibson, great fun to play, and housed in a period black alligator-grain chipboard case that is solid if not a perfect fit. A properly sized modern gig bag can be included if preferred. Excellent - Condition.