Gibson ES-150 Arch Top Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1939)

Gibson  ES-150 Arch Top Hollow Body Electric Guitar  (1939)
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Item # 9754
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Gibson ES-150 Model Arch Top Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1939), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # EGE-5794, sunburst top, dark back and sides finish, maple back and sides, spruce top; mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard, original tweed hard shell case.

The early Gibson ES-150 is quite simply one of the most important electric guitars of all time, and beyond that remains an exceptionally fine player's instrument 80+ years on. Most associated with Charlie Christian, this model was the first truly commercially successful electric Spanish guitar and the progenitor of the entire Gibson Spanish electric line. While many of the early electric guitars from the 1930s have a rather mongrel look, the 150 has a beautifully understated elegance that undoubtedly helped it gain acceptance on the formal bandstands of the time.

This particular guitar is a 1939 model still with the first "Spanish" version of the famous bar magnet pickup featuring a single-bound top edge and a straight un-notched blade under the strings. The tuners are fairly fancy open-back Klusons, the dark sunburst top is single-bound, and a pearl Gibson logo adorns the headstock. This guitar has had some repair work in the past but remains a great-sounding, fine-playing example of this rare and much sought-after instrument.
Overall length is 40 1/4 in. (102.2 cm.), 16 1/16 in. (40.8 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 3 5/8 in. (9.2 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 guitar shows some old repair work but remains in very good playing condition overall. There is less finish wear overall than many of this model; the most notable is that the lacquer is worn on the treble side of the neck on the top near the fingerboard. This area of the top shows a very noticeable repair with three long sealed spruce grain cracks, one running from the top of the pickup to the edge by the neck block, one from the front edge of the bass side f-hole back to the front edge, and another just above that. All have been closed effectively and touched up, but the old work is not as neat as we might prefer today and all are still quite visible.

The rest of the guitar is comparatively clean and does not show a lot of wear. The frets and fingerboard have moderatge wear but still play well. All hardware appears original except the tortoise celluloid pickguard is an excellent repro. The bridge is the period rosewood piece that Gibson generally used for guitars a couple of steps up the price ladder from this model, but appears original to the guitar nonetheless. We have seen other Es-150s with this fitting, and also L-5's with the less expensive style; Gibson's assemblers appear to have freely used whatever was convenient for the instrument at the time!

The all-important pickup and attendant wiring remain original including the period 2-color knobs (one brown, one black) with delicate arrows engraved in the tops. Overall this is a great player's example with the expected fantastic sound. While the one major repair is not perfect, its scars give this guitar some funky character! Very Good + Condition.