Gibson ES-120T

Thinline electric acoustic guitar

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Gibson ES-120T

The Gibson ES-120T was an entry level thinline electric acoustic available from late 1961 until 1970. Built at Gibson's Kalamazoo plant, it was first included in the September 1961 price list, at $149.50 (US zone 1); though shipping statistics show only one instrument left the factory that year. It was the cheapest electric acoustic guitar available from Gibson, and was comparable in price to the solid body Melody Maker D, at $147.50. In total 8895 ES-120Ts were produced, with 1965 the peak year.

The ES-120T and it's very similar Epiphone equivalent the Epiphone Granada that first shipped in 1962, were really nicely made guitars. They were entry level instruments, yet certainly not built to lesser standards. Gibson may well have added fancy inlays and to it's more expensive guitars, but the humble ES-120T still got the fine body and neck woods, superbly assembled and finished in nitrocellulose. It's true, as players, they don't have the same range as the other ES guitars, lacking cutaways, and the PU-380 'Melody Maker' pickups were perhaps less refined than Gibson PAF humbuckers - but these guitars absolutely exude 60s Gibson quality.

The following description is taken from the 1970 Gibson catalogue

ES-120 T Good looks, fine performance and low price. These are the qualities that have made this electric Spanish guitar a favourite with amateur musicians. Features an exclusive, patented finger rest pickup.

FEATURES: Arched maple top and back, mahogany rims. Slim, fast, low action neck joins body at the 14th fret. Mahogany neck, adjustable truss rod. . Rosewood fingerboard, pearloid dot inlays. Adjustable rosewood bridge, chrome-plated trapeze tailpiece. Powerful pickup mounted off the body in finger rest. Individual tone and volume controls. Cord jack mounted on finger rest. 16 ¼" wide, 20 ¼" long, 1 ¾" thin; 24 ¾" scale, 20 frets.

ES-120T - Sunburst finish

519 - Faultless plush-lined case
304 - Archcraft plush-lined case
104 - Durabilt case
ZC-19 - Zipper cover for 519 case

ES-120T shipping statistics

See also the shipping stats for the Epiphone Granada here

  1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 total
ES-120T 1 1530 1308 1385 2573 1447 335 175 99 41 8895

ES-120T catalogue appearances

Despite first shipping in 1961, the ES-120T was not ready early enough to be included in the 1962 Gibson guitars and amplifiers catalogue.

1964 Gibson electric guitar and bass catalogue

From the 1964 Gibson electric guitar and bass catalogue

Created for a volume market, a new electric Spanish guitar with an exclusive patented fingerrest pickup. Superb Gibson features and tonal versatility, available at a popular price

Gibson 1966 Full Line catalogue

From the 1966 Gibson full line catalogue

Created for the amateur player

1970 Gibson thinline catalogue

The 1970 Gibson thinline catalogue

Good looks, fine performance and low price. These are the qualities that have made this Electric Spanish guitar a favourite with amateur musicians

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US ebay listings

1964 Gibson ES-120T Tobacco Sunburst w/HSC!

Current price: $1099.00
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Time left: 6d 22h 16m
1964 Gibson ES120T Electric Guitar

Current price: $1495.95
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Vtg Gibson ES-120 Electric Guitar Made in USA

Current price: $1999.99
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Time left: 14d 14h 30m

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Bob Gregory Comment left 24th March 2013 21:09:57 reply
I have 2 vintage guitars I would like to find the value of. ! is a Gibson Gibson ES120T SN86357, it is in good condition, very playable, all the electronics are in working order, just looks a little used, the other is a 1947 Martin 00018, SN 177409. Pretty worn out, The ribs on some of the face are showing, has some dents and scratches, very playable, still sounds great, and records real nice.
Kris Comment left 12th December 2012 09:09:10 reply
Gibson es120t condion fair.wouldlike to know the value.thanks