GIBSON | ELECTRIC ACOUSTICS | ES-175D

Gibson ES-175D

The worlds best known jazz guitar?

Gibson ES-175D description | ES-175 Catalogue appearances | ES-175 timeline
Gibson ES-175D

Gibson cello-bodied guitars were very well regarded in the 1930s and 1940s. Models such as the ES-300 and ES-350, launched in 1947, showed what was possible, and immediately earned Gibson respect from jazz guitarists of the time. Gibson archtops set the standard, both in terms of quality and design that other manufacturers would emulate, and still do to this day. But the story of the Gibson ES-175 starts in 1949 with the launch of the one-pickup model, at $175 (hence the name ES-175), to be joined in 1953, by a two pickup version, ES-175D. This was a smaller bodied instrument than other archtops, measuring just 16 1/4" wide, (compared to 18" for the Super 400 CES, and 17" for the L-5CES, ES-5 and ES-350) and with a shorter scale (24 3/4"), to facilitate tricky jazz chordings. Having a laminate (rather than carved) maple top reduced the list price significantly: at last Gibson were offering a fine quality full-body jazz guitar at a relatively affordable price point.

The Florentine cutaway was also seen as an advantage over the more usual Gibson Venetian cutaway, and this again proved popular. Body material was maple throughout, with a set mahogany neck.

Steve Howe plays Gibson - 1971. UK Selmer advertisement for Gibson guitars. Steve Howe bought his first Gibson, An ES-175D from the Selmer shop in Charing Cross Road, London, in 1964.

Steve Howe told Guitar World in 2011: "...when you play a guitar, you have to warm it up; it doesn't sound good straight away. You need at least 20 minutes. The guitar's sound changes. We don't know why, exactly, but as the wood moistens and you play it, it starts to sound like a guitar. Before that, it's a piece of wood with strings stretched across it. A new guitar is like a new baby. It doesn't know a lot, it needs feeding. And your feeding is playing."

The ES-175 was (and still is) very widely used by jazz, rock and blues guitarists. Aswell as Steve Howe, the subject of the advertisement shown, the Gibson ES-175 was also used by Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, BB King, Howard Roberts and Pat Metheny.

A closer look at the Gibson ES-175

Have a closer look at some of these ES-175s

1970 Gibson electric acoustics catalogue
The ES-175D from the 1970 electric acoustics catalogue

The following description is taken from the 1970 Gibson electric acoustics catalogue

ES-175 D - Cutaway Easy to hold and comfortable to hold, the ES-175 D produces a brilliant distortion-free tone. The modern cutaway design provides easy access to the entire register.

FEATURES: Arched top and back of select maple with matching rims. Slim, fast low-action neck joins the body at the 14th fret. Laminated mahogany neck adjustable truss rod. Rosewood fingerboard, pearl inlays. Adjustable rosewood bridge. Powerful twin humbucking pickups. Separate tone and volume control for each pickups. Separate tone and volume control for each pickup. Toggle switch. Individual machine heads. 16 ½ " wide, 20 ¼ " long, 3 3/8 " deep; 24 ¾ " scale, 20 frets.

ES-175D - Double pickups - Sunburst finish
ES-175DN - Double pickups - Natural finish
ES-175 - Single pickup - Sunburst finish
515 - Faultless plush-lined case
303 - Archcraft plush-lined case
103 - Durabilt case
ZC-5 - Zipper cover for 515 case

The single pickup model Gibson ES-175 was last listed in company price lists in 1970, although it seems to have been shipped way beyond that date. The two pickup version, is by far the most familiar ES-175, and is still available today, largely unchanged in six decades. There was one significant change though; the pickups in use originally were single-coil P90s, however the ES-175 was the first of all Gibson guitars to be shipped with a humbucker. Original Gibson ledgers mark this event clearly; it was February 18, 1957, on an ES-175N with serial number A25000.

Summary of ES-175 / ES-175D Specifications

ModelGibson ES-175Gibson ES-175D
Available1949-1972, The last price list entry was Sept 1970, although shipping figures suggest they were shipped in very small numbers as late as 1972 (and possibly later)1953-date
PickupsTwo single coils (1953-57), or two humbuckers (1957 onwards)One single coil (1953-57), later one humbucker (1957 onwards)
Scale24 3/4 "
BodyArched maple top, maple back and sides. Some 80s instruments had mahogany back and sides. 16 1/2 " wide, 20 1/4 " long, 3 3/8 " deep
NeckMahogany (1949-1976), Maple (1976-83). Rosewood fingerboard with double parallelogram pearloid inlays.
Frets20
HardwareNickel plated (1949-1965), chrome plated (1965-onwards).
FinishesSunburst, Natural, Wine Red, Sparkling Burgundy, Ebony

There was no completely analogous Epiphone model to the Gibson ES-175, the closest being the Epiphone Windsor which shared the same construction, materials, scale length and body dimensions as the ES-175, but as a thinline, with an Epiphone mini humbucker, or the Epiphone Broadway, which, although slightly larger with a Venetian rather than Florentine cutaway, had the same deep body, and was similarly appointed.

The ES-175D is one of Gibson's most successful, and longest running models, and is still available today.

Gibson ES-175 for sale

Vintage Early 1961 Gibson ES-175 D - PAF Pickups - All Original Hardware

ACWORTH, GEORGIA, 30102, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$6400

Early 1961 Gibson ES-175 D with Patent Applied For Pickups and all Original Hardware. Gibson ES-175D model made in the year 1961. “61' ES-175 FON: R8282 22: makes it a 1960 batch guitar body. Stamped in ink on inside lower bout near pots. serial number on headstock stamped and matching orange label inside: 10560 dates it as 1961. (range 0100 -42440) so this is an early model 61. PAF's non-label: I can't determine if the labels came off or they were non-label. The PUP had the original solder ... more

Brand New 1973 E-175D Gibson w / hard case

NARBERTH, PENNSYLVANIA, 19072, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$3999

Guitar was bought in 1973 Brand new but never used Comes with a Hard Case I tried to take a decent pic of the serial number , its 600335 - ES-175D note: e-bay keeps sticking a "or best offer" on this .. the price is fixed , please do not send me any offers - im listing this for someone else.... more

1962 Gibson ES-175D vintage electric guitar two humbucking pickups

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, 10021, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$5700

Vintage 1962 Gibson ES-175D sunburst, two early pat number humbucking pickups, terrific action, everything original except for pickup covers, tuners and case.... more

AWESOME! Gibson ES-175DC Double Cutaway 1974 Natural + OHSC! VINTAGE!

RAMONA, CALIFORNIA, 92065, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$3495

AWESOME! Gibson ES-175DC Double Cutaway 1974 Natural OHSC! VINTAGE! Lovies Guitars has up for grabs an awesome 1974 Gibson ES-150DC Double Cutaway! This guitar is just fantastic! It has such a unique and awesome look to it! These guitars are quite rare as Gibson only made them for a few years in the late 60's and early 70's! They are highly collectable! Considering the great shape of this guitar I would say this one is a little extra special. It has some light wear marks, light scratching and ... more

1957 Gibson ES-175 (#GAT0299)

LOVELAND, OHIO, 45140, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$6195

1957 Gibson ES-175, Sunburst, Nice full neck, 1 & 11 / 16’th at the nut, P-90 pickup, Attractive Period hard shell case, excellent plus condition, , $6, 195 “At Gary’s Classic Guitars we professionally clean, setup & pro pack for safe transit of your new guitar to your door! We would love to earn your business.... more

Vintage Early 1961 Gibson ES-175 D - PAF Pickups - All Original Hardware

ACWORTH, GEORGIA, 30102, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$6400

Early 1961 Gibson ES-175 D with Patent Applied For Pickups and all Original Hardware. Gibson ES-175D model made in the year 1961. “61' ES-175 FON: R8282 22: makes it a 1960 batch guitar body. Stamped in ink on inside lower bout near pots. serial number on headstock stamped and matching orange label inside: 10560 dates it as 1961. (range 0100 -42440) so this is an early model 61. PAF's non-label: I can't determine if the labels came off or they were non-label. The PUP had the original solder ... more

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