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

1980 Gibson Es 175

AMSTERDAM, NEW YORK, 12010, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$2150

1980 Gibson Es 175. Shipped with USPS a really. Great special guitar you ready to rock no breaks or major repairs some finish checking and cracksbthat have been Cracks that have been cleated souls jazz and rock master right here... more

1954 Gibson ES-175 electric guitar (GIE1123)

LOVELAND, OHIO, 45140, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$5395

1954 Gibson ES-175, Tobacco Sunburst, Gorgeous example! P-90 pickup, Great full feeling neck, Comfortable weight, Ready to be played! Excellent plus condition, Nice Original Brown hard case Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4... more

Vintage 1968 Gibson ES-175 Es-175D Archtop Jazz Guitar L-5 L5 1967 1966 1965 WOW

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, 60618, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$2795

Vintage Correct Parts is proud to offer, for your consideration, A fantastic Vintage 1968 Gibson ES-175D Thanks for looking! VCP is offering a super cool vintage 1968 ES-175D in stunning original sunburst finish! The Gibson ES-175 is an iconic guitar - used by many jazz legends from Wes Montgomery to Herb Ellis, Joe Pass, Jim Hall and many others they can simply deliver the goods when it comes to vintage jazz tone. They can also be driven into serious rock or blues territory. A very versatile ... more

Vintage 1957 Gibson ES-175 D Hollowbody Electric Guitar Blonde w / Original Case

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, 10002, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$6999

Vintage 1957 Gibson ES-175 Hollowbody Electric Guitar. A fantastic playing, sounding, and looking example for a nice price. The neck feels amazing with a wide, chunky profile. It plays like a dream all the way up and down with a tight feel and a low, quick action. The pickups are later '60's Gibson Humbuckers and they sound amazing. They are super warm, clear and punchy. The neck pickup is great for jazz and blues tones with a round, woody low end, and the bridge pickup is crisp and bright and ... more

VINTAGE! Gibson ES-175D 1980 Vintage Sunburst + Hard Shell Case

RAMONA, CALIFORNIA, 92065, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$2995

VINTAGE! Gibson ES-175D 1980 Vintage Sunburst Hard Shell Case Lovies Guitars is offering up a Vintage 1980 ES-175 in a beautiful Sunburst Finish! This guitar is in good overall shape! Almost 4 decades and it's structure holds up well! It has a good amount of wear but nothing extreme for the year! No breaks, cracks or repairs! It has PAF Reissue pickups installed, some of the best sounding pickups Gibson has used! The pickguard, bridge and tailpiece have been replaced with a very tasteful dark ... more

Cortez ES-175 Gibson Lawsuit 1974 Motsumoko Japan

SPARTANBURG, SOUTH CAROLINA, 29306, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$595

70's Cortez ES-175 law suit jazz box. These are really good guitars. Very well built. Good parts. This one has some checking but plays and sounds great. Original frets are in good shape with lots of life left. No cracks, breaks or mods. You could spend a lot more on a lot less jazzer. hips in a gig bag.... more

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