Gibson first produced the ES-125 in the 1940s, but in the 1950s and 1960s it morphed into numerous variants: firstly a thinline non-cutaway version, the ES-125T in 1956 (T stands for thinline), followed by the double pickup version ES-125TD the next year (D for double pickup). Then in 1960, two single cutaway versions, with either one (the ES-125TC, as is the subject of this page) or two pickups (the ES-125TDC). C stands for cutaway, not Cherry which it denotes on some other Gibson instruments. Finally, in 1965, a cutaway was added to the full body ES-125, the ES-125C. All instruments were built at Gibsons Kalamazoo plant, in Michigan, USA. By 1970 they were all discontinued.
The ES-125TC and TDC guitars were both 1 3/4" thin, and completely hollow; there was no maple center block, as was the case with some other thinlines of the time, such as the ES-335TD. The body profile resembled that of the ES-175: 16 1/4" x 20 1/4" with the sharp Florentine cutaway. Likewise it had a free-floating rosewood bridge, though with a simpler trapeze style tailpiece. The pickup was a single coil P90, with black bakelite 'dog ear' cover.
The ES-125 TC was launched in 1960 as "a new Florentine cutaway style guitar" at a price of $189.50. The Florentine cutaway "enables the guitarist to play the higher frets with greater ease and speed". It was produced alongside it's Epiphone equivalent model, the Epiphone Sorrento, and the slightly more highly appointed Windsor, which actually preceded the Gibson model, shipping a handful of guitars in 1959. Gibson's Epiphone range was more an attempt to circumvent strict dealership limitations than create especially new products: selling guitars that were Gibsons in all but name.
All of these guitars were fine instruments, yet more affordable than most Gibson electric acoustics; sales were good in the early and middle 1960s, although these instruments lost ground as the decade came to a close.
In total, 5234 ES-125TC guitars were shipped over ten years, with 1961 being the peak year. See the ES-125TC shipping statistics here.
The following description is taken from the 1966 Gibson Guitars and Amplifiers catalogue
An outstanding guitar in the popular price field, this thin-body Gibson is ideal for home or professional playing. It is light in weight and easy to hold with deep, modern cutaway.
FEATURES: Arched maple top and back with matching rims, chrome-plated metal parts. Slim, fast, low action neck joins body at the 14th fret. One-piece mahogany neck, adjustable truss rod. Rosewood fingerboard, pearl dot inlays. Powerful pickups with individually adjustable pole-pieces. Separate tone and volume controls. 16 ¼" wide, 20 ¼" long, 1 ¾" thin; 24 ¾" scale, 20 frets.
ES-125TDC - Double pickups - Cherry sunburst finish ES-125TC - Single pickup - Cherry sunburst finish 519 - Faultless plush-lined case 304 - Archcraft plush-lined case 104 - Durabilt case ZC-19 - Zipper cover for 519 case
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