I was in Guitar Center last week, trading in my Gibson Nighthawk for my wonderful DV Mark Little 40. While I was talking to Nick , the trade-in guy, a gentleman walked asking if he could play an ES-175 that was hanging on the wall. This particular one was a vintage 1952 ES-175, and it was gorgeous. After the guy was done playing it, since Nick was trying to get an appraisal, he placed the guitar on the padded desk in front of me. Of course, I couldn’t help myself. I picked it up and started playing it. It was A LOT lighter than I expected – much like an acoustic, and the action was fantastic! I didn’t get a chance to plug it in, but it had a nice, natural voice from what I could hear from the dude that was playing it before me.
I didn’t think I’d like an archtop, but I was really digging playing that guitar. There was a certain vibe about the guitar, and being that it was 60 years old, really added to its charm. It was in truly great condition! In any case, it had a super fat, gorgeous sound. If I had the $4k to buy one of these gems, I’d jump at the chance.
Here’s a great example of the sound of an ES-175:
By the way, the guitar being played above is a two-pickup version that didn’t come out until 1953. The one I played was a 1952 with a single P-90. Here’s a history of the ES-175.