Gibson ES-175 Model Arch Top Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1954), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # A-17493, sunburst lacquer finish, laminated maple body, mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard, original brown hard shell case.

Overall this is a nice example of an early-mid 1950s ES-175, Gibson's classic "Working Man's" electric archtop guitar. The model was introduced in 1949 and quickly proved successful, finding immediate acceptance for its excellent combination of sound and playability at a moderate price. Based on the factory order number ink-stamped inside this example was built in mid-1954, and the "Artist" serial number indicates it shipped out in July that year, one of 599 that left Kalamazoo in '54. The introduction of the double-pickup ES-175D in 1952 affected sales of the single pickup model somewhat, but many jazz players then and now still consider this original one pickup 175 the all-time classic for that genre.

The 16" wide sunburst-finished laminated maple body is triple-bound on the front and single bound on the back. The rosewood fingerboard is single bound with split parallelogram fingerboard inlays. The headstock carries the pearl Gibson logo and crown inlay and Kluson Deluxe tuners with "keystone" buttons. The hardware includes a single P-90 pickup with a black plastic cover and volume and tone controls with numbered amber "hatbox" knobs. The standard Gibson rosewood adjustable bridge is fitted along with the earlier cast L-7 style tailpiece and a laminated black plastic pickguard.

This particular style ES-175 was used by far too many jazz guitar greats to count; in the 1950s and '60s Herb Ellis especially is often pictured with a guitar virtually identical to this one. This one is a fine player showing some evidence of use but obviously well loved over nearly seven decades.

Overall length is 40 1/2 in. (102.9 cm.), 16 in. (40.6 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 3 1/4 in. (8.2 cm.) in depth at side, taken at the end block. Scale length is 24 3/4 in. (629 mm.). Width of nut is 1 11/16 in. (43 mm.).

Overall this is a relatively clean example of this modest classic showing for the most part only some general wear and tear, with one repair to a typical spot, the lower side around the jack. The finish shows some typical lacquer checking with minor dings, scrapes and dents overall. The headstock shows some dings and rubs and the back of the neck is partially worn through to the wood but really for an almost 70 year old guitar this one has survived better than many. The hardware remains all original and there was never even a strap button added.

The one visible repair is a large thin textured metal plate added to the lower side, surrounding the jack and extending about 3" on either side. Presumably this was added to strengthen the jack area after a typical crack, but internal inspection reveals it to be a bit of an overkill for the amount of actual damage. At any rate it is quite securely pinned to the rim all along the edges, so we have elected to leave it in place!

The original slim fret wire shows some light visible wear and the fingerboard has some minor divoting but neither are worn enough to seriously affect playability. The guitar was played over the years it looks to have been extremely well cared for along the way, the one repair being well done if eccentrically conceived. This ES-175 plays and sounds exactly as it should, with the classic warm Gibson tone heard on countless recordings from the 1940s through today. This is not perfect but a nice example of this classic vintage "jazz box" complete in the original brown HSC, somewhat worn with one broken hinge. Overall Excellent - Condition.

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Listed5 months ago
ConditionExcellent (Used)
Excellent items are almost entirely free from blemishes and other visual defects and have been played or used with the utmost care.Learn more
  • ES-175
  • sunburst lacquer
  • 1954
Fretboard Material
  • Rosewood
Color Family
  • Brown
Body Material
  • Maple
Neck Construction
  • Set-Neck
Body Type
  • Hollow Body
Right / Left Handed
  • Right Handed
Number of Strings
  • 6-String
Body Shape
  • Single Cutaway
Neck Material
  • Mahogany
Wood Top Style
  • Plain
Finish Pattern
  • Sunburst
Finish Style
  • Gloss
Pickup Configuration
  • S
Bridge/Tailpiece Type
  • Stop-Bar
Model Family
Scale Length
  • 24.75"
Number of Frets
  • 19

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Retrofret Vintage Guitars

Brooklyn, NY, United States
Joined Reverb:2015

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