Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Checking Out Some Vintage ES Guitars


Every once in a while I take a trip to check out some guitars. I noticed MusicWork Waalwijk had a few vintage guitars in their collection so I paid the store a visit last saturday. I took my own 1964 ES 125 with me as a point of reference and my own trusted Mambo amp. The guitars I wanted to check out were all vintage ES guitars. The store owner proved to be an elderly - and very nice - guy that told me running a music store was hardly profitable anymore due to the presence of internet giants such as Thomann and Bax. Fortunately for him, he had reached retirement age, so he could close at any time now and it was more a hobby than necessity. I felt for him though. What if all the smaller stores have to close and you can only order your guitar online ... Yikes.


First guitar I tried out was a 1950s Gibson ES 125. It was a cool guitar (very responsive) with a darker sunburst than my own 1964 one. It sounded very good, but I liked the tone of my own 125 even better. Much more punch and woodiness in it. Check out the video. You can hear it easily. Quite a relief though that the guitar you already own is the better one! In fact I already suspected this, for the 1951 ES 125 that I owned earlier, was very much like the one in the store and I always suspected that the 1964 one that I own now was the nicer guitar ...




I was very happy to finally be able to play a 1950s ES 175 with a P90 pup. I have played vintage ES 175s earlier |(from 1959, 1961 and 1964) but an earlier P90 equipped one was new to me.


It proved to be a very nice guitar but sound wise very much in the vein of a 125, which is not surprising. The playability of the 175 was a bit better due to the 175 being a mid end guitar and the 125 an entry level one, but sound wise the difference was not shocking. The price tag for the 175 was too steep for my taste, almost 5k. I played the same lick more or less on the 175 as on the 125 so you can hear the difference.


The next guitar I wanted to play was a 1946 Gibson ES 300. Unfortunately some strings were missing but the store owner quickly put on a few fresh ones. The guitar had some serious issues though, as you can hear in the video. It really needs some work and possibly a complete refret. It sounded great though, as far as the limited playability allowed. The sound was big and deep. The price tag too unfortunately. Way, way too steep for the condition it was in ...






I could have played some more guitars. The store really had an impressive collection archtops for its size. He had a few older GB 10s, an Ibanez Joe Pass, a Peerless Jazz City a Gibson Herb Ellis and some thinline vintage ES 120 and ES 125 Gibsons but the only guitar I played further was a Conti model. I had never seen one before actually. Not sure what exact model it was. Anyway, it was a pleasant afternoon and I hope the vid gives you some idea of the sounds I heard.



3 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing your lovely excursion.

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  2. Hey DB. ES-300 for sure ! Cheers.

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  3. Great post, the ES 300 sounds the best to me despite the issues, very close to a Tal

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