I came across and old blues comping video that I made in 2006. The guitar I was playing was one I no longer have, a 1951 Gibson ES 125. So I did a guitar nerdy thing yesterday and I played two etudes in straight eights over the old vid with my current 125, so some 13 years later. The first 2 choruses are Joe Pass, the last chorus Warren Nunes. A duet with my younger self ... You can find the Pass etude with tabs here and the Nunes etude here.
|1951 Gibson ES 125|
|1964 Gibson ES 125|
In the meantime I have had my guitar tech do a complate overhaul of the guitar and I play it with great satisfaction. I have some fine guitars but the 125 certainly holds its own
So why do I think the 125 is the best vintage Gibson buy? That's easy. It's very much like a 1950s P90 equipped Gibson ES 175 but at half the price. The 125 was an entry level archtop at the time but the differences with the more expensive 175 are largely cosmetic. No cutaway, no fretboard inlays, fewer bindings etc. Last year, I compared my 125 with an early 1950s 175 side by side and thought it sounded pretty similar. Sure, a P90 175 is a fancier guitar but that's about it.
The bottom line is that the 125 is the best vintage Gibson ES buy these days. Though prices have gone up over the years (in Europe, expect to pay over 2000-2500 bucks these days), it is still a reasonable price among all the insane vintage pricing that I see all over the place for Gibson ES guitars like the the ES 175, 300 and the 350. And you do get the same 50s bop sound and vintage looks!
To read more about the 125 click here.