ES-175 New or Vintage/Used

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by weekapaugh, Jul 17, 2005.

  1. weekapaugh

    weekapaugh Member

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    I'm interested in a ES-175 and wondering if there is any advantage in going vintage/used over new besides the lower price point the can be found on some? Don't know much about these guitars, any feedback (posts, not guitar) is appreciated.


    thx
     
  2. Lex Luthier

    Lex Luthier Member

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    Buy a used one. The lacquer has had time to harden, and most probably it will be broken in nicely.
     
  3. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    You can get good deals on ones from ca. 1978-79 (~$1800.). I've heard good things about this period for 175s. The 50s and 60s ones are probably the best sounding, but they're often pretty expensive (~$4000. and up).

    I'd say take your time and scour local shops in your area for a while and play as many new and used as you can.
     
  4. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    Quality.

    While Gibson's quality has varied over they years, and there have been questionable periods as well as good in the past, I really don't think their overall quality has ever been lower than it is today.

    I know this is not that popular an opinion, and there are many people here who own Historics and the like which they love. But I just don't quite get them I'm afraid. I find the basic wood quality, assembly and finishing (especially fretting and fingerboards) inferior to anything they've ever made on most models, some 1970s 'experiments' excepted. Seeing the horrors of those sectioned Les Paul neck joints (on Gibson's own website) was the final straw. Now I know why the tone and even basic things like the neck angles are so variable - and the Historic one wasn't perfect either, even though it was better than the regular Standard. Any company with such poor basic quality doesn't deserve your money IMO. I'll now certainly never consider a new Gibson, or probably any used one that was made under the current management regime.
     
  5. joeprs

    joeprs Member

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    I agree with John P. I also think that it's hit or miss. There is no consistency.
     
  6. dcooper

    dcooper Member

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    I'd get a used one also, nice and broken in

    gibsons new guitars are subject to bad fret work and sub par finishes,

    you can find great ones but you need to try alot sometimes
     
  7. Dave Orban

    Dave Orban Gold Supporting Member

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    I'm not sure when they changed plywood suppliers, but the older ones are stupidly light, and the newer ones are heavy and don't resonate at all like the vintage ones.

    Mine is from '53, and it's fabulous. I've owned a couple from the 60s that were also very good. I also owned one from 90 that was servicable, but much heavier than the others I'd owned.

    If you're considering playing at any reasonable volume, you may want to look into having wooden sound posts installed (a reversible mod) under the bridge. Helps tp minimize feedback considerably.
     
  8. Johnnytone

    Johnnytone Supporting Member

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    Oh really?:eek:

    I'd love for you to try my 2003 R8.
     
  9. Dave Orban

    Dave Orban Gold Supporting Member

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    All kidding aside, I've found them to be hit or miss...

    For every "great" one, there are dozens of mediocre ones...

    And for that kind of money, that's just plain wrong.

    You got a great one... so's ya must'a got lucky... :dude
     
  10. Johnnytone

    Johnnytone Supporting Member

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    My particular R8 was a replacement for another I had purchased that had an imperfection in the neck shape. It was gone over and hand-picked by Ernie King of the Custom Shop, so maybe it IS a good one. But, the funny thing is: I stop by my local GC nearly every Tuesday on the way home from work just for the hell of it. I have played a TON of Gibson's there and I RARELY find anything wrong other than needing a good setup. And I have a pretty good guitar to judge them by.:)
     
  11. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    Well, you may have a good one. Personally, I've never played one I liked yet, out of several dozen Historics and God knows how many regular production ones.

    There's something 'soft' about the wood, that translates into the tone. The older ones always have a 'harder', more focused tone. Some people hear/feel this, others don't. It is a matter of taste as well though. Personally, I prefer the inherent wood tone of even the 70s ones, despite their major shortcomings in other areas usually (weight, wrong shaping often - but oddly, accurately wrong - ugly headstocks, cutaways etc).

    I also feel the woodworking quality is higher on the old ones. Nothing could possibly be worse than the sectioned recent LP Standard they had on their site a while ago (I did save the picture, but I'm reluctant to post it here for potential legal reasons). It was so shockingly horrible that I'll never trust another of their guitars I can't see inside the neck joint of again - not from the 80s or newer, anyway. Which means any of them, basically, since you can't look (unlike Fenders which are often criticised for sloppy neck joints, but have never even come close to this level of junk). But if it matters, I played a LP Classic recently that was even more than usually crap-sounding, and with the pic in mind, I carefully tapped on the back of the neck joint. It was hollow. That is not how to build a quality musical instrument. It's no wonder they can't get the neck angles even remotely consistent (and they're almost all too steep).

    And as for the fretting, fingerboard finishing and nut work... well, frankly Samick (that build most of the Epiphones) do a far better job on guitars that retail for less than a fifth of the price.

    I'd love to think that Gibson were building instruments worthy of their name again, but the evidence just isn't there. I posted on this thread because I'm vaguely considering a 175 BTW... I probably won't buy anything made after 1980.
     
  12. Legend

    Legend Member

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    The amount of "gibson bashing" on this forum does not coincide with my findings either. By reading these forums, you'd think about 80% of gibsons are crap, with only 20% being "the good ones". My findings are the opposite, about 20% being unsatisfactory. I would much rather buy a gibson and have to replace the nut, then by a PRS and have to replace the pickups (which are garbage IMO) right away.
     
  13. wilder

    wilder Member

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    FWIW, my experience is the same. I find many more nice instruments in need of a setup than dogs when looking at newer Gibbys.

    Chris
     
  14. Johnnytone

    Johnnytone Supporting Member

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    So that would mean, oh, roughly, 100% of their stock:D
     
  15. Dave Orban

    Dave Orban Gold Supporting Member

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    i dunno... i've never found PRS pickups to be "garbage" any more than I've never found gibson pickups to be garbage. Some I like more than others for different types of music, and so on. Me, I have absolutely no desire to sound just like Page, or Greeny, or Duane, or Dicky, or any of the other guitar gods out there, so my demands on a pickup might be quite different from someone else's... Nonetheless, just in terms of sheer build quality, PRS (and Tom Anderson, and others) FORCED Gibson (and Fender) to raise the bar... sometimes they were successful in meeting the higher standard, other times they were not.

    Me, I owned over a dozen historics/custom shop Gibsons (after having searched through MANY more), as well as a similar number of Fenders, before concluding that I'd be better served with either a) a good vintage piece, refretted and tweaked to my satisfaction, b) a Baker, or c) a Lentz.
     
  16. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    Of course I mostly see the unsatisfactory ones, since I tend to get them to set up, but what I think is revealing is that they almost all have other problems too. I can't believe that it's only the badly-built, badly-finished ones that are also left with poor setups. I have no idea what the proportion is (I don't go around trying new Gibsons in shops, I have no interest any more), but even the sheer number is completely unacceptable for a "quality" maker IMO - far worse than Fender, who actually make more guitars.

    I agree about replacing PRS pickups BTW (I'd say they are not to my taste, rather than garbage - they're well-made)... but I think exactly the same about Gibson ones, so that's a draw. Anyway, it's not the same thing - that's just taste. You should never have to replace a nut on a $1000+ guitar that has passed "quality control". And I've never - not once - seen a PRS with the kind of problems I routinely do on Gibsons. They're not perfect either (I've seen minor cosmetic flaws on them too), just in a different quality league.
     
  17. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    Do check out a few Heritage guitars to see if they meet your ES-175 needs. For some, only a Gibson is good enough, but I think Heritage makes a better and cheaper guitar.

    Bryan
     
  18. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    Pretty much, although on a 'long tenon' Les Paul, or SG, you can see quite a lot inside the neck pickup cavity, or under that little cover plate. And Firebirds have through necks, so they're OK :). But not much else...

    If you've seen the pic, you'll know why I think this. I looked at it again for the first time in a few months while posting here today, and it's still shocking. Absolutely no wood-to-wood contact along the floor of the joint at all, or at the end. Great big gaping angled cavities, presumably to allow 'adjustment' of the fit - not filled with glue either, just air. And the whole lot hidden from the outside by the smallest overlap at the back of the 'step' on the heel, and by the fingerboard.

    A separate pic of the tenon itself, out of the joint, shows it's crudely shaped and absolutely incapable of being fitted accurately - it must just be held by a bit of glue and a prayer. You can't possibly expect something like that to be structurally sound or good-sounding. It makes the average sloppy Fender 70s three-bolt join seem like high-precision engineering.

    Even the Historic long-tenon joint shown, while far better, is not perfect and does not have glued wood-to-wood contact over its whole area.

    The bigger point is that it doesn't just apply to individual guitars, it shows that their whole manufacturing standards ethic can't be trusted. They must have thought it was perfectly good, or they wouldn't have posted the pics... they were, however, quick to pull them once comments began to show up on the net.
     
  19. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    I'm with the "Gibson bashers". I've been wanting to find a great Les Paul that's under $10,000. but the ones I've played locally off the wall of the dealers are no where near worth close to $3000. or $4000. they are going for. They sound dead, lifeless, uninspiring. They often play that way too. No amount of set up will raise these guitars from being pretty mediocre.

    There's a 175 at a shop near me that's actually really resonant and nice to play. This thing has huge finish cracks in the cutaway ...and they aren't from abuse. They're from factory defects and/or carelessness from whoever (if anyone) checks for these things when leaving the factory. Cool if the thing was marked a 2nd and cut down to 40% of the MSRP, but the shop is forced to only go down 30% from MSRP otherwise they'll lose their ass on it. Sad because these flaws are bad enough to scare me away from it even at that price.

    And I'm no big fan of PRSi, so it's not that I don't like what's been said about them here.
     
  20. Johnnytone

    Johnnytone Supporting Member

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    I think there were a few records recorded with these sub-par Gibsons . . .
     

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