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  1. #51

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    That faultless case is something I have wanted ever since I purchased my 140 and the only time I've seen just the case for sale it was within $100 of what I paid for my guitar.

    I think purchasing another 140 that has the case is about the only way of getting one.
    Or at least that's how I will explain it to the wife..... after it arrives of course.

    Renn

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #52
    I have the same experience... I am on the hunt for a faultess case as well... prices are as crazy high as the case is crazy rare.

  4. #53
    Here's a great video of Molly Miller playing a 1957 Gibson ES 140T & 1954 Gibson ES 175 at Imperial Vintage Guitars.
    Great playing!


  5. #54

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    Hi Steve Z, and others.


    I just bought an ES-140t this weekend. I found this one at one of those big annual guitar shows. It's definitely a player's guitar--plenty functional, but lots of cosmetic flaws such as an abundance of checking, a few spots where the clear coat/finish has flaked off, and a spot where someone started a screw hole, but didn't finish (doesn't go through the wood). It was also played A LOT, with light divoting of the rosewood in the top two frets. I also see a bit of cracking in the bridge--and hope that won't be an issue. Frets are in good nick. It's definitely "been around the block."


    Although the seller claimed it was all-original, I find the pickguard suspiciously new looking. Also the seller claimed it was a '53, and I see, thanks to the great documentation in this thread, that the "t" version wasn't made until '56. If the upthread letter-guide is correct, this one is from that first year of production, 1956, with a "V" preceding the serial number.


    It plays really nice, the neck feels really deep C-shaped. Frets are super low. Sounds nice both plugged in and not.


    I became interested in a 3/4 scale guitar after buying a Cordoba mini for travel/couch etc., and finding how much my hands liked the smaller scale, and also a thread on this forum about "guitars for small hands" from another woman guitar player, who raved at how much better she liked her 3/4 scale instrument. That thread mentioned the ES-140.

    I am hoping that this 3/4 guitar helps with some of the hand and wrist problems that I have, and that it can alleviate some of the issues when I do stretches or splayed out chords. It's super cute, weighs almost nothing (shoulder is cheering), and sounds great! Here's a picture of it next to my ES-135. It's like the 135 had a baby!


    This one came with the original chipboard case, which has had a tough life--it works, but it's condition makes me nervous that it might self-destruct in a light breeze. I would like any suggestions toward a secure case for this guitar--either an existing case that could be modified with some foam, or a custom-maker that isn't $$$$. Someone upthread mentioned a Baby Taylor gig bag, but I'm wondering about a hard case... Not interested in a $2000 original case. LOL.


    THANK YOU for all the documentation and research on this model of guitar. It was really helpful.

    -melne

    1956/7 Gibson ES-140T - Natural-two-jpg1956/7 Gibson ES-140T - Natural-hdstk-jpg1956/7 Gibson ES-140T - Natural-bk-jpg
    Attached Images Attached Images 1956/7 Gibson ES-140T - Natural-fr-jpg 

  6. #55
    melne,

    Congrats on your new (to you ES-140t. Thanks for sharing and glad you are finding it as fun to play as I do. Great pic with the little fella next to the ES-135.

    As for your question about the pickguard, the shape is right but I do see how the color/pattern is a bit different that typical 50's tort guards. It could still be original, not sure. The volume and tone nobs are not original as those are form the '60s as well as the tailpiece. A 50's tailpiece would be nickel rather than chrome. These tail pieces are know to break so many, including my '57 ES-140t, have chrome tail pieces from the '60s. Neither item is a deal breaker on a great little jewel like the ES-140t.

    If I find a good case option, I'll post it here. As for now, if I go somewhere it is only to a friends house and I use the original chipboard case.

    Cheers!

  7. #56

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    Hi Steve Z, et al.

    I found a great case option for the ES-140.
    Someone upthread mentioned a Baby Taylor case, so I went to Guitar Center to check it out. Baby Taylor bags are actually too small, but Taylor has a new series called the GS Mini, and also a GS Mini Bass. These are 7/8 scale guitars.

    I tried the gig bag cases for both the guitar and bass from the GS Mini series--both fit the ES-140 *almost* like a glove. SKB makes molded hard cases for these guitars, and they would probably fit just as well, but they didn't have any for me to try.

    Both the guitar and bass cases seemed to be constructed well. The bass one seemed a bit more durable--the method by which the lid is attached and zips differs between the two models. Each offers a velcro neck support inside.

    It has a lot of vertical space, so if you have the ES-140 (the thicker one), it should accommodate that. For the 140t, I will have to add about 1" of foam in the bottom to support the body. I also added an additional rod of foam around the cutaway.

    I ended up choosing the bass version, because it seemed to be a bit more beefy. I'm quite pleased. I'm happy to leave the vintage and possibly dodgy chipboard case at home.
    Hope this is helpful!

    -melne
    1956/7 Gibson ES-140T - Natural-oa-jpg1956/7 Gibson ES-140T - Natural-caseopen-jpg1956/7 Gibson ES-140T - Natural-wfoam-jpg1956/7 Gibson ES-140T - Natural-nofoam-jpg1956/7 Gibson ES-140T - Natural-gsminiopen-jpg
    Attached Images Attached Images 1956/7 Gibson ES-140T - Natural-gsminiclosed-jpg 

  8. #57
    Below is a pic of an '57 ES-140T in its original chipboard case (agree not sturdy at all) and a '65 ES-125 3/4 in its original hardcase. Too bad there isn't more of a demand for a perfect fitting case for these little guitars.

    1956/7 Gibson ES-140T - Natural-es-125_140_cases-jpg

  9. #58
    Here's another great pic of Nora Jones playing live with her '56-'58 Gibson ES-140N (most likely a very rare full body 1956 based on the tailpiece)

    1956/7 Gibson ES-140T - Natural-nora-es140n-jpg

  10. #59

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    Hi Steve Z,

    I am restringing this guitar, and for the first time I noticed that the bridge might be installed... backward? Have a look at this and tell me if this is the case. (I have only ever owned fixed-bridge guitars before--this is my first archtop).
    As I closely look, I see wide, deep notches that are under the high strings, and small, shallow notches under the low strings. Seems wrong to me... And the only close up photo I could find on google images of this bridge shows that all six notches are very shallow.
    Let me know if I should 180 this bridge before I carry on with restringing.
    The more I explore this instrument, the more Frankenstein-y it seems, but it sounds great and I like it anyway, in spite of it's cobbled together bits and bobs.
    Thank you!
    -melne
    1956/7 Gibson ES-140T - Natural-br-jpg

  11. #60
    melne,

    Looks like your bridge has had the string grooves cut deeper. I am not sure which way would be best, probably the deeper grooves for the low E side.

    1956/7 Gibson ES-140T - Natural-57bridge-jpg

    1956/7 Gibson ES-140T - Natural-65bridge-jpg

  12. #61

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    Thank you, Steve. From your images, and the one image I found on the internet, it looks like this bridge has been terribly "modded" on its life journey by someone. Surprisingly, the intonation is not terrible. Thank you for taking the time to post the images. I will be on the lookout for a replacement bridge. In the meantime, I'm going to 180 this thing and see what happens.
    Thank you!
    -melne

  13. #62
    Fun price fact from November 1959....

    ES-140T was $195.00
    '59 Sunburst Les Paul Standard was $265.00

    Best ES-140 buyers wish they would have spent the extra $70

    1956/7 Gibson ES-140T - Natural-screen-shot-2019-04-23-5-09-27-pm-jpg

  14. #63

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    There is a deep body, sunburst ES-140 at the Music Go Round in Duluth MN, at least it was there around Christmas time. There was another deep bodied ES-140 around the Twin Cities a few years ago that unfortunately had a humbucker installed. I haven't seen the second one around in a long time.
    Thanks john

  15. #64
    Here's a great clip of Jesco Hoop playing her white ES-140T and another guitarist playing a sunburst ES0140T. Not jazz, but cool to see the ES-140 getting time on stage
    White ES-140 probably not original finish as I've never heard of anything but sunburst, natural and Tal's red guitar.

    Which guitars, amps, and pedals are you currently using and why?
    My workhorse is and has been for many years, the Gibson ES 140 3/4 scale slimline hollow body, and I use flat wound strings. The result is a darkened timbre. I use the Fender Deluxe, and I generally play through a Line 6 M9 for effects. I also play Martin acoustic guitars. I have a wonderful 000-28 Martin that was given to me by Mark Knopfler and a beautiful Martin Tres given to me by my father.

  16. #65

  17. #66
    Norman's Rare Guitar of the Day!


  18. #67

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    Damn , I want one now ....

    anyone makin a cheap copy of these ?
    in short scale hollowbody
    i want 22+1/2 ish scale and not much bigger

  19. #68
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Z
    Norman's Rare Guitar of the Day!

    I have a 1956 full body ES140...a superb guitar in all respects! FWIW, The tailpiece on the Norman’s guitar looks unoriginal and far too big for the guitar. Perhaps this effects the break angle on the bridge?

  20. #69
    Quote Originally Posted by David Dvorin
    I have a 1956 full body ES140...a superb guitar in all respects! FWIW, The tailpiece on the Norman’s guitar looks unoriginal and far too big for the guitar. Perhaps this effects the break angle on the bridge?
    Indeed the tailpiece is not original. Breakage at the hinge is not uncommon on all these style tailpieces from the period, which is why I have a spare fullbody ES-140 tailpiece in case I find a great deal on one that needs original parts. The pick guard is not original as well... would have been a tortoise material. Seems like Norms would have mentioned the non-original parts other than the tuners.

  21. #70

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    Hello,

    I recently acquired a 1956 ES-140N. The serial number starts with V. It's in it's original case and seems to have entirely original parts. What I'm curious about is the rosewood (I think) veneer on the headstock. I've scoured the net and I can only find these guitars with black headstocks. Was this an extra option Gibson offered at the time?

    The provenance: the guitar was given to me as a special gift from a long time student. He purchased the guitar used in the early 60s. If it's a copy, it's the finest copy I've ever seen. I love this guitar! I've had less than a week and it already has considerable sentimental value.

    Thanks for any insights offered!

    Best,

    Ben
    Attached Images Attached Images 1956/7 Gibson ES-140T - Natural-20191203_133433-jpg 1956/7 Gibson ES-140T - Natural-20191203_133503-jpg 

  22. #71
    Hi Ben,

    I dig the full body natural finish. The rosewood (?) veneer is indeed new to me. I have never seen another headstock like that... can't say if its original or not. I really don't know. What I do know is that I'd love to find a full body natural finish ES-140 someday. Enjoy the guitar!

    Thanks for sharing the pics and the story!

  23. #72

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    Just joined this forum. I have enjoyed reading through.

    I actually have this guitar and its original CA girl case. It was my mothers. My dad had gifted it to her the year I was born. He lived down the the street from Les Paul and my grandfather and he had done work on his house as carpenters. Still wish the family had my dads original Les Paul.

    So, mom had it for years. When she passed I acquired it. It's all original. The tuning pegs are crumbling, as they do. Don't know what happened to the amp. that went with it, but the cord that plugged into it is here.

    From time to time, I consider selling it. Easy to say until I get sentimental. But if someone gets me on the right day, maybe. I'd say it's in good to very good condition.

  24. #73

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    Pics:
    Attached Images Attached Images 1956/7 Gibson ES-140T - Natural-img_0426-jpg 1956/7 Gibson ES-140T - Natural-img_0421-jpg 1956/7 Gibson ES-140T - Natural-img_1081-jpg 

  25. #74
    I thought this would be an interesting addition to this thread... I found a left handed 1954 ES-140 that was once for sale on 1954 Gibson ES-140 Left Handed.

    This diminutive lefty is an extremely rare bird, quite possibly the only such example in existence.
    More pics on the above link.

    1956/7 Gibson ES-140T - Natural-left-es140-jpg

  26. #75
    Jesca Hoop: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert playing a white (refinished?) ES-140t and a sunburst ES-140t.


  27. #76

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    Quote Originally Posted by pingu
    Damn , I want one now ....

    anyone makin a cheap copy of these ?
    in short scale hollowbody
    i want 22+1/2 ish scale and not much bigger
    Eastman made the AR145 and AR150, with specs very similar to the Gibson deep/shallow body, respectively. They were probably for the Japanese market and very few ever showed up in North America. I wish Eastman would offer them here, there should be a market for a Gibson clone - think of the Eastman 372 and 372. We can only dream.

  28. #77

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    How does the skinny nut width fare for big folks wanting to play fingerstyle?
    I am a gal, but all the folks pictured seem to be tiny like Norah at 5'2". For us 6'2" folks.... finger twister?

    Anyone see anything for sale that has the right tail piece right now? Norms doesn't as mentioned and seems overpriced for the length of time on market already.

  29. #78
    Most folks who do finger-style usually like a wider nut width, which the ES-140 does not have (1 9/16”). It’s not altogether too skinny like, say a 60s Mustang or Duo Sonic, and is saved by the nice, round neck 50s Gibson profile (although smaller). I’m 5’8” and have reasonably large hands and find the fretboard width excellent and very playable, but I mainly play with a pick.

    There seems to be quite a few for sale on Reverb at the moment, both full-depth and thin (although I can’t say enough about the full-depth tone). I’d stay away from the one with the TOM bridge or un-original parts. Most are hitting the high $3000s, except this one, which seems like a good deal:

    1955 Gibson ES-140 - Killer Vintage P-90 Tone - Sunburst - With Hard Case 1955 Gibson ES-140 - Killer Vintage P-90 Tone - Sunburst - | Reverb

    From what the seller describes you may be in for a fret job, which still might keep it in the running...I bought mine sight unseen from an auction and wound up having to get new frets. Worth it as it now plays great!

    I also wouldn’t worry too much about original case. Mine had the original hard shell which unfortunately smelled really musty, and I wound up buying a TKL that fits really well and is much more protective.

  30. #79
    Quote Originally Posted by JMoto
    How does the skinny nut width fare for big folks wanting to play fingerstyle?
    I am a gal, but all the folks pictured seem to be tiny like Norah at 5'2". For us 6'2" folks.... finger twister?

    Anyone see anything for sale that has the right tail piece right now? Norms doesn't as mentioned and seems overpriced for the length of time on market already.
    The 1 9/16" nut width is definitely tiny and the short scale seems to accent the smallness of the guitar. As David mentioned, the '50s round neck carve does add some heft to the neck making it feel a bit bigger than it is. I compare this to my '65/66 ES-125 3/4 which has a skinnier neck profile and feels a smaller to play... less shoulder than my '57 ES-140.

    You really need to play one or a few and decide if the nut width will work or if it is too small. It as the same 1 9/16" width as the mid-late '60s Gibson electric guitars. I think the full size guitars with 1 9/16" nut width feel smaller than the 3/4 size guitars.

    Correct tailpiece: unfortunately it is not uncommon for '50s trapeze tailpieces to break. There are plenty of guitars with original tailpieces... just need to wait. Always smart to set up web alerts on Reverb, eBay etc. ES-140 list prices have definitely gone up lately. They are not necessarily selling for the high prices, but many sellers seem to be willing to wait for the large $$ buyer.

    Good luck in your search.

  31. #80
    Slightly off thread topic, though a very similar guitar...
    Here's some great playing on a Gibson ES-125 3/4 converted to a Tenor guitar by luthier Joel Eckhaus.

    Last edited by Steve Z; 05-29-2020 at 01:32 AM.

  32. #81
    Here's a ES-140 that was converted to a tenor guitar by luthier Joel Eckhaus. Pretty cool!
    Tenor Guitar Conversions | Earnest Instruments

    It recently sold on eBay. The seller did not disclose that it was a conversion... the auction text merely states ES-140 tenor, which never was factor produced by Gibson.

    1956/7 Gibson ES-140T - Natural-tenor1-jpg

    1956/7 Gibson ES-140T - Natural-tenor2-jpg

    1956/7 Gibson ES-140T - Natural-tenor-3-jpg

    1956/7 Gibson ES-140T - Natural-tenor4-jpg

    image source: Gibson ES 140 Student electric tenor guitar with original case. | eBay

  33. #82
    That’s really interesting to see the tenor conversion. I personally hate to see these excellent guitars being modified since they work so well in their original state...However as long as they’re being played, then to each their own!

    Keep the posts coming for this awesomely underrated guitar! It’s great to see so much information and a plethora of examples in a variety of musical settings.

  34. #83

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    Quote Originally Posted by Renn
    That faultless case is something I have wanted ever since I purchased my 140 and the only time I've seen just the case for sale it was within $100 of what I paid for my guitar.
    I think purchasing another 140 that has the case is about the only way of getting one.
    Or at least that's how I will explain it to the wife..... after it arrives of course. Renn
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Z
    I have the same experience... I am on the hunt for a faultess case as well... prices are as crazy high as the case is crazy rare.
    I have one of these cases in brown/pink, in great shape. I have no use for it. Hmmm....I'll take a couple of pix over the weekend and post them here. If either of you want it, let me know - I'm sure we can sort something out.