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  1. #1

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    I'm curious about the Gibson ES 350. I know Barney Kessel swore by it. But it's a 17" archtop with P90s. That's cool, but what makes the ES 350 really different from an L5ces or an L7ces?

    What's the mojo of the ES 350?

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    aside from the all maple body, rosewood board and less deluxe trim it's about the same guitar as an L-5.
    I've had a '47 single p.u. blonde for a long time.

  4. #3

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    25.5 Laminate with plenty of Thunk. The Tal is its direct descendant.

  5. #4

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    ^
    BK too....

  6. #5

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    It's laminate, right? That's a big difference.

  7. #6

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    So the body is approximately the same as a (modern) Epiphone Broadway?

  8. #7

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    In Barney's case, I think it was more a matter of that particular ES-350 than the ES-350 in general. I have a VHS tape where he talks about the guitar and the CC pickup giving him the exact sound he heard in his head. I remember going to a local guitar show where this guy had a 40s ES-300 with 2 p-90 pickups that gave me the exact sound I wanted in a jazz guitar. I would have bought the thing but it had unhealed cracks all over the place, was refinished and was selling for way too much money. He wouldn't come down on the price so I walked. Saw the same ax at another show 2 years later with the same cracks and price. I walked again.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    So the body is approximately the same as a (modern) Epiphone Broadway?

    L.S., for reference it's about the same as your Aria.

  10. #9

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    There are several ES-350 models, but I am assuming we are talking about the late 40s early 50s model.

    It is a full depth 17 inch cutaway laminate with one or two P90s. To my knowledge, no other Gibson has had those specs ever (an ES-5 comes closest, but had three P90s; the postwar ES-300 was close but no cutaway). BTW, these are not trivial specs.

    It is not the same thing as a Tal Farlow (humbuckers) and BK's guitar had some mods to it, most notably the CC pickup.

    The L7 and L5 are not laminates.

  11. #10

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    Oh yeah, an ES-150 from the same period is a step down in trim and has no cutaway, but it is pretty darn close for a fraction of the price, i.e, a poor man's ES-350.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by nopedals
    Oh yeah, an ES-150 from the same period is a step down in trim and has no cutaway, but it is pretty darn close for a fraction of the price, i.e, a poor man's ES-350.
    is the es150 a solid top tho ?

    i was thinking an es125 would be close in sound to a 300 or 350

  13. #12

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    I would not think of any 16 inches bout 24.75 scale instrument as a good qualifier for a poor man's 17 inches 25.5 scale instrument. Might still be laminated maple but size and particularly scale do affect the tone.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinlander
    I would not think of any 16 inches bout 24.75 scale instrument as a good qualifier for a poor man's 17 inches 25.5 scale instrument. Might still be laminated maple but size and particularly scale do affect the tone.
    postwar 150's are 17" wide 25.5. scale guitars

  15. #14

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    Yes; I should have mentioned the scale, too.

  16. #15

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    I used to own a Heritage H550 which is quite similar to a Tal Farlow model Gibson. The neck angle was a bit shallower to accomodate a regular Schaller tuneomatic bridge inserted in the top. Excellent guitar, and able to play at very loud volumes w/out any feedback issues!

  17. #16

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    "is the es150 a solid top tho ?"

    that'd be a no....
    Last edited by wintermoon; 06-07-2016 at 12:43 PM.

  18. #17

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    AFAIR BK's 350 also had a fretboard replacement with ebony instead of the original rosewood. This makes a small difference in tone as regards original ES 300/350s, much less than the CC vs P90 pickup though.

    These postwar ES 300/350 & 150 are wonderful instruments.

    Cheers.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by wintermoon
    postwar 150's are 17" wide 25.5. scale guitars
    My bad, I also tend to confuse both the 125 and the 150.
    I stand corrected

  20. #19

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    Tal replaced the neck P90 on his ES-350 with a CC at some point. I think it was prior to "The Swinging Guitar of Tal Farlow," which to me has one of the most glorious jazz guitar sounds ever.


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  21. #20

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    one of the best guitars i ever used was an es 150 - post war - 1 pickup

    incredibly friendly guitar - lovely clean projection for single notes - fantastic woodiness for 4 in the bar rhythm

    it did sound very 'forties' - but i'm sure you could get round that if you wanted to

  22. #21

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    Things seemed to come together for Gibson after WWII relative to making laminated body electric guitars. The ES-300, ES-350, ES-5, and ES-175 guitars are all examples of just how good this could get. I used too play one of the earliest ES-300 guitars (one with the P90 with no visible pole pieces). The guitar was exceptional...no cutaway, but whoop-dee-doo it played and sounded great. The early ES-350 and ES-175 guitars are THE bebop guitars, IME.

    Both Tal Farlow and Barney Kessel played ES-350 guitars with CC pickups in the neck position on their 1950s recordings. These records are iconic, at least for me. They are as important as are both Jimmy Raney's recordings with his ES-150CC or Kenny Burrell's recordings with his L-5CC. If you add Herb Ellis' output from the era done on his '53 ES-175, and Jim Hall's work on his 175, you have THE foundational guitar work until Wes Montgomery came along.

    For me, the three guitars of that era that sound the best are: (1) Tal Farlow's 350, (2) Barney Kessel's 350, and Kenny Burrell's L-5. When I was younger, I used to think that Jim Hall and Herb Ellis' 175s sounded better, but I have changed my mind over the years.

    By the way, 150 and solid top? It depends upon which era you are talking about. The Charlie Christian-era guitars--1937-1940, are most assuredly solid topped. They are, in fact, just flat-backed Gibson L-50s with the pickup system. They are carved spruce tops, solid maple rims, and a solid back. The non-150 version of the L-50 of the period has a carved maple back. I ought to know--I have a '38 that I have had to reglue the back on. Also, I have the Gibson Catalog of the period. Later on, after WWII, the ES-150 became a laminated guitar, positioned between the 125 and 300 in the lineup.

  23. #22

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    BTW, folks who are new to this sort of thing should spend some quality time on Antique Vintage Guitars collector info - collecting old VINTAGE GUITARS. I wonder if the guy who maintains that site checks in here from time to time. If so, thanks; a useful site. I don't know how one could be 100% accurate with so much to cover, but he comes pretty close IME. That plus the sold guitar archive on http://archtop.com will do a lot of work for you in evaluating guitar ads and photos.

  24. #23

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    Now, having put in a big plug for the post-War laminated Gibsons, let me say that the pre-War, solid-topped Gibson electrics (the ES-150 and 250, in particular) are indescribably great guitars. I have spent a considerable amount of time behind both a Gibson ES-150 from 1937 and a Gibson-made Recording King M-5 that had the Roy Smeck (equivalent of the Charlie Christian) cobalt magnet pickup system by Gibson installed. These guitars are simply unbeatable as jazz electrics, IME.

    Alas, I haven't played a 250 (only 70 were built), but you can listen to Fred.archtop's Slaman DS-250 Charlie Christian 100-year Commemorative model on his YouTube clips. On the clips the guitar sounds fabulous. I think that Slaman has done a super job of recreating a guitar that brings back the mojo of the pre-War Gibson.


  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greentone
    Now, having put in a big plug for the post-War laminated Gibsons, let me say that the pre-War, solid-topped Gibson electrics (the ES-150 and 250, in particular) are indescribably great guitars. I have spent a considerable amount of time behind both a Gibson ES-150 from 1937 and a Gibson-made Recording King M-5 that had the Roy Smeck (equivalent of the Charlie Christian) cobalt magnet pickup system by Gibson installed. These guitars are simply unbeatable as jazz electrics, IME.

    Alas, I haven't played a 250 (only 70 were built), but you can listen to Fred.archtop's Slaman DS-250 Charlie Christian 100-year Commemorative model on his YouTube clips. On the clips the guitar sounds fabulous. I think that Slaman has done a super job of recreating a guitar that brings back the mojo of the pre-War Gibson.

    agreed GT.
    it took a guy in another country to make a 250 inspired guitar, Gibson dropped the ball as usual on this.
    I guess they didn't figure it was worth the effort, so they probably just came out w/yet another Les Paul variation or something instead.
    btw, the Gibson records were checked again a few yrs ago and it's thought about 90 ES-250's were made--good article in Vintage Guitar magazine a few yrs ago about this.
    prewar 150's are superb instruments, but a good 250 will blow your mind.,
    the individual pole pickup and extra body width makes a big difference in sound.

  26. #25

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    I had the great opportunity to play a real '40 ES 250 one year ago. When plugged the sound was there, fine in every sense, but I can tell you that acoustically speaking Mr Slaman's guitars are way superior.

    Here is the beast I could try.

    Gibson ES-350 - Why Is It Special?-dsc07766-jpgGibson ES-350 - Why Is It Special?-dsc07769-jpg

    Cheers