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  1. #51

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    When I played the 175 for the first time it reminded me of the first time I played a Martin HD28 - there was this feeling that I was playing an instrument which is stamped in guitar history. I read about these guitars, listened to recordings, but now I was playing an icon and not just a copy of an icon.

    I have never owned and will probably never own an HD28, why? Too expensive. So it's been clones for me. I just know from experience that once the honeymoon period is over, I'm still paying 29.9% interest on this piece of history. I could have probably bought the clone with cash. Tough decisions.
    Last edited by heymelbs; 04-18-2015 at 11:51 AM.

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  3. #52

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    here's another clip of the HORRIBLE gibson 175. Someone posted this on jazz guitar addiction. This is a student at eastman.

    performed by Greg Chako. I'm sure it'll be chastised by the tragically hip among us. So post an example of how much better your axe sounds.


  4. #53

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  5. #54

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  6. #55

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    I like orginal es-175.

  7. #56

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    Rio. Had a similar problem to you-but slightly different . I had an orange label Gibson 175 back in the late 80's which I really liked but due to other circumtances had to sell it. Had several others plus copies but none lived up to the original. About two years ago I tried several Tokai FA 70( 175 copy) and found one that was the nearest to the Gibson 175- price £500 Gibson used circa 1975 £ 2500.No brainer for me. I think you can still get obtain the Tokai .Try it you may like it,

  8. #57

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    Buy something inexpensive. You'll also need to think about amplification as these are electric guitars and that's a big part of the sound. By the time you can hear the subtle differences between various laminate guitars you'll know what you want. It could be more electric, more acoustic, brighter, darker, a 1.75" neck, bigger body, smaller body.. only way to know is to play. If a good sounding, good quality instrument with something other than 'Gibson' on the headstock fails to inspire you, then by all means. If you just want to learn jazz guitar on something hollow, there are more good choices now than there have ever been.

  9. #58

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    those ibanez guitars sound nice but the gibson just blows them away. Most of the ibanez guitars have a compressed sound because the top doesn't vibrate as much.

    That's the way the aria herb ellis was as well although it had a sound post which was why in that case IMO...

  10. #59

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    i had a 1953 175 that i had set up in nashville by the plek man - it was incredible

    as soon as i tried a sadowsky jim hall - i sold the 175 to get the jim hall

    (i've also had three other 175's of different eras before the 53 - and two es 150s)

    they sound very different indeed - that was why i went with the sadowsky

  11. #60

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    FWIW, our own wonderful jazzer Dutchbopper has tried many guitars (see his blog), and has focused on the ES-175 and the Tal Farlow as his guitars of choice.

    I say focused, rather than settled for obvious reasons!

  12. #61

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    I'm not aware of any 175 copies that are dimension and materials accurate - does such a thing exist? Normally the mahogany neck is replaced with maple for example.

  13. #62

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    Every model of guitar has history...I wonder how many fameous players use a copy on gigs and during recordings...?

  14. #63

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    I see that Epiphone have have re-released their ES 175. I have the older version which I upgraded, with Gibson, 57's Pup's, Vintage style tuners new pot, rewired etc. The new Epi 175 has similar Gibson Hardware, also I use Thomastik strings, Be-Bop. I also replaced the ceramic tone capaciter's with oil caps, which made the transition from treble to bass, and visa versa, much smoother. Epiphone guitars are generally well made and good value for the money, nice styling and great necks, but you have to replace the Pup's.

    I agree with you in that Epiphone with it's older hardware, Pup's etc. is not worth the effort, but the new release should have solved those issues. I am very pleased with the modifications and the sound is terrific. I have not played the new Epi but if it sounds anything like my modified version it should be pretty good for a jazz guitar under a $1000.
    Last edited by Blackwood-ca; 04-29-2015 at 03:56 PM.

  15. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by goldenwave77
    ...but the 175 is a great "team player" in an ensemble. The 165 probably comes closest, for just a pure 175 jazz sound, and some would say they are indistinguishable. (The 175 can do more with its back pu.)
    I've tried four Gibson 175s over the past two years, three in the same store, same time: one from 1978, one of the first new Historic ones, and a new 2013 Custom Shop 175. Each was quite different within the definitional nuance of being "a 175", both tonally and in terms of feel. I also tried one other new Gibson CS in a different store; that one was also somewhat different and probably the best guitar I sampled. Anyway, I'm wondering if a 165 is really any more different than what I experienced between the four actual 175s.

    After all, besides that back pickup—which the large majority of jazz players rarely if ever use—what might possibly make the 165 not sound exactly like the 175? Can three extra holes and some mounted hardware in the top really make all that audible a difference? Is it possible to be able to reliably tell a 175 and a 165 apart in a blind listening test? Hmm...

  16. #65

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    Quote Originally Posted by ooglybong
    I've tried four Gibson 175s over the past two years, three in the same store, same time: one from 1978, one of the first new Historic ones, and a new 2013 Custom Shop 175. Each was quite different within the definitional nuance of being "a 175", both tonally and in terms of feel. I also tried one other new Gibson CS in a different store; that one was also somewhat different and probably the best guitar I sampled. Anyway, I'm wondering if a 165 is really any more different than what I experienced between the four actual 175s.

    After all, besides that back pickup—which the large majority of jazz players rarely if ever use—what might possibly make the 165 not sound exactly like the 175? Can three extra holes and some mounted hardware in the top really make all that audible a difference? Is it possible to be able to reliably tell a 175 and a 165 apart in a blind listening test? Hmm...
    I've played 2 165s. One i owned. It was an '89. My 175 is also an '89. They sound very similar. '89 is apparently a good year. The other 165 I played sound sounded very good and like a 175 also. I don't think there are many construction details that would make them any different. One odd thing on the 165 is that the string slots on the bridge were wider than the d'addario ball-ends so i had to insert a 1/2" length of wire through the hole in each ball end in order to keep the string ball end from slipping through the tailpiece opening. I was worried about the same issue with my '89 175 but it doesn't have that issue.

  17. #66
    Quote Originally Posted by jzucker
    The '80 has a maple neck and shaw pickups (which are really dark) and the combination of the maple neck and dark pickups didn't sound good to me...
    What pickups did Gibson put on the '89 175's ?

  18. #67
    I found this out. In '89 (and part of '88 and '90) Gibson used the Bill Lawrence circuit board pickup.
    Who Makes the Best ES-175 Clones?-lawrencehb-jpg

  19. #68

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    A 165 with the mounted pickup does sound exactly like a 175. It is essentially a single pickup 175 with some slight cosmetic differences. The later 165 with the floater is a different animal altogether. Not my cup of tea at all...

  20. #69

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    Epiphone guitars come very close or are just identical in sound en feel. They can can copy every Gibson guitar 'cause Gibson owns Epiphone. All other brand have to make bigger changes to they're guitars.

    A ES-175 type guitar basically is a 16" laminated maple guitar with mahogany neck and series humbucker(s). That is what makes the sound I think. Far bigger is the difference between who plays it!





    A-B comparison: Gibson ES-335 vs Epiphone ES-335pro. Close your eyes and tell the $ 2000,00 price difference.


  21. #70

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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzuki
    ...About two years ago I tried several Tokai FA 70( 175 copy) and found one that was the nearest to the Gibson 175- price £500 Gibson used circa 1975 £ 2500.No brainer for me. I think you can still get obtain the Tokai .Try it you may like it,
    FA245

    It is the Tokai FA245 now. The model designation changes with the price in JPY before sales tax: JPY245000. It was the FA235 a few years before so if you do a search be sure to punch in the right numbers.

    Who Makes the Best ES-175 Clones?-fa235l-jpg

    By Jove, I think Tokai got the TV-shape of the PAF pickup covers right whereas the Gibson Custom Shop can't.
    Last edited by Jabberwocky; 06-07-2015 at 09:57 AM.

  22. #71

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    I love my Epi ES-175 Premium!

    For what it's worth, you might check this out this comparison:

  23. #72

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    As previously noted, some, like the Eastmans, do not actually sound much like a 175. Who comes close sonically speaking? I have been looking at some Greco and Ibanez versions, so would appreciate any input on those.
    Please comment on cost, neck profiles, and any other key factors. I would prefer not to do a massive overhaul on hardware, but am willing to tinker a bit, so long as I do not have to drill new holes to replace cheap tuners.
    As always, thanks for the input!

  24. #73

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    Epiphone ES-175 Premium is very good. Slimmer neck, but has a nice plummy tone. Also Matsumoku made 1970's copies (Aria Pro II, Greco, Westone, etc) are good but now pricey.


    Who Makes the Best ES-175 Clones?-epiphone-es-175-jpg

  25. #74

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    I have a '73 Greco S50 that is very good. Excellent playability and the old Maxon pups sound perfect. Unfortunately the neck is skinnier than I would prefer.

    If you're looking at '70's Greco 175's (S or N 50, 55, 60), be aware that the neck shape on the older ones are smaller/skinnier that the later '70's ones. Also pay close attention to the fret edges. These had fret edge binding, and some of them -I assume the ones that have had fret levels- can end up with a weird detail where the fret ends INSIDE the binding, making the effective neck width less. Maybe this is common with guitars with fret edge binding, I don't know, but you can end up with a very skinny effective fret width if the binding edges weren't preserved.
    Who Makes the Best ES-175 Clones?-20170828_192743-jpg

  26. #75

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    Lawsuit Aria Pro II EA650.


    Who Makes the Best ES-175 Clones?-1976-aria-pro-ii-ea650-jpg

    Last edited by cosmic gumbo; 08-30-2017 at 01:59 AM.

  27. #76

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    A used Heritage 575 would do you real good.

  28. #77

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    Quote Originally Posted by docbop
    A used Heritage 575 would do you real good.
    That might be my favorite of the bunch but not strictly a clone/copy given that the body is carved as opposed to laminate.


    I'll add the AR371CESB and AR372 to the list of excellent candidates.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Last edited by blille; 08-29-2017 at 01:34 AM.

  29. #78

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    Be aware that amongst the Japanese copies there is a lot of variation, as even guitars of the same brand were sourced out to different factories. A 175-clone with an Ibanez brand name can have a maple neck or mahogany, different body woods (veneers) and shapes, different construction (I have seen guitars without kerfed rims inside, no parallel bracing and a sound post). They do seem pretty consistent in neck shape and fretboards. In my experience the best Japanese copies are the ones that stay closest to the original design and the market seems to agree since those are more expensive, well over $1000.

  30. #79

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    There's a brand called "Archtop Tribute" available from Walkin Guitars in Japan. Visit www.walkin.co.jp, select "ATC/Archtop Tribute" from the menu on the left.

    These are apparently built from the same woods as the Gibson ES-175, and to the extent they have a reputation in the USA it's good.

    They seem to have two lines: the higher-dollar ATC, and the lower-priced Archtop Tribute. A single-pickup ES-175 reproduction costs about US$2100 for ATC ATC175, US$1200 for Archtop Tribute AT-102

    I have no idea whether these are available outside of Japan. And no, I haven't played one.
    Last edited by dconeill; 08-29-2017 at 03:46 AM.

  31. #80

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    On the copies, one thing I notice, which may not matter to many but matters if you want an "exact' clone: most of the clones/copies of the ES175 have a scarf joint and heel-splice in the neck, whereas the Gibson are one-piece necks.

    Even the wonderful Matsumoku made 1970's copies often have a heel splice, if not a scarf joint. Some also have the 2-piece neck with the seam running longitudinally. The Epiphone ES175 Premium has a small joint right at the neck heel, maybe .5" but otherwise no scarf joint and not the traditional heel splice.

    Like I said, this doesn't matter structurally to most folks, and I doubt it matters in terms of tone, but it is a detail that some would be concerned about. If you are really looking for an exact copy, these would be things you'd want to know.
    Last edited by lawson-stone; 08-29-2017 at 08:21 AM.

  32. #81

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    People still can't distinguish Metheny playing his 175 or an Ibanez. Don't look at guitars, close your eyes and listen.

  33. #82

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    Aria Pro II PE-175 (Herb Ellis model) is quite good. It worked well enough for Ellis that he played it for years. Made by Matsumoku during their best years.
    Who Makes the Best ES-175 Clones?-aria-pe-175-jpg

  34. #83

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greentone
    Aria Pro II PE-175 (Herb Ellis model) is quite good. It worked well enough for Ellis that he played it for years. Made by Matsumoku during their best years.
    Who Makes the Best ES-175 Clones?-aria-pe-175-jpg
    That guitar is such an interesting combination of features. The L5ces body shape in the 175 16" size; the L5 tailpiece, the Super V fret markers, and the "175" moniker. It's almost like somebody said "You know I want an ES175 that looks like an L5ces..."

    And I have never heard a bad word spoken about these guitars, either. Only very high praise from folks whose opinions have, in my experience, always proven reliable.

  35. #84

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    Here is a video I made testing a 2004 ES-175, 2000 Ibanez PM100 and a '77 D'Agostino 175 lawsuit guitar. I rolled the tone back about 1/4 on them because so many people like to do that even though I don't usually and I remember that was a criticism from some people here because it made them sound too similar but in real life they do sound very similar.

    I am actually thinking of selling the 175 because the PM100 is by far my favorite of the three. It is not a cheap guitar though, and it both is and isn't a clone. What I mean is that it was based on Metheny's old 175 and the neck shape is apparently the same as his 175, plywood body constructed like it as well except with dual cutaways and excellent upper fret access that I have never experienced on any other archtop. On the bandstand I think it sounds best, it is the most comfortable and has a surprisingly good acoustic sound. The neck is thinner than what most would expect from a 175 but that is apparently how Metheny's 175 neck is so it isn't inaccurate.

    The 2004 175 has a much thicker neck. Other than that it is just what you would expect from a 175.

    The D'Agostino is similar to Ibanez, Greco and other lawsuit 175 guitars from the '70s and they were all made in the same factories - at least I know in '77 they were. It has no internal bracing and a thick soundpost block, which is common in some of the 175 copies from that period. The neck radius is more curved than a real 175 and the profile is more of a D shape than a C shape. It is a great guitar though and sounds great. It doesn't look like a '77 - it has held up very well and looks practically new. There are pictures in the video.




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  36. #85

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    I appreciate all of the detailed information.
    Keep it coming!
    Was there a budget version of the PM100? If so, how was the quality? I suspect the neck profile would be a bit slim for me, though.
    Also, keep in mind guitars which are readily available. I don't mind waiting a bit for the right guitar, but I am anxious to plug in and play before too terribly long! I have been a lifelong acoustic player, and am now chomping at the bit to get a good guitar to pursue my jazz aspirations. My acoustics are all 12 fret models, so I am limited a bit with those. They sound great for country blues and rags, though!

  37. #86

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    Quote Originally Posted by TN Pat
    I appreciate all of the detailed information.
    Keep it coming!
    Was there a budget version of the PM100? If so, how was the quality? I suspect the neck profile would be a bit slim for me, though.
    Also, keep in mind guitars which are readily available. I don't mind waiting a bit for the right guitar, but I am anxious to plug in and play before too terribly long! I have been a lifelong acoustic player, and am now chomping at the bit to get a good guitar to pursue my jazz aspirations. My acoustics are all 12 fret models, so I am limited a bit with those. They sound great for country blues and rags, though!
    There wasn't - there was a thinner depth two pickup version but it was the same price/quality and made in Japan. The current PM models have a cheap and expensive model though - I really wanted the 100 though so I haven't checked out the new ones. I have read good things on the forums about it though.

    The PM100 neck is thin but not too thin (for me). I have played some Ibanez archtops where the neck is way too thin to be comfortable and this one is thin but still has a little meat - except for my L5 it is my favorite neck of all my guitars.


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  38. #87

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    No budget version of the PM 100. There is a budget version of the PM 200. It's called the PM 2. It is _considerably_ cheaper. Never played it though.

  39. #88

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    It would help if the OP would specify price range.

    "The best" ES-175 clone would be pretty expensive. I suppose the Ibanez PM-200 and the Sadowsky Jim Hall models are ES175 clones, and their prices are around $3K and $5K.

    Absent price range, many of the responses probably won't be useful to the OP.

  40. #89

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    I don't think the aria sounds much like a 175 though and neither do the Eastmans. I've also owned the ibanez 175 copy and I don't think it sounds like a 175 though it's quite a bit different with its maple neck. Maybe it sounds more like a mid '70s 175 but it doesn't sound anything like the mahogany neck 175s that I know and love...

    [edit] oh - and I've owned several PM120s and PM100s and they are great guitars but also don't nail the 175 vibe IMO.

    Some will say that 175s themselves don't sound like each other and I agree but yet, most sound like brothers or sisters.

    However, whiskey is right. They are all great guitars and are in the same general tonal family if even they sound more like cousins than brothers...

    One guitar that does sound like a 175 is the deviser (seventy seven) hawk. It's the closest of anything I have tried. I have borrowed one that I'm going to do a demo of when I get some time.

    Here's a video I did of the herb ellis model. It sounds great but is brighter with a more bensony attack than the gibson.

    Last edited by jzucker; 08-29-2017 at 04:07 PM.

  41. #90

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    Hey, Jack.

    +1 The PE-175 doesn't sound _like_ the ES-175. What it does sound like is GREAT! It is a very well executed laminate-body archtop 16" guitar.

    The ES-175 is also a very well executed laminate-body archtop 16" guitar.

    The similarity is rather like that that runs beween Heritage and Gibson archtop guitars. I don't find the H575 to be a copy of a 175, but I sure like both of them. Neither do I find it to be a copy of the L-4CES, but--again--I sure do like both of them. Great guitars.

  42. #91

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    But the OP's original question was about 175 copies. It isn't answering his question to say "don't worry about the kind of guitar." He's got his reasons, and we're all just trying to help him answer his totally legitimate question.
    Fair point Lawson, and point noted. I did assume the OP was seeking the "sound" not so much the exact "look". In hindsight I can see how words have been (fairly) misinterpreted; when I said close your eyes...I wasn't saying Don't be at all concerned with esthetics, but rather "Pat's Ibanez doesn't LOOK like a 175, but it can/has filled the 175 void for a great player who has publicly claimed to "love the 175 more than anyone". Again, not that anyone could be expected to draw conclusion from reading rather than talking face to face over a cup of coffee.

  43. #92

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    Quote Originally Posted by whiskey02
    Fair point Lawson, and point noted. I did assume the OP was seeking the "sound" not so much the exact "look". In hindsight I can see how words have been (fairly) misinterpreted; when I said close your eyes...I wasn't saying Don't be at all concerned with esthetics, but rather "Pat's Ibanez doesn't LOOK like a 175, but it can/has filled the 175 void for a great player who has publicly claimed to "love the 175 more than anyone". Again, not that anyone could be expected to draw conclusion from reading rather than talking face to face over a cup of coffee.
    Good point too. I guess I also don't think of how a 175 looks as merely aesthetics. The shape, size, construction, all come together in producing the peculiar mix of playability and tone that we all love with the ES175. But your point about Pat's Ibanez is well taken. Thanks for taking the time for a reply!

  44. #93

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    The PM100 also doesn't sound like a 175 - it sounds better.
    ...
    Haha, I'm joking a little bit but that is the guitar I grab when I want a 175 sound more than my actual 175. It is just such a good guitar, so comfortable to play, super high end fit and finish (much better in this regard than the real 175). The look of the Gibson is of course awesome and iconic so that is hard to beat but I also really like the quirky and elegant (to me) look of the PM100. I'm surprised there aren't more players out there giggling with them. I have read the complaint that they are more susceptible to feedback, and that is true but not in any way that has kept me from taking it out on loud gigs. It isn't like my Eastman 805ce where I look at it the wrong way and it starts feeding back but that is not a comparison I am trying to make given the very different constructions, just talking feedback and that guitar comes to mind. I am still keeping my eyes open for a "real" 175 to replace my current "real" 175 to see if I can find one that will replace the PM100 but I honestly don't know if that will happen. Granted I only have played the one PM100 any time recent enough to remember (I played a few in the late '90s but I was too young and inexperienced to have taken anything away from that) and maybe I got a very good one but given the consistency of high end Ibanez guitars I feel comfortable saying that it is not just a 175 clone, it actually improved on the original while still keeping the same vibe. Even with the different looks it keeps the same aesthetics and you can tell what it owes its visual design to.

    I am very curious about the new ones - the PM2 and 200. Anyone have any experience with them? I have no reason to get one but with my 5th Ibanez on the way (6 if you count the off brand lawsuit built in the same factory) and roughly 40% of my guitar collection being Ibanez I am half jokingly considering getting as many high end Ibanez guitars as I can to horde them.

  45. #94

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    The best ES-175 clones are made by...



    ... Gibson. They really only make clones of their glory days instruments, since Henry J took over.

    As Jack notes, there is no such thing as a singular ES-175 sound. Jim Hall's '54 sounded different with the P90 than with the Guild humbucker. In both cases it sounded different from Joe Pass's '61 (62?) and more different still from Steve Howe's '64. All of those sound different from Metheny's '58. Etc. But there is a commonality there, too.

  46. #95

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    I appreciate all of the input here. I purposely did not specify a price range because I wanted a broader view of the options available. Having said that, I currently am looking in the $1000 and below range, unless I sell one of my acoustics, which would potentially double that.
    All in all, I just want a dependable workhorse which is tonally, aesthetically, and ergonomically pleasing.
    And as far as tone and aesthetics go, I think the ES-175 is one of the sexiest! They have appealed to me for many years. And though it is largely cosmetic, I have always preferred the look of a Florentine cutaway.

  47. #96

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    I wanted an archtop to get my feet wet with as i am just recently back to guitar after a long time off.

    I got an AR371, mostly based on it's good reviews and value point. I love the look of the florentine cutout too. While loving the playability, I was at first put off by the brightness of it's tone. But after replacing the anemic KA pickup with a Lollar and going with darker strings, La Bella 20PCMs, I really am happy with the warm rich 175ish tones I'm getting with it.

    All up it is right around $1050 total.

    Hope this helps!

  48. #97

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    in that price range I'd look at the ibanez or greco copies. they will sound much more like a real 175 than the eastman which really don't have much of the 175 vibe . There's a great looking ibanez 175 copy in the forum at a reasonable price.

  49. #98

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    Cunamara is right--there is a great range of sound across the real ES-175 models.

    Jack Z is correct that the Ibanez and Greco copies are quite excellent for the money. They really feel/sound like the real thing. I can remember when you could walk into Veneman Music in the DC area and pick up a new ES-175 for $400. The Ibanez next to it was $300. The Bradley next to that (Veneman's house brand) was $275. I played them all and thought--damned, they are all great.

  50. #99

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greentone
    Cunamara is right--there is a great range of sound across the real ES-175 models.

    Jack Z is correct that the Ibanez and Greco copies are quite excellent for the money. They really feel/sound like the real thing. I can remember when you could walk into Veneman Music in the DC area and pick up a new ES-175 for $400. The Ibanez next to it was $300. The Bradley next to that (Veneman's house brand) was $275. I played them all and thought--damned, they are all great.
    I remember those days as well. And the prices quoted above also equated to many folk's monthly salaries at the time!

    Hey, didn't Gibson originally name their ES models after the approximate price of the guitars? (ES175 cost $175; ES225 cost $225; etc.)

    Now back to your regularly scheduled thread topic.

  51. #100

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    Yep. ES-175 meant (in 1949) that the guitar sold for $175. The ES-350 at that point was, you guessed it, $350. Was the 350 twice as good? No, but it WAS better.