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  1. #1

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    I thought the time in life had come to buy a Gibson ES-175 until I went to a couple of guitar stores and tried them.

    The construction is great, no doubt. However, the necks are very round, the frets didn't do it for me, the out-the-box factory set-up was awful and the factory strings on all were shocking. It killed the experience for me as I've wanted one for a long time. Anyway, I was left feeling the neck on many less expensive guitars was better for me and that convinced me that a more playable "gigger" was a better option (although I did love the neck set and angle on the 175).

    Does anyone have any opinions or experience of the following 175 inspired guitars or alternative suggestions?

    Peerless Gigmaster Jazz
    Ibanez akj 95
    Eastman AR372 CE
    Loar LH 280 CSN

    PS I play some jazz, chet picking, blues, rockabilly, western swing etc and I gig quite regularly - hence why I liked the twin the pick ups.

    Thanks in advance.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    The Peerless Gigmaster looks like a great guitar for a great price.

    While I haven't played this one, I played and almost bought a Peerless Sunset--great build quality, very playable. The only minor issues would be somewhat thick poly finish and Epi Classic 57 pickups, which some might want to replace. the frets are also jumbo, which are smooth but take a little getting used to.

    I would also throw Godin into the mix: I really love their thinline Premiere. For a larger-body guitar the Jazz (with floating pickup) and Composer with set pickups are superlative in terms of quality and playability.

  4. #3

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    To me the defining characteristics of the 175 are ...

    16" x c. 3" laminate body
    24.75" scale
    mahogany neck with a rosewood fretboard

    I'm not aware of any current off the shelf guitars that meet that spec other than the 175 ...

  5. #4

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    A 175 is a good deal deeper than 3"

  6. #5

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    That extra 3/8th" makes a difference

  7. #6

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    i stand corrected - 3 3/8" deep!

  8. #7

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    The body of my ES175 is 4" at the deepest point, 20" long and 16" at the lower bout.

    I don't have an AKJ 95 but I do have an AKF95 , same guitar but with a venetian cutaway.

    a : Length 19 1/2"
    b : Width 15 3/4"
    c : Max Depth 3 5/8"

    The super 58 customs are very similar to classic 57's using the same amp EQ's. But on this one I have changed the pickups to classic 57's fitted a Tonepros locking bridge and changed the tailpiece. The sound is similar to my ES175 but the smaller body makes it slightly brighter, it is also lighter and more comfortable.

    Who Makes the Best ES-175 Clones?-afj95-2-jpg

    Who Makes the Best ES-175 Clones?-afj95-3-jpg

    Who Makes the Best ES-175 Clones?-afj95-4-jpg
    Last edited by TonyB56; 03-12-2014 at 02:03 PM.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by TonyB56
    The body of my ES175 is 4" at the deepest point, 20" long and 16" at the lower bout
    That IS a fat 175! Where is it 4" deep?

  10. #9

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    Measured with the bridge pickup out just under 4" but allowing for the thickness of the back it's 4".
    Not very scientific I know but I've just laid the guitar on a hard level desk and used a level from the centre of the guitar at the bridge and it actually measures 4 1/4" inches overall
    Last edited by TonyB56; 03-12-2014 at 02:57 PM.

  11. #10

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    OK, understand now..I was quoting the 3, 3/8th" depth at the rim. It's how relative guitar depth is normally compared - altho as you point out, they are all fatter than they seem..

  12. #11

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    My Ibanez LGB300 is 4 1/4" inches as well, probably why they make my arm ache lol, I play the AFJ95 most it's only 3/58"

  13. #12

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    tony, it's probably the maple neck that makes your 'banez brighter.

  14. #13

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    nothing I've played sounds like a 175. The ibanez 175 style guitars almost all have a maple neck which totally changes the tone. They sound brighter. I tried a maple neck gibson 74 175 like the one that kreisberg plays. It has that thunky attack like a 175 but is brighter. It's a cool sounding guitar but didn't have the classic 175 tone ala joe pass joy spring IMO.

    I went through 5 as well as a number of boutique and non boutique plywood top guitars in the last 6 months and ended up with an '88 with mahogany back and sides. You can hear it hear although this was about a foot away from the mics so there's a lot of string and pick attack.



    IMO, it's worth seeking out the real thing. I'm waiting for some decent clips to show up of the eastman AR371/372 but haven't heard any that convince me that it's anything close. A buddy of mine just bought one and I'm awaiting a clip from him. I'll post it here when he publishes it.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by jzucker
    nothing I've played sounds like a 175. The ibanez 175 style guitars almost all have a maple neck which totally changes the tone. They sound brighter. I tried a maple neck gibson 74 175 like the one that kreisberg plays. It has that thunky attack like a 175 but is brighter. It's a cool sounding guitar but didn't have the classic 175 tone ala joe pass joy spring IMO. I went through 5 as well as a number of boutique and non boutique plywood top guitars in the last 6 months and ended up with an '88 with mahogany back and sides. You can hear it hear although this was about a foot away from the mics so there's a lot of string and pick attack.
    IMO, it's worth seeking out the real thing. I'm waiting for some decent clips to show up of the eastman AR371/372 but haven't heard any that convince me that it's anything close. A buddy of mine just bought one and I'm awaiting a clip from him. I'll post it here when he publishes it.
    What's the neck profile like on your '88 compared to the other 175's you tried?

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by L4CESN
    What's the neck profile like on your '88 compared to the other 175's you tried?
    They've all been pretty close, even the '70s one. I'd call them a medium C. Chunkier than the eastman necks but not a boat neck. Chunkier than the 339 30/60 neck and more rounded. Extremely comfortable. I have small hands and like to use my thumb for some chords and it works out for me. The '50s necks are chunky and the late '60s necks are really narrow at the nut.

  17. #16
    Thanks for the answers so far, particularly TonyB56 who's answer was very useful.

    Thanks for the Gibson 175 answers but I'm pretty sure I won't go down that road as I don't like the neck profile. I can live with tonal differences but not a neck I don't like playing.

    any other advice greatly received?

    Thanks

  18. #17

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    you'll get used to the neck IMO. It feels great to me and it's different than the profile on any of my other guitars. Yet, it's my favorite instrument probably in the last 20 years.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by jzucker
    tony, it's probably the maple neck that makes your 'banez brighter.
    The necks are actually 3 piece mahogany and maple but you are right, I hadn't even thought about that, too obvious for me I'm not very bright these days (unlike the guitar). Nice sounding 175 J and great picking technique, I don't find the 175 neck profile that chunky but then I have big hands. I bought an ES339 with the 30/60 neck, made a mistake getting it really, I find the neck a bit slim for me.
    Last edited by TonyB56; 03-13-2014 at 06:19 AM.

  20. #19

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    I played a 2012 ES 175 and a Peerless Gigmaster SC (the ES 295 clone) back to back and I found the Peerless a better player.
    The ES 175 had finish issues with the sunburst, the lacquer felt sticky and for £2400 with case I was not impressed.
    However the Peerless ticked all the boxes and for £599 with case was a better deal IMO.
    I came close to buying that Peerless but I wasn't there to purchase a guitar and the credit card was not that flexible.

    But I will add that you find 'that' guitar one day, just don't fill your head with 'ifs and buts'.

  21. #20

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    better guitar is subjective. The peerless sounds nothing like a classic 175. The gibson setups leave something to be desired but there is no other guitar that sounds like a 175 IMO.

    Unfortunately, I have heard stories of folks that buy a new 175 and have to get it planed and refretted right from the factory.

  22. #21

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    I've heard enough variability in 175's to honestly say that (IMO) the 175 itself has a spectrum of sound and playability making pigeonholing "the" 175 sound a bit elusive. Even members here have or have had numerous 175's gotta be a reason.

    While not a "175" for my take I could easily live with a Heritage 575 and not look at another 175 again even though the 575 has a slightly slimmer body and solid back and top. But.... 575's have gotten nearly as pricey as 175's too.

    As far as comparing the 175 to an Ibanez, or other... dunno there.

    I think your best bet is to start with anything in your budget you like to play, Maybe an Epi 175? There's one on Feebay now in the $600 range now. With it or another decent guitar you can hold off for a 175 you like at a later date.

  23. #22

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    As a former Heritage 575 owner, I really loved that guitar and it's the only instrument I regret selling. But, I have to agree with Jack that it doesn't have the 175 laminate (aka "thunk") sound. Fine by me, as I've decided I like the carved top set pickup sound the best. But full disclosure...

    I also had a Heritage Groovemaster which is a 16"X3" maple laminate with mahog neck. It has a set tune-o-matic picukp, which I didn't like. But might be just the thing for a Blues, Rockabilly, Chet guy looking for versitility in a fully hollow arch top. And you can custom order the neck!

    I'm currently using a Heritage 525, which is a thinline 16" laminate with P-90s. Great guitar, and with a floating wooden bridge gets me close enough to that 50's hollow body sound I was looking for. It's also good for all those crappy cramped Jazz gig stages where you're bumping into the horn player all night. Again, Heritage will happily customize the neck, pups, bridge, etc... for you for, usually, no extra cost.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by GNAPPI
    I've heard enough variability in 175's to honestly say that (IMO) the 175 itself has a spectrum of sound and playability making pigeonholing "the" 175 sound a bit elusive. Even members here have or have had numerous 175's gotta be a reason.
    Right but it was worth going through 4 or 5 175s to get one that sounded great. Everyone seems to be in quick fix mode these days. If the first example you play doesn't sound right or play right you just give up on it. For us old timers, we used to go into a music shop and play up to 10 different examples of one model until we found one we liked. Someone , that entire line of thinking seems to be obsolete to some but it still remains true to this day. Wood is organic and construction quality and wear and tear vary.

    On the other hand, if the 175 tone of guys like Joe Pass, Jim Hall and Jonathan Kreisberg doesn't hit you in the gut and give you chills and if you're just looking for a utilitarian tone of maybe you're in search of a great jazz guitar tone and just not necessarily a 175 than by all means get whatever turns you on. All I'm saying is that if you want a 175 tone, only a 175 will get that tone.

  25. #24
    just to throw in another 5c - I recently got a '61 es175, with 2PAFs... dont want to nurture a myth, but this guitar DOES sound very different to modern versions of the type... She has, quasi 'automatic', 'that sound', without doing much from the player's perspective... and her tone controls are incredibly expressive... best of all is the fact that the bridge pickup is very useful, is sings, rather than has this thin sound that one rather avoids...


  26. #25
    Hi, thanks for the recent reponses. Important update that many will probably know of but I had missed.

    after posting this I went back to my local shop/store to try the guitar again where the sales guy (who is good) pointed out that Gibson basically makes two necks these days across all the models, What I thought of as the "baseball bat" neck is the deep C profile 50s neck on the reissue and the other on the stamdard ES 175 is the Les Paul style neck.

    I'm now interested in the 175 again and waiting for them to get the VSB standard in to try. i'll know in a few weeks when it arrives in the shop.

  27. #26

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    I am going to be getting a new guitar after hopefully selling some things. My goal is to make right the wrong I did 15 years ago when I sold my Gibson Tal Farlow to Sam Ash for money to buy a bass bow. I was young and stupid. I so wish that I still had that guitar.

    So my first thought is to get another one, but perhaps an ES-175 - a guitar I have always wanted since I started listening to jazz - would be another option.

    There are just so many copies of it. One I saw tonight was the Ibanez AKJ 95. Everyone who got one likes it, 600 bucks new, bang for the buck etc. I even have a Gibson Burstbucker sitting around waiting for a guitar to be put into if I didn't like the pickups. There's the Eastman copy, the lawsuit guitars from Ibanez, Epiphone (honestly not in the running) etc.

    So I am wondering, do I go with the name on the headstock? My brain says no, but still I am having a lot of trouble deciding.

  28. #27

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    Yes.

    I've played plenty of 175 copies. And they're just not 175's.

  29. #28

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    If you can swing the real thing, go for it. Otherwise try an Eastman 371 and see if it speaks to you and if it doesn't, go for the real thing.

  30. #29

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    You'll get plenty of people who own a Gibson 175 saying the copies are not the same thing. You can read that in a negative light, or you could possibly discover that you like what one or two of them have to offer in their own unique way. No two Gibson 175s are the same either, so you must try before you buy, or at least have a good return policy.

  31. #30

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    I've owned several 175s, including modern, 60s and Norlin models. It's important to say this IMO, 'cos trying one out in a shop, strung with 10s and through whatever amp is available, isn't the same as using one with your own setup for a year or more. I've also had a couple of 175 copies - Ibanez and Greco.

    What I'd say is that 175s can vary greatly in feel, responsiveness, neck thickness, whatever. But for whatever reason they all capture a characteristic sound that is recognisable. The sound might be a bit bass-heavy in one particular era, or more acoustic-sounding in another, but 'that' sound is consistently there, at least in my experience. And, it's constantly there with different gibson pickup variants, so for me it's not a p[ickup issue.

    The 2 older copies I have named ( can't speak for modern copies) get 90% of the way there, but have their own flavour. You might prefer that flavour - they are definitely in the same area or ball park, but not quite the same. It's difficult to say if that matters until you try. Those older copies typically sell for 50% less.

    There's a UK player I know, who's good, and who has started using an old Ibanez 1860 model 175 copy - Sam Dunn. Looking at his Youtube stuff will give you a flavour - try Autumn in new york. I like his sound, but can ( just) tell it's not a 175 - but it hardly matters in the context of what he plays....

  32. #31

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    I have both an 1997 ES-175 and an Eastman 371. Other then the shape there is not much similarity. I love them both. So a copy may really not be a copy in many respects. If it is the sound you are looking for get an actual ES-175, even with pickup changes, various strings, different woods they all do have that 175 sound. I bought the Eastman hoping it would fulfill my desire for a 175, which it did not. The 371 has its own sound a feel which is wonderful. The 371 is much more lively and has an acoustic edge I've never experienced in an 175.
    Last edited by rickshapiro; 04-17-2015 at 05:56 AM.

  33. #32

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    I've had the real deal, early 90's Gibson and an Ibanez from the late 70's. I worked full time with the Ibanez and really found it to be superior to the Gibson. That said, as has already been stated, you got to try them and leave your mind open. Don't confine yourself to brands, it's very limiting.

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    Yes.

    I've played plenty of 175 copies. And they're just not 175's.
    As a basketball fan, I love how every newly minted, mobile shot-blocker intimidating big man is described as the "new Bill Russell". The problem is, they never are. Russell was the paradigm, and to my mind, still probably the best---a near Olympic level broad jumper--who did track and field part time---in the off season....also the smartest competitor, IMO, of all time.

    Same thing with the 175. Still, there are other fine big men in the game of basketball...David Robinson, Shaquille O'Neal, Akeem "the Dream" Olajuwon, Bill Walton, even Chamberlain, and all of these guys helped teams win championships. But the 175 is the uber-laminate sound, having invented it.

    So, you can win with other guys....but if I was choosing up sides for a playground game, hard to pass on Bill Russell.
    Last edited by goldenwave77; 04-17-2015 at 10:06 AM. Reason: can't forget Bill W., even w/ short career

  35. #34

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    I think the important thing to take away is that better/worse is subjective.

    What's NOT subjective is that most of the copies you'll find around today only LOOK like an ES-175. Doesn't mean they sound bad.

  36. #35

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    I've played the new Epi 175, liked it quite a bit, got much of the 175's brighter tones, but the pickups lose a little definition if you go for the darker 175-ish tones.

    They have a really thin neck, in profile...thin enough to where I'd say it's love it or hate it. I would never be able to play it for more than a half hour or so without cramping up.

    I'll also add that the sunburst looks really wonky in pictures, but in person it's not bad.

  37. #36

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    You had a genuine Gibson Tal Farlow which we know can sound really warm and woody.
    If it is the tone you want back, or more specifically the 175 with its Thunk, I don't think a copy will ever satisfy you.
    Most of what I have heard from Eastman, Ibanez and even Epiphone tend to sound different than a Gibson.

  38. #37

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    It also may be that the question isn't "is a 175 copy a 175"

    It may be a $899.00 vs $4500 question and what is the better $899.00 option.
    There would not be a thread here if the 175 was @ $899.00 ....
    Last edited by jazzimprov; 04-17-2015 at 12:50 PM.

  39. #38

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    Can someone define "thunk" to me?

    Regards,

    Rick

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by rickshapiro
    Can someone define "thunk" to me?

    Regards,

    Rick
    That thread might give an idea of how it might be defined here:
    Let's talk thunk

  41. #40

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    Get the 175, then you wont have to explain to everyone why you got the 175 copy and how much you like it. Logical conclusion since you're still talking about the Tal Farlow that you let go.

  42. #41

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    THUNK = 175 with flatwound 13s and a jazz III pick.

  43. #42

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    I'm going to say you need to consider a Heritage 575. It is basically a 175 but I don't consider it a copy because it is superior to the Gibson 175. It's made by the old Gibson luthiers that stayed behind when Gibson moved out of Kalamazoo. I believe they cost less on the used market but new ones price out pretty close to Gibson.

  44. #43

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    I A/B'd a 1982 Gibson 175 against a fairly new Heritage H575 and found the Heritage to be way brighter.

    Not a bad sound, but didn't have that thunk. Also, seems to me the tone rolloff was very non-linear compared to the 175, making it difficult to get a good tone. I would certainly consider buying a Heritage, as they are very well-made, but if you're going for a certain dark sound I think you'd want a Gibson.

    BTW I had an early 80's 175 back in the day, and for some reason it never spoke to me, so I sold it. But when I played that 175 in a vintage store in Roseville, MN, about a year ago, I thought, that's the sound I was looking for. I just didn't have a spare $2400 that day.


    Who Makes the Best ES-175 Clones?-heritage-h575-jpg

  45. #44

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    I own a 575. Very different. Solid wood, and much shallower. I love it, but if i had a 175, I'd have very different sounds.

  46. #45

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    I have an Eastman AR805 CE, which I do love, so I am really only interested in a laminate guitar to have a contrast from what I already have. The Heritage has my eye as a nice guitar, but not for this purchase.


    Who Makes the Best ES-175 Clones?-eastman-ar805-jpg


    As to why I don't get another Gibson Tal Farlow? I figured I can try out many more 175's than I could Farlows. I would love to get one but I imagine that I would have to either get very lucky or to buy new.

    Thanks for the the discussion so far. What is it about the 175 that makes it so unique I wonder?

  47. #46

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    i've never played a 175 copy that sounded like a gibson 175. I've played and owned holst, eastman, heritage and many others. Gibson's the only one who gets it right.

  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Jeff
    I A/B'd a 1982 Gibson 175 against a fairly new Heritage 575 and found the Heritage to be way brighter. Not a bad sound, but didn't have that thunk. Also, seems to me the tone rolloff was very non-linear compared to the 175, making it difficult to get a good tone. I would certainly consider buying a Heritage, as they are very well-made, but if you're going for a certain dark sound I think you'd want a Gibson.

    BTW I had an early 80's 175 back in the day, and for some reason it never spoke to me, so I sold it. But when I played that 175 in a vintage store in Roseville, MN, about a year ago, I thought, that's the sound I was looking for. I just didn't have a spare $2400 that day.
    i was just in sam ash today. They had a 1980 and 2012 gibson 175. Neither sounded anywhere near as sweet as my '89. My '89 has ridiculously low action and no buzzing and incredible dynamic range. 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...

    Though kreisberg sounds great on his maple neck 175.

    P.s.

    the sales drone at sam ash told me the shaw pickups "make" the '80 175. He said the woods don't matter.
    Last edited by jzucker; 04-17-2015 at 07:40 PM.

  49. #48

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    I don't own a 175, but have been gassing for one ever since I played one a few months back. I have played a number of jazz boxes but none have had that unique and indistinguishable jazz sound of the 175. This thread is very interesting because I still haven't heard any responses.which have a offered a viable alternative to the 175.

  50. #49

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    Ibanez 2355M, its pretty much identical.

    If there is any difference it would be in the pick-up or the bracing. They are essentially the same.

    There is also the earlier laminate spruce topped ones that imo are better as they sound more like old L4's mixed with a 50's type Es-175.


    Who Makes the Best ES-175 Clones?-ibanez-2355-jpg

  51. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by ArchtopHeaven
    Ibanez 2355M, its pretty much identical.

    If there is any difference it would be in the pick-up or the bracing. They are essentially the same.

    There is also the earlier laminate spruce topped ones that imo are better as they sound more like old L4's mixed with a 50's type Es-175.
    no it's not. It has a thin, 3pc maple neck and a spliced neck heel. And the plywood and pickups are different. Other than that I agree it's pretty much exactly the same.

    P.S. I had one of the ibanez 2355 guitars and it sounds *NOTHING* like a 175 and my son who also played it for a few weeks can corroborate. (he's also a jazz guitarist)

    And no, the lam spruce top ones are not better. The classic recordings of the 175 speak for themselves. Let's not rehash this tired bias for the 100th time.
    Last edited by jzucker; 04-18-2015 at 11:33 AM.