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  1. #1

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    I took a little while to spend some time with the guitar before posting this. I also wanted to get some decent pictures as well as record something with it.

    The bottom line: In my opinion, this is the finest ES-175 I've ever played. I know I have my biases. I've listened to this guitar for years in recordings, both with the original P90 and with the humbucker. I love that Herb had it refretted with jumbo frets, as that would have been my choice as well. It just plays effortlessly and she sure can sing.

    I honestly still have a hard time believing that this guitar is in my home and that I can pick it up and play it any time I want. I'll let this ES-175 speak for itself here for the first time in years. Pics to follow.


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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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  4. #3

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  5. #4

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    And here are some detailed pics of the humbucker that replaced the P90.


  6. #5

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    And the legend himself.


  7. #6

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    Wow! That is Sweeeeeet! Thanks for sharing, and congrats on the new guitar. Very special. Sounds awesome!

  8. #7

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    Sounds great! I saw Herb in Tacoma WA about 25 years ago and he had a guitar like the one in your photos!

  9. #8

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    A perfect example of an instrument that has been played much and very well. You are indeed fortunate to be the caretaker of this guitar. Congratulations, and play it in good health!
    Best regards, k

  10. #9

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    Lots of wonderful music in that thing man. Enjoy!

  11. #10

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    Congrats. I knew Herb. It was a sad day when his wife called to tell me of his passing. That is a special guitar indeed. Just as Herb was a special jazz guitarist. May it inspire your playing for years to come.
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  12. #11

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    Wow! It is in remarkable shape. Can't imagine the feeling.

  13. #12

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    TRM,
    That’s Pretty freaking cool.
    you must be on cloud nine. I know how I’d be feeling if Johnny Smith’s or Joe Passes guitar fell into my hands.
    An original guitar owned and played by the Legendary Herb Ellis, is a museum piece. You are a lucky man.
    Consider doing an album with the guitar. You hold the future of Herbs flawless legacy in your hands every time you play that guitar. No pressure but make the best of it. Talk about being a curator. My God.

    By the way, I couldn’t listen to the clip on my iPad. I am sure it is fantastic though.

    Joe D

  14. #13

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    TRM,
    I am so happy that this worked out so well for you. What an acquisition and a magic voice from this guitar. Karma put it into your hands because two individuals (your wife and you) would love on it instead of just ES-175/glutton/me, but then karma took care of me, too. So glad we both found museum-worthy pieces. I am glad these iconic guitars are not in museums because their original players would probably want them in another musician's hands.
    Play it in good health and keep this national treasure safe.
    Guitar Addicts Anonymous
    A 12 fret program

  15. #14

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    The Guitar sounds amazing! Congrats!

  16. #15

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    Wow! What a piece of history in your home - amazing! Something no „relic treatment“ could ever achieve. Take good care of it and enjoy it for a long time to come!

  17. #16

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    Congratulations! You must be a happy jazz cat!
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    A long journey starts with the first step...and although I have long forgotten about my destination I'm still enjoying the journey.

  18. #17

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    A piece of jazz history! I am convinced it’s in good hands now.

    Interesting adjustment to the polepieces of that pickup. I just installed a patent number humbucker in my cheap Ibanez experimental project, they sound great! (Although mine is a ‘stamped patent number humbucker’ of somewhat later date.

    Enjoy that beautiful instrument!
    Jazz, Funk, Soul & Boogaloo: My group | Listen to Hip Jazz a Go Go! | Jazz, Soul, Blues: Eva La Voix

  19. #18

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    Did it come with the original truss rod cover? Man, if that's not in the case it's a deal breaker for me...

    Long may you play it.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    1948 Gibson L-7N
    1981 Epi Emperor T (MIJ Matsumoku)
    1998 Epi Zephyr Regent (Peerless)
    1992 Gibson Les Paul Studio
    2004 Gibson SG Special Faded
    2006 Epi G-1275 (MIK, Unsung)
    2013 Squier Affinity Telecaster, BSB
    (among others)

  20. #19

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    That is a special guitar. Wow. I would not be worthy, but glad it found a good home.

    Re' the truss rod cover, it would have been removed to be able to install the Van Epps damper. Curious if you find it useful, or if it gets in the way?

  21. #20

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    Congrats on owning the first and possibly only Gibson ES-165 prototype! With original chrome hardware, unlike the production versions.
    Permanent favorites: 2016 Gibson L-5 WesMo, 1999 Gibson L-5CESN, 1928 Gibson L-5
    Play more, buy less

  22. #21

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    An amazing story and what a SCORE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Thanks for sharing all of this with us. More quality posts like this make hanging around here worthwhile.


    Big

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by citizenk74 View Post
    A perfect example of an instrument that has been played much and very well. You are indeed fortunate to be the caretaker of this guitar. Congratulations, and play it in good health!
    It’s a real honor to get to care for this guitar into the future. I’m fortunate to have several outstanding archtops, but one with such historical and personal importance makes it my most treasured of all.


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    Last edited by ThatRhythmMan; 11-27-2017 at 09:31 PM.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jabberwocky View Post
    Wow! It is in remarkable shape. Can't imagine the feeling.
    There is no doubt about how much Herb must have babied this guitar. I know in later years he would talk about how it was so old, but age hasn’t hurt her at all.


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  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max405 View Post
    TRM,
    That’s Pretty freaking cool.
    you must be on cloud nine. I know how I’d be feeling if Johnny Smith’s or Joe Passes guitar fell into my hands.
    An original guitar owned and played by the Legendary Herb Ellis, is a museum piece. You are a lucky man.
    Consider doing an album with the guitar. You hold the future of Herbs flawless legacy in your hands every time you play that guitar. No pressure but make the best of it. Talk about being a curator. My God.

    By the way, I couldn’t listen to the clip on my iPad. I am sure it is fantastic though.

    Joe D
    For me, this is right up there with Barney Kessel’s ES-350. I grew up only about 20 miles from where Barney grew up, although he had long been working in LA when I was a kid. Herb, Barney, and Charlie Christian are at the top of my list and we all happen to be from the same region. I never imagined that I would get to be the steward of one of their iconic instruments. I’ve been floating on air, you got the cloud part right, Joe.


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  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Easy2grasp View Post
    TRM,
    I am so happy that this worked out so well for you. What an acquisition and a magic voice from this guitar. Karma put it into your hands because two individuals (your wife and you) would love on it instead of just ES-175/glutton/me, but then karma took care of me, too. So glad we both found museum-worthy pieces. I am glad these iconic guitars are not in museums because their original players would probably want them in another musician's hands.
    Play it in good health and keep this national treasure safe.
    I couldn’t agree with you more. They may be museum pieces, but I think both of these guys would agree that these instruments need to sing.

    My wife has been at least as ecstatic as I have. She very seriously wants us to record with it. I just got some kinks in our recording hardware worked out. We hope to soon be getting some things up on YouTube.


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  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Jay View Post
    A piece of jazz history! I am convinced it’s in good hands now.

    Interesting adjustment to the polepieces of that pickup. I just installed a patent number humbucker in my cheap Ibanez experimental project, they sound great! (Although mine is a ‘stamped patent number humbucker’ of somewhat later date.

    Enjoy that beautiful instrument!
    I thought that about the polepieces too. It’s one of the things I noticed in some old pictures of Herb with the guitar and is one of the many things I looked at when gauging its authenticity. Shortly after getting it, I was perusing more videos on YouTube and I came across a part in one of his lesson videos where he talks about how he thought a pickup should be adjusted. It basically involves setting the high e pole so that when fretted at the highest point, the string has enough room to vibrate freely without hitting the pole. The other poles are then adjusted to match the volume of the high e string.


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  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Jeff View Post
    That is a special guitar. Wow. I would not be worthy, but glad it found a good home.

    Re' the truss rod cover, it would have been removed to be able to install the Van Epps damper. Curious if you find it useful, or if it gets in the way?
    I’m still evaluating the Van Eps. At this point, I’m not sure that I find it helpful, but I also wouldn’t say that it gets in the way. I can still easily use the first fret.


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  29. #28

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    Thank you, guys, for all of the encouraging words and congratulations. I’m so glad to be caring for this instrument. I’m sure I will never record anything of historical importance like Herb did, but I hope to maintain its legacy for the future and that it may continue long after I’m gone.


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  30. #29

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    The NGD of NGD's! Henceforth all NGD's will pale in comparison. Herb Ellis' and Billy Bean's guitar on the SAME day - just WOW!!!

    "You've got to be in the sun to feel the sun. It's that way with music too." - Sidney Bechet

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Jeff View Post
    Re' the truss rod cover, it would have been removed to be able to install the Van Epps damper. Curious if you find it useful, or if it gets in the way?
    The way I've read it is that damper is the reason why when Gibson made the ES-165 Herb Ellis they put his name in the center of the headstock rather than on the truss rod cover like is the norm.

    They figured the first thing Herb would do is to put a damper on it, taking the cover with his name off...

    B.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    1948 Gibson L-7N
    1981 Epi Emperor T (MIJ Matsumoku)
    1998 Epi Zephyr Regent (Peerless)
    1992 Gibson Les Paul Studio
    2004 Gibson SG Special Faded
    2006 Epi G-1275 (MIK, Unsung)
    2013 Squier Affinity Telecaster, BSB
    (among others)

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop View Post
    The NGD of NGD's! Henceforth all NGD's will pale in comparison. Herb Ellis' and Billy Bean's guitar on the SAME day - just WOW!!!
    Yes!

    Just don't tell my you're also dating Bo Derek! (My weak ticker, you know.)

    Congratulations on snagging these wonderful, historic instruments.

  33. #32

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    That's remarkable!

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by rabbit View Post
    Yes!

    Just don't tell my you're also dating Bo Derek! (My weak ticker, you know.)

    Congratulations on snagging these wonderful, historic instruments.
    You realize, she's almost as old as that guitar?
    Keith

  35. #34

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    What a great instrument with a great tone! It is a museum piece indeed. Long live the legacy of 175! I wonder where Joe's or Jim's original 175s are right now, curious to know.

  36. #35

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    Lovely guitar.
    Herb is probably my favorite jazz guitarist. I don't like to get into discussions of "the best" but I can see he's the only one I listen to every day.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  37. #36

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    Since this post has arisen, here are some more recent pics.


  38. #37

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    Great pics! The One and Only Herb Ellis 1953 Gibson ES-175


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    1948 Gibson L-7N
    1981 Epi Emperor T (MIJ Matsumoku)
    1998 Epi Zephyr Regent (Peerless)
    1992 Gibson Les Paul Studio
    2004 Gibson SG Special Faded
    2006 Epi G-1275 (MIK, Unsung)
    2013 Squier Affinity Telecaster, BSB
    (among others)

  39. #38

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    Is this the 175 you wanted to sell me?? You never mentioned it was Herb Ellis'!

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by omphalopsychos View Post
    Is this the 175 you wanted to sell me?? You never mentioned it was Herb Ellis'!
    LOL!!!! No!!!!!!

    The one I told you about is the ‘52 that was my first ES-175. That one is in all original condition. Herb’s is definitively not all original.

  41. #40

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    The most legendary 175 there probably is, along with Jim Hall's original one that Metheny owns nowadays. There was a thread about Jim's 175 somewhere here in this forum. The one owned by Herb and the one Jim had are probably the most famous pieces of this iconic guitar. It's interesting to know where these guitars owned by legends end up. It's great that some of these guitars are in good hands owned by musicians rather than collecting dust in a museum or owned by a collector, some who even can't really play at all.

    As in thought, thomastik flatwounds. 12s I suppose. Herb used to use those. He had a bit brighter sound in earlier of his records but changed darker, because of the pickup chance to humbucker. I still can see the original holes of the p90 pickup in the picture of that guitar, next to the current pickup.

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by Epistrophy View Post
    The most legendary 175 there probably is, along with Jim Hall's original one that Metheny owns nowadays. There was a thread about Jim's 175 somewhere here in this forum. The one owned by Herb and the one Jim had are probably the most famous pieces of this iconic guitar. It's interesting to know where these guitars owned by legends end up. It's great that some of these guitars are in good hands owned by musicians rather than collecting dust in a museum or owned by a collector, some who even can't really play at all.

    As in thought, thomastik flatwounds. 12s I suppose. Herb used to use those. He had a bit brighter sound in earlier of his records but changed darker, because of the pickup chance to humbucker. I still can see the original holes of the p90 pickup in the picture of that guitar, next to the current pickup.
    I think Joe Pass' ES175 which he received as a birthday present in the early 1960's would also be among the most iconic instances of this model as well. Ellis and Hall were fabulous players, but Joe Pass was the player who brought both the full-on bop idiom and solo guitar as a normal mode of performance both to the ES175.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    I think Joe Pass' ES175 which he received as a birthday present in the early 1960's would also be among the most iconic instances of this model as well. Ellis and Hall were fabulous players, but Joe Pass was the player who brought both the full-on bop idiom and solo guitar as a normal mode of performance both to the ES175.
    Yes that's true. Pass made it all famous to a solo guitar concept. Anyway, I have enjoyed much watching your videos of playing both 175 VOS and 165 signature model, those remind me of Pass and Ellis. I always get inspired to play with my 165 after hearing it on a good video like yours. I have always dreamed to get the VOS model, but then again, 165 sounds so consistent when amplified, I noticed that in your comparison video 175 vs 165. Anyway, one can always have a totally acoustic archtop for more acoustic character than a 175 with vintage specs.

  44. #43

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    So Metheny has Jim Hall's 175 now? I did not know that, but it makes complete sense. It'd be great if he did a tribute record with it.
    Ignorance is agony.



  45. #44

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    Yes, as far as I remember, Metheny owns the guitar nowadays. Makes a lot of sense. That guitar had a top crack since the picture fell on it, so DAguisto repaired it when it still was owned by Hall himself. Jim said something like his old 175 never sounded as good as before the top repair and the picture accident. Anyway would be nice to see how it sounds nowadays.

  46. #45

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    Is that Herb's finger gunk on the fingerboard? Cool

  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound View Post
    Is that Herb's finger gunk on the fingerboard? Cool
    It is!!!! I’m not going to clean any of the mojo off!

    The strings are actually still Herb’s strings too. I’m not going to change them until I absolutely have to do so.

  48. #47
    One of the coolest ever versions of "Billie's Bounce" was played by that man, on that guitar, on "Texas Swings." As a Western Swing fanatic I love this album, has face-melting jazz steel by Herb Remington, and Willie Nelson plays rhythm!
    "All the music I hear today is just rude, loud noises, whether it's country, rock 'n' roll, middle-of-the-road or whatever. It all sounds the same. Just this extremely loud, horrible sound. It's completely useless to me."
    - Leon Redbone

  49. #48

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    Out of all the famous 175 players IMO Herb’s 175 sounded the best. His 175 was a tone monster. That is the only axe he mostly played from 1953 to 1991 when Gibson gave him his signature model which sounded like crap compared to his 53.
    Well he did play his signature Aria model for a little while but went right back to his trusty 53.

    That 175 is a huge piece of jazz history.

  50. #49

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    These are great comments. I haven’t heard that version of Billie’s Bounce. I will definitely look it up.

    One thing that wows most people I know more than anything else is that Herb played this guitar on an episode of Sanford and Son.


  51. #50

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