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  1. #1

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    Despite being considered one of the iconic jazz boxes, the ES-175 doesn’t seem to appear on a huge number of recordings from the classic jazz guitar era, at least by my recollection. Of course there are the famous Joe Pass Virtuoso sessions, and Pat Metheny’s early records, although calling that a classic jazz sound is a stretch.

    But Barney Kessel, Johnny Smith, Kenny Burrell, Tal Farlow, George Benson, Grant Greene, etc. all used different guitars.

    I was wondering if anyone could point toward some other great jazz records made exclusively with the ES-175?

    Here’s a taste of Joe tearing up the fretboard—one of the reasons I more or less gave up guitar in the 80’s, cause I realized I was never gonna play like this...(don’t worry, I picked it up again, but my 1980 ES-175 is long gone).

    “Without music, life would be a mistake”--Friedrich Nietzsche

    Current lineup: Gibson ES-135 ('02), Peerless Sunset, Harmony Brilliant Cutaway ('64), Godin 5th Avenue, Alvarez AC60 A/E classical, Kay K37 ('56), Fender Squier VM Jazz bass, several ukes. Amps: Fishman Artist, Fender SCXD, Pignose 7-100.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    My first JP album was Live at Montreaux. Pretty sure that was his ES-175, the old one with the mahogany back & sides. Sounded pretty good to me.
    Best regards, k

  4. #3

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    OK I just realized that Jim Hall is of course associated with the 175–he started out with an LP, but got a 175 in 1956 and played it until he got his first D’Aquisto. There are a lot more pictures of him with the D’Aquisto than the 175.

    Anyway, here he is playing live:





    I would imagine most of his late-50’s-60’s recordings were with the 175, including the ones with Bill Evans. I think he played the 175 through the 70’s as well.
    “Without music, life would be a mistake”--Friedrich Nietzsche

    Current lineup: Gibson ES-135 ('02), Peerless Sunset, Harmony Brilliant Cutaway ('64), Godin 5th Avenue, Alvarez AC60 A/E classical, Kay K37 ('56), Fender Squier VM Jazz bass, several ukes. Amps: Fishman Artist, Fender SCXD, Pignose 7-100.

  5. #4

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    I believe Wes’ ‘The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery’ is 175, before he switched to the L5.

  6. #5

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  7. #6

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    i think i remember reading somewhere that 'Incredible Jazz Guitar' was
    actually cut with an L-4 that belonged to Kenny Burrell, but i can't remember
    the source. The L-4 looks quite similar to the ES-175 (including the parallelogram
    fingerboard inlays), but has a carved top like the L-5.
    But then, you all knew that bit already...

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Herb Ellis
    Well Herb Ellis was associated with the 165–slight quibble I know. I don’t know if he played a 175 per se much?

    Classic 175 recordings-6d9a5b53-ca33-4231-b913-933e6bec9ec2-jpeg
    “Without music, life would be a mistake”--Friedrich Nietzsche

    Current lineup: Gibson ES-135 ('02), Peerless Sunset, Harmony Brilliant Cutaway ('64), Godin 5th Avenue, Alvarez AC60 A/E classical, Kay K37 ('56), Fender Squier VM Jazz bass, several ukes. Amps: Fishman Artist, Fender SCXD, Pignose 7-100.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Jeff View Post
    Well Herb Ellis was associated with the 165–slight quibble I know. I don’t know if he played a 175 per se much?

    Classic 175 recordings-6d9a5b53-ca33-4231-b913-933e6bec9ec2-jpeg

    He did.

    The 165 was his sig and only debuted in 1991 as basically a reissue of the single pickup 175.

  10. #9

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    Joe Pass's For Django and Joy Spring were done with ES175. Most of his recordings from about 1964 to the Ibanez deal were on the ES175.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by dogletnoir View Post
    i think i remember reading somewhere that 'Incredible Jazz Guitar' was
    actually cut with an L-4 that belonged to Kenny Burrell, but i can't remember
    the source. The L-4 looks quite similar to the ES-175 (including the parallelogram
    fingerboard inlays), but has a carved top like the L-5.
    But then, you all knew that bit already...
    Pickup placement if the same guitar most likely indicate a 175 and with a P90 at least on that picture :

    An L4 would have the pickup directly by the neck
    ...every note has an origin and a destination...
    - Tal Farlow

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    He did.

    The 165 was his sig and only debuted in 1991 as basically a reissue of the single pickup 175.
    Ah I see.
    “Without music, life would be a mistake”--Friedrich Nietzsche

    Current lineup: Gibson ES-135 ('02), Peerless Sunset, Harmony Brilliant Cutaway ('64), Godin 5th Avenue, Alvarez AC60 A/E classical, Kay K37 ('56), Fender Squier VM Jazz bass, several ukes. Amps: Fishman Artist, Fender SCXD, Pignose 7-100.

  13. #12

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    Herb Ellis played the same 1953 175 till his Herb Ellis 165 came out in 1991 and he still played his '53 on the side after that.

  14. #13

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    All those guys were short. Joe, Herb, Jim, Wes. The ES-175 was logical.

  15. #14

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    Jimmy Raney used a Norlin 175 at some point, could be on some of his later recordings possibly.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt View Post
    All those guys were short. Joe, Herb, Jim, Wes. The ES-175 was logical.
    Not sure I get your point. I’m 6’4” and prefer a full sized hollow body over my GB10. Guys with shorter stature/arms usually complain about the fatigue of playing with a 17 or 18” body. What would have been the alternative, a super 400? A 330 would be more comfortable for someone with shorter reach, I would think.
    It all works out in the end; if it's not working out, it's not the end.

  17. #16

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    He's being quite 'sentimental', is Mr. Hall.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinlander View Post
    Pickup placement if the same guitar most likely indicate a 175 and with a P90 at least on that picture :

    An L4 would have the pickup directly by the neck
    i looked into it a bit more, and Wes did play an L-4 with a CC pickup at one point apparently...
    but the story i'm thinking of was actually this:
    Wes Montgomery played a Gibson L-7 on the recordings of The Wes Montgomery Trio (1959).
    The L-7 was loaned to him by Kenny Burrell, together with a Fender Deluxe amp.
    (from How To Play In The Style of Wes Montgomery)
    The same source states categorically that IJG was done with the ES-175.
    Sorry to muddy the waters... my apologies.
    Last edited by dogletnoir; 07-04-2019 at 12:45 PM.

  19. #18

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    Jonathan Kreisberg- almost all of his recorded output is with the ES-175.

    I believe that the ES-175 Wes used for his first album actually belonged to Kenny Burrell, who loaned it to him for the recording along with an amp.
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  20. #19

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    I think ‘Jim Hall Live!’ was on a 175, there’s a photo of it on the additional CDs which were released recently (Vol 2-4):
    Attached Images Attached Images Classic 175 recordings-dfb37062-cb67-4158-8afc-290f7eb12bec-jpg 

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by yebdox View Post
    Not sure I get your point. I’m 6’4” and prefer a full sized hollow body over my GB10. Guys with shorter stature/arms usually complain about the fatigue of playing with a 17 or 18” body. What would have been the alternative, a super 400? A 330 would be more comfortable for someone with shorter reach, I would think.
    My point is that the ES-175 is a smaller guitar. Smaller body with shorter scale length, as compared to the L5, Johnny Smith, and especially the Super 400.

    Short players tend to have smaller hands, fingers, arms, torso, legs. Taller players the opposite.

    So generally speaking, smaller body guitars are more comfortable for smaller body humans.

    Is the opposite true? To an extent it is, yes. For example, I have long fingers so playing those "bunchy" voicings in the middle the higher regions of the fretboard on a shorter scale guitar is unnecessarily difficult for me. A longer scale gives my fingers more breathing room. And a small body guitar tends to make me hunch over for it, while a larger body guitar influences me to sit up straight.

    But people vary in size, and that's one big reason why guitars are made in 14', 15', 16', 17', and 18' lower bouts, with scale lengths of 23.5", 24.5", 25', 25.25", 25.5" etc.

    My point is that the ES-175 was/is played by guitarists for reasons other than sound and feedback resistance.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt View Post
    My point is that the ES-175 is a smaller guitar. Smaller body with shorter scale length, as compared to the L5, Johnny Smith, and especially the Super 400.

    Short players tend to have smaller hands, fingers, arms, torso, legs. Taller players the opposite.

    So generally speaking, smaller body guitars are more comfortable for smaller body humans.

    Is the opposite true? To an extent it is, yes. For example, I have long fingers so playing those "bunchy" voicings in the middle the higher regions of the fretboard on a shorter scale guitar is unnecessarily difficult for me. A longer scale gives my fingers more breathing room. And a small body guitar tends to make me hunch over for it, while a larger body guitar influences me to sit up straight.

    But people vary in size, and that's one big reason why guitars are made in 14', 15', 16', 17', and 18' lower bouts, with scale lengths of 23.5", 24.5", 25', 25.25", 25.5" etc.

    My point is that the ES-175 was/is played by guitarists for reasons other than sound and feedback resistance.
    Likely also cost was a factor. The ES175 was the lowest price "pro-level" guitar Gibson produced at the time, aimed at the work-a-day electric guitarist.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  23. #22

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    Philip Catherine is another 175 lover.

  24. #23

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    and Joe Diorio too.

  25. #24

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    This is classic:

    The entire album sent me out for a 175/Polytone.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greentone View Post
    This is classic:

    The entire album sent me out for a 175/Polytone.
    Don't the liner notes actually describe Joe and Herb sitting close with their ES175 guitars? Seems like I remember that from one of their recordings.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt View Post
    My point is that the ES-175 is a smaller guitar. Smaller body with shorter scale length, as compared to the L5, Johnny Smith, and especially the Super 400.

    Short players tend to have smaller hands, fingers, arms, torso, legs. Taller players the opposite.

    So generally speaking, smaller body guitars are more comfortable for smaller body humans.

    Is the opposite true? To an extent it is, yes. For example, I have long fingers so playing those "bunchy" voicings in the middle the higher regions of the fretboard on a shorter scale guitar is unnecessarily difficult for me. A longer scale gives my fingers more breathing room. And a small body guitar tends to make me hunch over for it, while a larger body guitar influences me to sit up straight.

    But people vary in size, and that's one big reason why guitars are made in 14', 15', 16', 17', and 18' lower bouts, with scale lengths of 23.5", 24.5", 25', 25.25", 25.5" etc.

    My point is that the ES-175 was/is played by guitarists for reasons other than sound and feedback resistance.
    I do find chording quite difficult on mine, especially with the silly skinny 60s neck.

  28. #27

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    Are there any current generation big name players who use ES 175? Current big names seem to play either custom luthier build big hollows or just solids or semis.

  29. #28

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    Django Reinhardt's brother, two sons and grandson all play/played 175's. Had he lived longer, i believe Django would have as well.

    Already mentioned were:

    Joe Pass
    Jim Hall
    Pat Metheny
    Herb Ellis
    Kenny Burell
    Wes Montgomery
    Joe Diorio
    Jimmy Raney
    Jonathan Kriesberg
    Phillip Catherine

    175 Players not yet mentioned:

    Toots Thielemans
    Howard Roberts
    Rene Thomas
    Trefor Owen
    Peter Bernstein
    Steve Howe

    As a 175 player myself, I am pretty sure that I am in good company
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinnyv1k View Post
    Herb Ellis played the same 1953 175 till his Herb Ellis 165 came out in 1991 and he still played his '53 on the side after that.
    Actually he played an Aria Pro II PE-175 in the late 70s-early 80s. But you're right that he played the '53 175 for the majority of his career.

    Classic 175 recordings-screen-shot-2019-05-05-1-39-04-pm-png
    On the Turntable: Joe Morris - Colorfield, Albert Ayler - The Hilversum Session
    Guitar:
    Fender AVRI '59 w/ TI Swing 11s and Tyson Tone pickups
    Through: Polytone Mini Brute II

  31. #30

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    Besides Two for the Road, 7 Come 11 is classic album that features Ellis/Pass playing ES175 guitars together. Fabulous live album.

  32. #31

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  33. #32

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    Kenny Burrell:
    Attached Images Attached Images Classic 175 recordings-726aaf94-d47c-4427-8c90-84c747b155b0-jpg 

  34. #33

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    Ronny Jordan played a Norlin 175. I even think it's an early 80s mahogany one, exactly like mine. I always had a soft spot for him. Lots of soul in his playing ...

    All his early albums were recorded with his 175.

    DB


  35. #34

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    Another 175 player :
    Richard Ring
    a great jazz guitarist, music teacher in college and also husband of renown singer Ranee Lee.
    Artist | Justin Time
    Unfortunately he passed away last summer!
    ...every note has an origin and a destination...
    - Tal Farlow

  36. #35

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    A little more modern, but it sounds great imo.


  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger View Post
    Django Reinhardt's brother, two sons and grandson all play/played 175's. Had he lived longer, i believe Django would have as well.

    Already mentioned were:

    Joe Pass
    Jim Hall
    Pat Metheny
    Herb Ellis
    Kenny Burell
    Wes Montgomery
    Joe Diorio
    Jimmy Raney
    Jonathan Kriesberg
    Phillip Catherine

    175 Players not yet mentioned:

    Toots Thielemans
    Howard Roberts
    Rene Thomas
    Trefor Owen
    Peter Bernstein
    Steve Howe

    As a 175 player myself, I am pretty sure that I am in good company
    Yep, no doubt, but then two players on that list are known for not only great playing, but terrific guitar sound - Wes and Kenny.

    And that would be on the L5 and Super 400 or other carved top.

    Accurate, or inaccurate?

  38. #37

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  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt View Post
    Yep, no doubt, but then two players on that list are known for not only great playing, but terrific guitar sound - Wes and Kenny.

    And that would be on the L5 and Super 400 or other carved top.

    Accurate, or inaccurate?
    if we want to be completely accurate, those two players have great tone on any guitar they have recorded with.
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  40. #39

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    Yes on Kenny and Wes.

    No on Pete B. I still prefer his sound AND his playing on his Zeilder--that sound is... yeooooowzas!

    I'm trying to gather everything he did in Larry Golding's organ trio. Man! Larry Goldings--I know this forum is about guitar--but holey schmoleys! Larry Goldings could make ANYONE sound good. Larry Goldings could make ME sound good!

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by DB's Jazz Guitar Blog View Post
    Ronny Jordan played a Norlin 175. I even think it's an early 80s mahogany one, exactly like mine. I always had a soft spot for him. Lots of soul in his playing ...
    Ronny Jordan - So What (Miles Davis) - Veojam

    My favourite thing by him ever!
    Pure gold!

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by DB's Jazz Guitar Blog View Post
    Ronny Jordan played a Norlin 175. I even think it's an early 80s mahogany one, exactly like mine. I always had a soft spot for him. Lots of soul in his playing ...
    So What - Live
    Ronny Jordan - So What (Miles Davis) - Veojam
    My favourite thing by him ever!
    Pure gold!

  43. #42

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    Everything by my favourite jazz guitarist of all time:
    “When you’re creating your own ...., man, even the sky ain’t the limit.”
    Miles Davis

  44. #43

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    Classic 175 recordings-h-rob-jpg
    "In the 1950's Roberts acquired a Gibson ES-175 with a single neck pickup. This was his main guitar throughout the '50's. He had a second ES-175 with a square hole cut into the guitars back. No one knows why he did this to the instrument."


  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    Yes on Kenny and Wes.

    No on Pete B. I still prefer his sound AND his playing on his Zeilder--that sound is... yeooooowzas!

    I'm trying to gather everything he did in Larry Golding's organ trio. Man! Larry Goldings--I know this forum is about guitar--but holey schmoleys! Larry Goldings could make ANYONE sound good. Larry Goldings could make ME sound good!
    There is even a video concert of James Taylor in which he has Larry Goldings on piano... it is just superb.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  46. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger View Post
    if we want to be completely accurate, those two players have great tone on any guitar they have recorded with.
    But not the same tone. I also think that Wes' tone improved in his career, due to improved technique, but that's another tale.

  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt View Post
    But not the same tone. I also think that Wes' tone improved in his career, due to improved technique, but that's another tale.
    Certainly, I cannot argue that the three iconic jazz guitars (ES-175, L-5 and Super 400 CES) have different tones. IMO, all are magnificent assuming one has a good example and a good skill set (I own good examples of all three and have a modicum of skill that gets great tone from all of them so long as they are played through a proper amp).

    I do like Wes' later tone better than some early recordings. His one pickup L-5 along with his thumb technique and a solid state amp created a superb jazz guitar tone.

    Kenny Burell's D'Angelico New Yorker through a Fender tube amp is another great example of jazz guitar tone.

    But all of that said, Joe Pass got a tone with a 175 on those WPJ albums (think "For Django") that is second to none.

    A good Gibson ES-175 is all the jazz guitar a jazz guitarist needs.
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  48. #47

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    are those types of tones mostly mids?

    the closest i can get is with tone knob rolled off, treble and bass at 9:00, mids at 3:00. still i find something not quite there. I have a henrikson

    Here's what i sound like:


    I like my tone, but listening to these clips I wonder if I can get something more classic
    White belt
    My Youtube

  49. #48

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    Stringswinger,

    Joe Pass does sound incredible on "For Django." It is different, but beautiful, in comparison with his 70s tone on Concord Jazz and Pablo records.

    I like both sounds.

  50. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    There is even a video concert of James Taylor in which he has Larry Goldings on piano... it is just superb.
    Goldings has been with Taylor for years

  51. #50

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    Well if we include Kreisberg we also have to include early Metheny on the album Bright Size Life that invented the jazz guitar sound almost everyone’s been using for 40 years...