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  1. #1

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    It's been a while since I recorded with my 125 but I did today and I think the guitar is just marvellous. I did ask myself why the ES 125 is not more popular. I know there are a few guys here that own one but ... it's mostly 175 and even more L5 right?

    I own a few very nice guitars but I realise I could easily live with only the 125.Mine is from 1964 and is the second one I own. I sold a 51 earlier. It's not a fancy or luxurious guitar but the vibe of the 125 is just so cool. They are light, responsive and with the P90 produce classic Gibson sounds. They are not THAT different from a 1950s P90 equipped ES 175 by the way. The differences are mainly cosmetic IMHO. For half the price of a 1950s ES 175 you could get one. Somewhere in the 2k realm and you are the owner of a genuine vintage Gibson P90 equipped guitar. Best vintage bucks money can be if you ask me.

    Martijn van Iterson plays one. But he's an exception.



    DB
    Last edited by DB's Jazz Guitar Blog; 07-07-2019 at 05:06 PM.

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  3. #2

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    DB,

    Mine was a '62. IMO it was every bit as delicious sounding as any P90 equipped ES175 that I have played. It was simply a great jazz guitar. Why don't I have it still? Idiocy.

  4. #3

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    125's rule. All killer, no filler. Guitars for people who play em, not just look at 'em.

  5. #4

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    I've never played a 125. I played a 150, but I really wish it was one with CC's instead of the P90s.

    That said, I think that non cut away look is SO COOOL. I think it screams sophistication more than a 175--and because the 175 is apparently "the jazz guitar", if you play a 125, you'll visually standout among the crowd. I think you could bring a 125 or 150 to a black tie affair and no one would question your coolness. It's just smooth, no points on the body--I don't like the look of florentine cutaways.

    I think that's why the Godin Kingpin also looks like a cool guitar.

    And the 125 is cheaper than a 175--that means more young musicians can get their hands on a Gibson--I like that idea a lot.

  6. #5

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    The longer I play, the more I realize having no cutaway still provides access to 99% of the best tone a guitar has to offer.

  7. #6

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    Sunday afternoon on the back porch with my '56 and battery powered DA5. I learned about Greg Fishman from another thread and was practicing his approach to building diminished scales from dominant chord extensions... which I think is brilliant.

    The tone of the guitar, even with an 8" speaker 5w amp, is inspiring.

    The Gibson ES-125-img_20190707_175229-jpg

  8. #7

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    Marc Ribot agrees! (Although his is a thinline cutaway like mine.)

    The Gibson ES-125-ribot125-jpg

  9. #8

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    I have been hunting for the right one for years but when there is a guitar in the radar I have no money and when I have money there is no guitar on the radar.

    One big reason for the popularity of the ES175 vs ES125 is that all the ES125s are vintage guitars. And buying a vintage guitar is not as easy as buying a new or say 15 years old guitar. You have to look broken necks, possibly collapsing deck, cracked rims, broken truss rods, fake pickups etc etc.

    I think that Gibson should have been making ES-125s all the time, both thins and full bodied, with cutaways and without. But this is only my opinion.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    125's rule. All killer, no filler. Guitars for people who play em, not just look at 'em.
    Well said. Zero snob appeal. Mojo to the max.

    DB
    Last edited by DB's Jazz Guitar Blog; 07-08-2019 at 06:16 AM.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo
    The longer I play, the more I realize having no cutaway still provides access to 99% of the best tone a guitar has to offer.
    True. You get used to the non cutaway very quickly and the 99% seems accurate.

    DB

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Herbie
    One big reason for the popularity of the ES175 vs ES125 is that all the ES125s are vintage guitars. And buying a vintage guitar is not as easy as buying a new or say 15 years old guitar. You have to look broken necks, possibly collapsing deck, cracked rims, broken truss rods, fake pickups etc etc. I think that Gibson should have been making ES-125s all the time, both thins and full bodied, with cutaways and without. But this is only my opinion.
    I read somewhere that the ES 125 was the most produced archtop to come from the Gibson factory. So that makes it a highly succesful model. By no means a rare guitar so not collectible and releatively inexpensive therefore. Even over here in Europe there's always one for sale somewhere.

    As with all vintage guitars, you have to be careful and look out for sunken tops, fretboards that need to be planed and refretted or guitars that need a complete neck reset etc.

    DB

  13. #12

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    I looked for a good ES-125 for years on and off. Plenty around. My luck was not great. Found affordable ones, but mostly with issues I did not care to address. Came across some real beauties in excellent repair. Either absurdly over-priced, or just lacking whatever the "it" is that appeals in old hollowbodies. The one exception was a magic ES-125TC I found for a friend. Great guitar. He loves it.

    The good news is, I realized that Guild's X-50 is similar to the non-cutaway, deep-bodied ES-125. Not quite as deep. Found one and could not be happier. Spectacular sound, not quite the same as the ES-125. I'd still love to own an ES-125.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by mad dog
    I looked for a good ES-125 for years on and off. Plenty around. My luck was not great. Found affordable ones, but mostly with issues I did not care to address.
    My exact 125 quest so far, either beat to hell or in pristine shape but just more $ than I had...I'll find the right one at the right time someday

  15. #14

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    I'll only part with mine if you pry it from my cold, dead hands......


  16. #15

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    Very nice, Little Jay!

    I've been playing this '66 ES-125 CD (full depth, Cutaway, Dual pickup) with set bridge for a little over 10 years now. It is far from being pristine, has scars and upgraded tuners, but it was totally worth its price.



    Both early Jim Hall and Marc Ribot were influential in this purchase, but it ultimately did not work out: I still sound like myself

    I own some other cool guitars, some much fancier than this one, but if there had to be only one... well, the ES-125 might just be it. As my forum handle might suggest.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by ES125er
    Very nice, Little Jay!

    I've been playing this '66 ES-125 CD (full depth, Cutaway, Dual pickup) with set bridge for a little over 10 years now. It is far from being pristine, has scars and upgraded tuners, but it was totally worth its price.



    Both early Jim Hall and Marc Ribot were influential in this purchase, but it ultimately did not work out: I still sound like myself

    I own some other cool guitars, some much fancier than this one, but if there had to be only one... well, the ES-125 might just be it. As my forum handle might suggest.
    A beauty! Maybe I've asked before already, but how is the top supported in these? Is there extra reinforcement to support the posts of tunematic bridge, now that those go directly into the top?

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by DB's Jazz Guitar Blog
    I read somewhere that the ES 125 was the most produced archtop to come from the Gibson factory.
    <snip>
    As with all vintage guitars, you have to be careful and look out for sunken tops, fretboards that need to be planed and refretted or guitars that
    need a complete neck reset
    Old Gibson guitars turn up regularly at shops here in the upper right corner of the USA (New England). Same with 100-year-old Gibson mandolins.

    Regarding the ES-125 and the general case of goods built by hand, some work and some don't for me. I've played a few 125s where the neck profile and low frets made it impossible (for me) to get a clean chord up the neck. A refret might have helped in those cases. It's a case of play before you pay for sure.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Jay
    Maybe I've asked before already, but how is the top supported in these? Is there extra reinforcement to support the posts of tunematic bridge, now that those go directly into the top?
    .

    I can’t say that I’ve wondered much about this before! If it is working...

    I just had a look, and cannot see or touch anything other than the usual parallel bracing... which prevents me from seeing or touching directly under the bridge.
    One thing I immediately noticed when I got the guitar, though, is that the bridge is way lower than your standard floating bridge. I assume that this is associated with a shallower neck angle (?), and less pressure on the top. There are also discs (like washers) at the base of the bridge posts, so that the pressure is not applied on a single point.

    To be honest, I never even tried to see whether the bridge is fully fixed or only pinned. Maybe at the next string change.

    If anyone has more info...

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by DB's Jazz Guitar Blog
    It's been a while since I recorded with my 125 but I did today and I think the guitar is just marvellous. I did ask myself why the ES 125 is not more popular. I know there are a few guys here that own one but ... it's mostly 175 and even more L5 right?

    I own a few very nice guitars but I realise I could easily live with only the 125.Mine is from 1964 and is the second one I own. I sold a 51 earlier. It's not a fancy or luxurious guitar but the vibe of the 125 is just so cool. They are light, responsive and with the P90 produce classic Gibson sounds. They are not THAT different from a 1950s P90 equipped ES 175 by the way. The differences are mainly cosmetic IMHO. For half the price of a 1950s ES 175 you could get one. Somewhere in the 2k realm and you are the owner of a genuine vintage Gibson P90 equipped guitar. Best vintage bucks money can be if you ask me.

    Martijn van Iterson plays one. But he's an exception.



    DB
    That guy could make a twig with a string sound great. I don't know where I've been, but MVI is one of the best, period.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Jay
    (Gibson ES-125, Fender Blues Deluxe)
    Nice playing and lovely tone. Flatwound 12s on there?

  22. #21

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    The 1959 Gibson 125 I got last year put 2 things to rest: my quest for a 175 and my crave for an affordable vintage Gibson!

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinlander
    The 1959 Gibson 125 I got last year put 2 things to rest: my quest for a 175 and my crave for an affordable vintage Gibson!
    The 1965 Gibson 125 I got last year put 2 things to rest: my quest for a 175 and my craving for an affordable vintage Gibson. Mine is all original, in excellent condition, bought at a great price, but with no pickguard--which I didn't want anyway.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Neverisky
    Nice playing and lovely tone. Flatwound 12s on there?
    Yup! Thomastik Infield Swings .012

  25. #24

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    I don't know if we are allowed to discuss prices here (some forums forbid it, for unknown reasons), but what's a "good price" be for an ES-125?

    I guess we need a couple of categories:

    All-original, well-kept (not collector's/museum grade)
    All-original, shows wear (checking, wear, but no damage)
    Good condition, but not original (I see one for sale that has obviously been re-fretted, and has an SD Antiquity P90 in it...)

    I realize a "good price" is "what I'm willing to pay" lol, just wondering what the market is these days...

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by ruger9
    I don't know if we are allowed to discuss prices here (some forums forbid it, for unknown reasons), but what's a "good price" be for an ES-125?
    Over here in Europe asking prices are mostly between 2 - 2.5k euro. In the US (sometimes way) under 2k dollar I'd think. Reverb shows a price range that seems ridiculously low to me.

    DB