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  1. #1

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    This is a Gibson 2016 ES-175 '59 VOS. Is this curvy shape at the neck pup normal or has this thing been warped in some unholy manner?Gibson ES-175 Shape - Normal or Unholy?-side2-jpgGibson ES-175 Shape - Normal or Unholy?-side1-jpgGibson ES-175 Shape - Normal or Unholy?-side3-jpg

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  3. #2

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    just from pics..

    neck angle looks ok...strings seem to be traveling in right range...a shot down to bridge would help..but if the bridge is not super low or jacked way high..i'd think ok

    if you don't like the way the pickup is..reverse the neck pickup ring...and that will enable you to even out the pup better

    tho the polepieces are ok the way it is anyway..bridge pup maybe a tad high..depending on string material

    cheers

    ps- just to make sure..i meant reverse just the neck pup ring..not the pickup itself..you want to maintain the polepieces in the position they are now

  4. #3

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    Yeah, the neck pickup ring looks to be installed in the wrong direction.

  5. #4

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    My Wes L5 is like that.

  6. #5

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    Gibson does not know how to install a pickup ring properly. That isn't new, nor news to many. Turn the ring around, and all will be right with the world.

  7. #6

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    Most of the. ‘59 ES-175 VOSs I’ve seen have some degree of tiltitis of the neck pickup. I’ve had several myself and they all had some degree of skeewampitude.

    On my ‘59 reissue, I spun it around and it flattened things out, but, I ended up putting it back like yours. Here’s why: After fixing it, I found that my pick would hit the pickup a lot more. The clicking and missed notes kinda drove me nuts. Since flipping it back askew, I’m a happy camper. I couldn’t hear much (if any) sonic improvement either. So, like me, my 175 neck pickup is a little “off”.

    Roli.

  8. #7

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    I have that pu and pu ring like that. I have changed the pu (too) many times but never turned the ring anywhere. I vote ’normal’.

  9. #8

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    That is the way ES-175s are and have always been. It is a "feature".

  10. #9

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    Mine looks like this, I have never changed anything.

    Gibson ES-175 Shape - Normal or Unholy?-e080bd1d-46e2-4d55-b2be-11ad6a291ae3-jpg

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    Mine looks like this, I have never changed anything.

    Gibson ES-175 Shape - Normal or Unholy?-e080bd1d-46e2-4d55-b2be-11ad6a291ae3-jpg
    Case closed??

  12. #11
    I am too neanderthal to insert a pix but, my Steve Howe 175 is the same way:

    The neck pickup is angled so the side closest to the neck is closer to the strings, and, an added bonus, the bridge pickup is angled so the bridge side is closer to the strings

    Apparently that may be normal...

  13. #12

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    To my OCD brain that is just wrong.

    I had an early 80’s 175 and I don’t recall how the pickup was set, but if it had been that way I would have run screaming back to the guitar store.

    BTW my 135 doesn’t have as much arch on the top but is installed as grahambop notes and is definitely parallel to the strings.

  14. #13

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    I vote for Normal.

  15. #14

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  16. #15

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    My 2016 Memphis came that way. Flipped the neck ring around and the illusion of a wavy top went away. Sometimes I flip it back in the silly belief that Gibson knew what it was doing but then I lose my faith and put it back so it looks right.

  17. #16

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    I think that Gibson has been using "one size fits all pickup rings" since pickup rings were invented. Sometimes they can just be reversed to sit parallel, other times they need to be sanded. It has always seemed odd to me that they spend no effort on making a 97 cent piece fit correctly on instruments costing thousands of dollars. That said, if that is the biggest issue it can easily be corrected by the user although I wonder how many people try and screw up the finish or break the wiring, etc. Rant over. It's a nice day out.

  18. #17

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    Last time the ES-175 was on the Gibson website, they described this as a "feature". No judgement

  19. #18

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    My 2004 ES-175 came like that. It is how they do things. I reversed mine to appease my sense of order. I also set my pickups a bit lower that Gibson recommends; 1/8" is too high, IMHO, but my pick (when I use one) doesn't click on the pickup. You've got a dandy guitar there, a jazz classic. Slap some flats on that baby and swing!
    Last edited by citizenk74; 02-09-2020 at 05:40 PM.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Longways to Go
    Last time the ES-175 was on the Gibson website, they described this as a "feature". No judgement
    Funny thing is that my ES-390 with mini humbuckers has the same “feature.”

  21. #20

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    the point to having the taller portion of the pickup ring closer to the neck, is that it keeps the adjustable polepieces nearer to the strings at the critical 24th fret harmonic

    cheers

  22. #21

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    It's only a harmonic with open strings and a few other frets, none of which are in much use in most jazz keys.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell
    It's only a harmonic with open strings and a few other frets, none of which are in much use in most jazz keys.
    yeah i know we have all gone down this path before...

    but then why have all major guitar makers historically configured their guitars as such?!!

    not my argument here..just talkin pickup polepiece level!! hah..and why gibson still DOES it!

    cheers

  24. #23

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    My 1961 ES175 has the pickup parallel to the strings and all the older samples I have seen has been the same way. I once recieved a guitar (not Gibson) which had the angled PU due to a reversed PU ring. It hurt my eye so I reversed the ring. I could hear no difference in sound. Also many years ago - taking Wes' example - I reversed the neck PU so the pole pieces faced towards the bridge. FWIW, to my ears it made no audible difference to the sound.

  25. #24

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    When I setup an ES-175, I position the neck pickup surround so the portion under the pickguard is parallel to the pickguard and the pickguard lays flat on it. The other end of the ring may look backwards in that situation. The pickup is adjusted using the springs and tabs so it is parallel to the strings.

    Gibson ES-175 Shape - Normal or Unholy?-es175-pickup-jpg

  26. #25

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    It makes sense to have the pickup ring taller side by the neck when the pickup sit right at the neck after the curvature ends.
    The pickup is then parallel to strings to appease aesthetic ocd.
    It is exactly what happens on L5, Tal etc...
    Doing it on a 175 where the pickup sits farther from the neck right at the curve makes no sense in that regard.
    If I had a 175 with such a "feature" I would have rotate the pickup ring to bring it more parallel to strings.
    I had a Gibson SG with the notorious batwing pickguard where the pickups where screwed with no rings directly on the pickguard causing a similar slant vs the strings because of the neck angle vs the guitar top.
    That was not happening on SGs with regular pickguard and pickup rings where the pups and strings where then parallel to each others.
    Was it changing the tone, probably a bit yes but not because of the angle but because the pole pieces where closer to the strings.

    Simply put, if it itches simply rotate the pickup ring and be happy

  27. #26

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    Sloppy work on Gibson’s part. Les Paul’s and 335s don’t come that way, my L5 had a little of that pathologic tilt and my VOS 175 had it as bad as yours. I read about a Dan Erlewine technique a few years back where you tape sandpaper over the top at the location where the pickup sits and (flipping the ring around) sand it to contour properly before securing it again. worked for me, the L5 needed only a little, 175 a bit more and now they are both parallel to the strings.

    it makes no sense that it would done on purpose. That’s what adjustable pole pieces are for! I think it’s just poor fitment. Those rings are probably meant for a higher volume product like a Les Paul and just get used on 175s as a matter of convenience.

    I can’t say I could hear much difference afterwards, but there IS a difference with a pole piece setup for string balance. If Gibson REALLY was concerned about pickup plane angles, they would build a humbucker with 4 screws for a tilt adjustment instead of the wobbly center screw arrangement currently.

    Bothersome to look at, as well, like having your shirt collar flipped up on one side or when your friend has something green stuck in their teeth.

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by yebdox
    ...Those rings are probably meant for a higher volume product like a Les Paul and just get used on 175s as a matter of convenience...
    My theory is that there has been only one actual supplier of pickup rings for quite sometime now. I tried to find unslanted mini humbucker rings for my ES-390 to fix the slant on my neck pickup. I only found two varieties available. Ones with straight bottoms (perpendicular to the strings) and ones with curved bottoms for archtops. Both come slanted parallel to the strings. I bought the straight bottom type because those are the type that fit an ES-390 and sanded it until it fit parallel to the strings. On my particular guitar just reversing the ring wouldn't work. The angle of the pickup ring was too severe and both positions for the stock ring looked wonky.

  29. #28

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    My L5 has this tilt too and it’s a wonderful guitar. I don’t want to mess with perfection.
    Gibson ES-175 Shape - Normal or Unholy?-36a3d1be-fedc-42ba-95eb-d24b10972c44-jpeg

  30. #29

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    The bottom line is that the pickup will work either way. It's mostly aesthetics, but having both coils the same distance from the strings might theoretically give a better tone, but better tone is entirely subjective. The owner of the guitar is free to set it up however (s)he wants, and it works either way.

  31. #30

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    I would flip that ring around. Many of these guitars have that slant to some degree or another, I think this one is a little extreme and I would flip it. If you have never removed a humbucker from its ring and tried to put it back, be warned, it's not fun. If the spring is way too long, you can snip a bit off to make it easier.

    Last edited by Woody Sound; 02-10-2020 at 10:49 AM.

  32. #31

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    Seeing all these pickup rings the wrong way around is making my OCD go crazy. I can't understand why Gibson get this wrong. It has little effect on the actual sound or functionality of the instrument, it's mostly aesthetic, but to me looks really sloppy on an otherwise fine instrument.

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by entresz
    Seeing all these pickup rings the wrong way around is making my OCD go crazy. I can't understand why Gibson get this wrong. It has little effect on the actual sound or functionality of the instrument, it's mostly aesthetic, but to me looks really sloppy on an otherwise fine instrument.
    That's why it was so satisfying to take the 10 minutes necessary to sand down the extra one I had and swap out the stock ring so that everything looks planned.

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound
    I would flip that ring around. Many of these guitars have that slant to some degree or another, I think this one is a little extreme and I would flip it. If you have never removed a humbucker from its ring and tried to put it back, be warned, it's not fun. If the spring is way too long, you can snip a bit off to make it easier.

    That would be a good time to replace noisy springs with nice, quiet surgical tubing. StewMac stocks it. I'm endeavoring to systematically swap out all my springs for ST, but I'm incredibly lazy, so it's kinda slow.

  35. #34

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    Ok. More evidence that Gibson is not stupid, cheap, nor lazy when it comes to pickup mounting on its archtop electric guitars. Check out forum member Marty Grass’s beautiful and rare Gibson ES-5 Switchmaster:
    Gibson ES-175 Shape - Normal or Unholy?-db391abe-9dfe-4041-9a5a-6e799d646b58-jpeg

    This guitar is a meticulously crafted masterpiece in every way. Check out the tilt of the neck and middle pickup rings. No way this is sloppiness or negligence. Very intentional positioning of the pickups to accommodate the player’s picking hand. I’m convinced it’s a feature, not a defect.

    Here’s my ‘59 ES-175:
    Gibson ES-175 Shape - Normal or Unholy?-278f8f8f-18ba-4e68-ac1e-10bcd88de075-jpeg

    Again: feature, not defect.

    Roli

  36. #35

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    one man's feature is another man's defective bug.

  37. #36

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    I sold the '59 VOS and bought a 2017 standard model. The pup angle had nothing to do with the decision but just fwiw the 2017 doesn't have 'the feature'.
    Attached Images Attached Images Gibson ES-175 Shape - Normal or Unholy?-20200221_214944-jpg 

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by rolijen
    Ok. More evidence that Gibson is not stupid, cheap, nor lazy when it comes to pickup mounting on its archtop electric guitars. Check out forum member Marty Grass’s beautiful and rare Gibson ES-5 Switchmaster:
    Gibson ES-175 Shape - Normal or Unholy?-db391abe-9dfe-4041-9a5a-6e799d646b58-jpeg

    This guitar is a meticulously crafted masterpiece in every way. Check out the tilt of the neck and middle pickup rings. No way this is sloppiness or negligence. Very intentional positioning of the pickups to accommodate the player’s picking hand. I’m convinced it’s a feature, not a defect.

    Here’s my ‘59 ES-175:
    Gibson ES-175 Shape - Normal or Unholy?-278f8f8f-18ba-4e68-ac1e-10bcd88de075-jpeg

    Again: feature, not defect.

    Roli
    +1 I agree with you. I noticed the tilt on the neck pickup of my 2017 -- the last year of ES-175 production so far. I remember a similar thread from 2017 too -- with plenty of flame out !!! Meanwhile my ES-175 continues to play like a dream and has "the tone" which has stopped me shopping for guitars. Three years now, no gas. The folks who designed and built this guitar were not idiots. I don't ever think about the pickup when I play this guitar -- mostly just how I wish I had hit better notes, does it need cleaned?, did I just ding it? -- stuff like that.

    I get the OCD concept of "I need my pickups to look parallel to the strings or I'm going to lose it!" But somehow the tilt is out there and it works just fine.