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  1. #1

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    List below all the design failures that you think Gibson made.
    Here’s my starter.
    (note: I am a Gibson fan)
    The ES 175 and it’s siblings should have had the neck pickup butt up against the fretboard end. Like it does on all the expensive models. Why did they do that?

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  3. #2

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    It is under the 24th fret harmonic

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by fws6
    It is under the 24th fret harmonic
    So?

  5. #4

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    I disagree. I think they should have had 22 frets instead of 20 like most other guitars. The last two frets would've been mostly useless and would get in the way of the pick but it'd stop misleading people into thinking that ES175 neck pickup up is closer to the bridge than other 22 fret guitars.

    If anything that makes ES 175 sound warmer as it facilitates picking closer to the neck with ease instead of the area between the pickups.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 05-11-2020 at 07:52 AM.

  6. #5

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    ES 175 neck pickup placement is pretty much the same as the neck pickup placement of Telecasters and Stratocaters if you consider neck pickup placement with respect to the overall string length (which is what really matters for tone). Also Les Paul's have the same scale length but have 22 frets so pickup placement is again pretty much the same.

    So the real question is why should Gibson have put the ES 175 neck pickup further away from the bridge?

  7. #6

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    How about things Gibson (IMO) got right that snooty traditionalists ignored and good ideas went away? Players that hear with their eyes should play the harmonica or violin... they're all the same without anything visual to bitch about :-)

    1. The "snake and hockey" stick heads.

    2. Large DC hollow bodies like the ES-150 (ES-335 shape)

    3. Double cut Les Pauls

    4. Semi hollow bodies with an access plate (ES-333 style) in the rear.

    5. Single cut semi hollow body models

    6. Stereo

    7. Semi hollow Les Pauls

    8. FB's without fret markers like the Pat Martino Custom

    9. Flat top "semi" (one piece back sides) like the Vegas, and Midtown

    10 Anything with odd "F" holes

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    I disagree. I think they should have had 22 frets instead of 20 like most other guitars. The last two frets would've been mostly useless and would get in the way of the pick but it'd stop misleading people into thinking that ES175 neck pickup up is closer to the bridge than other 22 fret guitars.
    How many frets does the L4CES have? 20 I reckon. So the pickup is significantly closer to the bridge. Personally I think that would improve the tone. (But plenty of 175 players make a good tone). It just bugs me that they didn’t place it where it should be. To confirm that note how every carved top has the the pickup as close as possible to the 20th fret. Like the L5 for example. So Gibson confirms my point I think.

  9. #8

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    The point I'm making is that the ES 175 neck pickup placement is not wrong or an odd design flaw, it is the common standard.

    Carved guitars are different animals. They are generally brighter and more articulate allowing more extreme pickup placement towards the neck without getting muddy. Moreover pickup placement closer to the neck allows better resonation of the carved top.

    I mean Gibson hires really good luthiers. They don't come up with their designs by monkeys pushing buttons as many seem to imply around the internet.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 05-12-2020 at 08:16 AM.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by GNAPPI
    How about things Gibson (IMO) got right that snooty traditionalists ignored and good ideas went away? Players that hear with their eyes should play the harmonica or violin... they're all the same without anything visual to bitch about :-)

    1. The "snake and hockey" stick heads.

    2. Large DC hollow bodies like the ES-150 (ES-335 shape)

    3. Double cut Les Pauls

    4. Semi hollow bodies with an access plate (ES-333 style) in the rear.

    5. Single cut semi hollow body models

    6. Stereo

    7. Semi hollow Les Pauls

    8. FB's without fret markers like the Pat Martino Custom

    9. Flat top "semi" (one piece back sides) like the Vegas, and Midtown

    10 Anything with odd "F" holes
    1. No and no

    2. Not my cup of tea. People like the Barney Kessel though.

    3. The SG has been very popular (understatement)

    4. Yes! Should be on every guitar. Plus plug and play wiring. It’s not the 1950’s anymore.

    5. Yep—my 135 would agree

    6. Don’t have a dog in this fight

    7. This seems to me pretty unnecessary, given the number of other semis out there. I doubt it does much sound-wise, but I’ve never tried one, so can’t say with authority. The semi Teles weigh less, but without a huge change in tone.

    8. OK with me. Are they on the side? Cause I have a problem with NO fret markers.

    9. Yep good idea. Remember that Carvin model we were discussing a few years ago? Good idea to hold down weight and increase resonance.

    10. I am kind of a purist about the F-holes. My Harmony has super-cool F-holes in 3 parts—nice art-deco cutout design. But cat’s eye or ginormous? Not a fan.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    The point I'm making is that the ES 175 neck pickup placement is not wrong or an odd design flaw, it is the common standard.
    Carved guitars are different animals. The are generally brighter and more articulate allowing more extreme pickup placement. Moreover pickup placement closer to the neck allows better resonation of the carved top.

    I mean Gibson hires really good luthiers. They don't come up with their designs by monkeys pushing buttons as many seem to imply around the internet.
    Unlike Gretsch, which came up with designs by Monkees actually playing guitars.


  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    ES 175 neck pickup placement is pretty much the same as the neck pickup placement of Telecasters and Stratocaters if you consider neck pickup placement with respect to the overall string length (which is what really matters for tone). Also Les Paul's have the same scale length but have 22 frets so pickup placement is again pretty much the same.

    So the real question is why should Gibson have put the ES 175 neck pickup further away from the bridge?
    Because this is a jazz guitar forum and I am talking about jazz guitars.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by md54
    Because this is a jazz guitar forum and I am talking about jazz guitars.
    There is no such thing as jazz guitar as an instrument. If there were, it wouldn't be ridiculous to consider ES 175 to be the canonical example.

  14. #13

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    I like that gap because that’s where I tend to pick.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by md54
    List below all the design failures that you think Gibson made.
    Here’s my starter.
    (note: I am a Gibson fan)
    The ES 175 and it’s siblings should have had the neck pickup butt up against the fretboard end. Like it does on all the expensive models. Why did they do that?
    To my ears the 175 sounds best when the pick spot is located between the pickup and the fretboard. I like it not being there when I pick and I keep the pickup pretty low. The pickup located at the end of the fingerboard would not change the overall tone to any degree. These are just my opinions of course but the model has been around a long time and if this was deemed a design failure they have had plenty of time to change it.

  16. #15

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    Name 1 respected jazz guitarist who built a reputation playing a strat.
    I agree that the 175 is the archetypal jazzer. Doesn’t mean it couldn’t have been better.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by md54
    Name 1 respected jazz guitarist who built a reputation playing a strat.
    I agree that the 175 is the archetypal jazzer. Doesn’t mean it couldn’t have been better.
    Strat, Tele and varios other (non-jazz?) guitars with proportionally near identical neck pickup placement as ES 175 have been used by great jazz players. But I'm just gonna leave this one alone. I guess we agree to disagree on ES 175 neck pickup placement needing improvement.

    It is an opinionated thread, so you'll get opinionated responses. Nothing bad about that
    Last edited by Tal_175; 05-11-2020 at 11:23 AM.

  18. #17

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    It seems like criticizing a Gibson 175 is a bit like saying Mother Teresa had a dodgy reputation on this forum!
    I still think the pickup would produce a warmer tone closer to the fretboard. I also seem to remember reading somewhere that it was supposed to be but they found that the original p90 wouldn't sit high enough to the strings so they moved it backwards and it just became standard after. I cant deny that it has been used by many great jazzers but could it have been just a tad better?

    So! Haha. How many of you think the Byrdland would have been a bigger seller with a 24 3/4 or even a 24 inch scale rather than the excessively short 23 1/2? The George Gobel's desirability kind of backs me up on this one guys. Actually, (starting a whole new argument) 25 inch probably would be the best compromise for all of Gibsons electrics........ in my opinion! Just think how much money they could have saved by adopting the 25'' scale throughout production. It's Bob Benedetto's preferred scale as well so I'm not alone.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by fws6
    It is under the 24th fret harmonic
    I never understood this old wives' tale. What does it have to do with the fretted notes and chords that most of us play? If you play around the middle length of the fretboard, the closer the pickup is to the end of the neck the better.

  20. #19

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    They should have left the input jack in the butt end of the guitar as in the original ES-150s. Probably 100,000 jack repairs out there, mostly ugly.

    Full depth laminates. Tougher call. I have owned plenty, and you could make the argument that they have a deeper, fuller sound plugged in (as would a noncutaway), but they are also more prone to feedback and a bit less comfortable to play, especially standing up. The 175 would be a better guitar IMHO if it was an inch or so shallower, as Gretsch and Guild did with their 175 style guitars. The same argument can be made about the L5CES, which while a carved top, is not an acoustic guitar, and does not need the body depth.

    F holes on CES guitars, for the same reasons. Just creates an aftermarket for f hole plugs.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by md54
    It seems like criticizing a Gibson 175 is a bit like saying Mother Teresa had a dodgy reputation on this forum!
    I still think the pickup would produce a warmer tone closer to the fretboard. I also seem to remember reading somewhere that it was supposed to be but they found that the original p90 wouldn't sit high enough to the strings so they moved it backwards and it just became standard after. I cant deny that it has been used by many great jazzers but could it have been just a tad better?

    So! Haha. How many of you think the Byrdland would have been a bigger seller with a 24 3/4 or even a 24 inch scale rather than the excessively short 23 1/2? The George Gobel's desirability kind of backs me up on this one guys. Actually, (starting a whole new argument) 25 inch probably would be the best compromise for all of Gibsons electrics........ in my opinion! Just think how much money they could have saved by adopting the 25'' scale throughout production. It's Bob Benedetto's preferred scale as well so I'm not alone.
    I don't think that P90 thing is correct. The ES175 has a very odd arch on the top. Moving the pickup toward the bridge would not raise it closer to the strings on the 16" ES models I have access to. The arch is such that some people think the top has collapsed, but it's more a kind of odd slope. So I don't think the P90 location would have been much of an issue. Maybe it was, I can't say, but I think the geometry works out anywhere there.

    My own belief is that when they made the ES175 they just used the ES125 as a template and gave it a cutaway. Everything else they left alone, including the pickup location.

  22. #21

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    All this talk about "improving " the 175, yet the sound of the 175 seems to be what 80-90% of the people on this forum are after!

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by md54
    It seems like criticizing a Gibson 175 is a bit like saying Mother Teresa had a dodgy reputation on this forum!
    No subject should be a taboo on this forum. Except of course the subject of ES 175
    Last edited by Tal_175; 05-11-2020 at 11:33 AM.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound
    I never understood this old wives' tale. What does it have to do with the fretted notes and chords that most of us play? If you play around the middle length of the fretboard, the closer the pickup is to the end of the neck the better.
    Couldn't agree more! The guitar world is full of mythology and codswallop.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    All this talk about "improving " the 175, yet the sound of the 175 seems to be what 80-90% of the people on this forum are after!
    True but if the pickup was in the better position (IMO) perhaps 99% would prefer the 175 as their choice. Nothing is perfect. Nothing is sacred here. It’s just a guitar guys.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by md54
    True but if the pickup was in the better position (IMO) perhaps 99% would prefer the 175 as their choice. Nothing is perfect. Nothing is sacred here. It’s just a guitar guys.
    You're missing my point. Many people love the sound of the 175 as is. If you change things, it won't sound like a 175 anymore. No "sacred" bs about it. I'm not saying you can't change it, I'm saying if you change it, you change the sound people are looking for that there's literally 500 threads about here.

    Of course, I always love a good "I bought this guitar that's not a 175, how do I get it sound like joe pass on joy spring?" thread

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    You're missing my point. Many people love the sound of the 175 as is. If you change things, it won't sound like a 175 anymore. No "sacred" bs about it. I'm not saying you can't change it, I'm saying if you change it, you change the sound people are looking for that there's literally 500 threads about here.

    Of course, I always love a good "I bought this guitar that's not a 175, how do I get it sound like joe pass on joy spring?" thread
    Also, Gibson has a 16" guitar with the 175 shape and the pickup at the end of the fingerboard, it's the L4ces. If it's really that significant to move the pickup, I wonder why L4ces's aren't just overwhelming the market.

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    Also, Gibson has a 16" guitar with the 175 shape and the pickup at the end of the fingerboard, it's the L4ces. If it's really that significant to move the pickup, I wonder why L4ces's aren't just overwhelming the market.
    Probably the vast price difference I suspect.

  29. #28

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    Leaving the ES-175 PUP placement aside (I have three 175's and the design works for me. If I can meet the cat who engineered it in the afterlife, I'm going to buy him a drink ), I think Gibson has made mistakes like all folks in business do. IMO, the biggest one is dropping archtop production. Even if a market has changed, it seems like you still want to be in the sector that created the reputation of your company.

    Gibson made some production changes when the bean counters made profits more important than quality in the mid 60's through the mid 70's. Most of these were abandoned due to the market not reacting well. For the most part, I am glad that they abandoned those changes (I do not like 14 degree pegheads, volutes, amplifier knobs, bright pickups, etc.) But I like one change they made in those times that was reversed, plating in chrome rather than straight nickel. Chrome is more maintenance free, and by nature, I am somewhat lazy.

  30. #29

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    There was that late custom 175 for Joe Pass, don’t know why they didn’t produce it, it might have been quite popular?

    Things Gibson  never got right!-df8d9d1c-0e55-40e8-80f1-2e937c37b726-jpeg

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    You're missing my point. Many people love the sound of the 175 as is. If you change things, it won't sound like a 175 anymore. No "sacred" bs about it. I'm not saying you can't change it, I'm saying if you change it, you change the sound people are looking for that there's literally 500 threads about here.

    Of course, I always love a good "I bought this guitar that's not a 175, how do I get it sound like joe pass on joy spring?" thread
    Gibson has changed many things about the 175 from day one. Pretty much everything from pickups to laminate thickness etc etc. Too many to list.
    Joe Pass had a custom shop 175 style guitar made for him to his exact requirements at the end of his career.Thinner body and the pickup right against the fretboard. He is well documented and photographed playing this guitar before his death. It was absolutely his choice of features.
    So maybe Joe Pass was looking for a better Joe Pass sound than the one he had on Joy Spring!

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    There was that late custom 175 for Joe Pass, don’t know why they didn’t produce it, it might have been quite popular?

    Things Gibson  never got right!-df8d9d1c-0e55-40e8-80f1-2e937c37b726-jpeg
    Heritage also makes a similar spec guitar as that custom 175 except it's carved maple. These guitars have shallower depth which would make them brighter with less lows than the full depth ES 175. So the pickup placement flush to the neck is to compensate for that I presume. Just my guess. Sadowsky Jim Hall is also a similar concept to this custom model.

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by md54
    Name 1 respected jazz guitarist who built a reputation playing a strat.
    I agree that the 175 is the archetypal jazzer. Doesn’t mean it couldn’t have been better.
    Allen Holdsworth and Steve Morse have both played Strat-style guitars extensively during their career. (Though Morse started out on a FrankenTele with at least 5 pickups...) I also recall that Mike Stern started out on a Strat, but I can only find pictures of him with a Tele or Yamaha Pacifica. I'm sure there are a lot more I am not thinking of right now.



    Quote Originally Posted by md54
    It seems like criticizing a Gibson 175 is a bit like saying Mother Teresa had a dodgy reputation on this forum!
    Is Christopher Hitchens a member of JGO?

    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    My own belief is that when they made the ES175 they just used the ES125 as a template and gave it a cutaway. Everything else they left alone, including the pickup location.
    That makes sense to me, and I believe I have read that somewhere. All they did was add a cutaway--no need to set up new molds and jigs. Gibson was nothing if not resourceful--used woods left over from discontinued models in existing models, etc.

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by md54
    Gibson has changed many things about the 175 from day one. Pretty much everything from pickups to laminate thickness etc etc. Too many to list.
    Joe Pass had a custom shop 175 style guitar made for him to his exact requirements at the end of his career.Thinner body and the pickup right against the fretboard. He is well documented and photographed playing this guitar before his death. It was absolutely his choice of features.
    So maybe Joe Pass was looking for a better Joe Pass sound than the one he had on Joy Spring!
    No doubt I'm in a minority, but I like the sound of Joe's old 1960's ES175 better than that of the new custom model. Just me, but I like Joy Spring, For Django, etc. more.

  35. #34

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    Well they seem to be doing something right,since they've sold and co tinge to sell so many guitars! I think with all of the great boutique and smaller guitar companies, if you can't find what you want you should look to play another instrument !

  36. #35

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    Gnappi,
    Nice list and point(s) but I feel rather strongly that if it's semi hollow, it's the antithesis of what makes a LP a LP.

  37. #36

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    For me that would be the use of robot tuners

  38. #37

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    I hadn't thought of Morse as a jazzer, and still don't. Stern played a Strat with Miles, saw that band a couple of times, more funk-rock than jazz, altho Sterno was playing some very cool stuff. Holdsworth likewise: jazz-prog-rock, but I don't think that the fact that they played Strat-style instruments for a minute was part of building their reputation, any more than the jazzers made their reputations based on what instrument they played rather than what music they played. Jim Hall had a Les Paul with Chico Hamilton, after all. There is no jazz guitar, there is jazz played on various guitars.

  39. #38

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    One thing that (I thought) Gibson got right was the low impedance humbuckers they used in the LP Recording/Professional/Personal
    I think the control arrangement on those guitars were problematic for many... not particularly intuitive. The clean, clear (yet warm) sound of those pickups is really unique.

    Regarding the gap between the fingerboard and pickup on the ES-175, I don't think we can really be 100% sure of the reasoning for it but it's something Gibson were doing on other guitars too long before the ES-175. ES-125s have this gap too. I've seen ES-250s with a gap there as well, although some seem to have the pickup closer to the neck than others- it probably depended on who was installing the pickup on the day.

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    No doubt I'm in a minority, but I like the sound of Joe's old 1960's ES175 better than that of the new custom model. Just me, but I like Joy Spring, For Django, etc. more.
    Can you give some examples? I assume the Virtuoso recordings were with his older 175 but not sure about the custom?

    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz
    I hadn't thought of Morse as a jazzer, and still don't. Stern played a Strat with Miles, saw that band a couple of times, more funk-rock than jazz, altho Sterno was playing some very cool stuff. Holdsworth likewise: jazz-prog-rock, but I don't think that the fact that they played Strat-style instruments for a minute was part of building their reputation, any more than the jazzers made their reputations based on what instrument they played rather than what music they played. Jim Hall had a Les Paul with Chico Hamilton, after all. There is no jazz guitar, there is jazz played on various guitars.
    Morse not a jazzer? Hmmm...

    I saw Stern with Miles, but unfortunately my memories of that show in Vienna, 1984, were clouded by wine and rather uncomfortable conditions inside the Festtent. I do recall him playing a Strat, but I can’t find any pictures of him with it. For him though a hard tail Strat is more or less equivalent to a Tele.

    I agree any of these musicians could play anything, and it would be demonstrably them.

  41. #40

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    Well we can argue about the pickup placement on a 175 but my big gripe is its demise in 2017. WTF Gibson ? That's like no mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving. 1949-2017. RIP dearly departed 175. We will miss you and always have you in our hearts. You too Tal Farlow model.

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    Heritage also makes a similar spec guitar as that custom 175 except it's carved maple. These guitars have shallower depth which would make them brighter with less lows than the full depth ES 175. So the pickup placement flush to the neck is to compensate for that I presume. Just my guess. Sadowsky Jim Hall is also a similar concept to this custom model.
    Actually, as a 575 owner, I can tell you it's much darker than a 175.

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    Actually, as a 575 owner, I can tell you it's much darker than a 175.
    Yeah they could be. I've never played one. I was just speculating that the pickup placement on those guitars maybe is chosen to balance the more shallow and acoustic (solid carved) construction.

  44. #43

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    I saw Stern play a Strat with Miles in Concord Ca. Sounded great.

    If Miles accepted it as a jazz guitar, that's good enough for me.

    Doesn't Lorne Lofsky play a Strat? If nobody else ever played one in a jazz context, Lorne's usage would still make it a jazz guitar.

    His sound is that good.

  45. #44

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    This


  46. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by md54
    It seems like criticizing a Gibson 175 is a bit like saying Mother Teresa had a dodgy reputation on this forum!
    I still think the pickup would produce a warmer tone closer to the fretboard. I also seem to remember reading somewhere that it was supposed to be but they found that the original p90 wouldn't sit high enough to the strings so they moved it backwards and it just became standard after. I cant deny that it has been used by many great jazzers but could it have been just a tad better?

    So! Haha. How many of you think the Byrdland would have been a bigger seller with a 24 3/4 or even a 24 inch scale rather than the excessively short 23 1/2? The George Gobel's desirability kind of backs me up on this one guys. Actually, (starting a whole new argument) 25 inch probably would be the best compromise for all of Gibsons electrics........ in my opinion! Just think how much money they could have saved by adopting the 25'' scale throughout production. It's Bob Benedetto's preferred scale as well so I'm not alone.
    Um, read Chris hitchens on mother Teresa.... he thought about her much the same way a Wes Montgomery influenced guitarist might think of adding a boss hm2 to his or her rig.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinnyv1k
    Well we can argue about the pickup placement on a 175 but my big gripe is its demise in 2017. WTF Gibson ? That's like no mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving. 1949-2017. RIP dearly departed 175. We will miss you and always have you in our hearts. You too Tal Farlow model.
    How true!

  48. #47

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    I've read somewhere in a Stern interview that Miles insisted on a Strat in order to cash in on the Jimi Hendrix crazy. (Was worded differently, but that is how I read it .. anyway was still Miles' demand, Strat to capture a Jimi vibe)

  49. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound
    I never understood this old wives' tale. What does it have to do with the fretted notes and chords that most of us play? If you play around the middle length of the fretboard, the closer the pickup is to the end of the neck the better.
    1/4 of the string length is a magic number. It suppresses the 4th harmonic on the open string, the 3rd harmonic when playing at the 5th fret and the 2nd harmonic at the 12th fret. Moving the pickup changes these ratios. It may or may not give an improvement but the original choice was probably made because the craft of lutherie has always liked simple ratios.

  50. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    I saw Stern play a Strat with Miles in Concord Ca. Sounded great.

    If Miles accepted it as a jazz guitar, that's good enough for me.

    Doesn't Lorne Lofsky play a Strat? If nobody else ever played one in a jazz context, Lorne's usage would still make it a jazz guitar.

    His sound is that good.
    Miles wanted rock guitar. A Strat is not a Tele.

    Lofsky doesn't play a Strat.

  51. #50

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    I missed something Gibson got right... the Volute, and it too is gone. At least Ibanez was able to buck the hysterical herd mentality of purists.