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  1. #1

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    I received a 1995 ES-175 today. One potential issue with it that I am not sure about is the bridge height. The bridge is raised off of the rosewood base quite significantly (see images below), which differs from the product photos. Both the bass and treble side are set about the same. The neck appears to be straight and the truss rod is set with just the tiniest bit of relief.

    Is this bridge height within the normal range? Based on some research here on the forum, my concern is that the neck was set too high or that the top is sinking.

    I'm also getting some radical buzz from frets 3-7 on the 6th string and at various other places on the guitar. This concerns me because with the relief where it should be and the bridge height already jacked really high, I'm not sure there will be a lot of remedial options for buzz when it comes to adjusting setup variables.

    This is the third ES-175 I've purchased and I'm getting tired of guitar hunting. (The second one, if you're curious, had a non-functioning truss rod.)

    Is there something wrong with this Gibson ES-175?-img-0245-jpgIs there something wrong with this Gibson ES-175?-img-0244-jpgIs there something wrong with this Gibson ES-175?-img-0243-jpg
    Last edited by diode; 12-06-2021 at 09:38 PM.


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  3. #2

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    Try to look at this thread for inspiration: Gibson ES-175 Sunken Top? a look inside the guitar is relevant. From the deformation of the bridge base it looks sunken top. In your shoes I would return it.

  4. #3

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    Yes it has clearly sunk a little. Question is what caused the sinking. If it’s a broken brace in many cases it can be repaired relatively easily and even the arch can return to it former shape with the right attention and patience, especially in this case where the sinking is not too bad yet (no deformation of the f-holes).

    Now if it’s worth the costs only you can answer that.

    A budget solution would be to put a sound post under the bridge (especially also a good option if no obvious cause for the sinking can be discovered). In my opinion that can even do good things for it’s electric sound.

    Obviously, you shouldn’t pay full price for this guitar, since it’s broken Is there something wrong with this Gibson ES-175?

  5. #4

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    This is a no brainer, I would just send this guitar back as quick as I could. The great thing about this is there are many guitars to choose from and you don't need this one. The possible sunken top and fret go it should be fine or was well explained.

  6. #5

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    If you got a good price on this guitar, it may be worth taking to a good guitar tech to assess the problem. A spot fret level might make it quite playable and the sinking may be stable. It may have had a neck set where that height is proper. I have seen 175's with a great variety of bridge heights.

    Finding a 175 for less than 3K seems to be hard to do these days.

  7. #6
    I paid the price you would expect for an ES-175 in “9/10” condition from a large store. It could very well be that the neck is set this way, but there are issues with the setup and the bridge being so high makes it hard to remedy. I wouldn’t want to deal with that.

  8. #7

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    The fact that the rear pickup is jacked up so high tells me a sunken top.

  9. #8

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    I’d return it based on them calling that a 9/10; if nothing else their management should know it went out looking like that with glowing description.
    Good luck! My 79 175 truss rod cracked in half :/

  10. #9

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    Send it back.

  11. #10

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    I'm not seeing a sunken top at all, the inner and outer edges of the f holes line up and are on the same plane. Most likely a neck set w too much angle.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by wintermoon
    I'm not seeing a sunken top at all, the inner and outer edges of the f holes line up and are on the same plane. Most likely a neck set w too much angle.
    That’s how it looks to me too.

    Which would mean a definite return. It would mean it needs the neck reset properly. Done right, that’s not an inexpensive fix.

  13. #12

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    There's nothing wrong with the bridge being a little high, IMO, as long as it's stable. It gives a little more break angle over the bridge, which I usually like, especially for acoustic playing. Not that a 175 has much acoustic presence, but if the top moves just a smidge more, the pickup may too, and give a more complex tone. I can't tell if the sides of the f holes line up from the photos, but if they do, then a sunken top is unlikely. ES-175s are pressed in a, shall we say, unique pattern, and the top usually looks sunken or awry when it's in fact perfect.

    There have certainly been enough opinions voiced in this thread to give the OP more than enough choices.

  14. #13

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    Here is a side scan of a 90's shape ES-165 (same plate cast as the ES-175)

    It has what you could call a double hump but around the bridge area, it is essentially flat.

    This can make the top look like it is sunk, or sinking but it's more of an optical illusion. The best way to tell is by looking across the F-holes.

    Either way, I would return it because you payed the going rate and it should have come with little to no excuses.

    Is there something wrong with this Gibson ES-175?-screenshot-2021-11-22-09-17-26-jpg

  15. #14

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    I don't see a sunken top. It is, as others mentioned, probably a steep neck angle. I would not try to fret dress the buzz out either. It looks like the last frets are fairly low already. I would return it based on the buzzing issue alone. You don't want to pay for having the fingerboard planed and refret work on a 9/10 guitar.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by wintermoon
    I'm not seeing a sunken top at all, the inner and outer edges of the f holes line up and are on the same plane. Most likely a neck set w too much angle.
    Neck angle deviation could also well explain the need for a high bridge setting. My judgement was based on the peculiar shape of the bridge base which - as far as I am aware - should ideally be flat straight (straight) but appears concave. As if the arch of the archtop has flattened some and the bridge is following.
    Is there something wrong with this Gibson ES-175?-img-0245-png

  17. #16

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    That type of bridge base is built to deflect, so that the feet sit flat on the top, whatever the carve. That top does look to be pretty flat, but from the rather poor photos I can't tell what causes that. I really don't know enough to make any recommendations, other than send it back if the purchaser doesn't want it.