Since I’ve been posting about buying my guitars lately I might as well round it out with what has been my favorite guitar to date (although the Les Paul I bought last weekend is nipping at its heals for that title)
I wasn’t planning on buying a new guitar (I think all my guitar purchasing stories start that way). At the time I already had two guitars (a Gretsch 5120 and Rickenbacker 330) and as I’ve said before, one guitar is more than enough for a beginner, let a lone two… let alone three (and let alone four now)!
But, I love guitars and had recently heard about Rockers Guitar in San Francisco so I thought I’d check them out. It turns out they were having a really good sale because they are trying to get rid of all their inventory so they can focus on making guitars rather than selling other manufacturer’s guitars.
The list of guitars I want is endless and their stock seemed to be endless as well. But, the guitar I fell in love with was a Gibson ES-175SP.
However, before I would buy the guitar, I wanted to do some more research so I went home and did some Googling. I found plenty of information on the standard ES-175, but couldn’t find anything about an ES-175SP. The SP stands for Single Pickup. The standard ES-175 comes with two pickups (although the first models from 1949 to 1952 only had one pickup). The ES-175SP should not be confused with the ES-165 Herb Ellis, which is similar to the ES-175 and only has one pickup. In addition to only one pickup on the ES-175SP, the tailpiece is different than the normal ES-175 (but identical to the Herb Ellis ES-165, just to make things more confusing).
Since I couldn’t find any information about this model, I contacted Gibson and even they didn’t have the right information about the ES-175SP. Initially they said they were only made in 2006, had a single P-90 pickup and were only made for an international distributor. So I got the serial number of the ES-175SP at Rockers and sent it to Gibson. It turns out it was made in 2008, was a limited run guitar made by the Gibson Custom Shop and in fact did not have a P-90 pickup, but rather a single ’57 Classic humbucker. In addition to it being a limited run guitar, the finish was a one-off finish and different than the normal vintage burst finish on an ES-175.
As if I needed any more reason to buy the guitar, once I heard that it was a limited run with limited finish guitar I knew I had to grab it. I figured if its this hard to find ANY information about it on the web (really, when was the last time you couldn’t find ANY information about something on the web?) it must be a hard to find guitar. So, I went back to Rockers and snatched it up.
I must have a penchant for for finding these hard to find guitars as I noted with the Les Paul Korina Goldtop I just bought… it too has no information to be found on the internet.
The ES-175SP is definitely my favorite guitar so far. The sound and feel is amazing. It can go from a clean rich Jazz sound to a grungy distorted Rock sound and even be used as an acoustic when necessary. If you’re looking for a guitar that will also give you a twangy or treble sound then this is not the guitar for you since it has no bridge pickup.