The Twelfth Fret ~ Since 1977 ~

Gibson ES-135H Semi-Hollow Archtop Red, 2003


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The Gibson ES-135H was the ‘Humbucker’ equipped version of the ES-135, a single-cut Semi-Hollow Archtop built in Memphis from 1991 to 2004. Many of these models used P-100 pickups – a stacked humbucker with the outline of a P-90. Some models used a Trapeze tailpiece, others as seen here a standard Tune-O-Matic and Stop Tailpiece combination.

Here, the humbucking pickups are ’57 Classic models.

“Introduced in 1990, the ’57 Classic provides warm, full tone with a balanced response, packing that classic Gibson Patent Applied For humbucker™ crunch. They are made to the same specs as the originals, including Alnico 2 magnets, nickel-plated pole pieces, nickel slugs, and maple spacers.”

This example dates to March 06, 2003 and is in overall good condition, with significant play wear to some finish areas, such as the lower section of the bass F-hole and the back of the neck. Fret wear is light. The tuners may have been replaced – they may have originally been Grover Roto-Matics, but Locking versions of the Roto-Matic with metal keystone-style buttons are installed, and those may not have been available when this guitar was built, 20 years ago. Very conveniently, there is an access plate on the back, allowing easy maintenance to the pots or output jack.

This guitar plays well, has great looks and sound, and is sold with a black, flat-top TKL ‘Made in Canada’ hard shell case.

The single cutaway, thinline Gibson ES135, and Gibson ES-135H, built from 1991 to 2004 started out as a quite different guitar – the 1954 ES-130 non-cutaway archtop electric, renamed the ES-135 in 1956 and discontinued in 1958. For 1991, Gibson blended the ES-334 concept with the ES-175 body shape and added a pair of P-90 or humbucking pickups and either a trapeze or stop tailpiece. The model was discontinued in 2004.

The Gibson ES-135H shared many construction features with other ES (Electric Spanish) thinline models. The 16 inch wide, 2.25 inch deep body sports a Florentine cutaway and is built using Maple/Poplar/Maple laminate to reduce feedback. Key to the design, there is a Maple center block to provide the feedback and sustain rejection of a solid body but with the tonal shape of an archtop. The fingerboard is Indian Rosewood with dot position markers. The neck is ‘set’ into the body as Gibson traditionally does, but there are two significant differences from most other Gibson models. First, the neck is Maple rather than Mahogany, though Gibson has used Maple on a number of models. Second, the headstock tips back at 14 rather than 17 degrees. The 17 degree head pitch has been one of Gibson’s marketing points for several years now. The use of Maple and the reduced head pitch decreases the likelihood of headstock breakage should the guitar fall.


Price: $2,500.00 CAD
  • Model: ES-135H
  • Year: 2003
  • Finish Red
  • Class: Used
  • Serial Number: 00653704, dated to March 06 2003 at Gibson Memphis
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Condition: Good
  • Date Posted: 28/06/2023

  • Consignment Item

  • Including Hard case
  • Instrument Weight: 7.876lbs 3.58kg
  • Scale Length: 24.645in 626mm
  • Nut Width: 1.674in 42.53mm
Gibson Website

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