The Twelfth Fret ~ Since 1977 ~

Gibson ES 150 Archtop Electric Sunburst, 1939

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The Gibson ES 150 was one of the earliest production electric guitars, and perhaps the first successful Electric Spanish – as distinct from Electric Hawaiian – guitars.

Built from 1936 to 1956, the Gibson ES 150 is full bodied non-cutaway archtop guitar with a solid Spruce top and Mahogany for the back, sides, neck, body blocks and back bracing; the bridge and bound fingerboard are Rosewood, and for the period, it’s expected that the ‘Brazilian’ is silent. Brazilian Rosewood has become exotic and restricted, but at the time it was very common.

The ES-150 features the ‘Charlie Christian’ pickup, named because Christian used models with this pickup – and there were at least three versions of the pickup design. The basic pickup itself used a bound, fairly large, high impedance coil with angled ends and a bound center cutout for the pickup blade. The mount is a large triangular arrangement that uses three screws through the top to control height and tilt. The blade fits in from the bottom of the coil, and a pair of five inch long bar magnets are mounted underneath, supported by the mount. Most of the variations center around the pickup blade; the initial run used a plain blade, but from mid 1938 the blade was notched under the B. In 1939, the blade had five notches and smaller cobalt magnets right under the coil.

This example dates to 1939 from its serial number. Stamped on the back of the head is EGE 5574. This may technically be a FON or Factory Order Number, but in any case breaks down this way: The initial E stands for the year – 1939. The G stands for Gibson – at the time, K for Kalamazoo brands or W for Recording King models that Gibson built for Montgomery Ward. The final E stands for Electric, and the remaining digits indicate the batch number.

While the serial indicates 1939, the pickup is the earliest type with un-notched blade. Like other builders, Gibson is known to introduce new components and materials, before exhausting existing stocks. Unusually, the output jack is in the tailpiece mount rather than on the side; while this makes sense in that the tail block reinforces the jack mount, the cable can get in the way of setting the guitar down, so the jack location was moved to the side.

The top is solid Spruce, and has a repaired top crack next to the fingerboard tag, and a bit of seam separation under the trapeze tailpiece. The back and lower treble side have a section of finish loss and a short missing section of binding. The neck has a pronounced V profile, and a truss rod. The tone control is not presently functional.

This guitar plays well, and the action is good with room for adjustment.

A non-original Gibson hard shell case is included.


 

Price: $5799.99 CAD
  • Model: ES-150
  • Year: 1939
  • Finish Sunburst
  • Class: Vintage
  • Serial Number: EGE 5574
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Condition: Good
  • Date Posted: 13/08/2019

  • Consignment Item

  • Required CITES documentation
  • Including Hard case
  • Instrument Weight: 5.61lbs 2.55kg
  • Scale Length: 628.6mm 24.75in
  • Nut Width: 44mm 1.73in
Gibson Website

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