1956 Gibson ES-135 / ES-130

Upmarket ES-125 Jazz Box

Rare chance to buy a rare mid fifties guitar. This deep sunburst jazz box is certainly a class above the average 125. It’s in good condition, with the ‘dings and dongs’ of player-wear that is expected of a 60 year-old.

The trapeze tailpiece has been replaced and the original knobs have no-doubt been ‘re-purposed’ for a Les Paul. The tuners are original, only the buttons have been renewed – a good thing because the old ones disintegrate eventually. The hard case is period correct but not original to the guitar.

Price: £1,999.00
S/N: R412


1956 Gibson ES-135 Description

Yes, it’s a lot like an ES-125 but it cost $10 more back in the day, and was considered the ‘upmarket’ version. It had a bound neck, trapeze fret inlays and a 5-ply pickguard – fancy indeed!

The ES-135 was introduced in 1954 as the ES-130, then renamed the ES-135 in 1956. Interestingly, the ES-135 model name was to get used again later in the century, but that’s another story.

The limited production of Gibson’s ES135 model makes it more interesting from a collector’s point of view. I mean, everyone’s got a 125 jazz box right, but how many people have a 135 or 130?

To give you an idea of the scarcity of this model, just take a look at the production numbers for 1956:

  • Total ES-125s shipped: 3090
  • Total ES-135s shipped: 211

’56 marked the height of the popularity of the 125 model – remember the cutaways and thinlines weren’t introduced until the 1960s – and it must have made sense to Gibson to offer the ‘student model’ 125 and the upmarket alternative the 130 / 135. However, it didn’t make sense to the buying public, who went-on buying 125s and the 130/135 was discontinued in 1958 after just four years of production.

Only 556 of these guitars were ever made and shipped by Gibson.

1956 Gibson ES-135 Features

  • 16¼” wide full depth hollow body
  • Single bound top, bottom and neck
  • Unbound headstock with Gibson logo decal
  • Laminated 5-ply pickguard
  • Mahogany neck
  • Kluson Deluxe tuners with (replaced) oval buttons
  • Brazilian rosewood fretboard with trapezoid inlays
  • Brazilian rosewood compensated and adjustable bridge
  • Trapeze tailpiece with raised diamond (replaced)
  • Single P-90 pickup
  • Tone-cut and volume controls with gold knobs (non-original)
  • Hard case of contemporary make and style

  • Like it, wanna play it?

  • Related Products
  • What people are saying

    You are completely crazy to sell that guitar! It sounds amazing, it looks amazing...I've been playing for six hours non stop, forgot to eat, sleep etc. Seriously it was great doing business with you.

    Achilles. Greece

    Gibson ES-125 CD

    "...I wanted to let you know how impressed I've been with your attitude and service through this process. Although the guitar wasn't to my taste, everything else was top quality in terms of the experience ~ thanks..." JD [London]

    London, UK

    Martin HD 28

    View more testimonials