The Gibson ES-175 is arguably the most popular jazz guitar of all time and has featured on literally thousands of recordings over the years. With its clean cut looks, iconic design and superb playability and tone, you can immediately see why it has the status it does amongst guitarists. Introduced in 1949, the ES-175 was the first model to be fitted with a humbucking pickup (in 1957) and it remains in the Gibson catalog to this day.
With world class guitarists such as Joe Pass, Jim Hall, Pat Metheny and Steve Howe amongst its most famous players you know that this guitar is something special the second you take it out of the case. The ES-175D (the dual pickup model) has an almost 3D quality to its sound even when played acoustically. The combination of the ‘D’ profile neck and 24 ¾” scale length, make the fingerboard an absolute dream to play in all registers and access to the upper frets is incredibly smooth with the beautifully cut Florentine cutaway.
As you might expect from an instrument so very popular with famous jazz guitarists, this guitar excels in producing rich, warm jazz tones in every respect. Chordal passages seem to just leap off the fretboard in true Joe Pass style and single-line soloing on the ES-175D is about as close to perfection as you can get on a jazz guitar, due to the sleek neck and medium jumbo frets combined with the luscious front pickup. This guitar has THAT tone.
Whilst there will always be fierce debate about which is the ‘best guitar’ for a given style or genre, few can contest the enduring popularity of the ES-175. The legions of 175 fans worldwide swear by its tones and playability. So is it genuinely the greatest jazz guitar ever? – who knows really, but when you look at the list of world class players who have performed and recorded with an ES-175, then you can see that it’s a very strong contender indeed.