ES-295 Guitars

1957 Gibson ES-295

Color: Gold, Rating: 9.25, $11,500.00 (ID# 02098)
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Scotty Moore Rides Again…


1957 Gibson ES-295

This spectacular May 1957 example features a 16 inch wide, 3 3/8 inch deep laminated maple body and weighs just 6.50 lbs. Similar to the ES-175, it has the same sharp-edged single Florentine cutaway and pearl split-parallelogram inlays. One-piece mahogany neck with a nice wide nut width of 1 11/16 inches, a standard Gibson scale length of 24 3/4 inches, and a wonderful medium to thick profile. Rosewood fretboard with 20 original thin frets and inlaid pearl split-parallelogram position markers. Headstock with inlaid pearl "Gibson" logo and pearl crown inlay. Two-layer (black on white) plastic truss-rod cover secured by two screws. Individual single-line 'single-line Kluson Deluxe tuners with single-ring Keystone plastic buttons, stamped on the underside "2356766 / Pat Appld." Two really hot P-90 pickups with outputs of 9.26k and 7.75k. Cream plastic pickup covers stamped on the underside "UC-450-1/1", each secured by two screws. Original gold colored spacer on bridge pickup. Clear plastic pickguard back-painted in cream and embossed with a gold floral design. Four controls (two volume, two tone) on lower treble bout plus three-way pickup selector switch on upper bass bout. Gold plastic bell-shape "Bell" control knobs. Les Paul combination trapeze bridge/tailpiece with strings looping over the bridge. All hardware gold-plated. With the original Gibson white oval label inside the bass f-hole, with the style "ES-295" written in black ink and the serial number "A-25625" stamped in black. Inside the treble f-hole the FON (factory order number) is stamped in black "V 7722 28" which corresponds with late 1956. This guitar is in near mint (9.25) condition, with none of the usual finish checking. The original thin frets show virtually no playing wear and the fretboard has just two small divots between the nut and second frets - the previous owner apparently liked to play the open chord of 'E' (and not much else!). The top of the body has one small surface chip (the size of a match-head) just by the treble f-hole. There is just one small area on the back of the neck (behind the eighth & ninth frets) of the "greening" that always plagues the gold finish on this model. This is very slight, with no surface loss and has been caused by the padded neck rest in the case - where it has most certainly sat for most of its life. Quite simply one of the finest and most original ES-295 we have ever seen or heard of! (we have had two other equally minty examples - a 1952 and a 1953 which we sold eleven and three years ago respectively). Housed in a slightly later (ca. 1962) Gibson five-latch black hardshell case with yellow plush lining (9.25+). Included in the case pocket are 15 original receipts dated between May 31, 1963 and March 20th, 1964 totaling $140.00. We believe that the previous owner purchased this guitar with the 1963 black hardshell case that it comes with. This is certainly the best playing and sounding example ever - it epitomizes "the twang heard 'round the world".

"The ES-295 was introduced in 1952 as the hollow body counterpart of the original Les Paul model. This is true in terms of finish, electronics and hardware, but otherwise the 295 is essentially a fancier twin pickup ES-175…According to factory records, the earliest production 295s (#A10554 and A10555) were registered on 14th May 1952. As mentioned previously, the ES-295 served as the basis for the ES-175D introduced one year later. Conversely, the ES-295 was developed after an all-gold ES-175 (#A9196 registered on 4th December 1951) specially built by Gibson at Les Paul's request and presented by him to a disabled guitarist. At least two other gold-finished 175s were made in early 1952, i.e. #A10137 registered on 3rd April and #A10474 registered on 2nd May, before the first ES-295 came out. The first variant underwent no modifications up to late 1957, other than the installation of a 20-fret fingerboard in 1955 like all the 16-inch wide hollow bodies" (A.R. Duchossoir. Gibson Electrics -- The Classic Years, p.173)

"Like a hound dog hit by lightning, the first notes of rock and roll blasted out of radios across the country in July of 1954, courtesy of Elvis Presley’s supercharged-hillbilly singing on “That’s All Right” and “Blue Moon Of Kentucky,” backed by Scotty Moore’s guitar. It was the twang heard ’round the world. That guitar - or at least the sound it made - on Presley’s first four Sun singles, make it one of the most famous guitars in rock and roll, except for one thing; very few fans knew what it was. Though Gibson never planned it, Moore’s Gibson ES-295 (serial number A-12290) became the first rock and roll guitar, its fancy gold finish as outrageous as the music it suddenly represented. In retrospect, it was the perfect choice in an era when men wore gray-flannel suits, Betty Crocker was the homemaker’s heroine, and tail fins on cars were merely a gleam in some designer’s eyes. Moore believes that his choice of the ES-295 was essential to the sound of Elvis’ early rock and roll. “All I did with my guitar was try to enhance what Elvis was doing,” he said. “There were just three of us in the band, with Bill Black keeping time on his bass, and when Elvis wasn’t singing, I was all there was. To me, that hollowbody ES-295 enhanced Elvis’ voice better than anything else I could have used.” At the time, Gibson’s guitars were for big-band jazz, Fender’s for country and western, and pedal steels were hot sellers. Then, along came this audacious archtop at a time when guitars were only supposed to be au naturel or painted with a funky “sunburst.” Whoever played a gold-colored guitar was just asking for trouble!" (Vintage Guitar Magazine).

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