The Gibson ES-125 is widely considered one of the most revered entry-level archtop electrics Gibson ever produced. Minimally appointed, loaded with a single P90 neck pickup, and offered exclusively in Sunburst finish, the ES-125 offered musicians an entry into the archtop world at a more conservative price point than the ES-175 and carved archtop electrics of the time.
This wonderful one-owner example from 1956 is a gleaming reminder of just how great these laminate-bodied archtops can be. A fairly clear Factory Order Number stamped on the inside of the treble-side f-hole reveals its age with an 'X' designation followed by numerals that identify manufacturing timelines and positions in a given batch on the production floor.
It's acoustically rich with nice volume and presence that pairs well with the unmistakable dry midrange punch - about as enjoyable to play unplugged as it is plugged in! The mid 50s neck profile is spot on, with a full C carve that is slightly chunky but also very comfortable. The original small frets show some wear commensurate with age, but also tell us that the owner had a light touch and likely did not play this guitar a lot over the years.
The original dogear P90 pickup has a nice strong output that is both clear and fat sounding, and in typical single-pickup fashion, it offers lots of dynamic range and response with a simple twist of the volume and/or tone knobs. The adjustable Rosewood bridge, pickguard, single line Kluson tuners, nickel-plated trapeze tailpiece, and amber bonnet knobs are original to the guitar as well - no parts have been robbed from this beauty! The body and neck are structurally sound with lots of vibey lacquer checking and light to moderate wear throughout. Binding is clean and intact as well. The truss rod is functional but mostly relaxed with a straight neck. Action is a comfortable medium-low with a touch of room to lower if preferred.
It's becoming far less common these days to see as complete a 50s ES-125 as this one, since many end up modified or pulled apart for precious parts. If you ever wondered what a truly factory-spec ES-125 was capable of in its stock formation, you'll find every bit of it in this guitar.
Priced with older non-original chipboard case.
- 16" Laminated Maple body
- Original Sunburst finish
- Mahogany neck w/ Brazilian Rosewood fingerboard and dot inlays
- Silkscreened Gibson peghead logo
- Original Kluson 'single line' 3-on-a-plate tuners with white buttons
- Full C neck profile with original frets
- Original pickguard and mounting bracket
- Original single dogear P90 pickup
- Original Rosewood adjustable bridge
- Original wiring harness and amber bonnet knobs
- Original trapeze tailpiece