With transcendent players like Scotty Moore and Danny Gatton wielding these golden beauties, the ES-295 has earned a status high atop Gibson's hollowbody archtop electric mountain. Few guitars command the stage quite like old ES-295.
Why We Love This
An all-gold guitar might come off as a bit gaudy, unless of course it's one of the two most legendary 1950s goldies to have graced the guitar world - one is a Les Paul, which really doesn't need much of an introduction. The other? The ES-295.
From its beginnings in front of Elvis Presley's guitar ace Scotty Moore, to the hands of the virtuoso Danny Gatton, and more recently as a favorite of jazz and country guitarist extraordinaire Joel Patterson, the ES-295 has enjoyed a rich history as one of the most lusted after electric guitars made in the 20th century.
At its core, it adheres to most of the recipe as the iconic ES-175 model, but takes on an entirely different identity with its stage-commanding looks and unique presentation.
This particular ES-295 was born in 1956 as evidenced by its later 1955 FON and serial number that places it in the beginning of the '56 calendar year. It features most of its original parts, including a fantastic sounding set of original P90 pickups with factory cream covers and a super vibey played-in gold finish. The full C neck carve is quite comfortable and well worn at that, with a rich, dark Brazilian Rosewood fingerboard; a small '2' stamp at rear top edge of the headstock indicates that the guitar received "Factory 2nd" designation. For what we're not sure, but it could've been any reason - finish, wood irregularities, etc. Outside of some layered finish degradation from prolonged contact, it'd be tough to nail down an exact reasoning for the stamp, as the guitar sets up and plays great.
The original P90 pickups sound particularly captivating. Middle position reveals a factory out-of-phase as well - a rather common configuration we stumble on from time to time in vintage Gibsons. The neck pickup delivers stellar jazz and blues tones, while the bridge pickup has enough crackle to keep up with raunchy blues and rockabilly rhythm sections.
The only major modification to this ES-295 is the removal of the original long trapeze wraparound tailpiece in favor of a Bigsby outfit and the evidence of some old overspray in a few areas on the body and the back of the neck. The work was likely done early on in the guitar's life, as this Bigsby B6 features the fixed arm design often seen on some of the earliest Gretsch 6120s from 1955-1956. It works very well with the accompanying aluminum rocking bridge, adding a bit more snap and zing to the tone. The cleaning binding lines and consistent lacquer checking suggest touch-up work more than an attempt to refinish the guitar, as much of the original gold finish is present throughout.
It's currently set up with a set of roundwound 12s, but also sounds righteous with flatwounds! Included in the sale is the guitar's original 4-latch brown Lifton hardshell case which has remained in great shape.