Gretsch »

[20 Mar 2011 | No Comment | ]
Gretsch 6122 Country GentlemenThe Gretsch 6122 Country Gentleman is considered by many to be among the top five electrics ever made by the company. It is part of the Chet Atkins collection, which has been around since the late 1950s, and while it doesn't have the style of the 6120, it's known for its remarkable playability. It was designed with heavy input from Chet Atkins himself. Today the guitar is still in production and remains one of most popular coming out of Gretsch.

The original Country Gentleman was introduced in 1957 and priced midway between the 6120 and the Falcon. It featured a 17", single cutaway body with fake f-holes and a partial center block. Atkins wanted a solid block down the center, much like competing Gibson models, but he conceded to the partial block nonetheless. The original thickness of the body was 2.25", reduced to 2" in the 1960s.

The width was later expanded again to the point that the modern Gentleman is 2.75" wide. It now features a laminated maple body, a three-piece maple neck, ebony fretboard, dual FilterTron pickups (which replaced the old Hi-Los), and a combination brushed aluminum and gold hardware. But perhaps the most unique feature of the latest Gentleman is the mother of pearl "thumbnail" fret markers. They are completely different from anything else on the market yet they are elegant and classically styled. (more…)

Gibson »

[16 Mar 2011 | No Comment | ]
Gibson ES 137The Gibson ES-137 is a rather interesting archtop guitar when compared to some of the other products the company has produced. Gibson advertises this model as something completely new rather than being based on older, vintage models. While one could make the case that such a claim is not necessarily true, the fact remains that the ES-137 is a hybrid guitar unlike anything else coming out of Gibson's Memphis factory.

The Gibson ES-137 is a semi-hollow electric designed to be a cross between Gibson's traditional hollow-body electrics and it's solid-body Les Paul model. The hybrid design incorporates the traditional Gibson hollow-body structure with the pickups and electronics of a Les Paul. The combination is a rather unique sound that takes some getting used to. Nonetheless, the ES-137 has a lot of dedicated fans.

In terms of appearance, the ES-137 looks a lot like many other Gibson archtop models, most notably the ES-175. The Florentine cut away is something you'll find on quite a few Gibsons, being that they were one of the early pioneers of the design. Internally, a mahogany center block has been built into the body to help mitigate the feedback issues common with hollow-body electrics. The guitar also usually utilizes a stop tailpiece rather than the trapeze design Gibson normally puts on its hollow-bodies. (more…)

Gibson »

[14 Mar 2011 | No Comment | ]
 Gibson Es 333The Gibson ES-333 is a semi-hollow electric which many consider just a stripped down version of the ES-355. The 355 is one of Gibson's more popular electric guitars but tends to be a bit pricey, whereas the 333 has similar construction and tone, and is easier on the wallet. Both models look and feel a lot alike, primarily due to the fact that they were built in the same factory using the exact same equipment. However, here are some significant differences that make the ES-333 its own instrument.

The first thing that most fans of the ES-333 are quick to point out is the satin finish, which lends itself to a much warmer tone over the high gloss finish of the ES-355. Beyond that, the 333 sports either 490R or 498T pickups as opposed to the classic Gibson 57 pickups used on the 355. Many players aren't too fond of the factory pickups and change them out soon after purchasing the guitar. (more…)

Gibson »

[13 Mar 2011 | One Comment | ]
 Gibson Es 125The Gibson ES-125 began as the ES-100 model in 1938 but was re-branded with the new designation in 1941. It was designed to be an entry-level archtop that would provide Gibson's signature sound at a lower price than some of its more expensive models. It was a marketing coup for the guitar making monolith, primarily because genuine Gibsons were, and still are, some of the most expensive guitars on the market. Although the ES-125 was still more expensive than some of its entry-level competitors, it was fairly cheap in comparison to others from Gibson.

The ES-125 featured a single P-90 pickup, laminated body to mitigate feedback issues, and a wide profile for maximum acoustic playability. Gibson did release a thin line model later on which was designated the ES-125T. Two other models - the ES-125TC (Florentine cutaway) and the ES-125TCD (cutaway and dual pickups) - were released in the 1950s, but the standard model remained the most popular through more than 30 years of production. The 1946 ES-125 introduced several new options including a new look to the classic Sunburst finish, a "dog-eared" P-90, and a raised diamond trapeze tailpiece. Unfortunately, that tailpiece was replaced with a much more plain one in the 1950s. (more…)

Gibson »

[10 Mar 2011 | No Comment | ]
 Gibson Es 355Gibson's ES-355 has long been considered the one of the top-of-the-line semi-hollow electric guitar offered at its time. Even today, some loyal Gibson players still consider the 355 one of the best electrics ever made - and with good reason. To understand why, consider that Gibson's ES series began as an experiment into producing a thin-bodied, semi-hollow electric that could produce a great sound without the feedback problems associated with its full-bodied cousins. The ES experiment proved to be extremely successful and the 355 model was the best of the bunch.

Manufactured from 1955 to 1982, the ES-355 was also designated in later years as the ES-355TD. The TD designation indicated a thin body and dual pickups. Models that included a Varitone Stereo option were designated as the ES-355TD-SV. The 355 featured a split headstock inlay and block inlays on the fret board. Dual humbucker's and the tone-altering Varitone circuitry gave players six different options of controlling the sound throughout the course of a gig. It was a revolutionary design for its day.

Among the most well-known musicians to use the ES-355 are Chuck Berry, Keith Richards, Johnny Marr, and Nolan Gallagher. But perhaps the most famous of them all is legendary blues guitarist B.B. King. Mr. King began using the 355 as his primary instrument shortly after the model was introduced in 1958. He entered into and endorsement agreement with Gibson in 1980 and was instrumental in the company's launch of the B.B. King Lucille model. (more…)

Gibson »

[9 Mar 2011 | No Comment | ]
 Gibson Es 335Gibson's ES-335 was the first commercially available thinline, archtop electric. It was a revolutionary instrument in its first release, most notably because it was neither hollow nor solid. Instead, it would be classified as a semi-hollow due to the fact that it has a solid wood block running through the center of the body. On either side of that block is hollow space. The point of this design was to reproduce the sound of hollow-body without the feedback issues they are prone to.

Officially known as the ES-335TD, the "TD" designates the thinline body and the dual pickups. But since the 335 isn't made any other way, the TD designation is left off the name more often than not. The "ES" meanwhile, stands for "electric Spanish"; Gibson's attempt to make a Spanish-style electric guitar.

Manufactured beginning in 1958, the ES-335 was well received in its early stages because it was light and easy to play. This was especially true because the design gave the player easy access to the upper frets. The richer and warmer tone was also a welcome relief from the Gibson Les Paul, a solid body electric the company started manufacturing in 1952. Though the Les Paul does have its fans, the ES-335 has a wider range of uses due to tonal versatility. Guitar players go to this guitar for jazz, blues, rockabilly, and more. (more…)