ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Gibson Guitars ES Series

Updated on August 21, 2015

For many guitar players, the mention of the Gibson ES series of guitars evokes memories of great players who produced great music on early versions of these hollowbody electric guitars. Others will be current users who swear by the feel and sound of this Gibson classic that has also been called a semi-hollowbody by some.

In fact, Gibson reached into the history files to rejuvenate their portion of the electric guitar market by including a reissue “dot-neck version” of the ES-335 in 1981, along with a new Les Paul flametop. Even B.B. King boarded the Gibson train at about this time. His famous Lucille model Gibson guitars are of the ES style. As the years have passed, the ES-175 and ES-335 have joined the list of classic designs, along with the Les Paul, the Explorer, the Flying V and others.

Where did all this ES excitement begin? It might be good to understand just what those two letters signify.

Gibson ES-137C

What Does ES Stand For?

The “E” is for electric, a designation that separates this series of guitars from the acoustic instruments Gibson was, and is, known for. The “S” stands for Spanish, a guitar style that covers a lot of ground. Spanish guitar is a style and sound all its own, but when designating the type of instrument, Gibson guitars are “Spanish” primarily because they have six strings and closely resemble the original design of guitars brought to the rest of Europe from Spain centuries ago.

But there is something more that separates the ES series of Gibson guitar from other models. Most think of the early ES models as Gibson arch-top guitar with spruce or maple tops (1936-1946). Newer models of the ES series continue to have maple tops, with a few exceptions, such as some guitars in the L series. These include guitars by masters such as Barney Kessel and others.

The type of pickup on the Gibson vintage instruments varied, from the style associated with jazz great Charlie Christian to the single-blade and others from 1935 through about 1940. The models referred to in this section of Gibson history include the ES-250, the ES-150, the ES-100 and others. The Gibson ES-175, first available in 1949, was a single-cutaway model that started with P90 pickups and moved to PAF pickups in the late 1950s. A mint-condition model ES-175 from that era is probably worth $3,000 or more currently. There is an ES-165 Gibson Herb Ellis model available that retailers note is based on the ES classic used by this guitar great.

For a timeline on the ES series of Gibson guitars, a good place to start is with the ES-100 that eventually became the ES-125. This is a single pickup guitar and may be found in a number of different variations (available through 1970). If you see a T after the number, you are looking at a thinline version of the guitar, according to “The Bluebook of Electric Guitars” by S.P. Fjestad. That model of Gibson vintage eventually also had two pickups, until 1963 in one version. If you have seen George Thorogood and The Destroyers you’ve have probably seen this “bad” cat playing a Gibson ES-125 TDC (thinline, dual pickups, cutaway). Values on the ES-125 models vary from about $1,000 to $2,500.

The Gibson ES guitar series moves on to the 300 level, as we follow the numbers. It’s here that we encounter the fabulously popular ES-335. There is a Gibson ES-335 solid body version, but most would think of models such as the ES-335 T or TD. 1960 versions of this axe can be worth $10,000 in mint condition. This double-cutaway Gibson 335 is well-known for its rounded “ears” and f-holes on a semi-hollow body. Clearly visible is the dot inlay on the fingerboard, hence the common names Gibson ES-335 dot and Gibson dot.

The ES-135 was a semi-hollow body Gibson guitar. A later model had two humbucker pickups (sometimes known as ES3H). The new version in this realm is the ES-137, a model of the classic, with single cutaway, curly-maple body and 490/498 humbuckers. Expect to shell out about $2,000 for this beautiful instrument.

If you read about or hear about these legendary guitars, you will probably hear the names B.B. King, Chuck Berry, and others, mentioned. Berry is well-known for his duck-walk and red ES-335, while King plays clean, selective notes on “Lucille” a custom version of the Gibson ES.-335. There was also an ES-345, a model introduced in 1959 and manufactured until about 1982. Watch closely for the differences!

This hub brought to you...

by Julie-Ann Amos, professional writer, and owner of international writing agency

Why not create your own HubPages? It's fun and you can make revenue from Adsense and other revenue streams on your pages. JOIN HUBPAGES NOW

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this licence, visit or send a letter to CreativeCommons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California94105, USA.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • GNelson profile image


      8 years ago from Florida

      Love to play gibson guitars. They make me sound good.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I own about twenty five new and vintage guitars,but my two favorites are 1. 1955 Gibson ES-295 Goldtop and 2. a 1953 Gibson ES-295 in sunburst. Both play and sound fantastic! Some have referred to this model as 'King of Rockabilly' guitars and i'd agree since one was there when Elvis Presley made the first Rock and Roll recordings at Sun studios. His first guitarist and the man who was there that fateful night was none other than Scotty Moore and in his hands he rang out the first true Rock music with his own 1953 ES-295 Goldtop. Thus rock and roll was started and his natural rythmic style guaranteed that Rock and Roll was definitely Here to stay!

    • Earthscribe profile image


      10 years ago from Tampa, Florida

      Great Hub! As a player I found it very informative. Oh how I miss my old Gibson Melody Maker!

    • eonsaway profile image


      10 years ago from New Mexico, USA

      I saw B.B. King at the Wonder Gardens in Atlantic City, NJ getting down on a Gibson.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)