Home / Instruments /Accessories / Ordering / Tips / Friends


1938 Gibson ES-150

Status: For pricing and hold status for this instrument, please check our Instruments page here. If this instrument does not appear on the Instruments page it has been sold, and is no longer available. Photos and descriptions of Previously Sold instruments may by found here. To be notified of examples of this or any other model in the future, please contact [email protected].

Serial #: DGE-5446

Body size at lower bout: 16". Scale length: 24 3/4" Nut width: 1 3/4"

Materials: Solid carved spruce top; solid figured mahogany back and sides, solid one-piece mahogany neck, solid Brazilian rosewood fingerboard, pearl script logo and fingerboard inlays; bound body.

Hardware: Original adjustable Brazilian rosewood bridge, original Grover open back tuners with oval keys; original nickel trapeze tailpiece with raised diamond crossbar, original Gibson bound tortoise pickguard. Vintage correct CC single coil blade pickup with correct brown bakelite arrow knobs.

Notes: For the first decade of the Big Band era, orchestra guitarists chopped chords quietly in the rhythm section. This guitar changed that overnight.

Announced late in 1936, Gibson's groundbreaking ES-150 ("Electric Spanish') model was Gibson's first 6 string guitar to be fitted with a magnetic pickup, and almost instantly became the world's first commercially successful electric guitar. Quickly championed by pioneering jazz guitarist Charlie Christian, the ES-150 became indelibly identified with the artist, who almost single-handedly invented modern solo jazz guitar. The 150 has been known to players as the "Charlie Christian model" ever since (despite the fact that the manufacturer has never referred to it as such to this day.) With its massive bar magnet and smooth hornlike tone, the ES-150 pickup captivated an entire generation of formative jazz plectrists, including Barney Kessel, Jimmy Raney and legions of others.

This example is in fine condition, with the solid carved spruce top and flat maple back showing all-original Cremona sunburst finish. The guitar is equipped with its original Grover Sta-Tite tuners, original adjustable ebony bridge, and innovative original nickel tailpiece with a modern endpin jack added. The signature notched bound tortoise pickguard remains in wonderful condition, along with an original Gibson hardshell case. The neck has the classic prewar Gibson "V" profile, the Brazilian rosewood fingerboard is dead level with fresh, impeccably installed fretwork, and is ready to play with smooth low action.

The instrument is fitted with a vintage correct British made CC brand pickup, the most fanatically accurate reissue of the original ever made. Using exact wire guage, the pickups are scatter wound to the precise number of windings, with mild steel magnets flux magnetized to the correct original readings. Full research and manufacturing details at the CC website here. Accurate right down to the notched blade, the CC designers even reissued the old "radio knob" pointer controls. Given seventy years of de-magnetezation, it's possible that the CC pickups may sound more faithful to the original recordings than the few original ES-150 pickups still working.

The tone is like time travel itself, clear and sparkling in the unimpeded highs, and warm and growly when rolled off through an old tube amp. Archtop.com is proud to bring this wonderful old work horse back to the stable for a splendid new career.

Setup: The frets have been precision leveled, recrowned and polished; trussrod tension and neck relief adjusted; bridge height adjusted; bridge compensation set; string slots at nut and bridge inspected and recut as necessary; bridge foot contour inspected and fit to top as necessary; bridge radius inspected and recurved as necessary; bridge wheels and tuners lubricated; fingerboard and bridge oiled; body and neck cleaned and hand polished.

This instrument is strung with medium gauge bronze strings (.013-.057). The guitar will accommodate lighter or heavier gauge strings, according to preference. String action is set at 5/64" to 6/64" at the 12th fret, with moderate relief for acoustic playing with medium strings. The action may be lowered or raised to your requirements with the adjustable bridge.

Case: Black 30's Gibson hardshell case.























































Home / Instruments /Accessories / Ordering / Tips / Friends