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1968 Gibson ES-175D "Black Beauty"

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Serial #: 950009, orange oval "Union Made" label

Body size at lower bout: 16". Scale length: 24 3/4" Nut Width: 1 9/16"

Finish: original ebony finish, nitrocellulose type

Materials: Solid mahogany neck; solid Brazilian rosewood fingerboard; arched slab-cut figured maple top, sides and back; dual-parallelogram mother of pearl fingerboard inlay and thistle peghead inlay; triple bound top, bound back, original nut.

Hardware: 100% original hardware includes Gibson Patent # humbucking pickups, covers and pots; original white 3-ply pickguard; original compensated Brazilian rosewood adjustable bridge, original Kluson double ring tuners, original chrome wriggle trapeze tailpiece, original black reflector cap knobs and toggle switch.

Notes: Of the 559 ES-175D guitars built in this model year, how many were finished with this gleaming factory ebony lacquer? We'll never know for sure, as Gibson didn't record separate production figures for this rare color combo. Several dozen? Several score? Whatever the finally tally, what seems clear from the scant few examples surfacing on the vintage market that the actual number is quite small indeed, as the Black Beauty was produced for three short years only, between 1967 and 1969.

This example has been very well cared for, with all original finish, hardware, and case. Largely free of pick, thumb, buckle or fingerboard wear, the factory ebony finish shows only light normal checking and some incidental playwear. The neck is notably fast, with that slim profile found only in these late '60's classics, and the action is low and smooth over fine original medium jumbo frets. The 24 3/4" scale is fast and nimble, the Pat # humbuckers are fat and sweet, and the 16" body is easy to cradle and substantially resistant to feedback. Of particular note is the original white 3-ply beveled pickguard, a perfect complement to the deep ebony body.

The May 2009 issue of Vintage Guitar Magazine featured as its cover guitar none other than...a black ES-175. See below. It took us 20 years to find this stunning example. Don't be the second caller.

Setup: This instrument is strung with medium gauge nickel roundwound strings (.012-.054). 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: Original black Gibson deluxe plushlined hardshell case.



































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