Gibson ES-150 Arch Top Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1938)

Gibson  ES-150 Arch Top Hollow Body Electric Guitar  (1938)

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Item # 8407
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Gibson ES-150 Model Arch Top Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1938), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # 822D-15, sunburst top, dark back and sides finish, maple back and sides, spruce top; mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard, original tweed hard shell case.

The early Gibson ES-150 is quite simply one of the most important electric guitars of all time, and beyond that still an exceptionally fine player's instrument 80 years on. While most associated with Charlie Christian, this model was the first truly commercially successful electric Spanish guitar and became the progenitor of the entire Gibson electric line. While many of the other early electrics from the 1930s have a rather mongrel look, the ES-150 has a beautifully understated elegance that undoubtedly helped it gain acceptance with players on the formal tuxedoed bandstands of the time.

This particular guitar is a 1938 model with the first "Spanish" version of the famous bar magnet pickup, featuring a single-bound top edge and a straight un-notched blade under the strings. Only around 350 of these iconic guitars were shipped out that year, and not many have survived as well as this one.

The tuners are open-back Waverlys with round metal buttons, and a pearl Gibson logo adorns the headstock. The dark sunburst top is single-bound, as is the back and dot-inlaid rosewood fingerboard. This guitar is in more original condition than most and is a great-sounding, fine-playing example of this rare and much sought-after instrument. No other guitar sounds like this, and over the past 70+ years they have been sought after by discerning players -- especially those in the spell of the enduring magic of Charlie Christian.
Overall length is 40 1/4 in. (102.2 cm.), 16 1/16 in. (40.8 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 3 5/8 in. (9.2 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 24 3/4 in. (629 mm.). Width of nut is 1 3/4 in. (44 mm.).

This guitar remains in beautiful original condition with some typical wear but no major alterations. The finish shows small dings, scratches, and dents, mostly on the top; the back of the neck has only some very minor wear. All the original hardware is intact and complete, including the deco-styled bound celluloid pickguard that has often gone missing. The only alterations are a replaced bone nut, and someone long ago added a gothic letter "B" as an applique to the truss rod cover.

There is some light pickwear to the top, mostly below the fingerboard, but it is much less than we often see on these early 150s. There are no cracks anywhere; a rare find on this model, which unlike most later Gibson electrics is solid, not laminated wood construction. This is a great-sounding instrument; the finest of this model we have had in some time. To top it off, the guitar still resides in the beautiful original tweed "Aeroplane cloth" HSC. Excellent Condition.