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Gibson ES175 - quality control

#1 User is offline   JazzMeister 

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Posted 01 October 2016 - 08:06 PM

Hey all-

I have had this guitar for years, and I don't play it simply because I don't feel like this guitar is "right." Bought it new three years ago (?) and for a brand new Gibson Custom piece, I feel like the quality is terrible.

Why have I taken this long to say something? My frustration has caused me to set the guitar aside for a long time.

My reason for posting this: Is this me being overly picky, or is this quality bs for the caliber of guitar I have purchased? Has anyone else experience similar issues?


Background: my guitars all stay in a climate controlled room, and this guitar in particular has never been gigged, and has only been played a handful of times. I've had my luthier set it up twice.

The guitar looks fantastic from 5ft away, but getting a closer look, the quality control for the entirety of the build just seems laughably poor.

Some pictures of what I am speaking of. Is this normal?

Unfinished finish, and unfinished edges inside the fholes:


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Finish separation between neck and body:


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Rough, unsanded, over-sprayed finish under neck pocket:


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Hard to tell from picture, but there are cracks in the binding next to each fret:



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Sloppy, rough to the touch and eyes emblems:



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And the ever chipping serial number:



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Convince me gentlemen: am I crazy for expecting higher quality than this, or is this how all of your guitars look? The (p)leather on the case has since bubbled, too. I am all ears to genuine feedback.

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#2 User is offline   Zentar 

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Posted 01 October 2016 - 11:22 PM

Nice tuners.
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#3 User is offline   slimt 

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Posted 02 October 2016 - 12:00 AM

Umm.. to be honest.. I would of gone over the details prior to buying.. and not because it looked nice.. Gibson pumps these guitars out fast.. there are flaws on all of what they build.. as for the over spray under the board .. the big polishing wheel does what it can.. but getting a fine detail done.. would put it in another dollar catagory..( its a production guitar.) .

seperation, any type of color other than a dark stain will show things you dont want to see.. most of these are dark at the heal.. and top.. so you dont see as much..




every guitar has a flaw.. even those nasty swirl polishing marks..

My biggest beef is a two piece back that does not line up with the center of the heal.. or a truss rod cover that is drilled of centre..
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#4 User is offline   cody78 

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Posted 02 October 2016 - 02:27 AM

On archtops, to my knowledge, Gibson never finish under the 'neck pocket' as you call it - the section underneath the end of the fretboard.

I do feel you are being overly picky, however, the unfinished sections around the f-holes does seem bad as I've never seen that before with the lacquer missing...also the cracking on the binding seems unusual too.

The other things you mention usually happen over time anyway, so I wouldn't worry. So long as it sounds great and feels great don't stress about it. It's still a beautiful guitar.

Remember, nitro finishes do have a tendency to split/ crack over time (as seen in your picture of the headstock logo/ thistle and also the neck/ body join).

Check out some pictures of old Gibson archtops from the 60's or before and you will see nitro cracking all over the place and other signs of wear. It's gonna happen to most guitars one day, so embrace it. I myself bought an L5CES last year and was horrified to see some finish cracking appear down the back of the neck within the first 6 months. Now I realise, it's just one of those things that can sometimes happen. The guitar is still a fantastic instrument, it's just the bummer of a nitro finish! Some people love it, though I would rather the instrument remains flawless personally. What can you do? I have an Epiphone Broadway which is not finished with nitro and it is perfect in terms of no signs of age/ cracking...but the tone is only probably 3/10th's as good as the L5. The Epi is still a good guitar though, despite the difference in tone.
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#5 User is offline   capmaster 

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Posted 02 October 2016 - 05:35 AM

First the samllest problem, easiest to avoid at the factory and I think to overcome as well: The bright spots I see on the top and at the serial number are polish I think. I had them somewhere on most of my brand-new Gibsons and removed them by and by. I think that removing the machine heads would reveal some more pink spots...

I don't have any finish cracks on my Gibsons made 2011 or later, but the two of my 1970's Gibsons show them here and there. I think that the cracks close to the fret ends likely are limited to the finish and the binding itself is not affected. The crack around the thistle on the headstock is not uncommon, even during the younger years of a guitar. Changes in wood and finish densities are not precisely predictable at the factory. Forum member Pippy has two Les Paul guitars of about 15 years of age. One of them looks like new, the other developed finish checking very early.

When about neck joints, none of my Gibsons, neither Custom nor USA models, are perfect. Nitro doesn't allow for that I think. Tiny remains of dried glue at the interior angles will affect the wettability. The joint edges on my Gibson guitars look much like on your ES-175. There also are rippled areas along the fretboard edges where they meet the top, on my single-cut and double-cut guitars as well. Finally, I never saw an aesthetically perfect finish below the fretboard overhang of a Gibson archtop. I think this simply isnt't possible.

To my knowledge, observances and research unfinished F-holes are normal. On some top models they are bound.

Finally, nitro finishes have their intricacies, but there's also an advantage over all the others: They allow for uncompromised touch-up repairs. Every other sort of finish must be stripped off completely - no touch-up will ever bond with the rest.
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#6 User is offline   jdgm 

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Posted 02 October 2016 - 06:40 AM

Sell it.

You'll never find one which completely satisfies you visually.
ES175s are made in Memphis.
I have an 2013 ebony one. Love it.

BTW what does it actually SOUND like?
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#7 User is offline   badbluesplayer 

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Posted 02 October 2016 - 09:20 AM

As far as the cracking in the binding at the frets, that's called fret sprout. It happens because the fretboard has dried out and shrunk across the grain. You can oil the fretboard and that might help to stop the cracking so it doesn't get worse. The other stuff doesn't look too awfully bad to me.
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#8 User is offline   bobouz 

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Posted 02 October 2016 - 10:39 AM

-The unfinished F-holes are normal. Many Gibson models get the black treatment on the edge of the F-holes, others are left natural, and some are bound.

-The unfinished area of the body under the fingerboard is normal.

-The finish cracks at the fret ends are unfortunate, but appear often.

-The finish issues around the heel & headstock crown are very common.

-The serial number? Who cares!

All your concerns appear to be very minor issues, and most are common to Gibson's nitro finishes. Unfortunately, some batches of nitro can be less stable than others, so issues similar to yours are seen frequently, and generally, a dark bodied instrument will more readily show finish cracks.

Conversely and most importantly, none of the issues you site are related to structural stability, tone, or playability.

Imho, you most likely have a great guitar sitting there, waiting to be played, while you critically focus on non-essential items. If you can't get past that point, it would be best to sell it, as someone else will probably fall head over heels in love with that instrument.

Just answering as honestly as possible - since you asked!
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#9 User is offline   Sleeko 

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Posted 02 October 2016 - 11:10 AM

[thumbup] All normal. My L4CES is similar, everything but the finish checking around the heal (would like to see a shot around other side inside cutout). No flaking around numbers either, may be polish as stated. Mine is a Custom Shop. Enjoy her!


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#10 User is offline   cody78 

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Posted 02 October 2016 - 01:11 PM

Ha! I didn't realise he meant no binding on the f-holes. On my laptop it looked like there was lacquer missing near the edges of one of them...think it must be the photo/ angle I was looking at.

Anyway ES 175's never have bound f-holes, therefore, definitely not an issue. My 175 looks just the same too.
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#11 User is offline   jdgm 

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Posted 02 October 2016 - 02:30 PM

View PostSleeko, on 02 October 2016 - 11:10 AM, said:

Mine is a Custom Shop. Enjoy her!
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Yes... ](*,)

I always do.... ](*,)

every time.....
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#12 User is offline   JazzMeister 

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Posted 02 October 2016 - 04:27 PM

Gentlemen, I genuinely appreciate each of your responses.

That is exactly what I wanted to know- that this is somewhat normal for this type of production guitar.

My feelings towards this guitar are funny/ironic, too, as the rest of my axes are player grade vintage stuff. My '64 Guild, '68 330, '71 335, and '71 SG have all had modifications and are all dinged, cracked, smashed, dented, etc, but play and sound like a dream so I've played them religiously without batting an eye.

With this being the only electric I've ever purchased new, I guess I went into it with wanting a 'perfect' guitar rather than subtle flaws (that I now know are normal).

In regards to selling, I would sell it, as the guitar doesn't really have a place in my heart compared to the rest of my crew (yet), but I don't feel that I could get what it'd be worth for me to sell it ($2800 or so), so I'll probably just keep it and try to think of it in a new light.

Thanks again for the responses. I'm going to polish the frets, oil the fretboard, set it up, and see where that gets me.

B)
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#13 User is offline   jdgm 

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Posted 02 October 2016 - 04:43 PM

View PostJazzMeister, on 02 October 2016 - 04:27 PM, said:

Thanks again for the responses. I'm going to polish the frets, oil the fretboard, set it up, and see where that gets me.

B)


Then you must work with it. And turn it up too!

Give it a chance - perhaps even a little more (for awhile) than your others.

The ES175 is a wonderful design...it's friendly!
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#14 User is offline   Vinlander 

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Posted 05 October 2016 - 07:57 PM

These are minor annoyances in my book if it plays fine and sound great.
I would be more worried by actual playability issues like tail raise and overpleking CS QC was guilty of letting out lately...

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#15 User is offline   btoth76 

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Posted 06 October 2016 - 03:02 AM

Hello.

The chipping around the serial number is an issue. The edge of the F-hole shouldn't be finished.

The rest of the problems are coming from the nature of the nitro-cellulose lacquer.

But I understand You, I have OCD for my instruments too.

Bence.
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#16 User is offline   capmaster 

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Posted 06 October 2016 - 05:35 AM

View Postbtoth76, on 06 October 2016 - 03:02 AM, said:

...
The chipping around the serial number is an issue.
...
Bence.

Looks like polish left there, not chipping. At least it was on all of mine.
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#17 User is offline   SteveFord 

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Posted 06 October 2016 - 05:16 PM

There's some sloppy work on that guitar but it also looks like a really great instrument.
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#18 User is offline   Californiaman 

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Posted 30 November 2016 - 06:14 PM

First guitar I ever bought. Don't regret it at all.

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#19 User is offline   JazzMeister 

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 06:45 PM

Anyone interested in purchasing this guitar? It has since been replaced with a VOS ES335.
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#20 User is offline   964racer 

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Posted 28 April 2017 - 03:11 PM

View PostJazzMeister, on 10 February 2017 - 06:45 PM, said:

Anyone interested in purchasing this guitar? It has since been replaced with a VOS ES335.


Are you happy with the quality/workmanship of the VOS 335 ?
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