Gibson ES175 - quality control
Posted 01 October 2016 - 08:06 PM
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:
Finish separation between neck and body:
Rough, unsanded, over-sprayed finish under neck pocket:
Hard to tell from picture, but there are cracks in the binding next to each fret:
Sloppy, rough to the touch and eyes emblems:
And the ever chipping serial number:
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.
Posted 02 October 2016 - 12:00 AM
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..
Posted 02 October 2016 - 02:27 AM
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.
Posted 02 October 2016 - 05:35 AM
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.
(The Fates lead the willing and drag those who are unwilling.)
Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Posted 02 October 2016 - 06:40 AM
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?
Posted 02 October 2016 - 09:20 AM
Posted 02 October 2016 - 10:39 AM
-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!
'02 J-45 Rosewood / '02 SG Faded-moon / '06 ES 335 / '09 ES 339
'10 ES 330L / '11 ES 335-P90s / '12 ES 330 VOS / '12 LP Special
'12 J-185 / '13 LG2-AE / '13 Midtown Kalamazoo / '14 J-15
Epis: '66 FT45n Cortez / '00 AIUSA-John Lee Hooker 1964 Sheraton
'05 McCartney-Elitist 1964 Texan / '09 Elitist Casino / '13 EL-00 Pro
Guilds: '73 F-30R / '74 F-40 / '76 G-37 / '92 D-6 / '94 JF-30 / '14 A-150b
Martins: '01 Custom Rosewood Dread / '09 OM-1
Breedlove: American Series OO Mandolin
Posted 02 October 2016 - 11:10 AM
Posted 02 October 2016 - 01:11 PM
Anyway ES 175's never have bound f-holes, therefore, definitely not an issue. My 175 looks just the same too.
Posted 02 October 2016 - 02:30 PM
I always do....
Posted 02 October 2016 - 04:27 PM
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.
Posted 02 October 2016 - 04:43 PM
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!
Posted 05 October 2016 - 07:57 PM
I would be more worried by actual playability issues like tail raise and overpleking CS QC was guilty of letting out lately...
1996 Gibson Tal Farlow Viceroy Brown
1992 Gibson Les Paul Standard Ebony
2005 Gibson SG Standard Heritage Cherry
2003 Epiphone Emperor Regent Natural routed neck Vintage Vibe HCC Regent Routing project
1995 Epiphone Emperor II Joe Pass converted 1 pickup Vintage Vibe Charlie Christian in Humbucker form
Posted 06 October 2016 - 03:02 AM
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.
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Posted 06 October 2016 - 05:35 AM
The chipping around the serial number is an issue.
Looks like polish left there, not chipping. At least it was on all of mine.
(The Fates lead the willing and drag those who are unwilling.)
Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Posted 30 November 2016 - 06:14 PM
1988 Gibson ES-175
1998 Epiphone Sorrento
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2006 Gibson Goldtone Les Paul Jr. GA-5
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