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please help with this old guitar it may be an es 140

#1 User is offline   Piketime 

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Posted 01 July 2018 - 08:59 AM

Your site is awesome .I need help with this guitar I have carried around since the seventies . I thought it was an es 175 , I hope you can shed the right light on it . It has the marking "W 3160 29 " in it .Please tell me about it .history , collectability and relative value .It plays very nicely .sounds so clesr and loud ,and is very easy to look at , despite the checking . The neck is fine. Thank you in advance .

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#2 User is offline   JimR56 

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Posted 01 July 2018 - 11:39 PM

It would appear that your guitar dates to 1955. From: http://www.guitarhq....son.html#serial ...

Factory Order Numbers with a Letter, 1952 to 1961.
This letter preceeds the batch number within the Factory Order Number (FON), and denotes the year of manufacturer. Remember, the batch number is the first 4 digits of the FON, followed by a 1 or 2 digit sequence number (within the batch). This letter should be before the FON batch number. This was used on archtop models (ink stamped inside treble F-hole) and on flat top models (ink stamped on the neck block), from 1952 to 1961:
Year Letter
---- ------
1952 Z
1953 Y
1954 X
1955 W
1956 V
1957 U
1958 T
1959 S
1960 R
1961 Q

Info on the ES-140...

Posted Image

ES-140 (3/4 scale, like a scaled-down ES-175)
Available: 1950 to 1957.

Original 1950 ES-140 specs:
12 3/4" wide full depth body, 22 3/4" short scale, pointed cutaway, one P-90 pickup with "dog ears" in neck position, tortoise grain pickguard, single bound top and back, dot fingerboard inlays, silkscreen "Gibson" logo, sunburst finish.

Natural finish becomes available in 1955.

ES-140 model discontinued in 1957.
Thinline ES-140T 3/4 version available starting in 1956, replacing the full depth model.

This post has been edited by JimR56: 01 July 2018 - 11:40 PM

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#3 User is offline   JimR56 

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Posted 02 July 2018 - 06:50 PM

Hi Tony,

I just saw your posted image for the first time (didn't see it yesterday).

Yes, generally speaking, natural finishes on Gibson archtops are more desirable. On all archtop models, natural finishes were generally produced in smaller quantities than sunbursts, and traditionally they were reserved for instruments with more attractive wood grain (flame maple and such), to allow it to show through more completely. In the case of this model, Gibson produced 2,355 sunburst ES-140's between 1950 and 1957. They only produced 30 with the natural finish (the ES-140N), so yours is far more scarce than the sunburst models.

Just so you know, this particular model is not all that desirable relative to many other Gibson archtop models. Guitars with such small scales were generally aimed more toward the youth or student player, and were originally less expensive than their larger counterparts (the ES-175, in this case). Still a cool old Gibson, though, especially with the scarce natural finish.

As for the values, you would have to see what's going on in the current market via auction sites like ebay and reverb.com; and vintage dealer sites (individually, or someplace like gbase.com).
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Posted 03 July 2018 - 08:53 AM

View PostJimR56, on 02 July 2018 - 06:50 PM, said:

Hi Tony,

I just saw your posted image for the first time (didn't see it yesterday).

Yes, generally speaking, natural finishes on Gibson archtops are more desirable. On all archtop models, natural finishes were generally produced in smaller quantities than sunbursts, and traditionally they were reserved for instruments with more attractive wood grain (flame maple and such), to allow it to show through more completely. In the case of this model, Gibson produced 2,355 sunburst ES-140's between 1950 and 1957. They only produced 30 with the natural finish (the ES-140N), so yours is far more scarce than the sunburst models.

Just so you know, this particular model is not all that desirable relative to many other Gibson archtop models. Guitars with such small scales were generally aimed more toward the youth or student player, and were originally less expensive than their larger counterparts (the ES-175, in this case). Still a cool old Gibson, though, especially with the scarce natural finish.

As for the values, you would have to see what's going on in the current market via auction sites like ebay and reverb.com; and vintage dealer sites (individually, or someplace like gbase.com).


Good Morning Jim , thanks for the continued support in my quest to research my old guitar .She seems to look up at me with her single cutaway like a Mona Lisa crooked smile saying ," I'm a rare blonde , you better treat me right !"
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