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ES-240 Fan


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So I finally joined this forum. Had lots of intentions in the past but never followed through until now. I started playing at age 12 on my mother’s old Gibson acoustic jazz guitar. This after an older family friend showed me his Gibson Les Paul Black Beauty, the one with the 3 pickups. I loved the sound. That was in the early ‘50’s in the Netherlands.


Then in 1978 I spotted this dark wine red ES model on the wall at the old Giannini Music Center store on Irving Park Road in Chicago. Love at first sight. I was told it was a Gibson ES-240 prototype and the bare wood where the holes for the tailpiece stud insert were drilled, were clearly visible. I played it and had a big grin, so my wife encouraged me to buy it and I did. See the pictures in the attached PDF.


It was born in 1977, on the 285th day in Kalamazoo [Plant/Product # / 132]. Gruhn in Nashville catalogued this guitar when I was there in 2006.


I’m an amateur and play at home for my own amusement. I covered up the bare wood with red felt, replaced the Stopbar with a TP-6 for accurate tuning, and replaced the strap buttons with the Schaller Strap Lock system. Strings are either Gibson Vintage – light or Brite Wires – light which I prefer for finger picking. I play it with a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe [1998] tube amplifier [GT tubes] often front-ended with a Rocktron Intellifex digital signal processor controlled with a RFX MP128 Midibuddy. Sometimes I use a Boss EQ-20.


My grandchildren also love playing this guitar and I’m sure they’ll be “fighting” for it when I go bye-bye.


Other guitars in the house include a U.S. made Epiphone 12 string acoustic and a Martin D-35 [pre-CBS] with a Thinline pickup. My son has in his guitar collection a beautiful sunburst 1968 Reissue Les Paul Custom which he also plays through a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe amp.

My Gibson - pictures.pdf

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I remember going into Giannini Music Center store on Irving Park Road when I was living in Chicagoland at that very time and seeing this exact guitar on the wall there! I must have just have just missed you as this guitar was still there when I went back to Giannini the following day as I was trying to figure out was an ES-240 was as to this day nobody has ever heard of it...... I then called Gibson in Lincolnwood at the time to find out what this guitar was. Again no answers so to this day your guitar remains a bit of a mystery! jim in Maine

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If my memory is serving me correctly didn't this guitar when it was hanging there at Gianniani come originally with a trapeze tailpiece on it? jim


No, it did not have the trapeze tailpiece when I bought it and neither is there evidence [mount markings] of it having had one. Tuner hardware and pick guard support are nickel and not chrome plated.

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  • 2 years later...

This is the first wine red one I have seen. I have seen several of the burst on the internet, including mine. It was rumored that eye witness accounts had as many as 8 or 9 of these that actually left the factory, but to my knowledge, that rumor has no actual documentation. I freaked when I found mine. I took it to George Gruhn also to have him authenticate it. If you go to

www.bluebookofguitarvalues.com and look up the ES 240, the illustration is my guitar. I exchanged many emails with Zachary Fjestad and he agreed to use my pictures for the illustration for his book/CD. The one distinction mine has over the others I have seen, is mine has Grover Imperial tuners. George suggested that these were not original, although, during the Norlin period of the 1970's, Gibson was experimenting with different models and using what parts they had available, so it has been said. I personally believe they are the original tuners that came on the guitar. I think it's great that an open forum has been established for us 240 owners. They truly are rare birds, and although they may not command the attention of some of the other rare models, I think it is only a matter of time before the 240 assumes it's proper place in the collection circles as well. Ciao.

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  • 2 months later...

Hey Kutnsumhed,

I have been a collector for over fifty years now. I have several friends that had worked for Gibson from the early to mid fifties, until the move to Nashville. They built the ES 240s. I'm new to this forum stuff, and not a fan so far! If you can private message me somehow, Id love to give you my phone number and tell you the stories I've been told.


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  • 4 years later...

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