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New Gibson ES5 Switchmaster

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http://www.richtonemusic.co.uk/products/gibson_es5_switchmaster_vintage_sunburst.asp

 

£3999

The ES-5 combines the acclaimed features of the L-5 with the finest method of electronic guitar amplification. Three separately controlled, adjustable magnetic pickups reproduce the full, rich tones and harmonics to make the ES-5 truly ‘the instrument of a thousand voices.'" — Gibson catalog, circa 1951

 

The Gibson ES-5 Switchmaster was truly a guitar ahead of its time. First introduced in 1949, the ES-5 Switchmaster was the first ES guitar to be fitted with three pickups, and was initially intended solely for jazz players. It was dubbed the “supreme electronic version” of Gibson’s L-5 and offered a unique four-knob control circuitry that allowed players to manage pickup selection by adjusting the volume of each pickup, thus eliminating the pickup selector switch. Yet despite its pioneering circuitry and three-pickup layout, the ES-5 Switchmaster was not immediately embraced by jazz players while competing guitar manufacturers rushed to introduce their own similar models, including the Epiphone Zephyr Emperor of the early 1950s and the Fender Stratocaster in 1954

 

 

GIBHS5SVSGH101_zps21d21603.jpg

 

GIBHS5SVSGH110_zps62262ce7.jpg

 

GIBHS5SVSGH112_zps143ebd4b.jpg

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http://www.richtonemusic.co.uk/products/gibson_es5_switchmaster_vintage_sunburst.asp

 

£3999

The ES-5 combines the acclaimed features of the L-5 with the finest method of electronic guitar amplification. Three separately controlled, adjustable magnetic pickups reproduce the full, rich tones and harmonics to make the ES-5 truly ‘the instrument of a thousand voices.'" — Gibson catalog, circa 1951

 

The Gibson ES-5 Switchmaster was truly a guitar ahead of its time. First introduced in 1949, the ES-5 Switchmaster was the first ES guitar to be fitted with three pickups, and was initially intended solely for jazz players. It was dubbed the “supreme electronic version” of Gibson’s L-5 and offered a unique four-knob control circuitry that allowed players to manage pickup selection by adjusting the volume of each pickup, thus eliminating the pickup selector switch. Yet despite its pioneering circuitry and three-pickup layout, the ES-5 Switchmaster was not immediately embraced by jazz players while competing guitar manufacturers rushed to introduce their own similar models, including the Epiphone Zephyr Emperor of the early 1950s and the Fender Stratocaster in 1954

 

 

GIBHS5SVSGH101_zps21d21603.jpg

I agree with all the guys, that is one beautiful guitar.

 

GIBHS5SVSGH110_zps62262ce7.jpg

 

GIBHS5SVSGH112_zps143ebd4b.jpg

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Did you buy it? Congrats if so. They are brilliant instruments & there are a few in the UK at the moment - Guitar Village & Coda Music have one each too.

 

I got mine from Coda back in 2011 and love it very much.. here's a pic which I've posted before in the archtop section...It's a 2010 and sounds divine.

 

ES52_zpsd07a21fc.jpg

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Did you buy it? Congrats if so. They are brilliant instruments & there are a few in the UK at the moment - Guitar Village & Coda Music have one each too.

 

I got mine from Coda back in 2011 and love it very much.. here's a pic which I've posted before in the archtop section...It's a 2010 and sounds divine.

 

Very nice man [thumbup]

 

No I didn't buy it (don't I wish I had that sort of cash to spare :)), I just came across it and thought it was interesting.... Never seen one like that before with those sort of controls...

 

How does it play.. Personally its a bit fat for me, I don't really do the jumbo guitar thing.. But it looks cool though :)

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It was dubbed the “supreme electronic version” of Gibson’s L-5 and offered a unique four-knob control circuitry that allowed players to manage pickup selection by adjusting the volume of each pickup, thus eliminating the pickup selector switch.

 

GIBHS5SVSGH101_zps21d21603.jpg

 

...am I missing something? What's that switch on the horn?

 

-Ryan

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...am I missing something? What's that switch on the horn?

 

-Ryan

There are two versions of the ES-5...this is one. The other has no switch.

 

What I don't get, is why they call the other one a "Switchmaster", unless I am wrong about that. But it seems to me it's called that as well.

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...am I missing something? What's that switch on the horn?

 

-Ryan

Yeah I donno.. Pickup selector switch.. but why when you have three independent vol/tone knobs? All I can think of is it allows a quick switch between pickup combos rather than turning the volumes down to zero?

 

Saw this vid about them

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Well...at the time, it was intended to be "the ultimate electric"...solid body guitars were still, at the time, not seen as..I don't know..professional?

 

REAL guitar players played, or wanted, the L-5. I don't know how accurate that is, or how realistic. But for sure, the L-5 was seen as more "legit" than, say, a Les Paul or a Fender. And, played electrically. Plugged in.

 

This, being intended as an electric, was made with a laminated maple top, as opposed to the carved spruce top of the L-5. That's the big reason why history hasn't taken all that kindly to these. It didn't (doesn't) fit the Jazz players ideal, and of corse, times change and the Les Paul and the Fenders become the "ultimate", you know...blah blah.

 

Regardless, I would SERIOUSLY LOVE to play and have one of these. P90's OR humbuckers. Switch or no switch...I'm quite sure I could find a use for it.

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To clear up a few of the questions above -

 

The switch is a pickup selector switch which allows you to have either the neck, middle, bridge or all 3 pickups on at any one time. It also allows you to choose which pickup you want to use quicker than having to fiddle around with the controls, which without the switch would be quite annoying and difficult if you think about it! The old ES-5 had these controls (without the switch) and many players complained about how tricky it was dialling in each pickup. You have 1 vol & 1 tone control for each pickup, just like the usual layout on an LP or SG.

 

I must admit when I got mine it took a bit of getting used to the longer scale length and feel of the large neck as well as the size of the body (the body is as big as an L5). I do find my ES 175 more comfortable to play with it's smaller dimensions. The SM is a very heavy guitar too, up there with a Les Paul in weight.

 

The Switchmaster has a big warm sound and I don't know why jazzers didn't take to these instruments - remember many professional jazz players used ES 175's with laminated tops and also both Barney Kessel and Tal Farlow's signature Gibson's were laminated, so the laminated tops certainly sound great for jazz. I love the sound of mine for jazz, but it can also produce many different sounds and really is great for all the available tones possible. It sounds great not only for jazz, but country, rockabilly, blues (though you have to slide & not bend notes with the heavier strings), and even some rock to name just a few styles.

 

I've never heard of the original ES 5's being called Switchmasters. Only the ones with the switch/ 6 controls are called ES 5 Switchmasters. The older ES 5's had 3 volume controls and a master tone.

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