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1959 Gibson ES-125T

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I've been posting a few threads about archtops on here the last few days, I'm in the market for a new guitar and during my time looking for something I came across a '59 Gibson ES-125T in what looks to be very good condition. Now I havent had much experience with vintage guitars, I'm wondering if there is anyone here who can give me some feedback on this particular guitar and maybe what to look for with a guitar this old.

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Many of the ES-thin variations (125T,TC,TDC,TD) had scary neck set problems. It looked like the laminated tops distorted and "collapsed" right around where the front pickup mounted. If you have a good neck set, I can't think of anything else that would be problematic.

 

1959 is a good choice in my opinion, as it would have gone to the larger frets.

 

A couple years ago I had a basket case 125T (badly refinished, came to me in pieces). I stripped it to the bare wood, put it together, and played it. It was nice. I didn't feel like I could do a proper refinish so I passed it forward.

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Without experience, shopping for vintage guitars can be a roller coaster....[thumbup]

 

As guitars get older, issues like neck warp, truss rod failure and need for a re-fret come under the spotlight....

 

Ideally a well respected, friendly guitar tech/luthier would be involved pre purchase to cast a knowledgeable eye over the instrument....

 

So if the guitar is advertised as 'excellent'....maybe contact the vendor and agree on a sale subject to professional examination.....

 

Or if the guitar is reasonably priced, factor in some 'worst case scenario' repair work which may become necessary....

 

V

 

:-({|=

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So I've asked for some photos of the action and the bridge, I know its not the same as actually having a look at the guitar but I live a couple of hours away and wanted to make sure it was worth the trip to see it. The action is kind of high and the bridge, the wheels which adjust the height, are all the way down as low as they can go. Is this indicative of the guitar having a neck angle issue?

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... Is this indicative of the guitar having a neck angle issue?

 

Generally speaking... YES. This is the first indication that something is out of whack. Further detailed inspection is necessary.

 

You'll want to check for neck bow and truss rod adjustment, and the neck joint itself.

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Hoping to resurrect this thread as I own a '65 ES-125TC with a neck problem that I'm trying to diagnose.

The neck joint is fine and it appears to be original (not repaired). There is a good bit of back bow at the neck joint and the frets buzz at and above the 12th fret with a proper setup. I don't know the neck angle for this model but it appears the 'boat-tailed' section of the neck extension is at the proper angle considering the bridge height. I'm wondering if I can remove the truss rod nut, clamp the guitar down and apply tension to gradually pull it back into place over a period of a few weeks. This would require bracing the neck near the body joint and pulling down on the nut end of the neck ever so slightly. I would try the old tuner method of applying tension to the head stock but I think it's too fragile. If I could pull the nut end down to match the angle of the opposite end the bridge could be raised a little. It doesn't have but a couple turns to play out now. The top between the pickup and heel joint is sunken a bit as previously described but it doesn't seem to effect the neck joint at all.

Edited by Joe Travers
typo

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I had a '57 ES-225TD. It was a student guitar, would not stay in  tune and was vintage. But vintage does not mean it was playable by any standards. Sold it hope the next owner enjoyed it. I didn't. 

Edited by Sgt. Pepper

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