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Any advice for a bare 1956 ES-175D?

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I just got this 1956 ES-175D body. I'm starting from scratch on hardware and looking for advice. I have several questions

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It appears to have had a Bigsby (two holes in top). Seems like I should replace it just to cover the holes, but I am not sure I want/need one. I've never used one. I've never even held or had a good look at an archtop before. There are none in the shops here in Anchorage


1956 was the last year of single coil pickups. Should I go for original (P90?) or humbuckers? I assume Gibson switched to humbuckers in '57 for a reason


I really don't understand how the pickguard mounts. There is a pin (or broken screw?) on the side of the fretboard, and a hole in the side. I have a side bracket but don't understand the pin


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I assume its valuable. It has an easy-to-repair crack in the side. I can do a pretty good job on the crack, but does it deserve a professional luthier's touch?


In that same theme, does it deserve "Only-the-best" hardware and original, possibly vintage parts?


I got it for a steal and will probably never sell it, so my concern about value isn't for me--its respect for the guitar. It will outlive me and I don't want future owners cursing me. But, I am curious what people think its worth

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I don't have all the answers for you but might be able to help - I did have a 175 at one time.


In the photo of the top I can't really see the holes from the Bigsby? But I'll take your word for it that they are there. A proper 175 would have a trapeze tailpiece and a floating bridge. If you are lucky the tailpiece will cover the holes you speak of. I wouldn't put a Bigsby on a 175 unless you really want one.


As to the pick guard the pin sticking out is sort of weird as normally I don't think the pick guard would go that far up toward the neck of the guitar. I would remove the pin and fill the hole.


As to pickups the '56 came with P-90s as I don't believe the Humbuckers came out until '57. So if you want to be like the original you should put P-90s back in it. Humbuckers are a little larger than P-90s so if you wanted to install those you would have to route out the top so they could fit. Of course they sound quite different as well so that is up to you which you like better.


Looks like a great project, have fun with it [thumbup]

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What a great find...and project!

I always wonder what causes someone to gut and strip a very nice guitar.

I,being a vintage accuracy purist, would want to put it back together as original as possible...

P'ups,pickguard,tailpiece,bridge,etc. There are a number of sites that sell replacement parts for vintage guitars. Not to say that I would have to have vintage parts...replicas of the same type would be OK. You could even order a wiring harness (pre-made).

The correct p'guard would have a small block glued under the upper point with a locating hole that secures the guard to the fretboard edge.

Have fun with the project.👍

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