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ES-120t i think


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That serial number is from 1962. I find no information that a cutaway ES-120T© was ever available.


Edit: I just saw the picture, that doesn't look like any 120 I've ever seen. I'll go through a few more books.

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I don't think the 120 even had a treble side f-hole. I think if you removed that big pickguard/pot assembly there would just be wood. Either that or a big void, but not an f-hole.


My vote is a 125 (125TDC probably) that has been converted from P90s to humbuckers. And refinished.


It's possible it was a 125TC (one pickup) because I don't see any hacking around the bridge pickup, but they would have had to have done an super good job placing the toggle switch and extra pair of pots; looks factory to me.


Stock 125TDC:



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OK, this one has really got me scratching my head. Here's a few observations and information as best I can guess.


This guitar started out it's life as a sunburst 1962 ES-120T. One Melody Maker type pickup, two knobs and a jack all mounted to a large pickguard which screwed down directly to the body. This is evident by the odd positioned screw hole below the front pickup. The two mounting screw holes that were down at the control area are now the location of the pots that were drilled into the body. The body cutout for the original pickup is visable below the mounting ring of the front humbucker. This looks to be for a MM type pickup.


At some point these modifications were made:


Top routed for two top mounted humbuckers.


Pickup selector switch added to top bout.


Four controls drilled into and mounted to top. The configuration and position of these controls are different than ANY stock Gibson.


A rim mounted jack was drilled and installed.


A fancy ES-175 type tailpiece was added, probably from a ES-350T since it would have to fit a thinline. Under the rim mounting flange of that tailpiece are probably screw holes form the original trapeze type tailpiece.


The top was refinished natural.


A raised bracket mounted pickguard was added as evidenced by the screw hole nearest the end of the fingerboard, and the discoloration (or lack thereof) of the finish below the pickups. There also should be a pickguard bracket screw hole on the rim.


The tuning machines have be upgraded, looks like Grovers.


As for the cutaway, I have no clue. It's the right shape and location, and looks like a factory job to me (or VERY good custom job).



That's the best I can determine from one photo on a website. Looks to me like someone was trying to make some sort of thinline ES-175 out of this guitar. The date code on the pots might give an idea of when some of these modifications were done. I hope that information helps.

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Thanks for all the info .. was a gift when i turned 15 (now 34) i never learned to play. I found it in my parents house and decided to hang on my wall in my office. It has a pick guard mounted like the 125tc. The top pickup does have some sort of cover up plastic to fill in a hole that was once bigger and rounded. A co-worker plays and said there was something wired wrong or dirty so i was going to replace the pots. Maybe i will learn to play some day.


charles b

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Very interesting discussion. I love these mysteries.


Larry, I think you made some good observations, but I agree with ksdaddy that this started out as a 125TC. After years of looking at oddball mods and strange frauds on ebay, I don't believe anything that looks off but can't be explained. In this case, I even considered the possibility that this body wasn't even a Gibson body (the waist size looked a little off at first), and of course people are often adding, removing and altering Gibson labels (or stamps). If this one really does say "ES120T", all I can say is it's either an error by Gibson, or placed there by someone else.


Now, I never owned a 120, but that idea seems VERY far-fetched. At the very least, how many times have you seen a cutaway added to a cheap (sorry, just a fact) Gibson guitar, with the result being a PERFECT, undetectable job? Then there's the f-hole issue. There's some conflicting info out there regarding the existence or non-existence of a treble-side f-hole. Duchossoir (whom I would normally be more likely to trust) suggests that the 120's enlarged fingerrest assembly "extends over the lower f-hole". I don't buy it. In contrast, one of my preferred online sources of info on Gibsons ( http://www.provide.net/~cfh/gibson.html ) offers this:


...The Gibson ES-120t was an inexpensive guitar for Gibson to produce because the pickguard assembly, which holds all the guitar's electronics, can be made off the guitar. It is then "dropped in" to the body as the last assembly step. The front of the guitar is routed like a small swimming pool to accomodate the pickguard and pickups/electronics. This is why the guitar only has one "f" hole.


This makes sense to me (and the portion regarding the "swimming pool" rout would be an odd thing to claim if it weren't accurate). If I'm wrong, I'll be happy to be corrected by anybody who's owned a 120. In addition, look at the placement of the volume (and tone) control on a 120...




The volume control was located "higher" than the bridge. Even if this guitar was a 120 and had a treble f-hole, how would we explain what happened to the hole(s) for the pots and controls?


I agree with what you guys said about the addition of the pickups, and that the neck pickup was originally a P90.


Two things still seem slightly odd to me. (Refer to the ES-125TC photo below). First, the location of the volume and tone controls (even the ones for the neck pickup, which you'd think would have been located exactly as on a stock Gibson ES125TC) looks a bit off. The tone control for the neck pickup looks too far below the f-hole to me. Maybe it's an optical illusion. Second, the distance between the neck pickup and the end of the neck. Compare the photos, and see if it doesn't make you scratch your head. I still think this was a 125TC, but these things still strike me as a bit odd.



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Here's a heavily modified 120 showing only one f-hole. It's possible they made some with a bathtub route, as the provide site is typically good info.... but this one only has one. I didn't insert a pic here because they're huge.


Non-original 120


Since the 120 didn't have pot or jack holes, all bets are off as to placement on this one!

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Here's a heavily modified 120 showing only one f-hole. It's possible they made some with a bathtub route' date=' as the provide site is typically good info.... but this one only has one.[/quote']


Well, as the saying says... you learn something every day.


Since the 120 didn't have pot or jack holes, all bets are off as to placement on this one!

D'oh... and I had just read that at the provide site! :D Call it a near-senior moment (I'm only 53). ;)


Thanks for the link. Interesting photos, even though it's always painful to look at Gibsons that have been messed with.

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The photo of the cutaway might help to solve this, if somebody has a close-up of say a 125TC cutaway to compare. It just seems pretty rare to see an added cutaway that looks "right".


The stamp looks right, and if it's true that there were 120's with treble f-holes, then I may be willing to reverse my opinion (with apologies to Larry, btw).


And I wouldn't use the term "Frankenstein" for this one. Some mods to be sure, but overall it still looks like a fairly normal Gibson, a good instrument to play and enjoy, and only a bunch of fanatics like us would even raise an eyebrow.

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