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ES 165 Herb Ellis

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I had one when they first appeared about 18 years ago

 

Mixed experience...the wiring needed upgrading from new

 

Otherwise a beautiful looking instrument...robust build...

 

The pickup buzzed like most top-mounted ones do...

 

From what I have seen, the latest incarnation has moved away from the original design regarding pickup...now a floating one

 

And the price is high IMO...almost up in ES 175 territory....

 

V

 

:-({|=

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I have one .. 1996.

 

What do you want to know? I paid too much for mine (1850 plus 50$ in gas) March 2010 (2 days before Mr. Ellis passed)

 

I didnt fall in love with it for a looooong time.. but as I went through various vintage gibsons (notably es 125s and 150) I kept going back to the 165.

 

Ugly as sin.. crappy tailpiece (I am still pi$$ed at Gibson about how they handled that).

 

My original HB had already been replace by a 57plus so cant comment on the original pickup.

 

My take on it is this: If you want an ES175 for jazz (where you NEVER use the bridge pickup) and want a bargain they are (at least the full HB models) a great guitar.

Thick neck profile (good for me but not everyones cup of tea)

 

To borrow from Harmony Central: If lost or stolen would you buy another one? Well.. I would seriously consider my options but yes.. I think I would.

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Has any member experience with a ES165 Herb Ellis model. Any idea on price?

 

I had one between 1998 and 2000. I liked the concept, neck shape, sound etc., but my instrument was not well-made.

 

  • The top sank due to a loose brace in the first 2 years
  • The fingerboard had bee scraped down to less than 1/8" thickness on the treble side, over the fingerboard trestle
  • The wiring inside the guitar was a mess... most Epis are better

 

So, I traded that guitar in on a Tal Farlow, which was made way better than the ES 165, but far below the standard with which I associate the Gibson name. My current ES 137 blows both of those older instruments I had right out of the water.

 

My $0.02/YMMV

J/W

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I would agree about the ES 137....in effect very similar shape to the ES 165 and ES 175

 

Slimline and with a centre block

 

Still nice to see hollow bodies around though....

 

V

 

:-({|=

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I would agree about the ES 137....in effect very similar shape to the ES 165 and ES 175

 

Slimline and with a centre block

 

Still nice to see hollow bodies around though....

 

V

 

:-({|=

 

Here's a tune recorded using my ES 165 Herb Ellis...

 

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Here's a tune recorded using my ES 165 Herb Ellis...

 

 

Very nice clip....excellent tone....

 

That's why the ES 165 attracted many and promised lots

 

To offer the Joe Pass/Herb Ellis tone...

 

V

 

:-({|=

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Very nice clip....excellent tone....

 

That's why the ES 165 attracted many and promised lots

 

To offer the Joe Pass/Herb Ellis tone...

 

V

 

:-({|=

 

Glad you enjoyed it... there's another link in my intro post. That tune was recorded with a Howard Roberts Fusion...

 

J/W

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Glad you enjoyed it... there's another link in my intro post. That tune was recorded with a Howard Roberts Fusion...

 

J/W

 

My theory....and I know I'm right

 

Is that most tone is in the fingers... [thumbup]

 

V

 

:-({|=

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My theory....and I know I'm right

 

Is that most tone is in the fingers... [thumbup]

 

V

 

:-({|=

 

EXACTLY! But - being a newbie and all, I didn't want to stir the pot right off the bat by making such a bald statement. I agree wholeheartedly, however!

 

J/W

=D>

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I personally love the Herb Ellis, a great jazz guitar at a price that is pretty darn good. I can't speak for the floating pick up models, but I convinced my Uncle Ralph to get one on ebay that must have been a late 90's/early 2000's model that was just stellar. The neck was nice and comfy, and the guitar just gave off beautiful jazz tones, pretty much exactly what you want to hear out of a guitar like that. I can't speak for the versatility of that puppy because we never cranked it, but who's going to be playing ac/dc out of a Herb anyway? Also my Uncle Ralph is a serious stickler on quality and workmanship and this guitar had NONE of the usual complaints everyone has with Gibson. So fit and finish were right on the money and this came after he went through 3 j-185's trying to get a good one and finally just gave up. He's had the 165 for almost 9 years now and it's still his go to. If you can live without the inlaid headstock you just picked yourself up a 1 pickup 175 for about half the cost which is always a good thing! Oh, he paid $1200 for his. A steal!

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I really like ES165's. They are great jazz guitars and inexpensive for what you get. Keeping in mind that they are a 175 body.

 

There are different examples of ES165's. Most have a floating pick up but some produced in the mid '60's were exactly like a single pickup 175.

 

I own a 2004 version with a floating pick up. I have modified mine and installed a Benedetto floating pickup and have taken the volume control off the face of the pick plate and put a wheel arrangement underneath the pickplate so that it does not affect my strumming.

 

Here's a photo before these changes:-

 

1be16164.png

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I own a 1991, the first year manufactured. My understanding is that Herb Ellis played (or really liked) his single pick-up ES-175, equipped with a single coil humbucker in the rhythm position, and this model was based on those specs. That's exactly what it is - a 175 with one pick-up. Mine has aged nicely, creamy binding, no checking & still plays & sounds the way it's supposed to - like a Gibson. Caveat: full hollow body electric guitars are not for the weak of heart!

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Well. You're right that hollow-bodies are "drier "and have less sustain. They also feed back a lot more than semis or solid bodies, which you already know...

 

FYI: It is a LOT of work (damping with your right hand and finding the sweet spots on stage) to play a loud blues gig with a bunch of guys playiing solid bodies. I know ' cause I've played hundreds of them. You have to be strong of heart to attempt that. Perhaps that is what you meant...

 

That's one of the reasons I love my ES 137. It has a relatively small mahogany block under the bridge that does the trick.

 

In the end, each of us ends up falling in love with a certain style of instrument. We might have minor or major "affairs" with others, but we keep coming back to the center, much as milod does with his beloved ES 175. It's his thing....

 

I guess that's what makes guitars in general, and Gibsons in particular, so alluring!

 

My $0.02/FWIW/YMMV

J/W

[thumbup]

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[cursing]

 

 

Pardon me for the duplicate post and many typos in the original...

 

[blush] [That's the last time I try to post from the crapper on my iPhone, without my reading glasses!]

 

J/W

[-X

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Jelly...

 

One wonders why guys our age even try to use these @$#%$# modern phones without our reading glasses.

 

@$%$#%@#$ on gettin' older.

 

Don't wanna know how much my little bro your age spent on eye surgery and he still needs his readers!

 

m

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Just discovered this forum. I've got a '92 Herb Ellis with the pickup in the body. I've heard different things about what this pickup really is -- a classic '57 humbucker, or a piece of crap. Can anybody tell me? Thanks.

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hi guys,

i'm planning to buy a 165 and i found a musician that sells one at a good price. looking at the photos i noticed that the tailpiece is different from the classic "zig-zag" Herb Ellis model tailpiece, it seems more like a 175 tailpiece. i found other pictures online of 165 models with this kind of tailpiece. is that normal?

 

t0kqcm.jpg

 

anyway, i don't think it's a big deal, the sound is very good and it mounts a patent no 74 vintage pickup. it's a well adjusted, played and "lived" instrument, used by a professional guitarist who was looking for that jazzy old school sound.

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