Introduced in 1956, the ES-225 was the first thinline hollow body guitar in the Gibson catalogue, starting a trend that would continue on through the Byrdland and ES-350 and usher in the ES-330, paving the way for the semi-hollow ES guitars of the next decade.
This guitar is in good shape. The top and back look great with a few minor scratches and dinks. The fretboard is superb with no signs of wear and the frets themselves have plenty of life left in them. The neck is wonderfully glossy still, accentuating the mahogany grain.
There has been a stinger painted on the back of the headstock which may hide a break though it is very difficult to tell. The back of the headstock has been reshaped as you can see from the pictures and the tuners are reproductions. There is also a chunk missing from the headstock face On the edge (see pics).
The trapeze tailpiece (surely one of the reasons you’ve got this far!) is in excellent condition but along with the other nickel parts, do have some minor tarnishing.
Plastics have survived well too, pickguard is straight and the pickup covers look good too. The switch tip is a reproduction and the TRC has been changed.
The guitar comes with a hardshell case.
The most surprising thing about these guitars is their versatility. Even with the hollow design, the guitar can withstand a surprising amount of gain before feedback becomes impossible. The tailpiece seems to play a big part in the tone. We’ve conducted experiments (on a different guitar of the same model) whereby we swapped the tailpiece from the trapeze found here to a rosewood bridge and found that the one piece trapeze tailpiece produces far more sustain and a better string transfer to the top of the guitar. In effect what you get here is akin to a hollowbody Goldtop Les Paul, the combination of P90 pickups and heavier tailpiece.
Both pickups are well balanced. The original neck pickup brings a mellow warmth whilst the bridge pickup (Samsung branded and possibly from a 90's epiphone) has plenty of bite without veering into harshness. The neck is comfortable as you’d expect and being a classic 1956 neck profile, it is on the chunkier side..
A dark horse that has become a favourite here at ATB Guitars, the Gibson ES-225 is not to be overlooked if you’re in search of that elusive 50s Gibson tone. Grab this before it gets away…