From the estate of the late Michael Chapman, this guitar had been a mainstay right up until his passing in 2021. With a career that spanned 50 years and with over 50 albums to his name, Michael Chapman blended genres and cultivated a cult following that sustained him through the ever changing musical landscapes, influencing countless artists with his songwriting and guitar playing.
Introduced in 1949 as a mid level archtop, the ES-175's all laminate construction meant that costs could be kept down and also is noteworthy for being the first Kalamazoo design to feature a Florentine cutaway. The two pickup D model indication was introduced in 1953 though some double pickup guitars were made in 1951 and 1952. February 1957 saw the addition of humbucking pickups.
This guitar has had a life. The sunburst has survived quite, free of too much fade. Mostly the guitar is structurally sound. There are cracks around the jack sockets but elsewhere its been well cared for.
The neck is where the action has been happening. We suspect that its been shaved slightly at some stage though by the way the lacquer reacts to the UV light, this was quite a while ago. The headstock has been broken with the repair having been reinforced, thus making the headstock thicker. Currently fitted with Grover tuners, there are also signs it had Klusons there at some stage too. The headstock has been rounded slightly too near the nut. The fretboard is in good condition and there is still life left in the original frets.
Plastics look to be correct. The pickguard is in good condition. Pickup surrounds are correct. The bridge is a HTP example. The reflector knobs are all missing their reflectors.
A Bigsby B7 has been fitted and has a later chrome arm.
The electrics look to be all correct. The pickups are PAFs which have had the covers removed. As was customary at the time, the pots have cans around them. The can for the neck pickup seems to have been opened but elsewhere they are all intact.
The guitar comes with a hardshell case
Tonally, this guitar is quite lively. As you’d expect, it’s loud acoustically, exhibiting a pleasing woody tone which comes across when amplified. Both pickups work well together and bring out the character of the guitar, taking you from a warm, rounded sound to something altogether more raucous. .
If this guitar could talk… A trusty companion looking for a new home.