As student models go, you wouldn’t mind taking delivery of anything coming out of Kalamazoo duding the 50’s or early 60s and this near MINT, 1964 ES-125 TDC certainly punches above its weight.
The accoutrements are basic, in fact the only real adornment is the binding around the body. The neck and pickguard are unbound and the headstock is the free of any unnecessary artist flourishes. What you do get here is a great sounding and stylishly understated thinline electric guitar in the spirit of the classic ES-330’s and ES-225’s.
The cherry finish on this guitar has weathered well and is still quite vivid as is the back. The tailpiece and rosewood bridge are in fantastic condition as are the plastics. The faux-tortoise shell pickguard hasn’t warped. The original frets and fretboard are in good shape without any extreme wear. There are a few scratches here and there which isn’t surprising but all in all this is a very clean guitar.
Inside, the electronics are all correct and both pickups are working really well with all the bite, growl and warmth you expect from vintage P-90’s.
The guitar comes with its correct ‘Gator skin’ case.
The most famous proponent of the ES125 has to be George Thorogood and the pickups on this guitar do definitely deliver that raunchy tone. Admittedly there’s an amount of wrangling required to tame the beast but even at more reasonable volumes, this guitar sings. There’s jazz, blues and roots all hiding in the cherry red overcoat.
These student models are a way of accessing these fabulous Gibson tones without the higher price tags of the other more desirable models, grab them before they fly away.