A guitar you should not ignore. This first year, 1956 ES-225 is a sleeping classic in the vintage guitar world right now and offers extremely good value for money...
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When you hear Buddy Holly you immediately think Fender. But cast your eye over the cover of ‘The Chirping Cricket’ album and you’ll spot a familiar three tone shape tucked under the arm of Niki Sullivan, the rhythm guitarist. A 1957 Gibson ES-225 TD
Introduced in 1956, so this is a first year model, 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 and pave the way for the semi-hollow ES guitars towards the end of the decade.
This guitar is in great shape. The top of the body shows next to no signs of fade, all three tones still look vibrant. The back too is looks stunning even with a few minor scratches. The fretboard is superb and the frets, though showing some signs of wear, still have plenty of life left in them.
The neck is comfortable but the lacquer has sustained a few knocks including the area behind the 10th fret which you can see in the pics. Having said that the neck is solid and free of breaks. The headstock, front and back is pretty clean. Tuners have been replaced with the correct type but double line versions from the mid 60’s.
The trapeze tailpiece (surely one of the reasons you’ve got this far!) is free of any pitting or excessive wear. It also intones surprisingly well and has some range for adjustment, up or down.
Plastics have survived well too, pickguard is warp free and the pickup covers look good too. Both pickups are strong, mellow or with enough bite and quack you expect from a vintage 50’s P-90. Neck is a classic Gibson 1956 style chunky C.
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. This guitar is currently setup with flat wound strings and plays very well.
A dark horse that is becoming a favourite here at ATB Guitars, the Gibson ES-225 is not to be overlooked if you’re in search of that illusive 50s Gibson tone.
We are located in Cheltenham, the capital of the Cotswolds, UK. All items are in stock and can be viewed and tried out through a variety of vintage amplifiers, by appointment only, at our brand new lounge/showroom. We despatch virtually anywhere in the world and we have enormous experience in hassle-free, safe shipping.
ATB Guitars (By appointment Only) 15 Regent St, Cheltenham, GL50 1HE United Kingdom
Landline: 01242 697607
Mobile (please try landline first): 07842 001007
Overseas: +44 (0)1242 697607