Gibson ES-775

Editor’s Note: Longtime readers of 20th Century Guitar will recognize the nom de plume G7 and his column “Anything For $1.10”.  This infamous, hilarious, and enigmatic writer makes his return to writing about all things musical for  G7 will be a regular contributor to these pages and we are glad to have him.

Anything For $1.10: Gibson ES-775 Classic Beauty 1990-1993 by G7

What is an ES-775? Well-it’s “600” better than an ES-175 innit? Actually, the 775 was an upscale and fancy version of the venerable ES-175. Made for only a couple of years in the early 1990’s, the 775 shared all the body dimensions, scale length and electronics layout with its plainer sibling.

So what makes it “600” better? Well- for starters instead of mahogany it has a three piece figured maple neck often found on Gibson’s better big box instruments. The figured maple motif carries over to the body as well with front, back and sides featuring lovely curly maple laminates. All metal is gold plated. All appointments are deluxe with several unique for Gibson. For instance, the ebony fingerboard sports slotted block fret markers that are very rare for Gibson but showed up on some early Epiphones before Gibson purchased the company. The ES-175 type tailpiece has a decorative wood insert in its center hole. The control knobs are also made of wood – a feature not seen since that mid 70’s Les Paul that had wood everything. The wood base for the bridge has inlays on its feet. The pickguard is multiple bound tortoise like Gibson’s top models. The headstock face also sports multiple binding. Instead of the 175’s crown inlay, the ES-775 has – uhh – a flying seahorse embryo inlay that we believe last saw daylight on the RD Artist from the late 1970’s.

So is it “600” better? If you close your eyes and play a 175 and a 775, probably not. Does it look “600” better? Definitely! So what happened to the 775? Apparently in their infinite wisdom, Gibson decided they didn’t need to bother making an upscale ES-175 so they discontinued the ES-775 in 1993 and simultaneously put the plain old ES-175 on limited production status. A few hefty price increases and presto-uptown credibility and downtown lack of hassle. Classic beauty indeed!  G7

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