ES-137 Classic review by Gibson

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Features: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 8.4 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.3 (46 votes)
Gibson: ES-137 Classic

Price paid: $ 1

Purchased from: Bailey Brothers, Birmingham AL

Sound — 9
This guitar has BALLS. It looks like a jazz/blues type guitar but don't let that fool you. Thanks to the pickups and mahogany block, you can rock out with this puppy. Sounds like a Les Paul with a little something else. Rich, dark, smokey. The neck pup is smooth and glassy, though it has a little too much bass sometimes. The bridge is just hot. Lots of mids. The ES-137 is just for headbanging though. Kill the distortion and you've got some nice cleans. Roll off the tone and you can play jazz. I've tried Jazz, Classic Rock, some Heavy Metal(the pups are hotter than '57 Classics but they won't melt your mom's face), Fusion, and Blues. Nailed 'em all. Great sustain for a semi-hollow too. I did have to lower the pups a little bit, there was a hint of mud in them.

Overall Impression — 9
I love this guitar. I was searching for a "real" guitar. After playing every solidbody in the store, I looked at this and said "well, I guess I can try it." I got it right then and there. It plays well, has a "different" sound, covers a lot of sonic territory, and it's quite a looker. The body might be a little large for some people but it's never bothered me. My only complaints: I'd have paid extra to get something other than pearloid. It's not bad as a dot but with the trapezoid shapes, it's pretty obviously fake. The neck heel is a little large, though I can still work with it.

Reliability & Durability — 8
So far it has been quite reliable. Survived two minor falls without a mark. I do baby the finish a bit though. It's a little cloudy on the back side where my shirt rubs against it. It's been 100% reliable for the past year. I do wish Gibson would use Standard size screws though. I replaced the strap buttons with strap locks and I had to use glue to hold one of them on, the screw was so loose.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Good factory setup. The finish is a lovely Triburst. Absolutely stunning. The chrome hardware is finished nice and shiny. The wood is pretty good, for plain maple. Binding good throughout, F-holes well cut. Small finish blems around the tailpiece anchors and in the gap between the end of the neck and the body. Otherwise a gorgeous and well made git'ar.

Features — 7
2006 Gibson ES-137. Pretty Standard features, nothing to write home about. Body: semi-hollow, maple/poplar/maple laminate body. Mahogany center block. White single ply binding around body and neck. 3 piece maple neck, '59 rounded profile. Rosewood fingerboard, 22 frets, trapezoid style pearloid inlays. Two f-holes, florentine cut, black plastic pickguard. Nitrocellulose finish, Tri-Burst. Controls: 2 volume and 2 tone knobs. 3 way Switch. Chrome hardware. Grover tuners, Tune-O-Matic bridge, stop bar tailpiece. 490R neck pickup, 498T bridge pickup.

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