ES-137 Custom review by Gibson

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 8.4 (95 votes)
Gibson: ES-137 Custom

Price paid: $ 1899.99

Purchased from: Musicians Friend

Sound — 10
I play pretty much anything pre rap and pre grundge. I am at the age where this stuff is just now being considered "classic rock." but like the song says, when did Motley Cure become classic rock? This guitar ran clean has the true "Gibson" sound. It sound very good ran clean for true classic rock, (Elvis, Carl Perkins, etc). When distorted, it sound great with The Who, AC/DC etc. The vatitone Switch is only available on the custom model. This is similar to the 5 position Switch on strats.

Overall Impression — 10
I have been playing off and on for over 30 years. I finally said what the hey, and decided to bite the Bullet and buy my dream guitar. I have always browsed music stores looking for something that either looked cooler or sounded better than what I was currently playing. Well I'm afraid those days are over. I haven't picked up anything since getting my 137 custom that can even match this thing. After getting this axe, my wife said I had to get rid of my other guitars. I said ok to this. Then she was so bold to say that if I bought another Gibson, she would leave me. All I can say is come the first of the year, I'm sure going to miss her!

Reliability & Durability — 10
I ordered this guitar specifically with chrome hardware. Many of the guitars in Gibson's line only come with the gold hardware (the Lucille for example). This is ashame. I have never seen any guitar, even a Gibson, with gold hardware that didn't look like crap in 10 years or less. I plan on keeping this axe for much longer than that so I went with chrome hardware. Other than that, no complaints with fit or finish. The wax applied at the factory really gives a 3-D effect to the tiger maple.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The guitar came with saw dust still in the case from the Memphis factory. Even though it felt good and sounded good right out of the box, I still took it in for a complete custom setup. I wanted it set up to my action level, string type, etc. With an insturment of this value, I still take it in once a year for a checkup no matter what.

Features — 10
I have a 2004 model made here in Memphis Tenn. I have visited the plant several times and just knew I had to have one. I couldn't buy it from the factory because they are only allowed to charge MSRP, and at $3375, that was a bit much. The tiger maple finish in light burst is a real thing of beauty. The semi-hollow body makes it the best of both worlds. It has the sustain of a solid body without feeling like you have a brick around your neck.

5 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Real beauty dude. Sawdust in the case, WTF? Must have been a busy day at the factory. Great choice btw
    This is the newest addition to my collection of Gibsons. It is a thing of beauty and plays and sounds like a dream! Like I've read in every review of this guitar, mine also had sawdust in the case when I got it. The only flaw in the finish is a *very* subtle blemish on a soundhole corner. I bought this critter because I love my es-135 so much that I had to have a "custom version." I do miss the more lightweight center-block and tailpiece of the 135... the weight of this one is in the same ballpark as a Les Paul, but so is the sustain. The Vari-Tone lets you sling all kinds of tones and I have played honky-tonk, surf, blues (Chicago- Memphis- and Delta-styles), garage rock, punk rock, and hardcore gigs... all with this little slut. She does whatever you tell her and is a thing of beauty.
    I have Owned this guitar since 2003,it is my favorite guitar to play it can achieve so many different tones,it really does sound like you have a few different guitars because of the switch.IMHO it sounds like a simihollow LesPaul when in the bypass position (1)and when you turn it to the last position (6) it sounds more like a simiholow Telecaster.I find myself usually playing it in the (1) position off but when I try to get a very nice clean tone ill turn it on.I would have to give this guitar a 10 out of 10. if you are one of those people that Have got to have just the right tone for a song then This guitar is worth every dollar spent you can not go wrong.I love this guitar