ES-137 Custom review by Gibson

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.6 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.4 (95 votes)
Gibson: ES-137 Custom

Sound — 10
I thought the guitar was fantastic. I've owned lots of cheaper guitars and this was my first production quality guitar. The sound is absolutely wonderful. I get comments all the time about how nice my guitar sounds. It definitely suits my rock/blues based playing. I usually use my Zoom G9.2tt Multi-Effects pedal combined with a Fender Super Sonic Amp. The sustain was good when I initially got this guitar but after I had the locking bridge and end piece installed it goes on and on. Really incredible! The selector switch in the down position selects the front or neck pickup and with the pre-amp or amp adjusted appropriately you can get the twangy (or at least I think it sounds twangy) sound of a Strat or a more robust deeper sound reminiscent of a Les Paul. In the middle position the sound gets throatier and this is frequently where I do the majority of my playing. Rock on! From time to time I use the selector switch in the up position selecting the rear or bridge pickup. Gets a very nice warm tone highlighting the lower notes.

Overall Impression — 10
My overall impression of this guitar is excellent. I have been playing for close to 38 years. I love everything about this guitar, the sound, the feel, the weight (which also steered me away from the Les Paul since this is a lot lighter). Really nice when you get older. I checked out several other guitars including ES-335, Les Paul and I used to own a Strat so I knew I wasn't interested in that sound or feel. This seemed to have the most dynamic range and versatility I was looking for and let's me explore different styles at the flick of a switch. I would like to get another guitar with a Tremolo Bar which is the only thing this guitar doesn't have (I don't want one on THIS guitar either). It is perfect just the way it is.

Reliability & Durability — 10
Very reliable. I've played this at church once a month for 12 months now with no issues. While having the guitar setup I also had them insert a plate where the input jacks go in. It's a common problem among some Gibson models for the area around the input jack to break and need repair (if it doesn't have a plate). I'm not waiting around for that to happen. Everything was solid on this guitar except the design defect as noted. Finish quality was excellent and I expect this to last a very long time.

Action, Fit & Finish — 8
My initial impression was very good. It did seem to have an action that was a little low and buzzing in some of the higher fret positions but I would have to check with my guitar setup guy to find out precisely what he did to make it "right" for me. I can say that some of the fret wires appeared to have indentations in a couple of frets near the nut around the 5th string (B string). It was resolved by the refret of gold wire. As far as action goes I think it's really a matter of what each individual artist likes and I wouldn't expect any instrument to fit me perfectly without some fine tuning. Overall I would say this guitar was excellent with minor issues easily resolved by a competent craftsman. I could have had the pickups adjusted but at this time I liked the sound the way it is coming out so I wasn't going to fix what wasn't broke.

Features — 10
It was made in the USA 2011. I'm guessing on the year based on the serial number. It has grover tuners, 2 Humbucking pickups and gold hardware. It came with a Tune-O-Matic bridge setup and Corian nut but I've had it customized with a Gibson locking bridge and end piece (with tuning screws like a violin has), bone nut, gold fret wire and input jack plate. The finish is flamed maple sunburst. Very cool! It has a volume and tone control for both humbucking pickups and it came with the "Gibson USA" case.

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