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Rating and Reviews: Gibson ES-137 Classic

The Gibson ES-137 is a continuation of a guitarist's classic. With the familiar archtop semi-hollowbody, the Gibson ES-137 has unmistakable tone.

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Sound
Features
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"Gibson ES-137 Classic -- A True Modern Classic!" submitted December 6, 2006

By a customer from yahoo.com
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Sound
Features
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Musical Background: Former pro, now hobbyist
Music Style: Blues, Jazz, Classic Rock and Original
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Sound: The ES-137 Classic is a versatile instrument. My other electrics are a Fender Deluxe Ash Strat and a modified Highway One Tele. I was looking for a good humbucker-equipped guitar. I use it primarily for jazz but it is equally good for stuff like T-Bone, Chuck Berry, Scotty Moore, and B.B. King. Think ES-335 except more "air" and depth. It also is capable of some real nasty Les Paul sounds on the bridge pickup. I play through a Fender '63 Reissue Vibroverb (w/replacement speakers and tubes) and the combination produces the range of sounds I was looking for. But, this is NOT a thrash metal guitar. It has a vintage blues/jazz vibe. Feature: Two pickups with separate volume and tone controls and a three-way selector switch. All of the materials are top-notch. At the time I bought it I was wishing I could order it with Classic '57 pickups but I'm generally happy with the PUs that came with the guitar. I suppose it's possible that I might swap out the neck pickup at some point but it's fine the way it is. Ease of Use: Plays like a dream. Quality: The guitar itself is well made and beautiful. I have to deduct a few points though. The case still had a little sawdust in it from the factory and the finish had some dull spots -- a little rubbing compound dust was coming off of it. I gave it a good clean and polish and she cleaned up real nice -- now the finish is flawless. I have the Triburst and the color is better than the pictures. The burst on mine starts black, goes gradually to a deep wine red then fades to the golden flame in the center. It also needed a good pro setup but, in my experience, they all do. I'm not worried at all about how it will hold up over time. Value: I think this is one of the best values in the Gibson line. If you compare the materials, the bound body and neck, etc. with other Gibsons (like a 335) this goes for about half of what they charge for others and several hundred dollars less than a LP Standard. Manufacturer Support: I gave this a "9" only because I haven't needed support and that's worth a "9" to me. Can't say how they might respond if I did. The Wow Factor: I've been through an awful lot of guitars over the years. I only keep those that look great and feel "right" to me. This baby is a definite keeper. Overall: I look for three main things in an instrument: tone, playability, and how it makes me feel -- how it makes me play. Every time I pick this guitar up it speaks to me and sings for me. What else is there? If something happended to it, I'd buy another in a heartbeat.
21 of 23 people (91.3%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"My Favorite Axe!!!" submitted September 26, 2011

By a customer from gmail.com
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Musical Background: active Musician, Praise Band Director, Project Studiio, Night-time rocker
Music Style: rock, Country, Christian - Contemporary Praise
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Sound: I bought this for a nice departure from my Strat and PRS Custom 22, and it absolutely delivers. The tone has more of an "airy" sound to it, but it's a good thing. I play this a lot with some clean and lightly over-driven/sparkle tones, and it really works well there. This thing can certainly ROCK though. Punch in your overdrive or distortion and you can rock with the best of them. The Les Paul pick-ups are really versatile! This guitar can get lots of treble out of it, perfect for jazz, country, and with some overdrive behind it, really cutting through mix in a Rock setting. Feature: The color is gorgeous! The pick-ups are very good. The individual volume and tone for each pick-up is nice. Love the size and the TONE this thing gets. It can be a loud guitar. Ease of Use: I ordered this online from Zzounds, and pulled it out of the case and started playing right away. It did not take long to start dialing in the tones and sounds I wanted. My one caution: this has a NITROCELLULOSE laquer finish. You need to not set it down on most guitar stands, to protect the finish. Options available are to store it in the case or a wooden guitar stand (pricey though). I store mine in case, except for performances. I use a t-shirt material to put between the guitar and stands, when I need to set-it down during sets. Quality: Quality is very good. This is a Gibson Custom-Shop guitar, and you can tell when you play it. Value: I find this guitar one of the best values out there for a Gibson Custom Shop axe. It has that classic semi-hollowbody, which is timeless. Can go from Jazz to Rock in flick of switch, sounds amazing, and looks gorgeous. For the money, what more could you want in an axe? Manufacturer Support: No issues. The Wow Factor: This was a guitar I dreamed of for several weeks before I bought it, and was an instant favorite. It has my favorite color, look, pick-ups, custom-shop, and love the "C" in the middle. (of course, my name starts with C, like it was made just for me) Overall: I highly recommend this for the player looking for a different sound. I think my brother is about to buy one, because I keep raving about it. If you want something different, that sets you apart, and have the $ for a Gibson Custom-Shop, this is absolutely one of the best values you will find in market today.
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"Gibson ES-137 Classic is the best investment!" submitted September 15, 2011

By a customer from yahoo.com
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Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
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The Wow Factor
Musical Background: 40 year pro
Music Style: all styles
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SPOTLIGHT REVIEW
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Sound: I’ve played Gibson guitars with the ’57 humbuckers, but the 490 & 498 humbuckers are much better IMO. The ‘57’s are too muffled on the low end, and shallow with the middle frequencies. Feature: Standard Gibson setup. No complaints. Ease of Use: The body design is perfect for sitting or standing. Not too heavy. Real solid. The Florentine half cutaway poses no problems when going for the high notes. This guitar is designed to fit the (human) body. Quality: Good quality all round. Just what you expect from the Custom Shop. No flaws, no adjustments required. I played a gig with this guitar 'right out of the box'. Whoever set this one up at the Custom shop did a GREAT JOB. Value: In my opinion, this is the absolute BEST Gibson ES you can get for this type of money. It is as good as or better any of the other ES models (335, 336, 339, 175 etc.). When you see and play this, you KNOW you have a Gibson in your hands! Manufacturer Support: Don't know. Nothing wrong with this. The Wow Factor: The Blue is the most intense and unique color I have seen. I haven't met anyone who didn't have a positive comment about the appearance of this guitar. The body design and craftsmanship on this guitar are top of the line. I own it. If it got stolen or burned up in fire, I’d buy another one just like it (Blue), and wouldn’t hesitate to pay full retail price if I couldn’t get it on sale. Overall: I feel this guitar has the quality and craftsmanship that is expected of any Custom Shop guitar… including the ES-335 and others. The finish is flawless (I’ve got the Blue. Get the Blue! People’s jaws will drop when they see it). I tried a couple other models but had to return them (including the ES-339, a high end Ibenez, a Gretsch Tennessee Rose, and a high end Epi). I almost ‘gave up’, but I thought I’d give it one more shot with trying the ES-137. I’m glad I did! At first I was going to go for the ES-137 Deluxe, because it looked like a higher quality instrument. Not true! The ES-137 Custom is the same body, the same tuners, the same bridge. The only difference are the pickups (‘57’s vs. the 490/492’s), the ebony fingerboard (on the Deluxe), the fancy headstock (on the deluxe), and the Varitone (on the deluxe). I actually like the simple headstock better… it’s more of a ‘classic’, simple look. I don’t care for the Varitone. The natural tone you get out of the Custom is more than enough to play with. The Varitone circuit was great in the old days (30 years ago), but now there are so many pedals, guitar processors and amplifier EQ’s, that you don’t need a Varitone. So why pay extra for it? In my humble opinion…. the 490/498 pickups are Gibson’s ‘best’ at this time. I mean, they sound GREAT. The ‘57’s are vintage sound for sure, but in this case…. “vintage is not necessarily better”. IMO. The ‘57’s are too muddy and hollow. I really would have liked an ebony fingerboard rather than rosewood…. But I wasn’t going to pay an extra $800 for the Deluxe to get that. Plus, I wanted the 490/498 PUP’s and the simple headstock. OK, bottom line: the ES-137 Custom is the least buck for the most quality. You can’t go wrong. It is dripping with Classic Gibson tone, Gibson looks, Gibson feel, and Gibson quality. Hey, if you want a Gibson my friends, you just have to pay the extra few bucks, AND GET A GIBSON!
6 of 7 people (85.71%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Very Good Guitar" submitted September 7, 2012

By John Hofmann in West Valley, NY
Overall
Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
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Musical Background: I have been playing since 1967, currently working with other musicians on original songs.
Music Style: I love blue's from the early 20's. Also enjoy playing music from the 60's.
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Overall: I received my guitar today. Was really disappointed when I opened the case and seen nothing but wood chips all over the guitar and inside the case. For a custom guitar I would think Gibson would not ship a guitar that way. Also was surprised to see a whole in the back part of the case. I just curious if zZounds look at their products before shipping.Now to the guitar very well made finish was exceptional. The neck is very comfortable and will me enjoyment with alot of hours playing. Controlls are very accessable while playing. Tone is everything I have been looking for from very soft clean to early rock and roll, and with a little overdrive guitar sings. I highly recommend this guitar to anyone who wants and quality instrument..
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"I know how nice I have it!" submitted January 19, 2008

By a customer from hotmail.com
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Sound
Features
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Musical Background: retired musician/ hobbyist
Music Style: Texas Rock, Alternative
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SPOTLIGHT REVIEW
Sound: I did drop a 59 high output humbucker in the bridge. I smile everytime I turn the amp on. I am 52 and only play for freinds, neighbors and the dogs currently. It was given to me as a gift about five years ago. I also own a tele and a gibson acoustic wm-45. I play my electrics through a Kustom 36 Coupe amplifier. Life is good. Feature: I have a beautiful sunburst that came in the box with NO FLAWS. Ease of Use: I throw the swith up and down for rythym and lead and rarely use the middle. I only use the peddle that come with the custom amp to kick up the lead. No peddle boxes and wires everywhere. Quality: It is made extremely well. I could not have cruised guitar auctions or stores and picked a better guitar. I am sure it was a little luck, but it also is just a tremendous guitar. I have freinds that ask to swap their strats for a few days just for kicks and I really have to dig deep to allow it, where as the other guitars I have no problem loaning to old freinds. Value: More than worth the price. Even though it was a gift. I did find out what they currently sell for from a freind. Manufacturer Support: No issues. I could call them in Montana and thank them for my particular guitar, but I am sure they get enough of that type of response. The Wow Factor: Everyone who walks in to the studio goes right for it and asks if they can pick it up. Later they tell me not to turn my back because they are taking it home. I would be devistated if something happened to this guitar. It has become an important part of my life. I cannot say that about other guitars. Overall: The search is over. I own the three guitars I would need for the remainder of my life. Occaisionally I see a guitar at a store I pick up and play for a minute or two. I always leave the store greatful for what awaits me at home.
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