Raw and refined in equal measure, the new ES-195 from Gibson Memphis is a rock-and-roll machine pure and simple, but can turn its ferocity to a surprisingly broad range of styles within that realm—and... Read More
Raw and refined in equal measure, the new ES-195 from Gibson Memphis is a rock-and-roll machine pure and simple, but can turn its ferocity to a surprisingly broad range of styles within that realm—and plenty more outside it, too. Combining the rich pedigree of Gibson’s tradition in archtop-electrics with the snarl and attitude of the company’s seminal solidbody rockers, the ES-195 makes a striking statement with both its beguiling looks and monster tone.
What’s more, the ES-195 can turn its hand to jazz without breaking a sweat, thanks to a body proportioned and constructed in homage to the legendary ES-175 but ¾” thinner and a pair of humbucker-sized P-94 single-coil pickups. But one look at that Firebird-inspired Trini Lopez neck and headstock tells you there’s far more under the hood: add some serious attitude when you hit the strings, then prepare yourself for pure rock fury.
A Bigsby™ vibrato tailpiece takes it all to another dimension, letting the ES-195 run from classic rockabilly growl, to meaty country twang, to atmospheric alternative excursions. On top of all this, the ES-195 looks superb in your choice of ebony with chrome hardware, or Trans Amber Stain (Tobacco Burst) atop a Grade-AAA figured maple top with gold hardware--both complemented by distinctive split-diamond mother-of-pearl fingerboard inlays.
Body and Neck
The ES-195 has a fully hollow body constructed in the ES-175 style, with laminated maple top, back, and sides, arched top and back with traditional f-holes and white top binding. It has a glued-in maple neck with bound rosewood fingerboard inlaid with mother-of-pearl split-diamond position markers. The headstock is patterned after the Trini Lopez model of the 1960s, itself inspired by Gibson’s non-reverse Firebird.
Pickups and Electronics
To take you from roaring rock and roll to warm, purring jazz and spankin,’ twangin’ country, the ES-195 is equipped with a pair of Gibson’s popular P-94 pickups modified to give hum canceling performance when played together. Made with genuine Alnico II magnets, these pickups are constructed in the image of the beloved P-90 single coil, and offer the same blend of bite and snarl, but are sized to fit traditional humbucker mounting rings. Plus they are calibrated, having 10K winding on the neck position pickup and 10.5K windings on the bridge position pickup. The standard four-knob control section of two independent volume and tone controls and a three-way Switchcraft™ toggle switch complete the electronics.
Hardware and Plastics
The ES-195 carries Gibson’s legendary Tone Pros™ bridge with roller saddles on an ebony base, partnered with an authentic Bigsby™ tailpiece for smooth vibrato action. High-quality Grover™ Mini tuners grace the six-in-line headstock, and all hardware is gold-plated on the Trans Amber (Tobacco Burst) guitars, and chrome on the Ebony guitars. The Trans Amber ES-195 carries amber Top-Hat knobs, while the Ebony wears black Top-Hats, and both versions have a black five-ply pickguard and black truss-rod cover.
Case and Coverage
Every ES-195 comes protected in silkscreened Gibson Memphis hardshell case with plush charcoal lining and includes a Certificate of Authenticity.
Reviewed by 1 customer
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I bought my ES-195 to replace an ES-125 that was stolen. I like the finish quality, the neck and the feel of the guitar. The guitar gets compliments for beauty and the Trans Amber is very attractive. My only complaint would be the P94 pickups, which do not have the punch of P90s. I played my ES-125 from the mid- sixties until it was stolen and it had much more edge and a tendency to feed back at relatively low volumes that could be used in some material for sustain. The ES-195 sounds lighter and less ballsy. For information sake, I usually play through Mesa amps and have to turn up louder to get a tone comparable to the 125. I like the ES-195, but disagree that the P94 pickups are similar to P90s. The guitar is comfortable to play, but I find myself taking other guitars to gigs. I am back to using an ES-150DC for tone instead of the 195.
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