2016's Gibson Memphis Belles
Gibson Memphis is a place where tradition meets innovation, and 2016 is no different. The city's Gibson guitar factory, near legendary blues-home Beale Street, is where Gibson builds its legendary semi-solid ES range (and more) - some of the finest guitars in the world for over 100 years.
Intricate processes of body-binding, carved tops, neck-fitting, painting and buffing with the best tonewoods have given guitar-land some incredible instruments. And Gibson's new range for 2016 has upped the ante once again. Superb craft and new ideas abound.
Beauties and newbies! Here are just a few highlights.
ES-335s to ES-339s
The classic Gibson ES-335 still comes in a huge array of enticing flavors. The “core” 335 comes in glossy, figured and satin finish models, all slightly different but all with the appointments that have made it a classic. See the pics below.
If you desire a true repro of the original ES-335s, there are also historically-accurate 1958, 1959 and 1963 models. The difference? Mainly neck sizes and fingerboard inlays. Some ES-335 players like fatter necks, some like slimmer. Some like dot inlays, some prefer block inlays. Whatever your preference, Gibson has it covered. Get down to your guitar store and pick your favorite!
If you don't wish fancy binding and a more stripped-down 335, there's now the ES-335 Studio. It's a classic in feel and tone, but on a budget.
And if you want that 335 tone and shape, but slightly smaller, there's the ES-339. Slightly-reduced body dimensions make it easier to hold for some, but you want go wanting for that classic ES tone.
Maple/poplar tops, hot hide glue securing the perfect quarter sawn Adirondack bracing and exact size and shape frets means the legend is intact. Vintage-style pots are hand-matched to individual pickups, too, along with lightweight centerblocks.
Howzabout an ES-Les Paul?
Here's a genius idea. Take the best of a semi-hollow Gibson ES-335 and the best of a Gibson Les Paul, and marry them. The Gibson ES-Les Paul is already something of a modern classic. PAF Humbucker tone an' all.
The expert twanging dudes at Guitar Player magazine love it. “The ES-Les Paul is a terrific guitar,” they write. “Lighter than either a standard Les Paul or a typical ES-335, this instrument provides a slew of iconic Gibson sounds in a familiar form that will appeal to blues players, fusion jazzers, and hard rockers... A brilliant balance of classic solid and semi-hollow body tones.”
Sounds great, yes? Whoever at Gibson Memphis first hatched this idea – kudos! It's the guitar-date of the 21st century. Les Paul would be proud.
Let's Play Jazz! Or Rockabilly?
Gibson Memphis continues to craft classic “jazzboxes” of yesteryear. And why not? Big bodied, fulsome in tone and quality, these guitars are here to stay. The ES-175 is another classic Gibson, and 2016 sees the guitar at its finest. AAA maple abounds, with split parallelogram inlays on the rosewood neck for a stunning-looking figured-top guitar.
Although the ES-175 debuted in 1949, in 2016 it now boasts '57 Humbuckers for more bite for your tone when you need it. The matched bobbin windings give classic humbucker tone with enhanced highs. And they're wax-potted to suppress feedback. A refinement of one of Gibson's finest.
Bring The Bass!
Gibson's great basses are so often overlooked. But they won't be in 2016. The ES-LP bass is another great hybrid of semi-hollow and LP styles. Short-scale neck, lustrous finish and newly-designed MHS Bass Humbuckers. A genuine bone nut keeps things traditional. Hipshot Ultralite tuners make it now!
Honoring The King
B.B. King sadly passed away in 2015, but Gibson Memphis continues to make “Lucille”. Based on the blues legend's own spec and his main guitar for many years, this is top-end pure Gibson Memphis class. ES-335-style but with no f-holes. Varitone switch for numerous tonal options. Of course, Gibson can never guarantee the late King's own magic fingers, but this guitar..? Well, it will make you feel like a king.
Browse the whole Gibson Memphis line.