When Gibson’s carved-top guitar luthiers in Memphis began building the magnificent ES-137 Classic in 2002, it was an instant success that lived up to its name. The ES-137 is an instant “Classic” because it combines the glories of two classic styles of Gibson cornerstone instruments. Players sang – and still sing - its praises, citing the ES-137 Classic’s great feel and gorgeous appearance, as well as its astonishing sonic versatility, from the smooth, round, clean tones required for old-school jazz to the snarl and distortion of cutting edge rock.
The ES-137 blends the looks and overall style of a single cutaway semi-hollowbody guitar and the sonic authority of a Gibson Les Paul Classic. It refines the basic design of earlier semi-hollowbody Gibsons by swapping the style’s maple centerblock for solid mahogany to increase sustain and reduce feedback at even heavy metal volumes. With its single Florentine cutaway, the ES-137 Classic draws on the heritage of Gibson’s earlier ES-135 and ES-175 models for historic inspiration, but sustain, sizzle, and some appealing non-traditional color options make it an absolutely contemporary instrument.
Although the ES-137 Classic also has a custom model, the Classic has plenty of design charm and individuality. It features a top, back, and rims made of visually appealing curly maple on a 16-inches wide, 20-inches long, and 2-inches deep body. The cream binding is multi-ply on top and single ply on the back as well as trapezoid fretboard inlays with Gibson Memphis's world-class Les Paul Classics. But the 12th fret of the ES-137 sports a pearloid inlay “C” to denote its own classic status. And in addition to tri-burst and heritage cherry sunburst finishes, the ES-137 Classic also comes in ultra-modern blues burst and sliver shades.
The ES-137 Classic shares Gibson 490 R and 498 T pickups with chrome and gold hardware options, including a Nashville Tune-O-Matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece. The instrument’s neck is sturdy three-ply maple supporting a 22-fret rosewood fingerboard with pearloid inlays and single ply binding. It has a rounded profile and a 24-inch scale length and is 1 11/16th-inches wide at the nut. The tuners are Grover keystones. And complimenting the 490R and 498T humbuckers is the classic Gibson dual volume pot, dual tone pot, and three-way selector set configuration.
The ES-137 Classic comes strung with Gibson .010 Brite Wires and get a meticulous examination and dressing on one of Gibson Memphis's state-of-the-art Pleck machines, ensuring optimum playability. With a black levant case, the ES-137 Classic leaves Gibson Memphis ready to gig – anywhere.