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  1. #1

    Recommended strings for vintage Gibson ES-175

    My 1950 ES-175 is in need of a string change, and since the expertise and the selection in the region where I live is extremely limited, I am asking you guys!
    The previous owner supposedly had a set of 10-46 on it, and I feel that the treble strings sounds a bit thin. So I am thinking 11`s.

    Do you think the guitar can take 11`s? (The guitar is in super condition, but I would hate to damage the bridge etc.).

  2. #2

    Re: Recommended strings for vintage Gibson ES-175

    Congrats on your acquisition!

    Assuming no deterioration or other issues, yes 11s are OK. Also depends on what setup was done, nut work/replacement, etc. Best have a experience / qualified tech that's handled vintage Gibson arch tops take a look, eventually.

    Many 50s/60s had 12s and 13s, so from a stress perspective you are good. Search on Gibson Sonamatic or Mona-Steel. Recall that a flat wound will sit a little different than a round wound. The 2004 Steve Howe reissue shipped with medium gauge nickel round wound strings (.013-.056) -- of course that nut was cut for these in mind. So it'd down to what the prior own had done, it anything.

    These guitars very much respond tonally to different strings, so you may have to switch it with lots of variety while you are dialing in, chasing tone.


  3. #3

    Re: Recommended strings for vintage Gibson ES-175

    @jb_abides gave you some good advice.

    There are a lot of Jazz Guitarists that used/use ES-175s that had much heavy strings than 10s. I've always used 10s on my Les Pauls/ES-355 and Strat (mainly Dean Markley, with the occasional D'Addario's thrown-in), but I have 13s on my Wes Montgomery L-5 (Thomastik flats). I'm not sure what your genre of choice is, but keep in mind that should you decide to change gauges, the heavier you go, the harder it will be for you to bend strings, should you attempt to do so.


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  4. #4
    Les Paul Forum Member fakejake's Avatar
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    Re: Recommended strings for vintage Gibson ES-175

    I use Tomastik Infeld flatwound 12s on my '52 ES-175. No issues there, sounds great!

  5. #5
    Les Paul Forum Member Trans-Am's Avatar
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    Re: Recommended strings for vintage Gibson ES-175

    My cousin plays Jazz and he uses D'addario Chromes Flat Wound on his IBANEZ and sure sounds great in what you'd hear on them jazz boxes.
    Old WOOD Is Good WOOD !!!

  6. #6

    Re: Recommended strings for vintage Gibson ES-175

    Valuable input, much appreciated!

    I think I will look into Thomastik Infeld Jazz Flats, and go with a set of 11`s first.
    Never tried 12`s on any of my electric guitars..so maybe I will consider that if the 11`s doesn`t live up to my expectations.

    Not too dependent on heavy bends on my gigs with this guitar..

  7. #7
    Les Paul Forum Member Trans-Am's Avatar
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    Re: Recommended strings for vintage Gibson ES-175

    Yup the TI's are the general concensus here as well so try 'em all pick the one that work for you in feel and sound.
    Old WOOD Is Good WOOD !!!

  8. #8

    Re: Recommended strings for vintage Gibson ES-175

    Quote Originally Posted by jb_abides View Post
    Congrats on your acquisition!

    Assuming no deterioration or other issues, yes 11s are OK. Also depends on what setup was done, nut work/replacement, etc. Best have a experience / qualified tech that's handled vintage Gibson arch tops take a look, eventually.

    Many 50s/60s had 12s and 13s, so from a stress perspective you are good. Search on Gibson Sonamatic or Mona-Steel. Recall that a flat wound will sit a little different than a round wound. The 2004 Steve Howe reissue shipped with medium gauge nickel round wound strings (.013-.056) -- of course that nut was cut for these in mind. So it'd down to what the prior own had done, it anything.

    These guitars very much respond tonally to different strings, so you may have to switch it with lots of variety while you are dialing in, chasing tone auto clicker word unscrambler jumble solver.

    keep in mind that should you decide to change gauges, the heavier you go, the harder it will be for you to bend strings, should you attempt to do so.
    Last edited by ocaluptous; 09-15-19 at 04:00 PM.

  9. #9
    Les Paul Forum Member TM1's Avatar
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    Re: Recommended strings for vintage Gibson ES-175

    Try the German made Pyramid Strings. They’ve been in business for 169 years. They have the knowledge and the best materials you can get. The quality of their materials is so much better than anything here in the States! They have Flatwounds & Round wounds . I would put a set of .011-.050’s on that 175..

  10. #10
    Les Paul Forum Member sonar's Avatar
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    Re: Recommended strings for vintage Gibson ES-175

    I love P90 ES-175's and could very well be my next vintage guitar. Congrats!

    Another fan of Thomastik flats. I found them to sound markedly better than Pyramid or D'addario flats. And Thomastik last for freakin' ever, which helps counter the financial investment.

    For gauge I'd consider your comfort first, and if needed lean on your amp's eq a little more. A favorite local Jazz player plays 10's on a reissue ES-175 and he always sounds great, although he's pinned the bridge base. The heavier gauge will help stabilize the bridge from getting knocked out of place. That said, if the guitar was mine I'd be hesitant going heavier than 12's on a 70 year old guitar.

    Thomastik-infeld Jazz-Swing lights (11-47 brass plated plain trebles) have worked out really well for me on an early 50's Harmony H62 with Gibson P13 pickups. The bridge stays put and I don't feel any extra fatigue compared to playing my other electric guitars.

  11. #11
    Les Paul Forum Co-Owner Tom Wittrock's Avatar
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    Re: Recommended strings for vintage Gibson ES-175

    Quote Originally Posted by TM1 View Post
    Try the German made Pyramid Strings. They’ve been in business for 169 years. They have the knowledge and the best materials you can get. The quality of their materials is so much better than anything here in the States! They have Flatwounds & Round wounds . I would put a set of .011-.050’s on that 175..
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  12. #12
    Les Paul Forum Member deytookerjaabs's Avatar
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    Re: Recommended strings for vintage Gibson ES-175

    I picked up a couple sets of Pyramid flats for my last arcthop I had. It must be something in the alloy/process but the sets I grabbed had a very noticeable loose or low tension feel to them and the guitars acoustic projection/volume was decreased when compared to the regular flats I swapped them for of the same gauge. (Probably D'addario). That was a bummer and I went right back to the regular flats.

    Not long after I gave up on flats and now if it's strictly a jazz box I use regular fatter gauge wound G string set with a wood bridge, preferably something stiff/tight like DR's cause you get a bit more projection coming from the top. I just prefer the character of normal strings over flats for the most part, they're more articulate and the wood bridge give the round wounds a bit more fundamental like flats which are ****ing all fundamental. If I want to do a little more with the guitar I just use a regular bridge versus a wood bridge.

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