Gibson memphis es 275

Gibson memphis es 275 DEFAULT

Take a quick glance at the Gibson Memphis ES-275 and you might think this is a venerable Gibson from decades past – except it’s a brand-new model. Crafted at the guitar maker’s Memphis facility, this hollowbody cleverly merges ideas from the company’s hallowed past into a fresh and interesting thinline animal.

Like the L-5 archtop, this box has a rounded Venetian cutaway, but sports a body that’s just 2″ thick for comfort and fretboard access. The neck has Gibson’s classic 24.75″ scale and a full-feeling and extremely comfortable profile called a Rounded C. The “rolled” fingerboard binding is meant to simulate the edges of a guitar that’s been played for years, while a tubeless Historic truss rod provides added sustain. Most folks will key in on the ES-275’s tone, playability, and (before they even pick it up) looks. That includes the Richlite fingerboard (with 12″ radius) and rich nitro finishes.

Two test models arrived in Gibson’s Faded Cherry and flamed-maple Dark Vintage Natural (there’s also the vintage-looking Montreux Burst).

The ES-275’s truly hollow body is a laminate of maple and poplar with a set mahogany neck that joins the body at the sixteenth fret. The eighteenth fret is reached with ease. The more utilitarian Faded Cherry axe had a black pickguard and knobs with a three-ply binding, nickel hardware, split-parallelogram inlays (like an ES-345), trapeze tailpiece, and a plain black headstock featuring the Gibson crown inlay. The Natural had a tortoiseshell guard, gold vintage knobs, gold hardware, triple binding, and elegant accoutrements more like a Les Paul Custom – notably mother-of-pearl block inlays and fancier headstock details and tailpiece.

For electronics, both boxes featured two MHS humbuckers with Gibson’s standard dual Tone and Volume controls (using CTS 500k pots), and the three-way toggle located on the upper bout. The MHS ’buckers are purported to sound like vintage PAFs and, no doubt, they’re very good. Last, look for a bone nut, Kluson tulip tuners, and titanium saddles fixed to a traditional ABR-1 Tune-O-Matic bridge.

Plugged into tube and solid-state amps, both ES-275s were spry performers. It would be a disservice to say these are merely jazz or blues instruments. Honestly, they could cover most of what you’re probably looking for, from sparkling clean to raunchy honky-tonk guitar. Sure, dial in all sorts of jazz sounds with the tone knob down and neck pickup on – or pop it to the middle or bridge for hot blues, roots-rock, or country pickin’. The guitars arrived set up with lighter strings, making Ted Nugent-meets-Byrdland crunch quite possible as well.

One thing plainly evident was how bright, warm, and clear the MHS humbuckers were. These pickups verily sparkled, making each note pop. Another signal of fine construction and design was how big the high B and E strings sounded, even with the light-gauge strings. Overall, the ES-275s from Gibson Memphis are extremely well built instruments, from tailpin to headstock.

Indeed, the Gibson Memphis ES-275 is a winning combination of past designs forged into a compelling new look. Even if you blink at the expense, the street prices are actually competitive with vintage and more recent Gibson Byrdlands, making the concern moot. You might be able to buy a cheaper thinbody single-cut, but the ES-275 is a real-deal Gibson, full of history, style, craftsmanship, and modernity. That’s something you simply can’t duplicate.

This article originally appeared in VG January 2017 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

Pete Prown


Gibson Memphis ES-275 Figured

Gibson Memphis ES-275 Figured

Is this the next great Gibson hollowbody model?

by Phil O'Keefe


When you mention Gibson (in the interests of full disclosure, Harmony Central is an independent division of Gibson Brands), the first thing that comes to mind for many guitarists is their SG and Les Paul models; being two of the most popular guitar designs in history, this isn't surprising. But Gibson's electric guitar legacy goes further than just their solidbody guitars, and in fact their semi-hollowbody and hollowbody models have been and remain very popular with musicians in a wide variety of styles. Let's take a look at one of the more recent hollowbody designs to come out of Memphis, the Gibson ES-275 Figured.

main-3-bb1b0f3a.thumb.jpg.602a18db670a8e299a4577ec914a7da6.jpgWhat You Need To Know

  • The ES-275 is a new model from Gibson Memphis and like all of their hollowbody models, it's made not in Nashville, but a bit further southwest in Memphis. It is hand built in the USA.
  • The ES-275 is a true archtop guitar and features a full hollowbody with a single rounded Venetian cutaway and two unbound f-holes. The inspiration for the ES-275's flowing lines lies in Gibson's classic L-5, which was the first f-hole guitar ever made. The body of the ES-275 retains the basic shape of a modern L-5 CES, but it is about 10% smaller in length and width. It measures just a bit over 15" wide across the lower bout, which is less than the 17" body on an L-5 CES, and really noticeable when you hold it.
  • The body is also fairly shallow compared to an L-5, measuring only 2" thick. Gibson calls it a mid-depth body.
  • The wood used for the body is a three-ply laminate of maple, poplar and maple, with AAA figured maple used on the exterior. Inside, mahogany is used for the head and tail blocks, and the bracing is similar to what you'll find in a Gibson ES-175.
  • The top has a seven-ply white/black binding, while a three-ply binding is used for the back.



  • The review unit is finished in what Gibson calls Dark Vintage Natural, but it's also available in Montreux Burst, which is similar to a dark two-tone tobacco sunburst. Regardless of the color you pick, the finish is gloss nitrocellulose lacquer.
  • A bound faux tortoise shell pickguard comes pre-mounted on the guitar. The pickguard binding is stark white, in contrast to the rest of the binding, which is more yellowed.


  • Being a true hollowbody, the ES-275 Figured is a light guitar, weighing in and just a hair under seven pounds.
  • The 24.75" scale set neck is one piece mahogany, which is stained a dark cherry color and finished with nitrocellulose lacquer. It joins the body at the 16th fret, giving excellent access to the upper frets. The neck profile is a rounded C shape that is very comfortable. The thickness measures 0.850" at the first fret according to my digital calipers, and at 1.690" wide at the (bone) nut it's not too wide or narrow either.
  • The neck uses Gibson's historic truss rod, and the truss rod cover is the usual "bell" shape, with a F-hole lightly engraved into it. The nut is bone.


  • Visually the neck reminds me of a Les Paul Custom neck; with genuine mother of pearl block position markers and MOP split diamond and Gibson logo headstock inlays, it's very classy looking. The headstock has a 17 degree angle, and is surrounded by five ply binding.  


  • The fingerboard has a 12" radius and is Richlite, which is a composite made from recycled paper and phenolic resin. I had been playing the guitar for a good two weeks before I noticed, and it was only on close inspection that I could tell it wasn't ebony like I originally thought. The sound and playing feel are nearly indistinguishable. Richlite also has other benefits, such as being renewable and having increased stability and resistance to warping, cracking or chipping when it's refretted. Of course, with 22 cryogenically treated medium jumbo frets that resist wear, you probably won't need to have this guitar refretted any time soon.  


  • The fingerboard is bound, with black dot side markers. The fingerboard binding is rolled, which gives the neck a comfortable, broken-in feel. The gold plated tuning machines are smooth and precise Grover Rotomatics with an 18:1 ratio.


  • At the other end the strings are anchored in a gold plated zig-zag trapeze tailpiece, and a gold plated ABR-1 bridge with titanium saddles and rosewood base allows for full intonation adjustability.
  • The guitar is set up with the PLEK system, so the nut slots and fret dressing and height are outstanding, as is the intonation. The action on the review unit was perfectly set too, which contributes to the ES-275 Figured's great playability.
  • The electronics package in the ES-275 Figured consists of two top mounted, full-sized MHS humbuckers with gold covers. These are scatter-wound PAF style pickups. They're slightly under-wound, with unbalanced coils. The neck pickup has 4,900 wraps on the screw side coil, and 5,100 on the slug side, while the bridge pickup is wound a bit hotter with 5,200 / 5,400 wraps. DC resistance is 7.5kOhm for the neck and 8kOhm for the bridge unit. The bridge pickup uses AlNiCo II magnets while AlNiCo III is used in the neck pickup.


  • Full-sized 500k CTS linear pots are used all around for the individual volume and tone controls for each pickup, as well as orange drop (.02mF bridge, .015mF neck) capacitors. There's also a three-way pickup selector switch mounted in a rubber grommet on the upper bout. The knobs are gold "top hats" and have the more modern (read: pain-free) rounded dial pointers. The 1/4" output jack is mounted on the side of the guitar.


  • Each Gibson Memphis ES-275 Figured comes with a signed Certificate of Authenticity and a hardshell case.



  • When I first opened it up, the interior of the case was liberally littered with sawdust and tiny wood fragments.


  • There is a slight bit of bleed from the red aniline neck dye on the binding in a couple of places on the bass side of the headstock and neck. This is minor, and it is not uncommon to see a bit of this on vintage Gibsons from the 1950s too.



Love the Gibson L-5? Who doesn't? It's a legendary guitar with a reputation that is rivaled by few others… but it's not ideal for everyone, especially if you're looking for a somewhat more compact and comfortable instrument to play or want extended note range and upper fret access. Enter the Gibson Memphis ES-275 Figured. It retains the same basic shape as the L-5 and a lot of the upscale style but with a body that's slightly smaller and thinner, it's a much more pleasant instrument to play. Coupled with the extended range, 22-fret neck, it also offers better upper fret access and note range than most jazz guitars do too.

While it's considerably less expensive than an L-5 CES, you certainly aren't giving up anything in the looks department. The figuring on the ES-275's wood is alive with flame and vibe, and it's not just the top - the entire body is equally flamed, and the dark vintage natural-lacquer finish really makes it pop. The gold-plated hardware against the natural finish works really well too, while the zig-zag trapeze tailpiece adds a dash of art deco whimsy.

The MHS humbuckers have a nice clear, yet warm sound to them, and while there's plenty of level, they're not overly hot in output, as is fitting for a guitar of this type. The ES-275 Figured is great for jazz, but it's a more versatile-sounding guitar than you might think - while most people aren't going to view this as a rock guitar, it does better than I expected it would at medium gain tones, and resisted feedback better than I initially assumed it would.

The Richlite fingerboard is the only area of the guitar that I suspect will be controversial for some players, but having been fooled by it for two weeks and playing it for considerably longer, I'm now convinced - it looks, sounds and feels very similar to ebony. The liberal sprinkling of wood debris inside the case was a bummer initially, but in five years you'll still be playing and loving this guitar and will probably have long forgotten the five minutes you had to spend vacuuming out the case when you first got it. Still, this is something that Gibson Memphis is aware of and I'm told they've taken steps to alleviate the issues, so hopefully you won't have to deal with it at all.

One personal note. While I was at the 2017 Winter NAMM Show I ran into my friend (and former editor) Mitch Gallagher at the Gibson booth. Mitch is a Grammy award winner, a highly talented guitarist, and is currently the editorial director at Sweetwater - so he gets to check out a lot of gear. While we were chatting about what we liked at the show I asked him which guitar he'd pick if he could take home any guitar that was on display in the booth. Without hesitation he said the ES-275 Figured. It was apparent from our conversation that he was as impressed with the guitar as I am. Shortly after NAMM I heard that he had in fact purchased one. That says a lot about this guitar. If you're looking for an upscale hollow body electric guitar, the impressive ES-275 Figured should be on your audition short list too. Like Mitch, you might find yourself taking one of these classy-sounding, great-playing guitars home. -HC-


Gibson Memphis ES-275 Figured ($4,249.00 MSRP, $4,099.00 "street")

Gibson's product web page

You can purchase the Gibson Custom ES-275 Figured from:

Sweetwater  (burst)

Sweetwater (natural)

Guitar Center

Musician's Friend

The Gibson Memphis ES-275 Figured in this video is the one that Mitch ended up purchasing.

Have questions about this review? Want to discuss the Gibson Memphis ES-275 Figured? Then head over to this thread in the Electric Guitar forum right here on Harmony Central.



Phil O'Keefe is a multi-instrumentalist, recording engineer / producer and the Senior Editor of Harmony Central. He has engineered, produced and performed on countless recording sessions in a diverse range of styles, with artists such as Alien Ant Farm, Jules Day, Voodoo Glow Skulls, John McGill, Michael Knott and Alexa's Wish. He is a former featured monthly columnist for EQ magazine, and his articles and product reviews have also appeared in Keyboard, Electronic Musician and Guitar Player magazines.  

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Gibson Memphis ES-275 Custom 2018 Rosewood Fingerboard Sunset Burst

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  • Gibson Serial#: 10648713
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  • Description and Features
  • Reinvented Classic Archtop The 2018 Gibson ES-275 Custom in Sunset Burst finish is a reinvented classic archtop designed with the modern player in mind. Honoring the long tradition of Gibson’s great jazz guitars in looks, tone and feel, the ES-275 Custom...
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  • Model: Gibson Memphis ES-275 Custom 2018 Rosewood Fingerboard Sunset Burst
  • Top Wood: 3-ply Figured Maple/Poplar/Maple
  • Body Wood: 3-ply Figured Maple/Poplar/Maple
  • Finish Color: Sunset Burst
  • Fingerboard: Dark Rosewood
  • More Features

Questions? Call us at 1-626-507-5575, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or contact us ... We're here to help!


Gibson Memphis ES-275 Custom 2018 Rosewood Fingerboard Sunset Burst

Reinvented Classic Archtop

The 2018 Gibson ES-275 Custom in Sunset Burst finish is a reinvented classic archtop designed with the modern player in mind. Honoring the long tradition of Gibson’s great jazz guitars in looks, tone and feel, the ES-275 Custom offers players of any musical genre a timeless instrument with modern functionality. For improved access to the 22 fret dark rosewood fretboard, the thinline body design features a single rounded cutaway. The Grover “Milk Bottle” Rotomatic tuners and pinned ABR-1 bridge with titanium saddles offer precise intonation and tuning stability. Rich tones are always on tap thanks to the hand-wired MTC Premirere control assembly with Orange Drop capacitors, 550K matched pots, and our MHS humbucking pickups.

ModelGibson Memphis ES-275 Custom 2018 Rosewood Fingerboard Sunset Burst
BuilderGibson Memphis
Body TypeSemi-Hollow Body
Top Wood3-ply Figured Maple/Poplar/Maple
Body Wood3-ply Figured Maple/Poplar/Maple
Finish TypeGloss Nitrocellulose Lacquer
Finish ColorSunset Burst
Back FinishGloss Nitrocellulose Lacquer
BindingCream Binding on Fingerboard Headstock and Top
Neck WoodQuartersawn Mahogany
FingerboardDark Rosewood
Neck CarveRounded "C", Rolled Binding
Scale Length24.75''
Neck Radius12''
Frets22 - Medium Jumbo - 18% Nickel Silver
Nut Width1.687''
Nut MaterialBone
Neck FinishGloss Nitrocellulose Lacquer
InlaysMother of Pearl Full Block
Neck PickupMHS Humbucker
Bridge PickupMHS Humbucker
PickguardMulti-ply Bound Tortoiseshell
BridgeABR-1 with titanium saddles and rosewood base
TunersGrover 'Milk Bottle' Rotomatics
ControlsMTC Premiere : 2 volumes, 2 tones, 1 toggle switch, hand-wired with matched 550K potentiometers and orange drop capacitors
Case Gibson Brown Hardshell Case
Weight6.8 Pounds

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NEW for 2019, the Gibson ES-275 Thinline

Should be an interesting year for Gibson!  Looking forward to their 2019 lineup including the new Gibson the ES-275 Thinline.  This guitar is a unique take on one of Gibson’s most iconic silhouettes, the Gibson jazz box. Featuring a thermally engineered chambered maple centerblock and thermally engineered quarter-sawn Adirondack spruce bracing, this guitar offers lightweight semi-hollowbody characteristics in a timeless archtop package. The Dark Rosewood fingerboard and Rounded “C” neck profile provide a comfortable feel with easy access to all 22 frets. Armed with Memphis Historic Spec II (MHS II) pickups and the Memphis Tone Circuit Premiere (MTC Premiere) wiring assembly, the tonal possibilities are truly limitless. AAA figured maple veneers are dressed in Cherry Cola.




Es 275 memphis gibson

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Gibson Memphis ES-275 Figured

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Gibson Memphis ES-275 Figured

Despite its huge heritage and perception of conservative style, Gibson is actually remarkably forward-looking and innovative.

Okay, not everyone gelled with the 'robot' tuners, brass zero frets (and the like) of some recent USA production models, but that's only one part of what the brand is about.

Gibson's Memphis division, which creates the mainly laminate 'f-hole'- styles, seems to take a different slant on modernism that's typified by the recent semi-solid ES-Les Paul and the downsized ES-339: classic guitars but with a different spin. This year, Memphis introduced another in the form of the ES-275.

And while plenty of its Historic-style output centres on highly 'old-looking' VOS finishes, plenty more core models have a contemporary gloss sheen and 'posher' figured woods, like our trio here.

There is plenty of commonality in our three review models: laminate woods, neck shapes, pickups and hardware yet each one retains a hugely individual character that, depending on your preference and style, might just be the guitar of your dreams.

Today we're looking at the ES-275 Figured. "This came from Japan, actually," said Mike Voltz, director of R&D/product development at Gibson Memphis, when we spoke earlier this year at the winter NAMM show.

The ES-275 is a beautiful, musical guitar.

"I was there eight or nine months ago. We go over a couple of times a year to support the market and look out for new trends. A thing we noticed is that a lot of younger players have discovered jazz - their request was for something that wasn't so 'old'.

"They wanted better access to the [top] frets. See, an ES-175 has 20 frets, and ES-295 has only 19, and they're not as accessible [as a Les Paul or ES-335]. I came back and thought about it and concluded there's nothing more 'jazz' than an L-5, so I took that and reduced it by 10 per cent so when you look at it, it still says Gibson!

"The neck is a Les Paul neck," continues Mike, "with 22 frets and all of a sudden you've got access, but it's a jazz box - totally hollow and it's braced like an ES-175."

In the flesh, this outline works perfectly: it's a design from a bygone age, updated for the modern player. It's 385mm ( just over 15 inches) wide, much smaller than the 432mm (17-inch) bulk of the L-5 and many other Gibson archtops, and the neck joins the body at the 16th fret, not the 14th. While our Figured version has block inlays and ES-355/Les Paul Custom-style head logo, the standard version, in Faded Cherry, has ES-345-style split parallelogram inlays.

While it follows Gibson's classic laminate wood construction, in this Figured version the outer maple veneers of the back and top back are quite heavily flamed through the new Montreux Burst finish (named after the jazz festival, of course), which is quite a muted mid-brown in the centre with a darker outer 'bursting - the same colour as the sides, through which you can see subtle flaming.

Despite the gold-plated 'zig-zag' tailpiece (hand bent on the original tooling), tune-o-matic (on a pinned rosewood foot), pickup covers and Grover tuners, the overall look remains hugely classic, and not overly blingy or posh. Incidentally, above the Studio level and excluding the Historic models, all core Memphis ABR-1 tune-o- matics, as here, have titanium saddles for this year.

Why? "We really like the sound," says Mike, simply.

The toned topcoat of the nitro finish gives the cream outer binding a vintage nicotine-stained hue (except the bound edge of the tortie pickguard, which is brilliant white), while the unbound f-holes are black painted. Internally, it's very clean, too, with kerfed linings and dual longitudinal top braces from 'red' Adirondack spruce - a very tidy job.

Controls are classic Gibson, although the angle of the diamond layout is slightly flatter than a Les Paul or ES-335, just as you'd see on a classic L-5, along with that rounded Florentine cutaway.

We also get a shoulder-placed toggle that sits in a thick rubber grommet. There's very little to moan about here, perhaps with the exception of the rather random-looking pickup angles, especially the over-slanted neck 'bucker.

Neck shape is classed as a 'rounded C', which feels full and classic and very slightly flat-backed with nicely rounded edges to the top of the fingerboard binding. The man-made Richlite of the fingerboard looks

very ebony-like, while the chunky medium frets (approximately 2.28mm wide by 1.3mm high) further enhance that Les Paul- like neck feel.

Aside from the 'Patent Applied For' sticker on the back of the humbuckers, there's no specific ID, though the specs tell us they are Gibson MHS (Memphis Historic Spec), which Gibson has called "our most accurate PAF reproductions yet" with scatter-wound, slightly under-wound mismatched coils, an Alnico III magnet in the neck 'bucker and an Alnico II in the bridge unit.

The so-called 'Memphis Tone Circuit' seems to refer to a number of different specifications: here, we have CTS 500k linear taper pots for the volume controls and 500k audio taper pots for the tones, with a .022 microfarad cap for the bridge pickup's tone and a .015 microfarad cap on the neck to cut less treble.


Even just looking at the ES-275 you feel you're entering an exclusive club of the Gibson Archtop - no riff-raff allowed here! This perception is certainly confirmed by the clean amp sounds, especially the neck and neck/bridge combination.

Even with the volume and tone full up, the neck sound is quite velveteen in the basses with bell- like clarity from the high strings. There's lovely hollowed snap from the mix and even the sharper bridge with a little tone roll-off adds some attack to the low strings (without rattling the wine glasses).

'Jazz', of course, is such a catch-all, but the ES-275 is remarkably pliable. It exudes smoothness, especially with volume and tones rolled back a little, and has a tonal depth that, again, is sometimes lacking - purposely - from a shallower thinline style. At lower volumes, it creates rootsier Americana sounds that edge into break-up, not to mention chewier blues. Also, achieving much funkier soul/pop voices is easy.

It's this balance of chiming clarity with old-school depth that's so appealing in a body size that's big enough to feel very comfortable seated, but not too big to make you feel swamped. There might be "no money up there", as they saying goes, but the extended range and access is welcome and feels very natural, not least for higher chord voicings.

We did find ourselves raising the wound G string's pole piece - it sounded a little quiet compared with the plain B and wound D, but don't pigeonhole this one. Yes, 'jazz' ain't a problem, but that's like saying you can only use a Telecaster for country picking. The ES-275 is a beautiful, musical guitar.

[MusicForce] Gibson Memphis ES-275 Demo - 'Silent Night' Guitarist 이지호

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