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Vintage Gallery
1940 Gibson ES-300

January 1995
by Bianca Soros



n 1940 Gibson discontinued the remarkable ES-250 and replaced it with the ES-300. This guitar was structurally an L-7 while the addition of an interior sound post and a 6-3/4" alnico pickup with adjustable poles, encased in tortoise-shell celluloid. Walter Fuller and his design ham placed on the pickup diagonally to span the entire area from the end of the fingerboard to the bridge.

   The short-lived ES-250, unlike the ES-300, was an experimental model with several variations reflecting Gibson's ongoing attempt to improve electric guitar design. Because Gibson wanted to be a major player in the sales of the electrified instruments, they required standardization in their production, hence the development of the ES-300 and the subsequent 300 series.

   Many of the original ES-300's aesthetic features became standardized in a wide array of Gibson made products over the decades that followed. Some of these features include bound rosewood fingerboards with double parallelogram inlays, multi-relief diamond trapeze tailpieces, volume and tone controls, rim-mounted jack inputs, single-boung tortoise shell celluloid pickguards, multi-boung carved tops and backs, crown headstock inlays, and adjustable Alnico pickups.

    Unfortunately, there was not enough time for this ffirst generation ES-300 to catch on commercially. The long diagnal pickup was discontinued in 1941 only eight months into production because of restrictions on war-time materials.

    Gibson's total production for the ES-300 with the long diagonal pickup, offered in sunburst and blonde, was approximately 50 units. The complete ES-300 with the long diagonal pickup, offered in the sunburst and blonde, was approximately 60 units. The complete ES-300 set with case, cord, and EH-275 amplifier listed for $300. End

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