Hi everybody!

I have a great 1956 ES-175 that needs a serious restoration job. It has a crack in the heel of the neck. I was told it needs a neck reset, and many luthiers turned down the job. It's an awesome guitar. It needs a new fretboard too, the original one is shaved down so much, some of the dots in the binding are half way gone already.

I am more of a player that collector, so I need somebody to point me to a luthier that wants to do the job. I am in the bay area now, but I'll be living in LA soon... I though this is the right forum for that! Thanks guys, looking forward to your reply.

Tags: 175, ES, Gibson, neck, reset, vintage

Views: 2160

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Hi Micah.

That's also called a restoration job in the bizz(:  The body looks to be in superb condition (EC+).  It doesn't need "restored" as much as it simply needs the neck repaired.

If you're still in the Bay area, check out our host's repair services at Gryphon Instruments.

I'm surprised that the MANY fine repair folks in the Bay area have balked on this project.  What you are asking to be done will run right at or over $1000.  Just out of curiosity, were the cost negotiations part of why the repair staff you contacted 'passed' on the job?.

Also, are you sure this is a '56?  The humbucking pup didn't appear on the 175 until 1957. Is it a replacement/mod?

In any event, you have a very nice instrument that, even with the repairs, has some, although not tremendous, vintage value & appeal.  Make sure that your chosen repair person is experienced with they type of work you require. It will be worth having the repairs done properly.  You don't want to cut corners on the cost or quality of the repair.

Best of luck,


Hi Mischa and welcome

Nice looking guitar

I would not be replacing that fretboard just because of the  side dots .

Either live with it or just have that side binding replaced and smaller repositioned dots installed

Much less costly

Whether you need a reset or not can't be seen from the photos, it may be fine once the heel is glued.

The danger is that the block inside the guitar may have cracked too and neck removal would be necessary to fix that

Hi Jeff,

I think the fretboard is too thin by now to set a comfortable low action... unfortunately!

I konw it would be less costly, but I want to restore the guitar to a perfect playable conditon... I'll see!

First I need somebody to take on the job!

Cool guitar. Be interesting to see if that is a PAF humbucker. It's worth repairing.

Yeah...definitely take it to Frank and his crew at Gryphon Stringed Instruments in Palo Alto.  Frank is a legend in the industry. If that's too far then maybe he can recommend someone closer to your location.

211 Lambert Avenue
Palo Alto, California 94306
Toll Free: 888.493.2131

I called Gryphon a while ago already... unfortunately got turned down on it. I'll try again I hear so much good stuff about them!

That guitar is over twice the age of my oldest child. I agree with Jeff. Keep the fingerboard unless it's distorted. The fingerboard is part of the history of the guitar and it's original to the instrument. 

It actually might be distorted, it's for sure very thin and I don't know if you can get the action low enough anymore! ...  I'll have a pro make the final call on this !!!

Micah, I would say that there was something compromised in the headblock area as there appears to be a crack running through the cutaway. Remove the neck, repair the block and, at your discretion, replace the board or not. I would think the inlays are pretty thin up by the nut with as much meat as was removed from the board. If you happen to wait until you reach LA to have this done I'm located in Simi Valley and would be more than happy to give her the once over for a quote. You can contact me through my website at or with a PM on this site. Best of luck with the repair either way. BTW that pickup, if it is a PAF, goes for around $2,500.00 by itself, so I'd be sure to give the repair to someone trustworthy.

WoW! Your guitar appears to be in great shape cosmetically! I agree with Eric and others about the year and it possibly being a PAF....$$$ pickup!

Definitely take it to a 'trusted' repair person. If you don,t have the original pickguard already, it would be good to get a replacement. That would dress it up, proper!

Very nice, and best of luck.


Thanks Eric!

I'm moving down there pretty soon! Great to hear an enthusiastic luthier!

I'll post a picture of the back of the pickup soon!

This is a guitar that I would love to be the current steward of for a while - very, very nice!!

From the first picture it looks like the neck is canted to the right and you can see this if you use the low e as a straight edge and compare it to the edge of the board as it intersects the body.  As such, and with the crack in the side of the cut-away that was also mentioned earlier, there may be a bit more than a simple neck reset here.  Perhaps a cracked neck block too.

Regardless it's fixable and I completely agree with the very talented crew here - take it to someone with the chops and inclination to fix her up.

that's the plan! thanks for your comment Hesh!


© 2024   Created by Frank Ford.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service