Up for sale, a 1950 Gibson ES-300 in exquisite, collector-grade condition and in perfect working order, complete with the original brown Lifton hardshell case and pat. pending Bobby Lee strap. While the ES-300 was Gibson's first top-of-the-line electric archtop in Gibson's Pre War years, it was redesigned after the War, only available as a two-pickup model with P-90s from 1948 until '52 when the model was retired. This premium archtop has all the detail, tonal complexity, and dynamic tone one could desire in an archtop of the era, featuring a full 17" wide lower bout and long 25 1/2" scale.
The fully hollow maple body gives the guitar both the immediate attack and clarity of maple, but also the smoothness and warmth attributable to the hollowbody construction. Extremely bold and balanced acoustically with great articulation, these qualities translate to a particularly rich, bell-like, velvety sounding neck pickup, metering at 7.49k ohms. Various shades of authoritative chop, midrange sweetness, and sparkling spank can be achieved by mixing the two Volume knobs, and the sound can be mellowed to taste via the Master Tone knob on the treble side cutaway, with most of the treble roll-off occurring from 0-5 on the dial. The guitar is featherweight at 6lbs 14oz, professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar with 12-52 roundwound strings and accurate intonation.
The one-piece mahogany neck has a full, round C-shaped profile carve, worthy of the “baseball bat” moniker with inviting shoulders and plenty of heft, measuring .890" deep at the 1st fret and 1,015" at the 9th. The bound Brazilian rosewood fretboard is a dark cut of this premium tonewood, inlaid with split pearl trapezoids and retaining the original slender "banjo" fretwire. The frets show only light, uniform wear beneath the strings on frets 1-9, playing cleanly in every register with a straight neck and responsive, optimally adjusted truss rod. The original nut measures 1 11/16" in width, and the headstock features a factory stinger on the back and original Kluson Deluxe single line tuning machines with stock keystone buttons.
All of the electronics work as they should, comprising the original bridge pickup and an era-correct nickel pole neck pickup on the stock dogear baseplate. Controls include individual Volume knobs for each P-90 and a Master Tone knob on the treble side upper bout, all capped with original tall gold speed knobs. The original black plastic pickup covers and four-ply pickguard round out the plastics and the guard sits very flat. Hardware includes the original Brazilian rosewood floating bridge and nickel tailpiece with raised diamonds. The tailpiece hinge is a vintage replacement, and the stock hinge is included in the case. The white label is visible through the F hole and pristine, with hand-written model information and an early stamped A-prefix serial number.
The body retains the original Blonde nitro lacquer finish, positively stunning in its presentation and framed by lightly ambered binding. The finish highlights curly ripples of flame figuring that extend across the entire body, most vibrant on the back and sides. A true time capsule instrument with virtually no lacquer checking, the guitar exhibits just a few light finish scratches and tiny marks on the body as a whole. The neck profile gloss is smooth and nigh flawless, showing very light palm wear behind frets 3-6.
The original brown Lifton hardshell case is included and equally as clean as the guitar. A Pat. Pending brown leather Bobby Lee strap is included with a clasp on one end designed to work with the wingnut strap attachment on the neck heel.