Finally for sale: Entire all-original 1938 Gibson set, consisting of ES-150 “Charlie Christian” model guitar with matching case and EH-150 amp, complete right down to the original cord and slipcover for the amp.
I have been soul-searching on this for several years now and have finally decided to put this set up for sale. I am just the second owner in 72 years, having purchased it on February 7, 1971, in Kansas City from the original owner. Here are some details:
— For those of you unfamiliar with transition to electric guitar, this is the model that started it all: the very first “Spanish style” (as opposed to Hawaiian lap style) electric guitar. It was popularized by Charlie Christian, and is the exact same model that he used, including the famous “Charlie Christian" pickup.
— THE GUITAR: is all-original, including the frets, knobs, pickguard, pegs, etc. It plays and sounds great. The only significant work to be done is repair of a common crack on the top in the area of the tailpiece. Not a major expense, but I was advised to leave this to the new owner to have fixed by whom you wish or leave as you prefer. For those of you new to this model, you will find that Gibson made instruments labeled as ES-150 as late as the 1950s. However, only the first few years had the workmanship required for the inlaid Charlie Christian pickup (rather than a bolted-on pickup), the various shaped contours, etc. The later versions were much simplified and sell for significantly less. For anyone that wants to track down more history on this very instrument, I am told that an article and photo about it and its original owner appeared in the Kansas City Star Sunday edition around the late 1960s and at some point as a photo in one of the Gibson catalogs.
— THE AMP: looks and works great. It is all original (including the leather handle and case) except for the following: (1) For the perfectionist, I am told that the original rectifier vacuum tube was a curvier shape, but that those can still be fairly easily found. (All of the other tubes are original, including solid black instead of clear output tubes, & ALL tubes work fine.) (2) A few small components had to be replaced to restore the full power of the amp. This work was done by a vintage audio specialist (and Gibson ES player himself) to retain the original circuit values and performance, and all replaced components are under the chassis where they cannot be seen. The original components were kept also. Virtually all old amps need this type of component replaced for use, because of how they age.
— THE GUITAR CASE: matches the amp case with distinctive texture, colors, and stripe. The original leather handle is intact and in good shape.
— THE RARE ACCESSORIES: include the original slipcover and multi-layered guitar cord. I have seen the same cord offered with one other unit sold, but never the slipcover.
— PRICING: A few experts have looked at the set in the last couple years, and they variously put the value in the $8K to $10K range due to the unique combination of completeness, originality, and performance. None of them have ever seen a set this complete in any condition, never mind suitable for both collecting and playing. I have decided to offer it to this group at $8,700 plus shipping. This is my first time listing it anywhere and for now this is the only place I have listed it.
— PHOTOS: This set was discussed in the forum last year, and lots of photos were posted there, along with comments you may find helpful. Please see the following link:
I am happy to provide other photos on request, in higher resolution and perhaps more color accurate.
— OTHER: Non-smoker. Never played by me (hence the original frets) but lovingly cared for. I finally decided I am just a Martin guy. This should go to someone who will make it sing again.
Let me know if you have any questions!