Gibson announced its first electric Spanish guitar model, the ES-150, in 1936, but the model did not ship in significant quantities until 1937, when Gibson produced 504 units. The following year when this example was made, Gibson produced 359 ES-150 guitars. This example also features the “Charlie Christian” single-coil pickup with 3-ply binding and a solid bar polepiece that was only found on ES-150 guitars produced between mid and late 1938.
One particularly cool feature of this seminal electric guitar is the placement of the output jack, which is accessible through the endpin at the base of the guitar. This design was “rediscovered” several decades later on acoustic-electric guitar models and retrofit pickup systems for acoustic guitars.
According to the collector, Les Paul gave him this ES-150 as a gift, and Paul told him that he acquired the guitar from Charlie Christian. Paul, however, often spun tall tales about his guitars, and he provided no definitive evidence of his claim.
Top: Spruce, sunburst finish
Back and sides: Maple
Bridge/tailpiece: Ebony, nickel-plated trapeze with diamond motif
Tuners: Nickel-plated open gear Grover G-98 with metal buttons
Other: “Charlie Christian” single-coil pickup, master volume and tone controls