The Workbench

Gibson ES-175N With Sagging Top

3

Wow. Is that the original finish?

4

Fantastic! My 53 had loose top braces when I first got it. It wasn’t sagging/ collapsing fortunately. It is lucky that someone like you is there to resurrect this old artwork. What year is this one?

5

Early 70’s, it has the volute and the kerfed tone bars.

6

There have been more than a couple with that problem.

7

Wow. Is that the original finish?

– crowbone

Yep, Gibson natural finishes look great.

8

There have been more than a couple with that problem.

– Zigracer

A lot of them, terrible design. They kerf the braces vs. mirroring the back of the top. Then the cross brace where the bridge sits on isn’t attached to the sides, useless.

9

Yeah, I believe the kerfing was done to save time/money by a quicker installation than carving each brace.

10

Right, I’m sure it’s the same reason Gretsch dropped the “heavy” trestle bracing. Fitting both sides added an hour or more to the build. It added a few ounces and back then weight wasn’t an issue like it is today. It was more about cost of goods sold.

11

Excellent Curt. Thanks for posting that.

12

What years did they kerf braces like that, and are they still ?

13

A lot of dark things happened in the 70's and Norlin was no exception.

14

I tried to add a photo and received the ever friendly 500 something error. Also getting this secure with SSL would be a positive move forward.

15

A couple of my peers had 70s ES175s and the tops sank. Curt, how do you reintroduce the arch in the top?

16

The top has been compromised so just heating it up and reshaping would just be wasted time. I'm going to radius the piece that goes under the bridge and physically attach it to the new rails which will support the top.

17

The top has been compromised so just heating it up and reshaping would just be wasted time. I'm going to radius the piece that goes under the bridge and physically attach it to the new rails which will support the top.

– Curt Wilson

That's a very innovative approach to the repair, Curt. I like how you can think out of the box, and come up with creative solutions.

18

I had a 175 like that about 30 years ago, and I was horrified when I saw how they made the bracing, and sure enough the top was taking a dive. I thought it was a total cheap out. 2 thin slats with blocks between them on mine. Sure it's easy to shape the braces to the top but they have no strength. Shame on them. Traded it for a gold top 70s Les Paul deluxe for my brother. it was a good one and he still has it.


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