Gibson EDS-1275 Doubleneck 1959
Posted on November 30 2021
My heart started beating faster the day I received a call from a man saying he had a Gibson guitar from 1959 with two necks- a "doubleneck". I was already on the road buying vintage guitars in Tennessee, so when he said he was in Ohio, I figured that my guitar buying journey was going to lead me there. He wanted a bit of help with identification of the model, how to read the serial number, and was looking for a Gibson guitar collector to buy it. I was more than happy to help!
I am always on the road to collect the vintage Gibson guitars I've always dreamed of. If you're looking to sell a vintage Gibson guitar to a passionate collector and expert then I may be the one you're looking for. I travel world wide to purchase the right guitars with a safe and in-person transaction if possible. You can contact me here to Sell a Gibson near me.
Here's a great book for more information on vintage Gibson Les Paul and SG guitars: Gibson Electrics: The Classic Years by Andre Duchossoir. Andre's books on vintage guitars are some of the best ever written. This book has all the information a Gibson guitar collector needs including production figures, specifications, measurements, and a list of all the models made in the 1950s and 1960s.
Spruce Top Gibson Doubleneck?
Many Gibson guitar collectors call the doubleneck Gibson guitars from this time period "spruce top doublenecks" to differentiate them from the solid Maple body double neck Gibsons that came later. Gibson's first official double neck electric guitar line for Spanish style playing came out in 1958 with two models offered in the catalog: the EMS-1235 Double Mandolin and the EDS-1275 Double Twelve. The EMS-1235 Double Mandolin featured a standard six string neck with two pickups on the bottom and an interesting super short scale six string guitar with one pickup on the top side. The EDS-1275 Double Twelve featured the standard six string with two pickups on the bottom and a twelve string with two pickups on the top.
The construction of these two models was and still is very unique among Gibson guitars. From 1958 until 1962, the EDS-1275 was manufactured using a thick carved Spruce top, fully hollow thin body with no center block, and laminate Maple back. There were no F style holes in the top; no holes at all except for the pickup mounting cavities and electronics mounting holes. The top is carved on the edges in a german carve style, but the back is completely flat with no edge carve or arch. The shape of the body is very similar to the SG and actually predates the SG body style by at least two years.
Slash Gibson EDS-1275 Doubleneck Vs Spruce Top
The Spruce top Gibson EDS-1275 is a vastly different guitar than the Gibson Slash EDS-1275 reissue of the solid Maple body guitars Gibson made starting in 1962. The main difference between these two guitars is that the Spruce top doubleneck has a fully hollow body with no sound holes. It's a super resonant build style that Gibson never used on any another model style. It's possible there's a one-off out there somewhere of a single neck guitar with this build style but I've never personally seen it. It would be fantastic to buy one!
The switching style of the Spruce top doubleneck and the Gibson Slash EDS-1275 reissue are the same. They feature a single central three position switch that that controls the output and allows for selection of the six string neck, or the twelve string neck, or a combination of both outputs in parallel. Each neck has its own pickup selector allowing for neck pickup, bridge pickup, or both on in parallel. The volume and tone control of each neck is different than a Les Paul or SG guitar since they each have only one master volume and one master tone.
It's tempting to think that the availability of a second neck on one guitar is the reason why this guitar is special, but I'll have to disagree. In my opinion, what makes this Gibson special is the completely unique construction style that doesn't exist elsewhere. The six string neck side doesn't sound like a Les Paul or an SG or an ES-335. It's tough to describe tone in words, but in my experience it sounds like a super wide frequency response range that retains its complexity all throughout. The four available long magnet PAF pickups don't hurt either.
Secret feature: there's a secret feature on the Spruce top double neck Gibsons that you can't get on the Maple body double necks. Put the neck selector in the six string neck position on the neck pickup, then play some long big chords on the twelve string side. Turn the reverb up on the amp and you'll get a very velvety atmospheric sound that I've yet to find elsewhere.
How old is this Gibson?
The reason I believe this Gibson was made in 1959 is both because of the serial number that indicates so as well as the neck shape, fret size, and other basic features. Check out this resource for Gibson Serial Number Lookup. This Gibson serial number lookup indicates that an ink stamp (not impressed) serial number was used on Gibson guitars from the 1950s ending in 1960. The first number of the serial number is the prefix for the last number of the year in which it was manufactured. The serial number prefix "9" indicates that this guitar was made in 1959.