VIntage Vibes: 1952 Gibson ES-295 "Donnie"

Every now and then, we get something so special that we just have to take a moment to stop and appreciate it. This is one of those moments. Meet “Donnie”, a 1952 Gibson ES-295, but not just any 1952 Gibson ES-295. “Donnie” is one of the earliest of its kind, and despite bearing the nicks and scars of 60-plus years of use (par for the course with most vintage instruments this old), “Donnie” still looks remarkably youthful for its age. .

Note the pristine, raised pickguard with early, “rough cut” fitting, an authenticating detail of Gibson’s production at the time, and it’s impossible to ignore the charming, hand-applied “D-O-N-N-I-E” lettering that is its namesake. Our Vintage Product Manager and Head Buyer Daniel Escauriza recounts for us his experience of finding “Donnie” and what makes it so unique, including its famous oversized jack plate.

ALL ABOUT "DONNIE"

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From Daniel Escauriza: I bought this at a show and a few people came up to it and said "Hm, this guard is not original" and I was like "Well I think it is but I think it might not be because it is very clean." And then somebody who really knows what they're talking about came up to this thing and he was like, "Wow that's a really early one."

The really rough cuts around the pickups is something that they were just kind of figuring out at the time. They didn't make a lot of these to begin with so I think they were just kind of cutting them to fit every guitar and this is a super early one, you can really tell by these cuts. If you get close to this thing, it looks like somebody used a little hacksaw to cut around the pickups.

All original as far as we know. When I said earlier that everything was original I meant everything except for this giant hole that somebody put a metal thing on top of. A very very large jack plate, let's call it. That is not original. However, that is a pretty awesome repair and it will never break again. The rest of the guitar will disintegrate into dust around it and that will always exist, hah.

TECHNICAL SPECS

Body Material: Maple Body

Body Details: Laminated maple top, back, & sides -- There is a significant repair and past damage on the side wall around the output jack. A metal plate was installed at some point to cover up a missing portion of maple.

Neck/Fingerboard: Mahogany Neck & Brazilian Rosewood Fingerboard

Neck Profile: C-Shape

Fingerboard Radius: 12.00

Nut Width: 1-11/16 in

Electronics: Two P-90 single-coil pickups, 3-way toggle pickup selector switch, volume & tone controls per pickup -- Electronics are original showing only two solder joint touch-ups. All four pot codes date from 1952

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Modifications / Repairs: Repaired impact damage on the side of the body -- Two touched up solder connections -- Non-original bone nut -- "DONNIE" decal added to the top of the body

Case Details: Original hard Shell Case

Serial Number: A12419

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