Gibson 1941 ES150

1941 Gibson ES150

The early 1940's Gibson ES150 made quite a departure from the 1936-1939 'Charlie Christian' ES150, both in looks and electronics. Starting in late 1939/1940 Gibson began experimenting with smaller and stronger ALNICO, (aluminum, nickel, cobalt) magnets for use in their pickups (a brief history about Gibson's pickups can be found on the 'Gibson Prewar Electric Guitars' page). The end result was two small alnico magnets disguised under metal with six adjustable pole pieces. The pickup was much smaller than the original 'Charlie Christian' bar pickup and could be mounted quite easily to the top of a guitar body without being too ' weighty'.  This new pickup was used on the 1940-1943 ES150 and ES100/125 models. The same metal style was used on the EH100 for the period, just without the six pole pieces and was known as the P-13. The following photos will give a little insight to the newer ES150. Note that I have three ES150's photographed. The one next to this text is 100% original with original factory finish. Of the other two, one has overspray (an extra coat of laquer someone sprayed on it somewhere in its 70 year life....the other is quite beat-up). This model, for some reason is extremely difficult to find in its original state. Most have cracks (like the 2nd/3rd model) and either have various swapped out parts, refinishes, overspray or all of the above. In any case, this is one of my favorite models to play. The 16 1/4" body is a great size, the small frets and rosewood fingerboard have a great feel and the pickup sounds awesome through a modern amp with or without distortion! 

One other curious note. The ES150 and ES100/125 were never given serial numbers. Just FON, factory order numbers stamped, usually with purple/blue ink inside the treble f-hole inside the body on the 1940-1943 models....the FON was pressed onto the back of the headstock in the 1930's models. My 100% model has the letter G stamped inside, thus signifying 1941.

1940 Gibson Supplement to Catalog AA
Comparison of the 1938 & 1941 ES150.
1941 ES150 with matching tweed case and EH150 amplifier.
1940 Gibson Supplement to Catalog AA.
Early 1940's tailpiece with two slants.
1942 Catalog BB depicts the ES150's tailpiece #981.
1942 Catalog BB.
Comparing the 1938 Grover tuners (lft) and the 1941 Kluson tuners (rt).
1942 Gibson Catalog BB
Small 'Gibson' script 1938 to large 'Gibson' script 1939.
Flat maple back 1938 vs. arched maple back 1941.
Flat back 1938 vs. arched back (normally highly flamed) 1941.
1942 Gibson Catalog BB
FON 3860G signifies this model as being produced in 1941. G = 1941.
1941 Original ES150 with original case.
100% original 1941 ES150 (lft) 1943 ES150 w/ very 'clubby' wartime neck (cntr) 1942 ES150 w/ overspray (rt). Same body as the acoustic L50 of the period.
1943 ES150 (lft) 1941 ES150 (rt).
1943 ES150 thick 'Gibson' pearl inlay, common of ealry 1940's prewar script. Late 1970's tuners and no truss rod cover. Original electronics.
1943 ES150 (lft) note the 5 piece maple neck. It is much thicker than the original 1941 model on the right. Due to scarcity of materials during the war, many Gibson models were just 'pieced together'.