Another ES-335 Variant: The ES-150D “Fatso”

Just about the only red ES 150D I've ever seen. Note the master volume control on the treble cutaway.

In 1969, the Gibson Corporation was taken over by the Norlin Corp. (beer/concrete) and someone let loose with a bunch of less than brilliant guitar ideas. It seems that they acknowledged that the ES 335 was a good example of a guitar and they kept it in the lineup but then they started making various strange (and cheap) versions of their big seller.  In 1969, there was no hue and cry for another Jazz box but Gibson figured they needed one. The ES-175 wasn’t selling all that well and I guess maybe someone got the idea that it was a bit old fashioned. By 1969, the 335 was still selling relatively well and maybe the Norlin brass thought it had become a strictly rock and blues guitar and wanted to broaden its appeal. These are all guesses but there it was, the ES-150D. There was already an ES-150 from back in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s  but that hadn’t been made for some time so I guess Norlin figured they could save money by recycling the name, although I don’t really see how that would save them anything.  Maybe they already had hang tags made or something. The ES 150D looks just like a 335 when it’s lying on its back. But pick it up and it’s a full 3 inches deep and it’s completely hollow-no center block. It, like the 335, has 2 humbuckers, a 3 way switch and a volume and a tone control for each pickup. It also incorporated an element that didn’t appear on the 335-a master volume on the treble cutaway. I’ve never played one but I’m guessing they feed back big time. My 330 did and that was only half the depth and my 175 does and that’s pretty close to being the same guitar. I don’t know who Gibson was really targeting here since the ES 175 continued to be manufactured through the era. The ES 150D was made from 1969 up until some time in 1975 and they seem pretty rare. You never see more than one or two on Ebay and they tend to sell in the $2000-3000 range with the earlier ones in natural getting the bigger bucks. I’ve seen one red one which would probably be worth toward the higher end since there can’t be very many of them. These are not terribly collectible at the moment but if you love the ES 335 and you want a big ol’ jazz box, this might be right up your alley. I have a ’59 ES 175 and to be honest, I rarely play it. I find them a bit clunky to hold but maybe my arms are just too short. I’m also not a jazz guy even though the keyboard player from my old band tried to turn me into one. It didn’t work-mostly because I can’t count the oddball time signatures he was experimenting with. I can barely count to 9, let alone play in 9/4. Let’s see-that’s one two three-one two-one two three four??? I already feel like I’m going to throw up.

Here's a blonde '70. The knobs look to have been changed. These are more common but not as common as the walnut finish that nobody, including me, likes. If you want cheap, buy a walnut.

6 Responses to “Another ES-335 Variant: The ES-150D “Fatso””

  1. Paul Gerards says:

    Dear,all,is this beautiful Es-150D in Blonde still for sale?And if so,for how much? Best regards, Paul Gerards

  2. Pie_err says:

    Dear Charlie,

    I was googling to see if there was something to see about the Gibson ES 150 D and it was a surprise to see the picture I took from my guitar. I can tell you it’s a lovely guitar, plays very well, nice sound and very nice to see also. It has a beautiful print and no damages at all.

    I wander if the one I have was made with the Bigsby in the factory or if it is made later like it is. Do you know the answer?

    Greetings from Amsterdam,


  3. Doc says:

    There sure are a lot of negative assumptions and allegations about this guitar from someone who has never played one.

  4. cgelber says:

    I’ve never had a spinal tap either but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t like it. Sorry you feel offended. And now that I have played a few of them (this is a pretty old post) I stick to my original assumptions.

  5. Mike says:

    I inherited one of these from my Uncle. It IS fat. It DOES feed back like crazy. And I LOVE IT. The author of this critique is obviously not a fan of Ted Nugent, who did his best work on an ES175. This guitar rocks out with its cock out and will stand up to anything I have (and I have a lot of guitars) .

  6. ericbl says:

    I had two of them in the mid-1970’s – a maple one and a walnut one. They were great guitars. I bought each of them for about $400. I sold them for the same price. I wish that I had kept the maple one.

Leave a Reply

Optionally add an image (JPEG only)