A Very Special Episode of NGD: 1955 Gibson ES-295

Around 2005 or 2006, I spotted something on craigslist that I wanted and agreed to meet up at the guy's house. When he told me his address, I was shocked - it was a less than three minute drive from my house and he had, to say the least, a large, impressive collection of guitars and amplifiers. This was pretty odd to find in our neighborhood and we hit it off immediately.

I don't recall exactly what I was buying (or selling), but what I do remember is that he kept generously putting guitars in my hands to check out, many of which weren't even for sale - we were just geeking out and he was happy to share.

I recall two guitars from that day that really moved me: one was a 1982 AVRI Fullerton 50's Strat that must have been played for hours in damp & smokey bars nightly for years - it was far more beat than most actual 50's Strats I've ever seen. The second one was a 1955 Gibson ES-295 that had been refinished in Sonic Blue.

I should mention that at this time, light blue guitars were kind of "my thing". I was especially really into Rickenbackers - there is the famous photo of country singer Jim Reeves and his band with an all Blue Boy lineup, and they were just coming off their "Blue Boy" Color of the Year. I loved everything Sonic Blue too, probably because of the Strats that the Beatles played. And I loved big guitars. So to say that this guitar made an impression on me is an understatement. I wanted it badly - and it wasn't for sale.

This one photo I had of that guitar (above) was my desktop wallpaper for quite a long time. I would send the owner an email once or twice a year - "still have that blue 295? is it for sale yet?". For years, the answer was "yes i have it, no it's not for sale". I lost track of him for a year or two. Then, I saw an ad on Los Angeles craigslist (we had been living in NYC) that was unmistakably him. I emailed him to confirm, say hello, and of course, asked about the blue ES-295. This time, the answer was different: "i sold the blue es 295 about 6 months ago out here".

Life went on. I added it to the "ones that got away" drawer of my memory bank.

A few weeks ago, my best guitar geek buddy picked up an all-original '56 ES-295 for himself and brought it over. I fell in love with it and knew I absolutely had to have one, though they priced well out of my range. I started peeking at reissues, looking for refins & non-original examples, looking for ES-175s to convert to ES-295s, until last week, out of the blue, this popped up on my Instagram feed:

Yes - it was the very same light blue ES-295. And it was in LA (I had just recently moved there).

I contacted the owner, told him my story, and asked him to please consider me if he were to ever sell. As it turns out, he was interested in selling. We came to a price that made us both happy, and to say that I am over the moon is an understatement.

I will allow the photos to speak for themselves - the good, the bad, and the ugly.