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Gibson ES-350T, ’62

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Cherry Sunburst, Serial # 82657.

Sharp cutaway, I have never seen another ES-350T in this color. This one is also nice and clean. Just had to keep it!

In 1955 Gibson developed a line of thin-bodied electric guitars to appeal to players who wanted a smaller more comfortable instrument, but without the weight of a solid body guitar. This line consisted of three guitars: The top of the line Byrdland, the mid-priced ES-350T, and the economy ES-225T. The Byrdland was designed with the input of famous session guitarists Hank Garland and Billy Bird. It was meant to be a thin-bodied L-5 CES with a shorter 23 and ½” scale (instead of the L-5’s 25 and ½” scale). These same innovations were carried out on the full-bodied ES-350 making it the ES-350 T.

 

The ES-350 T with its laminated maple top, back, and sides was meant to be a more affordable version of the Byrdland (the Byrdland was originally $550, while the ES-350 T was $395). The 1962 Gibson catalog describes many other details: “Matching the all-around excellence of Gibson performance, this distinctive instrument has a thin, narrow, short-scale neck. The choice of many professionals who acclaim these design features, which permit the use of many chords previously beyond reach. Beautifully finished arched top and back of highly figured curly maple with matching curly maple rims, ivoroid binding and gold-plated metal parts.” The rosewood fingerboard with split parallelogram inlays, and crown headstock inlay were carried over from the the original full sized ES-350.

 

The 1962 ES-350 T pictured this month has all the features associated with the final incarnation of the model before its discontinuation in 1963 (a full scale version was reissued in 1978). These include two humbucking pickups (replacing P-90s in 1957), a deep Florentine cutaway (replacing the rounded Venetian style in 1961), and a 3-piece maple neck (replacing the original 2-piece in mid-1962). This example has a cherry sunburst rather than the typically seen tobacco sunburst. That may explain why “Custom” is engraved on the truss-rod cover.

 

The 1962 Gibson price list has a sunburst finish ES-350T at $485. A 603 Faultless, plush-lined case was an extra $56.

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