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ES-335, ’63

Cherry, Serial # 113991.

The Gibson ES-335 debuted in 1958 combining the best traits of solidbody and hollowbody guitars. The revolutionary new instrument was built using a solid center block of maple with hollow arched “wings” attached. This structure allowed for the attack and sustain of a solid body combined with some of the resonant properties of an acoustic archtop (but without the tendency to feed back). The ES-335 was a hit, and was soon followed by two fancier models with the same construction: the ES-355 and the ES-345. The text in the 1963 catalog shows how popular the ES family of guitars had become by the 1960’s: “Thin, double cutaway – a newsmaker from its first appearance, this model offers outstanding performance for ensembles, recording, radio and TV at an amazingly modest price.”



The 1963 ES-335 pictured has many features common to the model that year, including: patent number humbucking pickups (the original patent-applied-for pickups were still used arbitrarily until the supply was exhausted in 1964), block inlay markers on a Brazilian rosewood fingerboard (replaced dot markers in 1962), a short 3-ply black pickguard (replacing the original long pickguard in 1960) and a nickel plated Tune-O-Matic bridge. A stop-tailpiece was standard for an ES-335 at the time, but if there was a custom order for one with a Bigsby vibrato, the stop-tailpiece holes were covered by a “Custom Made” plaque. Another non-standard feature on this guitar is factory installed Grover Rotamatic tuners instead of the usual Kluson Deluxe machine heads.

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