Pelham Blue, Serial # 871604.
Gibson’s legendary double cutaway thinline, the ES-335, was introduced in 1958. Its classic elegant design is still a favorite today, and has been often imitated. Ted McCarty, head of Gibson at the time, designed the guitar to combine the best qualities of solidbody and hollowbody guitars. The resulting instrument was built using a solid center block of maple with hollow arched “wings” attached. This construction allowed for the attack and sustain of a solid body combined with some of the rich resonant sonorous properties of an acoustic archtop (without the annoying howling feedback).
By the time the 1967 example pictured was made, the ES-335 had undergone several changes. Block fingerboard inlays replaced the original dots in 1962. In 1965 the nut width had decreased from 1 and 11/16” to 1 and 9/16”, nickel hardware was phased out in favor of chrome, and stop tailpieces were also discontinued in favor of traditional looking trapeze versions (the pictured guitar has a non-original Bigsby Vibrato). By 1966 the headstock angle also changed from 17 degrees, to a shallower 14 degrees in hopes of decreasing the number of guitars needing headstock repairs. New ridged taller “witch hat” control knobs replaced the smoother shorter “bonnet” knobs previously used. Up until 1967, the standard finishes had been Natural (1958-1960), Sunburst, and Cherry (after 1960), but after that year, two new finishes were introduced: Sparkling Burgundy and Pelham Blue. Besides being attractive, these new opaque finishes effectively hid any defects or blemishes in the wood underneath.