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ES-335, ’59

Natural, Serial number A30855.

In 1958 Gibson combined concepts of the Les Paul solid body guitar introduced in 1952, and the thinline guitars it launched in 1955. The Les Paul, while having a unique sustain and incisive tone, was also considered uncomfortable by those used to a more traditional guitar shape. The thinlines proved comfortable and lightweight, but were prone to feedback at high stage volume. The resulting guitar built with a solid center block of maple with hollow arched “wings” attached was named the ES-335. The original catalog text describes the intended objective: “New body construction, with solid fitting neck, pickups and adjustable bridge, provides the solidity essential for clear, sparkling, sustaining tone – while retaining a body size and shape that is easy and comfortable to hold. Provides easy access throughout the entire twenty-two fret range on all six strings.” The ES-335 was initially offered in with two finish options: Sunburst and Natural. A see-through Cherry finish replaced the Natural option by the end of 1960.


The 1959 Gibson Catalog explains the characteristics Gibson thought were most important : “The double cutaway, thin body, with arched top and back of curly maple has matching maple rims and pearloid binding – extra narrow, slim Honduras mahogany neck with Gibson Adjustable Truss Rod – attractive peghead with large pearl inlays – rosewood fingerboard with pearl dot inlays – twin humbucking pickups located for contrasting treble and bass response – individually adjustable polepieces – separate tone and volume controls which can be preset – toggle switch to activate either or both pickups – Tune-O-Matic bridge permits adjustment of string action and individual string length for perfect intonation – nickel pated metal parts – enclosed individual machine heads with deluxe buttons.”

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