Gibson ES-330 TDC Thinline Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1962)

Gibson  ES-330 TDC Thinline Hollow Body Electric Guitar  (1962)
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Item # 11289
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Gibson ES-330 TDC Model Thinline Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1962), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # 81614, cherry lacquer finish, laminated maple body, mahogany neck, rosewood fingerboard, original black hard shell case.

This is a nice original example of an ES-330TDC from 1962, with a couple of ancient repairs but still in nicely original shape overall. It features transitional features specific to this year with the new-for-this-year with the then-new pearloid block inlay in the bound rosewood fingerboard but still sporting 1950's style black plastic pickup covers. The body and neck carry a deep cherry red finish, an increasingly popular look at the time. The single bound body is fully hollow, unlike the semi-hollow 335-355 series and the neck joins at the 16th fret.

The two P-90 pickups are mated to the standard Gibson wiring rig, with 60's style "capped" plastic tone and volume knobs and white switch tip. This guitar currently mounts a period Bigsby vibrato unit; it appears to have been originally fitted with a Gibson side-to-side trem assembly-the same as used on the SG/Les Paul standard of the period. This was an unusual fitting for a 330, and would have been a custom order at the time. The original Tune-O-Matic bridge is the special undercut rocking version mounted only on vibrato-equipped guitars. It is likely the notoriously unreliable and heavy Vibrola unit was removed long ago and the sturdier and more functional Bigsby substituted. The tuners are individual enclosed Kluson Deluxes with plastic buttons; other tuners were once fitted but the originals have been restored.

The ES-330 is a great sounding very versatile guitar at home in many musical situations. Despite being intended by Gibson as an "amateur" instrument (the least expensive of the double-cutaway thinlines) the 330 been heard on countless classic records in many styles of music since its introduction in 1959. Jazz great Grant Green used this model extensively on his most well-regarded early-1960's recordings. A number of period bluesmen have been spotted with one as well, including B.B. King, Chuck Berry and most notably Slim Harpo, who is nearly always pictured with one.

The 330 and its nearly identical sister guitar the Epiphone Casino were also mainstays of countless '60's British invasion bands, including the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Kinks, Manfred Mann, the Merseybeats and many more. This particular guitar is a very nice player's example, with the addition of a vibrato and the expected classic sound in spades!
Overall length is 39 3/4 in. (101 cm.), 16 in. (40.6 cm.) across at the widest point, and 1 3/4 in. (4.4 cm.) deep. Scale length is 24 3/4 in. (629 mm.). Width of nut is 1 5/8 in. (41 mm.).

Overall this is a well-kept guitar with some average light finish wear and checking. There is a feelable ding on the back of the neck behind the 9th fret area. The back of the headstock is marked at the top with a small stamped "2" designating the guitar as a factory second; in this case the reason is fairly easy to see. There is a small stress mark to the back of the neck behind the nut, and Gibson overfinished the reverse of the headstock in black lacquer with their trademark stinger. This definitely appears to be period Gibson factory work, confirmed by black light examination. It would have originally been sold as a "second" either at a discounted price or outside the dealer network but playability was never affected.

Later on in its life the tuners were changed out but later restored back to original, with some small chips evident to the headstock face around the grommets. There are a few extra filled screw holes in the bottom end of the rim from the vibrato switch-out. The only other alteration is a strap button added to the heel. The frets have been crowned down a bit but still play well. Overall this is a nice player with a rip-roaring sound, a good example of a vibrato-equipped ES-330 still in the original black, yellow-lined HSC. Excellent - Condition.