Gibson ES-335TDC Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1964)

Gibson  ES-335TDC Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar  (1964)
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Item # 11533
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Gibson ES-335TDC Model Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1964), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # 70703, cherry lacquer finish, laminated maple body, mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard, original black hard shell case.

This is a well-worn in "true relic" but still nicely original example of one of Gibson's classic electric guitars -- an ES-335TDC from 1964. It is one of 892 cherry finish ES-335s shipped in that year, by which time the more traditional sunburst finish was being heavily outsold by the new-for-the-'60s bright cherry livery. As the '60s progressed, this flashier finish became the popular look most associated with the model. The famous "Cream" ES-335 was a cherry stoptail from this year, which has given this exact version of the model an extra cachet in some circles. This particular guitar shares an "out of sequence" 5-digit serial number with the Clapton 335; a run of numbers in the 6xxxx through 7xxxx series were applied in early 1964 after Gibson had already run up well over 100,000 in 1963.

Along with that and its deep red finish, this ES-335TD shows the other features typical for 1964. The most notable is what is NOT there; there is no vibrato, the configuration many players in the 1970s and beyond have strongly preferred. In the mid-'60's most players wanted a vibrato; you could not play many hits of the day without it so this original "stoptail" 335 is comparatively something of a rarity. The fingerboard inlaid with small pearloid blocks introduced in 1962 as a style upgrade, replacing the dots used since 1958. The neck profile is fairly slim for this year but deeper than the flat and shallow "1960 neck" used into 1962. By 1964 this had evolved to a somewhat deeper, rounder profile again.

All hardware including is original including the nickel-plated pickups, ABR-1 bridge with retaining wire, laminated pickguard and Kluson Deluxe tuners with keystone buttons. There were later Kluson-style tuners mounted previously, but the originals have been restored. The pickups are early "Patent number" humbuckers which except for the sticker on the bottom are technically identical to the final PAF's. These are original and sound spectacular.

This cherry gem shows a decent amount of honest play wear but remains a fantastic guitar, a veteran looking well played but not altered or abused. It plays great and sounds amazing for everything from straight jazz to funky blues to flat-out screaming rock. Even not plugged in it has a real ring. It is housed in the original classic 1960s pebble-grained gold-lined black Gibson hard shell case.
Overall length is 41 3/4 in. (106 cm.), 16 in. (40.6 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 3/4 in. (4.4 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 24 3/4 in. (629 mm.). Width of nut is 1 11/16 in. (43 mm.).

Overall this is a played-in but original guitar. The finish shows some typical checking and fading, most notably to the top, and general wear over the entire instrument with mostly smaller chips, dings and scrapes. There is considerable belt-buckle wear to the back and armwear to the top edge in the standard spot. The back of the neck is worn down to the wood over a decent part of its length from play but has a great feel. Unlike many this one does not have the bulk of the lacquer wear in the lower position, but it is most heavily worn down in the center as is typical of blues and R&B-steeped guitars. There is some typical wear to the nickel plating, less than some mostly visible on the bridge and pickup covers.

The original "double line" Kluson Deluxe tuners have been remounted; a set of 70's Kluson-style Schaller pegs was previously fitted. These left no extra holes on the back of the headstock but did cause pressure rings on the face; these have been touched up which is visible around the restored original grommets. The guitar has been neatly refretted including a new bone nut. The wire used is a bit taller than period spec. and shows no subsequent wear. This is an excellent playing and truly fine sounding 335, with a great "true relic" vintage vibe. Whoever played it "back in the day" got a lot of music out of it, and it still has a lot to give. The original case is included, showing some external wear and a replaced handle but still quite attractive, solid and fully functional. Overall Very Good + Condition.