Gibson ES-335TD Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1958)

Gibson  ES-335TD Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar  (1958)
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Item # 11545
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Gibson ES-335TD Model Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1958), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # A-28736, sunburst lacquer finish, laminated maple body, mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard, original brown hard shell case.

This is a truly played-in but magnificent example of one of Gibson's absolute classic electric guitars -- an ES-335T from the first production year 1958. Although 335's from just about any year are usually excellent instruments, connoisseurs of the model consider 1958-9 to be the ultimate examples. All of 267 sunburst finish ES-335s were shipped out of Kalamazoo in that initial year 1958, starting around April. According to the "A" Artist series serial number this guitar just got in under the wire as a full '58, shipped in late December. The factory order number stamped under the treble side F-hole is T5971-21.

ES-335T was Gibson's first semi-solid thinline with a solid wood block running down the middle of the body and launched an entire new genre of electric guitars. This revolutionary new model cost $267.50 in 1958, the brown case would set you back an additional $46.50. This was in the same price range as the newly sunbursted Les Paul, which the ES-335 and its expanding semi-solid family soon eclipsed at least in the exes of Gibson's management.

This one bears a beautiful deep shaded sunburst finish on the top and back and shows typical features for later 1958. The most notable is a bound, dot-inlaid fingerboard, which would be changed to pearloid blocks a couple of years later. The VERY first 335's had an unbound fingerboard, but that upgrade was added shortly before this one was built. The neck profile is the deep round-backed 1958-9 "C" style, which some players greatly prefer to the thinner flatter profile "1960 neck" which replaced it at the dawn of the new decade. The neck angle is not as flat to the body as earlier '58's, allowing a standard Tune-O-Matic bridge to function properly. The top on 1958 335's is a thinner 3-ply maple thought by some to have a beneficial affect on tone; this would be a late example of that variant.

All the hardware including pickup covers, stop tailpiece, "no-wire"ABR-1 bridge, and pickguard bracket are nickel-plated. The pickguard is the original long version. The pickups are a killer set of all-original PAFs which have never had the covers removed, and sound spectacular. The tuners are the original single-ring tulip-button Klusons. This is an original stop tailpiece guitar; there has NEVER been a vibrato fitted.

At 7.94 lbs. this is one of the lighter ES-335s we have had, and handles like a dream. Overall this is simply a fantastic guitar, played in with some deeper wear but never abused or altered. It sounds amazing in everything from straight jazz to funky blues to flat-out scream. Even not plugged in it has a real ring to it. It is housed in the classic brown-and-pink Gibson hardshell case, worn but fully functional.
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.)., 7.94 lbs.

This is a decently worn in but still all original guitar, showing natural "relic-ing" from 60+ years of use but no serious damage, repair or alteration. While it has been well played the instrument also appears well-cared for. The finish shows general wear overall, with typical light checking, fine scratching, dings, dents and some noticeable arm wear along the upper body area. The back edge of the rim has a decent amount of finish loss likely from moisture, but this does not affect it in any functional way.

The top of the body and the back of the neck appear to have been polished a bit (some of the dings and chips have rounded-off edges) but there is no evidence of any overspray. The back of the neck is cleaner than many, with some edge wear and minor dings but no large areas of finish worn away. The headstock has minor chips and dings but less than many. Unusually for a thin-top, '58 there is no repair in the jack area, a common problem.

All hardware is original; The Kluson Deluxe tuners are original, the buttons are repros as is common with later '58s and 59's. The nickel hardware has typical wear, most notable as expected on the bridge saddles from contact with players' hands. The PAF pickups are original and undisturbed and sound fabulous, the covers show some plating wear but have never been removed with untouched solder joints on the underside and original wiring. There are some inconspicuous dink marks along the lower edge of the pickguard with no easy explanation, and some scuffing to its top surface. The blind nut on the outside of the clamp is a perfect repro.

The frets appear original, crowned a bit flatter than the original spec but still quite playable. The fingerboard has a few light divots in the first position. This is simply a wonderful-feeling and sounding guitar, with a spirited selection of splendid PAF tones from sweet to snarly to monster overdriven and very touch sensitive at all sound levels. It includes the original brown HSC with some wear but still very solid, overall this is a super attractive guitar with just enough funk to feel righteously old with that perfect vintage Gibson vibe. Overall Excellent - Condition.