Gibson ES-335TD Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1968)

Gibson  ES-335TD Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar  (1968)
$15,000.00 + shipping
Buy Now
Item # 11696
Prices subject to change without notice.
Gibson ES-335TD Model Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1968), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # 951581, black lacquer finish, laminated maple body, mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard, original black hard shell case.

This is an extremely rare late 1960s ES-335TD in a custom ordered black finish, a very unusual look for the period. The instrument has seen some player-oriented modifications over the years but remains an extremely fine playing and sounding guitar with a killer vibe. It also appears to have been originally ordered from the factory with the Varitone unit typical of the ES-345; this has been completely disconnected and removed, leaving an orphan knob and plate on the top. There has been a stop tailpiece added, replacing the original trapeze. This common player modification is not period correct but many feel it makes the guitar a better sounding and handling instrument.

Apart from the ebony finish and Varitone the original features are typical for 1968 with chrome-plated hardware including the Tune-O-Matic bridge and twin humbucking pickups with patent number sticker on the bases. The bound rosewood fingerboard has pearloid block inlay and the slimmer nut width typical of this era; the neck is fairly thin back to front as well with a very fast feel. The knobs are the older style capped clear plastic often supplanted in this period by the later "witch hat" style.

Gibson made a lot of 335's in this era but VERY few black ones; in fact this is the only ebony-finished late '60s semi-solid Gibson we have ever had. The fully original finish is confirmed by the label (not always the case with Gibsons) which is somewhat faded but a hand-written "black" can be seen following the model information. While its pure collectability factor is lessened by the stop tail conversion in every other way this is a fantastic guitar; super sharp looking and really great sounding with a real ring even when not plugged in.
Overall length is 41 1/2 in. (105.4 cm.), 15 7/8 in. (40.3 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 9/16 in. (40 mm.).

While no longer 100% original this is still a very nice instrument overall showing fairly minor wear and some alterations as noted. The all-original black lacquer finish shows some typical checking but only fairly small dings, dents and scratches overall, most notable on the headstock edges. A few spots have been touched up here and there, but overall there is no really heavy wear.

The pickups are the original patent # units and sound great; the pots and much of the wiring appear original but the entire Varitone assembly has been removed, so some re-wiring was inevitable. The chicken-head knob and number plate are simply set into the top with no function except as a vestigial indicator of this custom feature. The stop tail addition was neatly done; the screw holes from the trapeze can still be seen on the back rim. The Tune-O-Matic bridge with Nylon saddles and laminated pickguard are original.

The tuners have been restored to the original double-ring Klusons from something else once fitted; small pressure rings remain as evidence on the headstock. One tuner is slightly later than the other five with "Gibson Deluxe" stamped on the housing instead of "Kluson Deluxe". The truss rod cover is the correct style but later as well. The original large frets have been crowned a bit with plenty of meat left remaining and this is a fine playing and really great sounding example of this very rare and extremely cool late '60s ES-335 variation. It resides in the original orange-lined HSC, very solid with a replaced handle. Overall Very Good + Condition.