Gibson ES-355TDC Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1966)

Gibson  ES-355TDC Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar  (1966)
$14,750.00 + shipping
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Item # 11697
Prices subject to change without notice.
Gibson ES-355TDC Model Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1966), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # 848365, cherry lacquer finish, laminated maple body, mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard, period black hard shell case.

This is a nice clean original 1966 Gibson ES-355 TDC in the much desired mono, non-Vairone variant. It appears lightly played but does not show too much evidence of use over the last 55+ years. This top-line thin semi-solid 355 model was always a showpiece for Gibson, featured in catalogs and ads as 1960s example has its maple body finished in a deep rich cherry hue with 7-ply top binding, 3-ply back binding and single-ply bound f-holes.

The one piece mahogany neck has a bound ebony fingerboard with mother-of-pearl block inlays. The nut is a very slim 1 1/2" wide which is typical of this period. This particular neck is also very slim back-to-front in the lower positions making for a very skinny fast feel even by 1965-70 standards, one of the slimmest we have ever felt. The headstock face is 5-ply bound with abalone Super 400 style split block inlay and original Kluson Keystone Sealfast "waffle-back" tuners. All the hardware is gold plated, including the stock long Vibrola tailpiece.

The gold plated pickups on this ES-355 are the mid-60s Patent Number variety, factory wired to the standard Gibson mono one switch, four knob rig. Many ES-355s were shipped in the Stereo/Varitone mode; many players prefer this simpler layout and the non-stereo models are usually considered more desirable now even though they were less expensive when new. This guitar has the two pickups appearing to be wired out of phase in the center position; usually this is a feature of the stereo model but this one seems to have (probably inadvertently) been wired stock that way at the factory. It is a pleasing sound, crisp but not too bright or thin but it does have a slight volume drop from each pickup alone.

Only 132 cherry, mono 355s shipped out of Kalamazoo in 1966 at a list price of $725, plus $66 for the case. At the time Gibson claimed this model "Offers the accomplished artist an amazing range of sound" and it has always been known as a very classy and versatile instrument. While designed primarily with jazz and country players in mind, the ES-355 has long been considered one of the classic electric blues guitars, and virtually from its introduction was standard equipment for many of the seminal players in that genre, especially Chuck Berry and B.B. King. This one is ready to play "Everyday I Have The Blues" everyday, or pretty much anything else for that matter!
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 1/2 in. (38 mm.).

Now well over than half-a-century old this Es-355 remains nearly all original and complete in excellent condition for its age. The deep cherry finish shows no fade very little checking, and has only minor wear overall except a couple of spots. There is some finish flaking around the neck joint seams as is often seen ion these; the joint is completely solid but it appears some moisture leeched in along the seams causing some slight loss along the seams.

There is an area of finish disturbance on the upper rim above the tailpiece where either something was stuck long ago or the lacquer reacted to something in a case. The rest of the finish is very clean with only some light marks. There is some typical finish checking on the headstock face and a few small touched up spots, probably string-end wear.

The hardware is all original and complete except the multi-bound tortoise celluloid pickguard is a superb reproduction by Paul Fox. The gold plating shows some typical loss, with noticeable corrosion on the pickup covers and the bridge likely from the effects of the deteriorating original pickguard, as well as player wear. The tuners are cleaner with loss to the plating on the buttons. The vibrato tailpiece is complete with all arm fittings and also has some typical plating loss.

The original frets show some light wear in the lower positions with all intact nibs, the back of the neck is very clean. This guitar is a wonderful player especially if a very slim, fast neck is your preference. It comes in an older period deep red lined hard case, not standard Gibson issue but appearing to have been with the guitar for a very long time. Overall Excellent - Condition.