Gibson ES-335-12 TD 12 String Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1967)

Gibson  ES-335-12 TD 12 String Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar  (1967)
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Item # 11831
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Gibson ES-335-12 TD Model 12 String Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1967), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # 098203, sparkling burgundy finish, laminatad maple body; mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard, molded plastic hard shell case.

This well-worn 55-year-old Gibson electric 12 string has some very good points, and some less than great ones. On the plus side, it's a 1967 ES-335-12 finished in a fairly rare color for the model, the Sparkling Burgundy (metallic red) lacquer Gibson offered only around this time. On the minus side, the finish has faded and checked heavily and the back of the neck has a solid but noticeable repair, with an added jackplate on the face as well. Back in the plus column it plays and sounds great, is very solid and has that "Real Relic" vibe in spades!

Gibson's first single-neck electric 12-string, the ES-335-12 was introduced in mid-1965 in response to the 12-string craze which followed George Harrison's featuring of a Rickenbacker 360/12 in the prior year's "A Hard Day's Night". The model was a straight adaptation of the standard 335 design, with most fittings being the same including two Patent number humbucking pickups. The only notable alterations are an extended headstock with a double-diamond motif and the 12-string tailpiece, bridge saddles and nut. The 12-string ES-335 was fairly successful at first but 12-string electrics quickly became rather unfashionable in the oncoming "Heavy Music" era so it was phased out of production in 1970, and now is not nearly as plentiful as its 6-string sibling.

This model did see some high-profile use when new; one was famously used by Robbie Krieger on the Doors' "Love Her Madly"; we sold that actual guitar some years back. The most prominent regular user was Richie Furay of the Buffalo Springfield, but the model can also be seen in the hands of the Beau Brummels and a number of other period folk-rock acts. The ES-335-12 remains one of the 1960s' better-sounding and playing electric 12s; a very fine instrument, even if not generally considered an all-time Gibson classic.

This Sparkling Burgundy-finished example was built during 1967 and is one of 1048 in all finishes shipped that year, the model's production peak. While the exact number is not recorded, only a small proportion of these would have been done up in the metallic red finish, a catalog option at the time but not heavily promoted. In September 1967 the list price was $435 in any finish.

This guitar is a survivor for sure; it sports a heavily weathered look with a lot of fade to the top, chrome-plated hardware and the earlier '60s-style metal capped knobs still in use in 1966. The neck is quite slim by older Gibson standards but the nut width comparable to the Rickenbackers that were its primary competition, with more of a wide taper at the bridge. This one is "ragged but right" as they used to say, a real '60s survivor with a cool aged-in veteran vibe.
Overall length is 43 3/4 in. (111.1 cm.), 15 3/4 in. (40 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.).

This is a very well-worn but mostly original guitar, with a notable repair and some fairly heavy weathering overall. The once-red finish shows a lot of fade particularly on the top and back of the neck with heavy checking mostly to the face. There are a few spots on the face where the finish has flaked, the largest one just ahead of the treble pickup where someone touched it up with color now much "redder" than the surrounding finish. There are smaller flaked spots off the bass side F-hole and above the neck pickup. The rest of the finish has some dings, scrapes and chips but no large areas of heavy wear. The rear top edge of the headstock is somewhat worn down.

There is a noticeable repair to the back of the neck, sort of an "upside-down smile crack" in the area between the nut and the first fret. This is very solidly sealed but not oversprayed, there was some very light touch up added. There are several other deep dings to the back of the neck but all is quite solid and the guitar still plays very well.

All hardware is complete and original with some general scuffing and corrosion. The original frets have been polished out a bit showing no subsequent wear, regardless of the ancient damage the neck is nice and straight and playability is excellent. This is far from the cleanest of these 12-strings we have had, but a '60s relic with a real vibe to it. Overall Very Good Condition.