Gibson ES-355TD Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1978)

Gibson  ES-355TD Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar  (1978)

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Item # 8622
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Gibson ES-355TD Model Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1978), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # 71178013, Walnut finish, laminated maple body and neck, ebony fingerboard, original black tolex hard shell case.

The ES-355 is a true Gibson classic, the top of the semi-solid double cutaway line with Super 400 appointments including the double diamond headstock inlay, multiple binding everywhere, and an ebony fingerboard with pearl block inlay. The 355 was one of Gibson's showpieces with all the playing advantages of the slimline ES-335 but the fancy cosmetics of Gibson's highest grade instruments. This guitar has the dark walnut finish that was first offered in the 1970s; earlier 355s were usually seen in cherry-red. Only 112 of these deep brown 355s were shipped in 1978, by which time they were a longstanding favorite of many players, especially blues musicians like B.B. King and Chuck Berry.

This guitar retains the Varitone choke, designed to enable clearer, brighter sounds out of a humbucking-pickup instrument, but is conveniently wired in mono -- not the annoying-to-most stereo. The original vibrato tailpiece has been removed and the classic stop tailpiece mounted the top. The neck features the traditional Gibson 1 11/16" nut width, with a fairly flat "C" profile reminiscent of early '60s models. It's very comfortable and perfect for a lot of bending and vibrato a la B.B King. We like this guitar much more than a lot of the Gibsons from this spotty later '70s period; it feels great, sounds cool, and just exudes badass class!
 
Overall length is 42 in. (106.7 cm.), 16 1/4 in. (41.3 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 11/16 in. (43 mm.).

Overall this is a fairly clean instrument with some alterations but a fine player's piece. The finish has some light wear overall. As noted, the Vibrola tailpiece has been removed and the guitar converted to stoptail configuration with a vintage repro gold Tune-O-Matic. This setup was not uncommon with Gibson semi-hollow models in the '70s and '80s in the quest for a heavier sound and more sustain.

The tuners are Schaller-made Kluson Deluxe style -- it looks like a couple of different types have been fitted. The pickups are Gibson '57 Classic Plus Humbuckers. The original pickguard is included, but is crumbling away in the case from Celluloid rot. A very fine repro from Fox guitars is currently fitted and looks great. The knobs are also later, but a Gibson-style piece. The case is original but has one non-functioning latch. This is not an all-original guitar but a great sounding and playing one, with only light wear and an excellent feel. Excellent - Condition.