Exceptional Gibson ES-335TDN from 1961, in stunning original condition.

Here, we are touching on something that is almost sacred for all those who have Gibson deeply at heart. Since its introduction in 1958 as the founding model of a new generation of “made in Kalamazoo” instruments, the Gibson ES-335 unanimously represents the quintessence of the semi-hollowbody electric guitar, no matter the musical habits of those who play them. For good reason, it is the culmination of an entire decade of progress and thought on the ultimate form that an electric guitar should take on: according to the words of Ted McCarty, president of the firm from 1950 to 1966 during its electric Golden Age, Gibson’s luthiers and engineers had noted the popularity of solid-body models introduced in the early 1950s due to the “sustain” that their construction offered, and learned from the limitations brought out by the first thinline models which, despite being lightweight, did not manage to reproduce the much appreciated sound of solid-body guitars. Therefore, the Gibson ES-335 was designed as an ideal compromise between the format and reduced weight of the thinline series and the “sustain” of the solid-bodies, since its body has a central beam on which the two humbucker pickups, the bridge and tailpiece are mounted, with cavities on both sides largely preserving the acoustic qualities of the instrument. When we add to this a 22 fret neck made completely accessible by the double cutaway of the guitar, the beautiful figured maple chosen for the construction of the top, sides and back, the Brazilian rosewood fingerboard topped with the headstock featuring the Gibson logo and the characteristic crown pattern inlaid in mother-of-pearl, (almost) everyone agrees to consecrate the 335 as the absolute electric model produced by Gibson, and as one of the most elegant guitars of all time.

The instrument presented here comes from the first generation of 335, and is in many ways of great interest: on the one hand, it presents its original pair of humbucker pickups bearing their Patent Applied For label, the infamous “PAFs” which have permanently inscribed the Gibson sound in international musical culture. These have never been removed from the instrument, and all wiring and components associated with them are unaltered to this day. The uniqueness of this guitar lies in its original Natural finish: it could very well be the only one in existence, since Gibson officially replaced this color with the Cherry finish in 1961. 88 Natural ES-335s were produced in 1960 and recorded in the shipping register, but none to date for the year 1961. This one, with its potentiometers dated January 1961 and its serial number below 20,000, is therefore in all likelihood the last of the bunch, finished and shipped a few months after the rest of the Naturals. Another sign of the evolution of the model, the guitar bears its original pickguard which is no longer the long pickguard of the first era, modelled on the shape of those fitted on the archtop models, but a shorter pickguard introduced at the beginning of the year 1961. We also find the original Kluson Deluxe tuners, once removed and kept in the case but now replaced as they were originally, as well as the original stop-bar style tailpiece typical of the 335 until 1965. Only the original ABR-1 bridge was removed, probably having suffered from the warping that often affects these parts over the years under the pressure of the strings – it is now replaced by a bridge that is an exact copy of the original.

This rare guitar has been completely refretted and set up with a new bone nut, action and intonation expertly adjusted in our workshop to ensure perfect playability. Furthermore, it has been appraised and comes with its certificate of authenticity providing all the guarantees of the originality of the guitar.

Sold in its original Lifton case.

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