GIBSON ES-335 ES-345 ES-355
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ES-335

 

This is unusual for a 61. It has the long pick guard. There are 60 335's with the short guard-plenty of them but long guard 61's are not common at all.

This is unusual for a 61. It has the long pick guard. There are 60 335’s with the short guard-plenty of them but long guard 61’s are not common at all.

Spectacular late 58 blonde. Probably the prettiest blonde I've ever seen (other than  my wife)

Spectacular late 58 blonde. Probably the prettiest blonde I’ve ever seen (other than my wife)

The best artist series guitar Gibson has ever made. They really got these right (except for the pickup covers which they never get right). Feels like the real thing, sounds like the real thing.  Hard to believe these are ten years old already.

The best artist series guitar Gibson has ever made. They really got these right (except for the pickup covers which they never get right). Feels like the real thing, sounds like the real thing. Hard to believe these are ten years old already.

Later 60 but still a long guard, watermelon red and still stupid rare. Serial number is actually the FON on this one. Gibson did this for a short period in 1960.

Later 60 but still a long guard, watermelon red and still stupid rare. Serial number is actually the FON on this one. Gibson did this for a short period in 1960.

Red dot neck. 59 serial. 58 FON and a factory Varitone.   Probably the second red dot neck made (and the second one I've had)

Red dot neck. 59 serial. 58 FON and a factory Varitone.
Probably the second red dot neck made (and the second one I’ve had)

They made 50 blondes in 58. Rarest of the production TDN's. Not sure how many were bound neck and how many were unbound. This one lasted about an hour before it was gone.

They made 50 blondes in 58. Rarest of the production TDN’s. Not sure how many were bound neck and how many were unbound. This one lasted about an hour before it was gone.

You won't see another one of these anytime soon. I know of just two early block necks in factory blonde. The other is a lefty 64 that lives about 15 miles away from me. This is a 63.

You won’t see another one of these anytime soon. I know of just two early block necks in factory blonde. The other is a lefty 64 that lives about 15 miles away from me. This is a 63.

 

Real early (pre Mickey Mouse ear) unbound 58. This one still had its original uncollapsed thin ABR-1. Most of them collapsed within a year.

Real early (pre Mickey Mouse ear) unbound 58. This one still had its original uncollapsed thin ABR-1. Most of them collapsed within a year.

Star of the show once again is the 59 dot neck. These ran up a good 20% this year and show no sign of weakening in 2015 even with therapy exchange rates for European buyers. Flame tops are nice too but not a requirement for big bucks.

Killer 59 flame top. Not too many of these around and they are always dramatic and popular. This one came out of Kentucky.

ms60z

This flamey 60 was a great one as well. An early 60 with a big ol’ 59 size neck.

Near mint (really near mint) 59. No, the photo isn't loaded backwards. It's a lefty. Thanks to Alex.

Near mint (really near mint) late 58. No, the photo isn’t loaded backwards. It’s a lefty. Thanks to Alex.

Killer flame top 59. This had the big fat 59 neck even though it was pretty late in the year. It's pretty random once you get past A3100 in the serial numbers.

Killer flame top 59. This had the big fat 59 neck even though it was pretty late in the year. It’s pretty random once you get past A3100 in the serial numbers.

One of the very first ES-335s from the Spring of 1958. Pre Mickey Mouse ears, thin top, no binding and lots of hand craftsmanship. Earliest I've ever had and one of the top three 335's ever for tone. Really. $34000

One of the very first ES-335s from the Spring of 1958. Pre Mickey Mouse ears, thin top, no binding and lots of hand craftsmanship. Earliest I’ve ever had and one of the top three 335’s ever for tone. Really.

This is a factory black 1966 ES-335. It is a true one off factory custom with ES-355 7 ply binding on the top, bound f-holes and gold hardware. One of a kind unless you count the companion ES-330 that was ordered at the same time by the same buyer. I had that one too but now its gone. $16000

This is a factory black 1966 ES-335. It is a true one off factory custom with ES-355 7 ply binding on the top, bound f-holes and gold hardware. One of a kind unless you count the companion ES-330 that was ordered at the same time by the same buyer. I had that one too.

Red59Dot is my user name on a number of sites. I chose it because I had been on a search for one of the elusive “not supposed to exist” red 59s. It’s like Bigfoot. Someone swears they saw one and it winds up being a moose or something (or a 60). This one is for real.

 

This gorgeous unbound 58 belongs to a loyal reader who wishes to remain anonymous (so don’t go to his house and steal it). And who can blame him. Nice birdseye. 58’s have a thinner top which makes them unique among 335’s.

 

This really pretty 61 dot neck comes from reader Steve N. Note how different the red is compared to the 59 above it with the “watermelon fade”. Gibson changed the red dye so it wouldn’t fade so much (same one they used on Les Paul bursts which faded as well).

 

A 61 dot neck in red. Played but still rockin’ after 50 plus years. Just like me.

 

 

This is a really great 62. It came from the factory with a sideways trem so no holes in the top. Excellent condition and a bigger neck than most 62s. Not quite a 64 size but pretty big. Sideways is in the (not original) case. PAFs, too. This one went to the UK.

 

Check out the flame on the back of this 61 dot neck I found in Montana recently. Too bad the front doesn’t have the same wood. This one’s got a couple of issues but it’s a great player in beautiful shape. It’s my current favorite, so don’t buy it yet.

 

 

Here’s a 62 dot neck-one of the last of them as they switched to blocks in early 62. This one had the misfortune of being painted candy apple red or it could have gone back to Gibson to be refinished in “Sparkling Burgundy” which it could definitely be. This was an astonishingly good player.

This ’61 Dot Neck hasn’t been played for 48 years. It has sat in its case in a closet since 1963. I put new strings on it. I could have saved the old ones but that’s just going a bit too far, don’t you think? This one comes from Indiana

So, it’s got a headstock repair. It happens. get over it. Still a very cool fiddle and a great, great player. This one came from Phoenix.

“The Mexican” An original stoptailed 65 in cherryburst. Ever seen another? Found this one in old Guadalajara

Here’s a 62 I owned for awhile and really enjoyed. It had early PAT# Pickups and the “custom made” plaque

Here’s the same ’62 with the plaque and Bigsby in place

ES-335 63 Block Neck Historic Reissue 2009 Excellent and Very Close to the Real Thing

Here’s a Pretty Cool 1964 ES-35. Serial number is only 23 away from Claptons which sold for over $800,000. Shipped the very same day: May 20, 1964.

I love 64s and I love guitars with a backstory. This 64 belongs to my friend Andreja who lives in Serbia-these guitars don’t always stand still for 45 years. This guitar is supposed to have belonged to Denny Laine (Wings) at one point back when every Brit had to have a 335 in his arsenal.

Same guitar as above. This must be a good one. A well worn 335 almost always is a good playing good sounding 335. Otherwise, it wouldn’t get played so much.

131 Responses to “ES-335”

  1. Paul says:

    Looking at a 1967? 335. The serial number is 050***.
    This one has a single triangle design on the headstock. It’s similar to the double triangles that appear on the 12 string versions, but it’s just the single one.
    It has the trapeze tailpiece.
    I’ve never come across this design before. Was it common?

  2. cgelber says:

    Yes. That’s almost certainly a 12 string with a cut down headstock. I’ve seen a few like that.

  3. John says:

    Great stuff! I had a black dot neck (59?) which needed to be put behind glass, no block and could never be played in tune. I swapped a collector friend for a ’68 ES335 (possibly last run of 67, serial # is only 8 away) and some cash in 1975 and still play it a lot, as a TV composer that guitar sits in the mix beautifully. I no longer have the tailpiece , do you know where I may be able to purchase?. Anyway, enjoyed your site very much and am coveting the 58 Strat. Best regards to you.

  4. StevePeein AZ says:

    My local guitar shop has a new 2014 (?) ES335 dot for sale at $2400, but there is a crack (about 1 inch) in the font of the horn about mid way. Not sure if this is a finish crack or a crack from where the wood is joined. Not being familiar with the construction of the 335, can you tell me if the horns are solid when constructed or pieced wood. I couldn’t look under the body cavity to see, but if it’s a finish crack, that’s easily fixed and maybe the $2400 is a good price. Listed at around $4000.00 retail. Thanks.

  5. cgelber says:

    The top is plywood, so its probably just the top ply. If you like the way it plays and sounds, there is no reason not to buy it if you’re happy with the price. You might do better with a used one, however.

  6. Trevor says:

    Hi
    I notice on your parts list you have a 1963 – 335 loom for sale. Is it still available – how much. Does it include the four pots and the caps.

    Thanks

    Trevor

  7. Kelly Grubbs says:

    How much would a ES 335 1960 mint condition be worth?

  8. cgelber says:

    Depends on the configuration and the features. There were a number of changes in 1960. If it has a stop tailpiece and is sunburst and really is mint, it is worth in the $30000 range (retail). If it is red or blonde, it is worth more. If it has a Bigsby tailpiece, it is worth less. If it has a big neck it is worth more-a small neck (later 60) is worth less. If you email a photo and let me know the serial number, I can tell you a lot more.

  9. Bil Click says:

    Hi Charlie –

    Great site! Thanks for all the info. Just acquired my first ES-335, a 1986 cherry dot in pretty good condition. Biggest problem is G & B strings jumping out of the nut. Action is low so not sure if slots can be cut more, which means a new nut. StewMac has a Zer0 Glide nut that looks interesting. Or stick with bone?

    Also, do the pickup covers have to be unsoldered/removed to see any “model” markings? These have PAT NO 2737842 stamped in the bottom.

    They sound a little dark to me on the lower strings. I have seen some folks recommend replacing the complete harness with 500k pots. Is this actually an audible change, in your opinion?

    And the last odd bit is under the neck strap button, it looks like there are a couple of broken drill bits. Is the wood really that hard to drill?

    thanks again – Bil

  10. cgelber says:

    Try recutting the nut slots. If it doesn’t work, you will have to get a new nut. They were never bone-they are nylon. No reason to uncover the pickups-there are no markings. They are likely “Shaw” PAFs. There are stamped numbers that usually indicate that on the bottom of the pickups. I’m pretty sure I’ve written a post about them. Shaw’s are dark. I’ve swapped 300k for 500K pots and the difference was audible. Maple can be really hard.

  11. John says:

    Hi, Very informative site, thank you.
    I enjoyed lusting over the vintage 335’s … they are in fantastic condition.
    I have a 1980 335 with dot inlays. I’ve owned it since 2001 and it has barely been played (my bad!). I has been sitting in its case under my bed for absolutely years but I am just beginning to enjoy it once again.
    It has Nickel h/w which is tarnished to a dull colour all over. The colour is cherry – not light in colour but quite translucent, as you can see fantastic flame all over the back, top and sides. It has Grover tuners and black knobs.
    When I acquired it the set-up / fret assembly was quite poor but I had it reworked by Martyn Booth (ex-Gibson) who said it was actually one of the better ones of the era!!. Martyn sorted it and it plays sweetly, with a very comfortable neck and great action.
    I note that most 335’s have block inlays these days. Can you please tell me if mine is some kind-of “DOT” reissue or was it a “bog standard” 335 for the time?
    Thank you.

  12. cgelber says:

    If it is in fact a 1980, it wouldn’t have dot inlays. The dot reissue was introduced in 1981. It’s easy to tell an 80 from an 81 by the headstock-an 80 would have a volute but an 81 would not. Also the serial numbers are pretty reliable by then. If the serial is 8xxx0xxx it’s an 80. If it’s 8xxx1xxx its an 81.

  13. neillian spedding says:

    The 2009 335 block reissue nashville historic in vintage sunburst i am sure its mine

    neil from the uk

  14. cgelber says:

    It was mine when I posted it. Sold it years ago.

  15. Steve says:

    Hi – great site! I’ve really enjoyed reading about your beautiful 335’s. I’ve owned a few Historic 335’s, and they all seemed to suffer with a weak neck pickup, probably due to the weird angle of the pickup relative to the strings (top surface of neck pickup is not parallel to the strings). I suspect this is due to neck angle relative to the body, or a poorly shaped pickup ring that doesn’t match the contour of the top of the guitar. Is this weird pickup angle typical on vintage 335’s? How is it typically addressed? Thanks.

  16. cgelber says:

    Very typical, although I don’t find the angle of the pickup vis a vis the strings makes all that much difference. The problem is usually fixed by reversing the pickup ring so the taller side is toward the neck instead of away from it. It requires removing the pickup from the ring and rotating it 180 degrees and reinstalling the pickup. You could just flip the whole thing over if you don’t mind the pickup being upside down.

  17. timg says:

    Hi
    I’d like to get a used 335 but have heard that Gibson had some not so good years. Any guidance on better years, or even 21st century years.
    thank you
    T

  18. Cordell says:

    I inherited a walnut ES-335 with Bigsby and serial # 805xxx (66 or 69.) I can’t determine why it would have parallelogram inlays. Most I have seen are rectangle. Does anyone know the significance of the parallelogram inlay? Is it a factory option? Thanks in advance.

  19. cgelber says:

    That’s an Epiphone fingerboard on that 335. Gibson has owned Epiphone since the late 50’s and the guitars were made side by side until 1968. I’ve seen a couple like this before. The parallelograms show up on Casinos and Texans in the Epi line. The narrow headstock looks like an Epiphone as well, so the entire neck could be Epiphone.

  20. cgelber says:

    Late 69 to 1980 are the worst. 58-64 are the best. 65 to early 69 are good. 81-85 are good. I don’t see that many from 87 onward so I can’t say. I hear 2014 and later are very good. I’ve only played one and it was quite good. Even some of the worst years can have good ones though. Play it before you buy or buy from someone who will take it back if you don’t like it.

  21. RICK L. BLUE says:

    I have a Gibson ES-335 that I want to determine the EXACT year of manufacture. It is red, has twin pick-ups, and a Bixby whammy bar. Everything is original & working. The hard-shell case is black with yellow/gold lining inside.

    I think it is a 1966 or maybe a bit older. The # stamped on the back of the HEAD-STOCK is 103832. Regarding the name GIBSON on the headstock, the dot on the ‘i’ is higher than any of the other letters. Both the ‘o’ and the ‘b’ are open.

    My late father bought this guitar NEW. Dad was more of a farmer than he was a guitar player, so it has seen light and limited use. My mom gave the guitar to me upon my dad’s death in 1985. I have played it less than two hours over the past 30 years.

    I would like to include a photo, but I don’t have a Smartphone. My wife has a Smartphone, but taking & posting a photo is asking a lot of either of us. Sorry, but we don’t have any kids to tutor us on such things.

    As far as the guitar’s condition, it is perfect. No dings, no scratches or belt-buckle rash. I know you have probably heard all of this before, but I can’t imagine there being another ES-335 of this age in better condition.

    At age 63, my wife and I are starting to downsize our possessions. I might be open to selling this guitar, but I will not be giving it away if I do; it’s too special. On the other hand, I would hate to hang-on to it, only to have it stolen or lost in a house fire when someone else might appreciate it more. Of course I have it insured, but I’m tired of doing that as well.

    So let me know what you think. Right now I just want to determine the year of manufacture–and anything else you want to ask about. Thanks for reading.

  22. cgelber says:

    email sent

  23. Mark Hawkins says:

    Does anyone know how many Gibson 335 with split coil switch and Bigsby from 1976 were shipped to the uk ??

  24. Mike Gray says:

    Greetings,
    I’m looking to get a vintage ES335 and it appears I need to find a 65-67. I’m looking to spend $4000-$6000 and want a player, although as original as I can get. I’m willing to work on putting original parts back into it as well since I have a killer luthier. Any recommendations?

  25. cgelber says:

    If you don’t mind the narrow nut on the late 65-68, you can save a lot of money. If you want the wide nut, you’ll need to go with an early to mid 65 and those will be a little more than your budget. I’d look for a late 65 or 66 at the high end of your budget. Reverb is a good place to look but be aware that most sellers ask more than their guitar is worth. Be ready to negotiate. eBay will have a lot of choices as well but expect things to be wrong and undisclosed. Folks often just don’t know what they have or whats been done to it.

  26. James Reyman says:

    I bought my ES-335 in 1973 when I was 16. I’ve always loved it. I bought it at Gracin’s in NYC. A new group of Walnut editions came in and this one was my favorite. Still love it!

  27. Mary Pell says:

    I have a Gibson P ES 335 Reissue Serial # 91813506 Purchased new in the later 90’s. What is the value?

  28. cgelber says:

    I don’t consider myself an expert in modern 335’s. Average selling price is around $2500.

  29. Ron Heim says:

    Hello. Can anyone tell me how many 2015 es335 studio wine Gibson guitars were made. Thank you.

  30. Cubby sedgwick says:

    Trying to find out what year this baby is

  31. cgelber says:

    Late 70’s. The coil tap showed up in ’76 and this body shape was late 75 or early 76. 70’s are tough to date because they re-used the same serial numbers over and over again. Also, I don’t see that many, so my knowledge is a bit narrower than it is for 60’s 335’s. It could be a 76-80. Someone correct me if I’m wrong.

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