1961 Gibson ES-355TD-SV
First shipped in 1958 but officially released in 1959 the ES-335TD-SV was the flagship guitar in Gibson’s new Thinline Electro Spanish series. The ES-300 range went from the simple, functional single pickup (ES-330T) through the ES-335 and ES-345 to the top of the range ES-355 TDSV (Thinline, Double pickup, Stereo, Varitone).
Gibson shipping records show an initial ten ES-355TDs were shipped in 1958 but by the first full year of production in 1959 the number had increased to a healthy 300 total guitars shipped. Standard 1959 specs for the guitar were Cherry finish only, semi-hollow double cutaway with maple block running through the center, two humbucker pickups with independent volume and tone through a 3-way switch, stereo electronics with 6-position Varitone rotary control (mono electrics were available) and a Bigsby Vibrato (although factory stoptail examples do exist). The guitar was appointed to a high level in line with the Super 400 archtop and solidbody Les Paul Custom with a 5-piece split-diamond headstock inlay, multiple bound body with a bound neck and long tortoiseshell pickguard, an ebony fingerboard with pearl block inlays and gold hardware throughout.
By the first catalog appearance of the ES-355 in the 1960 Catalog the guitar was offered as either the ES-355TD at $550.00 in Cherry or the ES-355TD-SV at $600.00 also in Cherry, with the 519 Faultless plush-lined case costing an additional $47.00. Shipping records show a total of 291 ES-355TD shipped with 174 of those being the ES-355TD-SV.