1964 Gibson ES-335 TDC, Cherry

By Gibson

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Superb '64 Gibson ES-335 TDC in the ever-desirable Clapton spec. A very nice example in excellent overall condition with all original components, hardware and finish. This is a factory stoptail model with nickel parts, orange pre-'Union Made' label, block inlays, PAT sticker humbuckers, wired ABR-1 bridge, double ring/single line Kluson tuners, mirror top knobs and original frets and nut. 

The original cherry finish is free from touchups/overspray and shows a small amount of general wear typical of an instrument of this age. The deep cherry finish is vibrant and shows little to no fade highlighting the attractive Maple grain on the body beautifully. The yellowed binding sets it off perfectly.. overall this is a very nice looking guitar indeed!

The overall condition of the top is excellent, with only a few minor dings noticeable when up close. Similarly the sides show some dings most noticeably by the lower bout where you'd expect. The back shows surface 'worming' to the finish and some light scratches as you can see in the photos. The neck condition overall is good showing evidence of play wear and use over the years. There are two or three areas of wear on the back of the neck around the 7th and 15th fret area most probably caused by a capo or being rested against an amp or similar edge.

The guitar retains all of its correct hardware. Tuners are Nickel single line/double ring Klusons, the nut and frets are original, the pickups are PAT sticker humbuckers with stickers intact. The Nickel stoptail is correct as is the wired ABR-1 bridge and Nickel saddles. The loom is original and intact showing some signs of solder work in the past but retaining all of its original components including its Sprague "Black Beauty" caps. All pots are CTS and date to '64. On each pot the week number is under solder but a "0" after the manufacturer code is visible on two of the pots meaning they are within the first 10 weeks of the year.

Thanks to a fresh setup this guitar plays fairly effortlessly. The frets are original with plenty of height remaining. Binding nibs are also intact. The neck is a really comfortable medium "C" profile that sits very well in the hand. The neck depth is 20.96mm at the 1st fret and 25.97mm at the 12th. Overall the guitar is a joy to play and when unplugged is very resonant and loud.

Plugged in, the bridge pickup (measuring 7.19k) has a really nice bite, cut and top end chime to it. When clean the tone is bright and balanced, when driven this pickup really comes to life and gives you a wonderful cut, bite and attack to the tone. It can be fairly aggressive if you dig in. In general it responds really well to pick attack and you'd have no trouble cutting through the mix. The neck pickup (measuring 7.06) is quite the contrast giving you a 'flutey,' rich, mellow tone with excellent sustain and balance. With the tone rolled off you're into "woman tone" territory and an almost buzzsaw fuzz tone at times. These options make for an incredibly versatile instrument and one that is very difficult to put down.

Clean, original, Clapton spec 335's are hugely desirable instruments, and for very good reason. The full width 1, 11/16th nut, Nickel parts, ABR-1/stoptail configuration, slightly chunkier neck profiles (compared to the less desirable, slimmer earlier '60s models) and PAT sticker pickups tick many boxes for both players and collectors. Factory stoptail models are the most desirable and with many examples having left the factory with, or retrofitted with Bigsby's, factory stoptail models are rare and as such command a higher price. This example is clean, original, plays well, sounds great and retains its original orange lined, black 'rhino' Tolex "Built like a Fortress" Lifton case. An excellent find and a wonderful instrument.