1961 Gibson ES-335 TDC, Cherry

By Gibson
£27,495.00 £28,995.00


Wonderful example of one of Gibson’s absolute classic guitars, the iconic Cherry Red ES-335. Dating to 1961 the guitar has features typical for the year and is one of only 420 to ship with this finish. A Factory Stoptail guitar it weights in at a featherweight 7.5lbs it has two fantastic sounding PAF pickups that offer an abundance of classic ES-335 tones and a factory Cherry finish that perfectly highlights the guitars pleasingly figured top.

Introduced in the early part of 1958 the Thinline, semi-hollow ES-335 was released with the intention to bridge the gap between the solid body models that were gaining popularity throughout the ’50’s and Gibsons own traditional full size, hollow body instruments. On release the ES-335 featured the thinline semi-hollow body with a maple centre block and hollow wings that would become the models defining feature, constructed from a maple and poplar laminate with a Mahogany neck and  Rosewood fingerboard. Electronics mirrored that of the Les Paul Standard with a pair of Humbuckers with independent Volume and tone controls wired to a three-way-switch. Hardware would remain nickel plated until 1965 and appointments included an un-bound Headstock with Pearl inlayed Gibson Logo and Crown, The Rosewood fingerboard was initially not bound on early examples with simple pearl dot inlays until 1962. Options offered officially were Sunburst or Natural finishes,  a small batch of special order Cherry guitars were produced in late 1959 and a further 21 shipped in 1960,  Natural was officially no longer offered in 1961. Despite not being the immediate runaway success the model was quickly joined by three other instruments in the ES-300 series family. The entry level  ES-330 and two deluxe instruments the ES-345 and range topping ES-355. The ES-335 quickly went on to become a staple model and would remain in the Catalog until the early 1980’s.

This guitar is one of the last instruments to receive an A-series serial number before Gibson changed to the ink stamp method of serialising their instruments. This guitar is A-36112 with the final number used on the 21st February 1961 being A-36147 only 35 instruments away. This early ’61 ES-335 has all the features you would expect for  a guitar from this period of production. The Cherry Red has a translucency and vibrancy to the finish that can be missing on later examples. The finish on this one perfectly highlights the wonderful figuring to the body. The original finish is in good overall condition, there is plenty of tight, uniform checking to the lacquer and there are sone knocks and marks and even an old Social security number on the rear treble side ear but none of this detracts from what is a visually stunning instrument in the hand. Tuners are single line double ring Kluson Deluxe with one button replaced (original retained) and one shrunken but stable, the nut is a well cut replacement and the frets have been replaced with period size wire. Electrics comprise of two PAF pickups wired in the traditional manner with independent Volume and tone controls wired to a three-way-switch. Both pickups look great with their PAF decals still present. The bridge pickup has recently had the screw coil rewound, the neck pickup remains un-opened. The partial rewind was completed by House of Tone and has been completed to a high standard. The pots date to late ‘59 and are unusually of Mallory manufacture with plastic split shafts, and it has one Bumblebee and one Sprague Black Beauty. The bridge is the original wired ABR-1 with plated saddles. The 5-ply wide bevel edged pickguard has resisted warping or curling and the black reflector knobs are correct but slightly later.

The neck has a typical early 60’s slim C profile that feels fast in the hand with a good taper. The nut measures 42.29mm wide and the neck has a depth at the first fret of 20.08 increasing to 23.53 at the 12th fret. The pickups measure 7.75K and 7.40K in the neck and bridge. The PAFs are seriously good sounding pickups and in a lively guitar the pickups excel. The bridge is bright and articulate but never sharp or unpleasant and the neck sounds big and harmonically rich without the woolliness that can sometimes be associated with this position. With bloom and bark no mater where the volume or tone controls are it is a special sounding and inspiring instrument.

This featherweight ES tips the scales at a mere 7.5lbs, easily one of the lightest thinlines we’ve had through and it plays fantastically. The pickups are seriously good sounding and all the traditional 335 tones are easily on tap. The slim neck feels proportionally balanced with the Thinline body and feels very comfortable to play. The guitar comes with its original 50’s Style Brown Lifton case

Ask a Question
Want to Part Exchange?