1961 Gibson ES-350T, Sunburst

By Gibson

Stunning Gibson ES-350T resplendent in its golden early-sixties Sunburst with suitably lavish appointments. Am evolution of the ES-350 Premiere, the ES-350T featured a Thinline, hollow body mated to a fast playing short scale neck. A guitar often associated with Chuck Berry it was also adopted by Eric Clapton, Keith Richards and Danny Gatton.

Released in 1955 and accompanying the Artist model Byrdland and the affordable ES-225, the trio were Gibsons first Thinline instruments. Before this point your options were either a full hollowbody electric guitar or a compact solidbody. An evolution of the full depth, full scale ES-350 Premiere the ES-350T would share more in common with the new Byrdland model. The Byrdland was designed with input from popular guitarists Hank Garland and Billy Byrd.In essence a thin-bodied L-5 with a 2.25 thick body and a shorter 23.5 scale. The ES-350T was intended to be a less appointed Byrdland with the same groundbreaking improvements and dimensions. The ES-350T adopted the cosmetic features of its full-sized predecessor, the ES-350 with two P-90 pickups, laminated maple top, sides and back, rosewood fingerboard with split parallelogram inlays, and a crown headstock inlay. Prices in the 1960 Catalog were $595 for the Sunburst Byrdland and $435 for a sunburst ES-350T.

This guitar is a great example with two wonderful sounding PAF pickups, with a some changed parts and a small amount of finish touchup helps to keep this one priced as more of a player but with an appearance that wouldn’t look out of place in any collection. The five digit serial number dates the guitar to 1961 and is mirrored on the guitars intact orange label. Currently fitted with a set of reproduction gold Kluson Tuners there is evidence of different tuners having been fitted to the back of the bound headstock. Working down the highly flamed, two piece maple neck the frets and nut are original to the guitar and the truss rod cover is the correct wide-bevel two-ply part. The finish is fantastic throughout with subtle lacquer checking to the lighter, Golden sunburst finish. Under blacklight examination the finish is consistant with the exception of some very minor touch up spots by the Tailpiece. The pickups are PAFs, both with stickers intact. The neck pickup has the narrow spaced version used by Gibson on hollow bodied full scale and short scale models. Both pickups have had their covers removed and we suspect re-plated as the original gold plating is very thin and prone to wear. The gold plating throughout the guitar is very rich and we suspect that previously the guitar has had hardware re-plated or parts sympathetically replaced during a gentle restoration. Internally the wiring looks very clean and unmolested with the pots still residing in their protective cans. The guitar has likely been fitted with a different tailpiece previously but currently has the correct style tubular tailpiece fitted. The pickguard is the correct wide bevel part with a replacement bracket. Knobs are the earlier type gold bonnet style used by Gibson until 1960.

The fast, feeling neck feels great to play thanks to its full width nut and unrestrictive profile with measurement s comparable to same-era Fender necks. The nut measures 42.86mm with the depth at the first fret 20.14mm. Weight is a comfortable 6.56 lbs or 2.98kg. The PAF pickups sound excellent delivering all the tones expected of such highly regarded pickups. The guitar comes safely stored inside a later, seventies Gibson Case.
A fantastic instrument that ticks many boxes in including rarity with only 61 examples leaving the factory in 1961.
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