Released in 1959 as the successor to the ES-225, the ES-330 was an instantly popular model sharing styling cues from the recently released Thinline ES Range. On release unlike the ES-335, ES-345 and ES-355, the ES-330 was a fully hollow instrument with a body/neck joint at the 16th fret. This gave the ES-330 a different feel and sound to the rest of the Thinline range. Like the ES-225 it was available in single (330T) and double (330TD) pickup options The model was popular throughout the sixties, selling well for Gibson with the model regularly out performing the rest of the Thinline range. During it’s initial production run the ES-330TD would appear in the catalog from 1959 until 1972 with the single pickup ES-330 being phased out earlier in 1963.
This guitar was produced in 1967 at the height of the ES-330’s popularity and is an excellently preserved example. The Cherry finish has minimal fading and retains its deep gloss finish with next to no lacquer checking. Similarly the neck is in fine condition with minimal fading to the Cherry finish. There are a couple of small marks on the back of the neck and a couple of small holes from a previously fitted Bigsby but otherwise otherwise neck and body are free from breaks and repairs. The neck has dark Indian Rosewood fingerboard has pearl block inlay position markers and still retains its original frets and nut. The serial number dates the guitar to 1967, the serial number is sharp and can still be easily read. The hardware is in very good condition with no corrosion or tarnishing to the Chrome plating. The have been changed but no addition holes have been drilled so a repro set of Kluson Deluxe could easily be fitted. The 3-ply bevel edged pickguard is in great shape with minimal curl or lift, the chrome ABR-1 has the metal saddles and the ‘Diamond’ trapeze tailpiece is correct. As previously mentioned the nut and the frets are original to the guitar, the frets have been played but have plenty of height remaining. The undisturbed electronics are nice and tidy with the Gibson P-90’s measuring 8.24K and 7.86k in the neck and the bridge respectively.
The lightweight, hollow construction is a big part of the 330 sound with a loud acoustic voice and a lively amplified tone. Weighing in at 6.3lbs this guitar feels resonant acoustically and amplified, the bridge pickup sounds snappy with bite and twang, the neck pickup giving big, warm and rounded tones and the middle position a perfect blend of the two that just favours the neck with out dominating. The neck profile is the standard later 60’s C shape with a nut width of 39.82 and a depth at the 1st fret of 21.93mm.
Still one of our favourite models at V’n’R and for a long time under appreciated the ES-330 has become a popular staple of the vintage market in the last 5 years and continues to be one of the more requested guitars here. This Cherry example does not disappoint with two great sounding P-90 to thank in part for that. Having spent the majority of the last 30 years cased and well looked after has preserved the finish fantastically well and thanks to the replaced tuners and Bigsby ‘snakebite’ it can be set up to suit relatively simply or as we are inclined left and enjoyed.