1969 Gibson ES-330 TDC, Cherry

By Gibson

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Stunning 1969 Gibson ES-330TDC in vibrant, unfaded Cherry Red. One of the long neck versions produced in the late 60’s it features a body/neck joint at the 19th fret giving more access to the fretboard just like a ES-335. Otherwise it’s the same popular recipe of a fully hollow thinline body and two great sounding P-90s. The guitar was previously owned by Pete Leay, guitarist for the popular seventies band Buster.

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 is one of 515 ES-330’s shipped in Cherry during 1969 and is in excellent overall condition. 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. There is a knock to the 1st fret area as can be seen in the photography but otherwise neck and body are free from breaks and repairs. The dark Indian Rosewood fingerboard has pearl block inlays with the inlay at the 5th fret showing some wear, although this doesn’t affect playability. Serial number dates the guitar to 1969 and the guitar still features the earlier pearl inlayed Gibson logo. The hardware is in equally good condition with no corrosion or tarnishing to the Chrome plating. The tuners are individual Pat No. Double-line Kluson Deluxe with plastic buttons, the 3-ply bevel pickguard is good with minimal curl or lift, the ABR-1 has the original Nylon saddles and the ‘Diamond’ trapeze tailpiece is correct and the only tailpiece to have been fitted. 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 8.33K and 8.11K 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 6lbs even 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. The neck profile is the standard later 60’s C shape with a nut width of 40.17 and a depth at the 1st fret of 21.05mm.

Often overlooked, later sixties long neck ES-330’s offer a different playing experience to their earlier sixties stablemates, not only do you have less restriction to the fretboard but the guitar feels proportionally more evenly balanced. Comes complete with a non original, likely earlier Selmer ‘Tweed and Green’ case.
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