I love opening an old catalog to compare my identification of a guitar to what the catalog would have called it originally. They’re full of cool pictures and information that I don’t see on forums and in vintage gear discussions. They also show all kinds of options that changed from year to year. This clean 1966 Gibson full line catalog has just arrived in the mail in truly amazing condition. I’m a little afraid to open it!
My first stop in this original 1966 Gibson catalog was the thinline archtop page. The top of the line for the thinline semi-hollow Gibson guitars is the ES-355TDSV with all the Custom appointments including the Custom inlay on the headstock, ebony fretboard with large pearl inlays, and thick binding. I was curious about what options were offered for the model because it’s also common to see them without the stereo output and Varitone switch. The technical name of the model changes without those features so I was curious how it was listed in the catalog. Sure enough, it’s listed as the ES-355TD-SV with a full description involving the stereo output and Varitone switch. There’s a small note at the bottom that offers an ES-355TD – “as above but without stereo and Varitone.”
I started flipping through the catalog to see what caught my eye after fully inspecting the thinline archtop page. This colorful Firebird page made a big impression! These pages show the full Firebird line including the basses. They’re all in rare, bright custom color options too. Check out the 1966 Firebird V (5) non-Reverse in very rare custom color Kerry Green. I would really love to find one of these guitars. Do you have one? Click the link at the top of the page to send pictures and Sell To TVG! I’d love to check it out.
Lastly, the solid body electric page of the 1966 Gibson catalog. Check out all the different SG models including the Junior, Special, Standard, and Custom. 1966 is just at the beginning of the single cutaway Les Paul shape renaissance. Popular blues players were picking up late 1950s Les Paul models at pawn shops for cheap and finding out how special they were. It would still be another two years before a single cutaway solid body electric Gibson guitar (or, original Les Paul shape!) would hit the catalog.
So that is a few pages out of this rare 1966 Gibson full line catalog. I’m always looking to buy rare vintage Gibson guitar catalogs. Do you have one you would like to sell? I’d love to check it out.