1960 Gibson ES-335 TD
Posted on July 13 2021
I've had a fair amount of 1960s Gibson ES-335 guitars over the years, but the one that sticks out in my mind the most is this 1960 Gibson ES-335 TD with dot neck fretboard and stop bar tailpiece. It sold to a friend so I know where it is, but he doesn't live close by so I haven't been able to play it since then. I'm always a Gibson guitar buyer, but I'm especially looking to buy a nice Gibson ES-335 guitar from the late 1950s or early 1960s. You can contact me here to sell a Gibson guitar.
Finding out what year was my Gibson made? can be a bit tough since Gibson serial numbers are a bit inconsistent, so that's why I've written this article to help you date your Gibson guitar. Get help with Gibson guitar dating and serial numbers here: How to date a Gibson ES-335 guitar.
Gibson's ES-335 model electric guitar debuted in 1958 with a brand new design that combined the benefits of a holowbody electric guitar with the best parts of the solid body electric guitar. The thinline body with hollow wings, solid Maple center block, and F shaped sound holes sounds warm and resonant but doesn't feed back at high stage volumes.
The Gibson ES-335 didn't change cosmetically very much from 1958 to 1959 to 1960, but it did come in a couple of different versions. The standard finish initially was the Sunburst finish with dark outer edge fading to red to yellow in the center. The new translucent Cherry Red finish became an option in 1959 (check out this 1961 Gibson ES-335 TDC). The standard tailpiece from 1958 until 1965 was the stop bar which anchored to the center block via two large studs on either end. I prefer the stop bar tailpiece over the optional Bigsby tailpieces, but both options make for a fantastic electric guitar.
This 1960 Gibson ES-335 TD with Sunburst finish, stop bar tailpiece, and dot neck fretboard had a very unique feature: its original PAF pickups were out of phase from each other. Gibson ES-335 guitars from 1958 until about 1963 generally have humbucking pickups that are in phase in the middle position and usually have a "PATENT APPLIED FOR" sticker. Like most things Gibson, there are anomalies that pop up from time to time but are still factory original. This guitar had a neck pickup with no sticker, slot style brass screws, and was out of phase from the bridge pickup. The bridge pickup had the standard PAF sticker and Phillips head screws. All solder on the guitar was undisturbed. It was a very unique example!
PAF humbucking pickups in non-stereo guitars are typically in phase, but Gibson ES-345 and ES-355 guitars with Stereo wiring and Varitone switch have pickups that are magnetically out of phase from each other. The phase of a Gibson style PAF humbucker is determined by which direction the bar magnet is pointing. To reverse the phase of a pickup, one must de-solder the cover, loosen the screws holding the bobbins to the mounting plate, slide out the magnet and flip it over, then re-install in reverse. It's possible that this humbucking pickup was made by someone who forgot to check the magnet direction, or who knows? The solder on the cover was perfect.
The 1960 Gibson ES-335 here matched all the other typical features found on ES-335s from that year. The Sunburst finish was light on the bottom and darker near the top. The nickel hardware was only lightly tarnished throughout. The long style pickguard extended just past the bridge. Gibson shortened the typical pickguard late in 1960 so this guitar was made right on the transition to the short guard.
Gibson slimmed the necks from the typical fuller neck profile of the mid to late 1950s. This guitar featured a typical 1960 neck profile which measured 0.80" at the first fret and 0.88" at the 12th fret. The neck profile can also be described as the neck depth at a certain fret, so it's not to be confused with the nut width. Gibson guitars generally had a 1 11/16" nut width until 1965 when it decreased to 1 5/8" initially then all the way down to 1 9/16" by the end of 1965. This guitar featured a typical "wide nut" measuring 1 11/16".
Do you have a 1960 or similar year Gibson ES-335 to sell? You can contact me here to sell a Gibson guitar.