1964 Gibson ES-335tdc!

John Shults

Posted on March 17 2020

Vintage 1964 Gibson ES-335 guitar, Bigbsy, CUSTOM MADE plaque

This golden era vintage Gibson guitar cruised through the shop a few years ago: a 1964 Gibson ES-335tdc with Bigsby tailpiece. It was worn thoroughly but was an exceptional sounding vintage guitar after a professional refret. I'm always looking for clean vintage Gibson guitars but I especially love the ES-335 model. Please contact me to sell a vintage Gibson ES-335 guitar

Gibson introduced the ES-335 in 1958 with a revolutionary design: the thinline, semi-hollow archtop electric guitar body. It felt like a traditional guitar at the time but was comfortable to play standing up with its thin body depth. It also avoided feedback with the solid center block but still had that hollowbody warmth from the hollow wings of the body. Gibson quickly recognized the potential for this design and added two upgraded variants: the ES-345 with Stereo Varitone circuitry and even fancier ES-355 also available with Stereo/Varitone circuitry.

The ES-335tdc was offered with a standard stud tailpiece commonly called a stop tail piece or a Bigbsy vibrato tailpiece. The tailpiece was added later in the manufacturing process so almost all ES-335tdc guitars until 1965 are drilled for the stop tailpiece studs even if they're equipped with the vibrato tailpiece. Bigsby equipped ES-335tdc guitars often came with the "CUSTOM MADE" plaque that covered the holes for the stop tail studs. It doesn't necessarily mean that the guitar was custom made though :)

1964 was an excellent year for the ES-335tdc model. Many players consider the 1964 Gibson neck with wide 1 11/16" nut width and full C shaped profile the best neck for Gibson in the 1960s. Not only that, but the bodies were still drilled for stop tail pieces so players can choose either stop tail or vibrato tailpiece. Gibson updated the line in 1965 with a smaller nut width and a trapeze style tailpiece instead of drilling the body for the stud tailpiece. Many would consider this a significant downgrade.

 

Vintage 1964 Gibson ES-335 guitar, Bigbsy, CUSTOM MADE plaque

Headstock, Vintage 1964 Gibson ES-335 guitar, Bigbsy, CUSTOM MADE plaque

Vintage 1964 Gibson ES-335 guitar, Bigbsy, CUSTOM MADE plaque

Back of neck, Vintage 1964 Gibson ES-335 guitar, Bigbsy, CUSTOM MADE plaque

Vintage 1964 Gibson ES-335 guitar, Bigbsy, CUSTOM MADE plaque

Vintage 1964 Gibson ES-335 guitar, Bigbsy, CUSTOM MADE plaque in original case

Custom Made plaque, Vintage 1964 Gibson ES-335 guitar, Bigbsy tailpiece

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