4 of 4: 1963 Gibson ES-335 Cherry Red
Posted on November 09 2021
The vintage Gibson guitars that popped up for sale during 2019 and ended up here at True Vintage Guitar were astounding. In some ways, 2019 was the most exciting year yet. Of the amazing guitars to come through the shop this year, four vintage Gibson ES-335s stick out to me as being among the most special. It's getting more and more difficult to find clean, well preserved examples of this model. I was lucky to find four this year that fit that description and all of them required hard work to find them and long drives to get them.
I'm always looking for clean examples of vintage Gibson guitars but I especially love the ES-335. Do you have a vintage Gibson you're looking to sell? Reach out to me here at my buying page: Sell a Gibson.
If you're looking for help with Gibson guitar dating then check out: How to date a Gibson ES-335.
Check out the first three guitars in this series:
The third vintage Gibson ES-335 to pop up this actually surfaced back in 2012 but took this long to get a deal on the table. We had a verbal agreement on a price but they lived about 10 hours away in Illinois. I planned out the road trip before spending some time looking for other guitars to buy along the way. I was lucky to find this clean 1974 Gibson ES-345TD from a seller in Huntsville, AL. We chatted over the phone and planned a meeting for the next day.
We met in the parking lot of the Cracker Barrel around 11am. He popped open the trunk of his car and I saw an unfamiliar case. It wasn't the one I remembered in the pictures. He opened the case and the guitar was correct but the case was not! He explained how he had a small collection of guitars and got confused about which guitar went in each case. I mentioned that it wasn't a problem and that we would try again on my way back. I asked him about his collection of guitars on a whim and he mentioned he had one he wasn't read to sell: a 1963 Gibson ES-335!
We chatted details on the guitar like tailpiece and case. He said he knew it was very valuable but wasn't sure the exact number. I made a split second decision to mention a high number in hopes to encourage him to sell. He responded with "I would sell it for that."
I was on my way to buy that clean 1960 Gibson ES-335 for too much money already! I had just enough in the bank to buy all three guitars. By the end of the week, my bank account was down to three digits but my guitar selection was top notch!
This 1963 Gibson ES-335TDC walked in to the seller's guitar shop in the early 90s in this case. It's an unmodified example with factory stop bar tailpiece. The brown case is correct for an ES guitar from the late 1950s until about 1960. I'm not sure how this guitar came to be housed in it but I like the way it looks!
I checked closely for any signs of a prior Bigsby tailpiece but found no prior holes. I checked the pickups and found one Patent Applied For sticker and one patent sticker. It's common to find a mix during 1962 and 1963. The guitar had been played but remained in excellent condition with no breaks or repairs. I was thrilled to find it!