Four Stunning Vintage Gibson Guitars in 2019 #2: 1961 Gibson ES-335TDC with Bigsby!
Posted on December 14 2019
2019 has brought a lot of amazing vintage Gibson guitars but there were four vintage Gibson ES-335 guitars that really stood out. You can check out the blog post on the first example from 1962 here: 1962 Gibson ES-335TDC. The second one was hiding in Houston, TX at the son of the long time owner for the past few decades.
I'm always looking to buy vintage Gibson guitars but I especially love the ES-335, ES-345, and the ES-355. Please contact me here at the Sell My Vintage Gibson Guitar page to send pictures and information of your guitar. I'm looking forward to checking it out!
This was an exciting find because I had originally enquired about a very clean 1963 Fender Precision Bass that the sellers also had. We were discussing it over the phone and I mentioned that I'm primarily a six string player. He responded saying that his dad also had a Gibson guitar and would I like to see pictures? Yes. Yes I would.
I was very happy to find them listed for sale only about a 10 hour drive away in Houston, TX. It was about 5:30pm on a Sunday evening and I had spent the afternoon looking for just such a guitar. I told the seller that I had the money in cash and wanted to buy the guitar. My only worry was that it was going to take me that much time to get there and I didn't want the guitar to sell while I was on my way! He was very kind to hold it for me while I was driving as long as I left within the hour. I ran around the house packing my things for a road trip and left as soon as possible.
I stopped to rest for the night in a hotel in Slidell, Louisiana but didn't sleep much knowing that there were great guitars waiting for me in Texas! I finally arrived in the bank parking lot in Houston where we agreed to meet. Both guitars passed the in-person inspection with flying colors and we counted out 5 figures of cash in the seating area of the bank lobby. The tellers found that part mildly suspicious but graciously allowed it to happen.
The 1961 Gibson ES-335 with Bigsby had been played extensively but had no prior breaks or repairs except for a refret. The Bigsby tailpiece was also a modification but it played very nicely. ES-335 guitars built before 1965 are drilled for a stop tail piece next to the bridge which explains the black plastic dots covering the holes. The model also had dot style fretboard markers instead of block markers until mid 1962.
Here we can see the backs of the original PAF humbucking pickups! These are some of the most desirable pickups ever made. The Patent Applied For stickers seem to change to patent number stickers in 1962. It's nice to find a pair of these desirable pickups that haven't been modified or replaced. The solder holding the covers to the base plates looks undisturbed since they were made in 1961. We can also see proper tooling marks, brass Phillips head screws, and proper molding marks on the plastic ring. Textbook!
Lastly, here is the back side of the original nickel finished ABR-1 style bridge. It shows a sharp casting mark and font on the text. This is a commonly replaced part since it often sinks or collapses in in the middle after decades of string tension. This bridge appears to be a period correct original bridge.