Gibson ES-335 1964 Sunburst with Bigsby

John Shults

Posted on September 13 2022

Vintage 1964 Gibson ES-335 TD Sunburst finish with Bigsby tailpiece and Custom Made plaque

1964 Gibson ES-335 TD Sunburst with Bigsby

Gibson's ES-335 model was only six years old in 1964 and its popularity increased throughout the 1960s. The company's ES-3x5 line featured a thin archtop body about 16" wide with a solid center block, hollow wings, and attractive f style sound holes on either side. The solid center block helped cut down on howling feedback that the old fully hollow electrics were known to produce when amplified at high volume. 

I am always on the hunt for the nicest examples of Gibson ES-335 guitars made in the late 1950s and 1960s. Have one to sell? You can contact me here: Sell a Gibson

How many ES-335 guitars were made in 1964? From Gibson production totals

How much did an ES-335 cost in 1964? From the price list

Important Measurements  Neck width, neck profile, weight, pickups

Year identifiers for ES-335s including serial number, potentiometer codes, etc

Description: 16" wide thinline electric archtop guitar with maxium depth of 2 1/4", solid Maple center block, hollow wings with f style sound holes, and two humbucking pickups with patent number stickers (since 1963). The ES-335's mid level trim consisted of a pearl inlaid Gibson peghead logo, "pineapple" decorative peghead inlay, bound Rosewood fretboard with pearloid block style inlays (since 1962), standard bwbwb plastic pickguard, bound top and back, and nickel plated parts (until 1965). It was offered with a standard stop bar tailpiece (until 1965) or an optional Bigsby tailpiece with CUSTOM MADE plaque to cover the pre-installed stop tail studs. The catalog lists the Sunburst as the ES-335 TD (Thinline Dual pickup) or the Cherry Red as the ES-335 TDC.

You can check out the Cherry Red ES-335 from the same year here: 1964 Gibson ES-335 Cherry Red.

1964 Gibson ES-335 with Sunburst finish, Bigsby tailpiece, in original case

How many Gibson ES-335s made in 1964?

Gibson kept very thorough production records and shipment totals from the 1930s through the 1970s. The production totals are separated by finish color, but they're not separated by the tailpiece style. The standard tailpiece for the ES-335 was the stop bar but the Bigsby tremolo was also offered and commonly ordered. Gibson's shipment records indicate that 349 Sunburst ES-335 and 892 Cherry Red ES-335s were shipped in 1964. 

Do you have one from this year? I am looking for nice examples of Gibson ES-335 guitars: Sell a Gibson.

1964 Gibson ES-335 headstock and neck

How much did a Gibson ES-335 cost in 1964?

Surviving Gibson catalogs and price list make it easy to find the price of their guitars from certain years. The 1964 Gibson price list indicates that a Sunburst ES-335 TD was priced at $340.00 and the Cherry ES-335 TDC was $355.00. It's interesting to find that the Cherry Red version was $15 dollars more than the Sunburst, and yet there were far more Red ES-335s shipped in 1964. The two case options were the Archcraft (Chipboard) case for $26.00 or the hardshell Faultless case for $60. 

If we account for inflation, then the price list indicates that an ES-335 would cost only $3,248.33 in 2022 dollars. Values for vintage Gibson ES-335s have risen far faster than inflation. Get an appraisal on a vintage ES-335 here: Appraisal

Gibson ES-335 price in 1964

Important Measurements

It's my goal to catalog all of the important measurements for vintage Gibson electric guitars like this 1964 Gibson ES-335. The most important measurement in my opinion is both the width of the neck at the nut and the neck profile. Nearly all of Gibson's guitars from the mid 1940s until 1965 were made with wide necks measuring about 1 11/16". The neck profiles, however, varied significantly from year to year. 1964 ES-335s are known to have a nice "59-ish" profile, albeit on the slimmer side of what is commonly found in 1959. 

Neck width: 1 11/16" (actual measurement with my calipers: 1 21/32"/1.66"/42.1mm)

Neck profile at first fret: 0.82" (21.2mm)

Neck profile at the 12th fret: 0.95" (24mm)

Bridge pickup resistance: 7.36k ohms

Neck pickup resistance: 7.74 k ohms

Overall weight: 9.1 lbs / 4.15 kg

Hardware: Nickel

original patent number sticker humbucking pickups 1964 ES-335

 Year Identifiers

Check out How to date an ES-335 for all the information on how to find the year of your guitar. Here are some of the important identifying features of this 1964 Gibson ES-335:

Potentiometer code: 137 6411 (137 = CTS, 64 = 1964, 11 = 11th week)

Serial number: 69243 (1964)

Hardware: Nickel plated (1958-early 1965)

Neck width: Wide nut (until 1965)

Tuners: Double ring/single line Kluson (Late 1960 until 1965)

Stop tail studs: Yes

 1964 Gibson ES-335 potentiometer code 1964 Gibson ES-335 serial number on orange label
 Single line double ring Kluson tuners Stop tail studs installed under the Custom Made plaque


Story of this '64 Gibson ES-335

I purchased this clean example of the '64 ES-335TD from the daughter of its original owner. She told me that her mom bought it for her dad as a wedding present. He played it all his life and could have been a professional guitarist, but chose a profession that allowed him to be home with the family more often. She provided me with a couple of great pictures of the guitar throughout its lifetime. 

This ES-335 appears to be completely original except for the bridge. This bridge appears to be an early 1970s replacement with Gibson patent number and metal saddles instead of the ABR-1 mark and nylon saddles. 

1964 Gibson ES-335 sunburst original owner

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