I was lucky enough to find and purchase some fantastic Gibson ES-335 1960s guitars in 2019. This is a blog post I wrote about the Gibson ES-335 1960, Gibson ES-335 1963, and Gibson ES-345 1974 I purchased on a single road trip. I remember buying those guitars and having a blast! I'm always looking for nice Gibson ES-335 guitars. You can contact me here to sell a Gibson guitar. 

Knowing how to date your Gibson ES-335 guitar is essential to determining how much it's worth. If you're looking for professional help with Gibson guitar dating, check out How to date a Gibson ES-335

Further reading on the Gibson ES-335 1960s: The Gibson 335 Guitar Book: Electric Semi-Solid Thinlines and the Players Who Made Them Famous.

The vintage Gibson ES-335 guitars that popped up for sale during 2019 and ended up here at True Vintage Guitar were astounding. 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. 

The third 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. 

Gibson ES-345 1974 Sunburst guitar

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!

Gibson ES-335 1963 guitar

This Gibson ES-335 1963 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 the Gibson ES-335 1963 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! 

 The Gibson ES-335 1963 I found had some fret wear but was still a blast to play. The solid center block and hollow wings central to the Gibson ES-335 design yields the warmth of a hollowbody but the resistance to feedback like a solid body. I've been on the lookout to buy another great Gibson ES-335 1960s since this one but haven't found the right one. You can contact me here to sell a Gibson guitar.

1963 Gibson ES-335 TDC 

John Shults

Looking to sell?

Do you have a similar guitar you would like to sell, or get appraised?
I would love to take a look! Please contact me today!