N(Final)GD - 1964 Gibson ES335 TDC w/bigsby

For guitars of the straight waisted variety (or reverse offset).
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sookwinder
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Re: N(Final)GD - 1964 Gibson ES335 TDC w/bigsby

Post by sookwinder » Wed Jul 10, 2019 5:55 am

I just went and checked all my 60s gibsons/epiphones … none have any inlays that are shrinking.
Is it the material that causes them to shrink or the glue?
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Despot
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Re: N(Final)GD - 1964 Gibson ES335 TDC w/bigsby

Post by Despot » Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:51 pm

It’s the material David - it’s a bit like tuner shrinkage, sort of random. On the ES345 only one part of one split inlay had shrunk (same way tuners shrink) - the rest were all fine.

I imagine that a guitar that sees a lot of play is more prone to it - haven’t seen it on other guitars I’ve had with small blocks that were a little less played. Common enough that Charlie Gelber has written a post about it on ES-335.org iirc

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Re: The Final Guitar...

Post by Despot » Thu Aug 15, 2019 5:32 am

sookwinder wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 12:35 am
Just reflecting on ES guitars of the 50s and 60s (that also include the Gibson Kalamazoo built Epiphone thinline ESs).
IMO it is interesting that the utilitarian (aka built to a budget and/or section of the market) style that Gibson did with these guitars was similar to the utilitarian notion that Leo had for his Telecaster and Stratocasters.

What I mean by this is that Gibson still had all their expensive carved topped ES models... just have a look at the ES-5, the ES-L5 and the Super 400CES archtop models … but they also wanted to get into the game after Fender captured sections of the market with the tele and strats.

So they developed a series of models using laminated tops, with far less bling, but at the same time took on board features and ideas that the musicians of the time were saying were good. (location of volume/tone controls being one of them). Introduced a pickup that would not have suited the jazz guitars (guitarists) of the time in the HBs, but again suited the up coming (rock/blues) player of the 50s.

So we now covert not the most expensive carved top archtop electric guitars that Gibson manufactured in the 50s and 60s, but we lust after the lower level models (let's face it a 355 is just a tarted up 335, with added bling and apart from a varitone no real additional features that make it sound any different to a 335). Why? Because almost everything about their design and function works. An added bonus is that in general the quality of the builds was also good and robust enough to still be desirable 50 years later.

And for me there is one additional feature that I like about the 50s and 60s Gibson and Epiphone ES guitars, that being that there is an old world feel about them in that unlike the strat and teles which were of a new age in the 50s from a manufacturing perspective, by virtue of the hollow/semi hollow design the ES guitars were still manufactured like they had or would have in the 30s. There is something magical about looking inside an old ES guitar and breathing in the smells and the ghosts of the past.
I've given this a bit of thought Sookwinder ... now that the 335 has really bedded in with me.

There's something inherently lovely about the design of the 3xx model Gibsons. The proportions are right - from every angle. I'd like to think that I'd have felt the same way about that in 1958 as I did in 1998, or 2019 ... and that this isn't just a product of having seen this type of guitar in the hands of a lot of people whose music I've loved. I don't know.

I do know that one of the earliest bits of 'art' that I ever pulled together was a sketch of John Lee Hooker sitting down playing an Epiphone Sheraton (an old vintage one), on a wooden stool in a dark room. It was something I pulled together for a state exam when I was about 13. I'd been playing guitar for maybe two years at that stage, and I hadn't yet gotten to the stage of gear lust that in later life would dictate my yearnings. At that stage any guitar was exotic - I didn't differentiate.

But the photo that I used to draw that picture just grabbed my attention. It wasn't just the guitar ... it was the whole photo, hence why I used it as the basis for my own work. Afterwards though ... it was the guitar that lingered on. The shape of it, the look of it ... not even understanding at that stage what an Epiphone Sheraton was, or how it compared to a Gibson ES335 or ES355.

From a practical point of view David I think that the difference between the more functional ES3xx and higher end ES models is quite pronounced. The higher end models, even where they've got the same pickups and wiring as an ES335 ... just don't sound the same. There is something in the construction of the ES guitars - from the laminate top/back/sides, to the maple block and spruce spacers between the block and top/sides...

I'm not sure whether it was design or happy accident. They altered things about the ES guitars that didn't work (neck angle, bridges etc) between 1958 and 1959 ... but after that changes were mostly cosmetic or out of simplicity (the 'cut out' in the maple block to enable putting in the pickups and wiring harnesses without having to force them in through the F holes for example). Up until 1965 when the nut width changed ... they really didn't make too many mistakes. The neck access is, by design, better than any Fender or most earlier Gibsons. The semi-hollow construction gives you the best of both worlds, and also makes the guitar lighter than a Les Paul (so much more comfortable to play for long periods of time in my view).

But what makes this design 'stick' more than others Gibson tried (like ... say ... the original Firebirds) is that I don't think the ES design was even all that radical by the standards of the day. It's more like an evolution of existing designs than a radical departure like the V or Explorer or Firebird. The SG is probably a more radical departure (that somehow worked for Gibson where the others had failed - though I'd rather have a Firebird than an SG myself).

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Re: N(Final)GD - 1964 Gibson ES335 TDC w/bigsby

Post by Larry Mal » Thu Aug 15, 2019 5:58 am

I'm not sure how my experience really corresponds with what you are saying, but I can say that whenever I play my ES-330 that it just feels very right, like what a guitar is supposed to be. It feels right at home.

And in a sense that's because it is a guitar, first and foremost. A Gibson SG is cool and I like them, but they are electric guitars first and foremost and were designed from that perspective.

An ES model is an evolutionary step away from the archtop acoustic and still retains a lot of the feel and playability of that. They feel like guitars feel.
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Re: N(Final)GD - 1964 Gibson ES335 TDC w/bigsby

Post by sookwinder » Thu Aug 15, 2019 9:31 pm

Kev, just for clarification... my intent was to say that there is little variation between 335, 345, 355 variants.
yes the high end gibsons had different pickups, carved tops, sounds when compared to ES3X5 gtrs
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