Big F-holes and Logos with Breasts

The logo at the bottom only existed for about a year.

No, I’m not talking about politicians or oil executives. I’m talking about a little known change that occurred in 335s in 1968.  In the beginning, God created…nope, wrong story. In the beginning, in 1958 when the 335 was developed, the wiring harness was stuffed into the body through the f holes. If you’ve ever tried to repair the harness on a stereo Gibson-a 345 or 355-then you know how close to impossible it is. The 335s are a little easier but it wasn’t always that way. Until sometime in early 65, the harnesses were installed through the f-holes. Then, sometime in 64 (I’ve seen it earlier but it became routine in early 65) they cut a big piece out of the center block so that the harness could be installed through the bridge pickup rout.  It probably made build time shorter and eliminated a lot of scratches that probably occurred in the process.  Then, inexplicably, Gibson made the f-holes bigger in 68.  The cutout in the block was still there, so it couldn’t have been done to facilitate the build process.  It makes simple repairs a little easier-you can pull a pot through the f-hole more easily and fix a bad solder joint. What it did is it made the guitar look cheap. Japanese guitars always had bigger f-holes-probably for the same reason-to facilitate the build and that’s why I think the big f-hole 335s look cheap.  The big f-holes are a big help in another aspect of collecting 335’s-dating.  Because Gibson reused the same serial numbers over and over and over and over again (as many as 7 times in 10 years), the big f-holes allow you to eliminate guitars with mid 60’s serial numbers (65-67) from being dated as the earlier of many years. If its got a serial number that was reused in 65-66-67 and 68 and it has big f-holes, it’s a 68. End of discussion. Conversely, if it has small f-holes, it’s pre 68. Or is it. I always thought that this change occurred pretty much right at the beginning of 68 until I saw a recent Ebay auction of a 68 with small F-holes. I thought maybe it could be a 67 but no-it doesn’t have an ambiguous serial number and it has the pickguard with the Gibson logo on it which occurred, to the best of my knowledge only in 68. The pickguard logo was apparently a very short-lived version and appears very briefly on a few models and some cases and then disappeared forever. I guess they felt they needed a more modern logo-it looks a little like fingers bending strings or a boob with a bright red nipple pushing against the guitar strings. So, big f-holes-68 or later. Small f-holes up to 68 and including the rare 68. The oddball logo on the pickguard is 68 only and maybe a month or two into 69.

Here's a 68 with small f-holes. You can see a faded remnant of the boob logo. This guitar has been modified with stop tail studs. It would have had a trapeze tail or maybe a Bigsby and no studs

This is the usual large f-hole version from 68 with the boob logo much more clearly.

One Response to “Big F-holes and Logos with Breasts”

  1. Hi, great post! Thanks..

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