Ebay ES of the Week-Update

My Favorite Year. I really like 64s and I like early 65's too. This one shows features of both.

I haven’t done this for awhile and so I thought I would once again take a look at some interesting stuff on Ebay. It’s always interesting when a no reserve auction of a desirable guitar happens. It is my belief that The truest indicator of a guitar’s value is a no reserve auction. Last week a very, very nice 64 ES 335 came up with no reserve. It was red, of course, and was an original stop tail with no issues and a lot of the original paperwork or “case candy”. The seller made herself out to be someone named “Lilly” but I’m told it was a veteran collector who knows plenty about vintage guitars. I won’t out him here because there is no law against doing that. It’s the old saw “on the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.”  It was in excellent shape. Not mint. Not near mint but really really excellent. It has some minor finish damage from a coil cord but nothing of much significance. It went for the highest price I’ve seen for a 64 since the market tanked. It sold for $18,400. That’s probably a good thing for those who are waiting for the market to go back up before they sell the family “heirloom” guitar. That long runup leads me to the “Ebay ES of the Week” I used to number these but I forgot what number we’re up to so, no number. This is another 64 stoptail in excellent condition. No case candy this time but still a beautiful 64. Or is it?  The serial number indicates that the guitar is, indeed, a late 64. But what makes a guitar a certain year? Is it the serial number? Gibson is notoriously unreliable. Is it the actual shipping date? there are guitars that sit around for years before they ship. You heard right. Years. These guitars are not usually 335s or 345s or even 355s. They are more typically low volume high end models like Tal Farlows or Byrdlands. Even the parts can be from widely different years. I’ve seen what appears to be a 63 body with a 66 serial number and mostly 66 hardware. I’ve seen nearly every “rule” broken in one way or another with these guitars. This guitar has a few features that indicate that, despite its 64 serial number, the guitar was possibly assembled and shipped sometime in 65. Let’s look a little closer. The most notable feature are the tuners. It’s accepted that 64’s have single line Klusons. Double lines began in 65 according to just about everyone. Is it possible that they took delivery on January 1, 1965 of a load of Kluson double line tuners? Well, they could have. I have no way of knowing. I do know that you don’t generally see them on 64’s. It is also pretty generally accepted that the narrow bevel trussrod covers are a 65 feature and yet this guitar with its 64 serial number has that too. I had a ’65 335 not long ago that I bought from a guy in Mexico (“The Mexican”) It had a 65 serial number, an original stop tail, a narrow truss rod cover bevel and single line Klusons. Does that make it a 64? I didn’t think so.  Another interesting element here is the center block. On my 65, it was uncut-like they were from 58 until around 62 when they started cutting them on some guitars. This 64 is cut. So, my 65 had 2 earlier features than this particular 64. I sold that guitar for around $12,000 which I thought was a pretty fair price for an original stoptail 335. Gil Southworth, the well respected vintage dealer had an original stop on his site that he called a 64/65 meaning that it had a 65 serial number but 64 features. These transitional guitars are every bit as good as a “real” 64 but they don’t command the same prices. The Clapton Connection of the ’64 may be responsible for some of this. I’m not going to call this particular listing a 64/65. I’ll let you judge for yourself. I’m not going to comment on what I think it’s worth. I will say its from an era that I think is among the best of the best. Note that it’s missing its pickguard ( a $400 part) and it has a non original black switch tip. The fact that it’s a no reserve auction means the price will be fair and reflect the marketplace. Added 3/17/11- I had my doubts about the finish but kept them to myself because if I’m wrong, I can really hurt someone. I will only state the most clear and obvious features on these Ebay guitars for that reason. If I suggest that a guitar may be refinished and I’m wrong, then I devalue it in the eyes of my readership who may have otherwise bid on it and that is not my intention. I  will do a separate post on what to look for that might reveal whether an ES guitar has been refinished. It can be very tricky because Gibson used more than one technique for painting red guitars. As a refinished 335, you can cut the price in half-that’s the conventional wisdom here. I think refins are a great way to get your hands on a guitar you might otherwise not be able to afford. It will be interesting to see where this one ends up.

The one on top is a 65 with no cutout. The bottom is the 64 in the auction which has it.

2 Responses to “Ebay ES of the Week-Update”

  1. Steam says:

    Charlie, here is another data point for you. After reading your latest post I checked my tobacco 64 335 pictured on the “cusp of an era” post (user name at that time was Chris) and it has double line Klusons. Go figure….Every other feature that I’m aware of along with the serial# says 64 except the double line. The fact that I bought it new from a music store in Sept of 65 means that it was either hanging there for about 9 months or Gibson didn’t put the finishing touches on it, ie tuners until after the holidays. I haven’t called Gibson yet to see if they can tell me the ship date but that would be interesting to know.

  2. OK Guitars says:

    Hey Steam-send me a photo. I’ve been seeing a lot of these 64/65 guitars. they mostly have 64 serial numbers but have 65 features. I had an SG like this, so it isn’t just 335’s. Look at the Ebay post I did recently. It talks about a 64 that looks like a 65.

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