What Else is in There?

This is the strap you got with a late 50's, early 60's Gibson. No extra charge

Got polish? If you do, it didn't come with the guitar.

I told you about the paperwork that came in a new ES in the mid sixties. But there was some other stuff in there as well. Some was included  (“thrown in”) by the dealer or was added at extra cost. It was typical of music store owners to try to squeeze every dime out of the sale of a guitar. In 50’s and early 1960s, they really didn’t sell that many electric guitars. The music store owners bread and butter wasn’t selling guitars to rockers, it was selling band and orchestra instruments to schools and giving lessons. In 1964-just before the “guitar boom” of 1965-68, there were only around 1200 ES-335s sold. That’s less than 25 per state. That is not a lot of 335s. So, when the owner sold your father a guitar, he tried to add in a few high profit items. But first, let’s see what else was in there. Besides the instructions and warranty tag, there was usually a little yellow screwdriver but no truss rod wrench. There was almost always a strap usually brown and made of leather. You know what they look like-everybody used one back in the day until it let go on you and you just barely caught the guitar before it hit the linoleum. Then you got a better strap. Let’s say it’s 1964 and your Dad just bought you a new ES-335 from Hermies Music Store in Schenectady after you hounded him mercilessly for a full year, promising to take lessons and practice every day and take out the garbage every Tuesday until you go to college. We’ll ignore the fact that Hermie didn’t sell Gibsons at the time.  “That’s a swell guitar and you’re going to need a case for it” , Hermie would tell my Dad.  “You’ll want the no-fault hardshell case for such a finely crafted instrument. It’s only $40”.  Dealers sometimes didn’t mention the optional soft case unless you asked about it. In fact sometimes they neglected to mention that the case cost extra until they wrote up the invoice.  Hermie would then explain to your Dad that you needed to take care of your new, expensive instrument and a good way to do that is to polish it frequently.  After all, the polishing cloth came with the guitar but, not surprisingly, the polish didn’t.  Hermie got you for an extra $1.99 for that. And strings. You can’t buy a guitar and not pick up a few extra sets of strings. What’s interesting here is that strings were really expensive back then. I remember paying $3.50 a set back in the 60’s. That’s something like $30 or more in today’s dollars. I buy strings in a 25 set bulk pack for around $3.00 a set. Strings are one of the few things that have actually dropped in price in the past 45 years. When you consider that the street price of a  335 was a little over $400 in the early 60’s, it was a big ticket purchase. Hermie was notorious for charging full list price, so a 335 there would cost you over $500 back then. That, by the way, is why we all made the pilgrimage to Manny’s in New York-3 hours away.  Anyway, Hermie would sell you a few sets of strings-he might even give you a deal-3 sets for ten bucks. There were a few other things they could push on you as well. Most Gibsons came with a cord but it was usually pretty basic and also pretty short. I have the original stereo cord from one of my 345s and it’s still intact. Not bad for free. “You’ll want one of those nifty new telephone cords with that”-that’s the obligatory coiled cord that has destroyed the finish on countless vintage guitars by someone leaving the guitar sitting on one or one of them sitting on the guitar for, say, 40 years. “Picks? Sure we got picks. What do you like? Thin? Medium? Heavy?” I’ll throw in a few of each for half a buck.” There isn’t much more that Hermie could sell you back then. There weren’t a zillion different pedals back then. There was the Fuzztone. Oh, and Dr. Gelber?  You know you’re going to need an amplifier for that…

The screwdriver came with the guitar. The picks sometimes didn't

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