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Wish List

Who doesn't love a red 335/345/355? I would have kept all of them if I could have. Left to right: '60, 64, 63, 60.

The guitar closet at my house. This is pretty much the whole collection. You can see a few 335s and 345s in their cases (black and brown), the Taylor 12 string, Robin Ranger in the square case and my tweed Tremolux (with a custom 2-10" baffle)and "El Grande"-a 54 Supro Spectator and a BF Fender reverb unit underneath everything else. The modern case in the back corner is what I use as a shipper if a guitar needs work..

You might figure that since I buy up most of the good (and well priced) 58-64 ES-335s, 345s and 355s out there, that I’ve played them all and my collection is complete and I’m happy to let all these wonderful guitars slip though my hands. Au contraire. That’s French for nope. If I kept every guitar I fell in love with, I’d probably have 20 or 25 guitars. I have only 5 “keepers”. I have a 64 ES-335 in red. I have a 53 J200. I have a 2003 Taylor 655 12 string. I have a 1998 Robin Ranger that was my son’s first decent electric and I have a rotating stock of ES-345s.  More about that later. But, like most players, I have a wish list. Really. You would think I would have found everything I want by now but I haven’t-or I have and I, stupidly, sold it. I’ve been searching for the most elusive one- a red 59 dot neck- for years and I’ve found a couple but they keep slipping through my fingers. There was one in Nashville not too long ago that was at Joe Glaser’s shop and my Nashville bud Kent tipped me off to it. By the time I got to it, it had (apparently) gone to Vince Gill. There was another in California that another guitar buddy had heard about and I missed that one too. I’ve also been looking for a blonde dot neck and they keep eluding me as well. I’m not about to spend $50K plus on a 335, so the likelihood of finding one I like is slim. I think the “blonde premium” is far too much (that goes for guitars and women) so until I find one (the guitar, not the woman-I’ve already got a blonde one) for $30K or less, I’m going to do without. The 345s, however, are another thing altogether. I’ve owned more 59-60 345s than any other model and year. I just love these guitars-especially the late 59 early 60’s with their very 64 like neck profile. What’s so interesting is that they are all different. There must be 4 or 5 neck sizes and at least 3 different body depths during this period. The reason I haven’t found a keeper is that I keep finding better and better examples. I almost always have one in stock but sometimes a customer asks me to find one and the only one I can find is the one in my closet. This happened recently with an absolutely wonderful sounding 59 sunburst. There’s a mint 60 living in the closet now that I’m quite taken with. Now, I’m partial to the earlier red ones but they don’t come up that often. The red 59 I had with a pair of zebra PAFs had the misfortune of showing up early in my adventure as a dealer. If I got that one today, I never would have sold it. While I appreciated how rare it was, I didn’t appreciate how great it was. It was also the earliest red 345 that has surfaced. It had that perfect fade that the early ones get. I called it “The Watermelon”. The photo will tell you why. So, I’d like to find another one of those. The next thing I want is a stoptail mono 355. These are pretty rare too but I’m going to see one this week in New Jersey. There’s another in Nashville that I know of. I’d really like to find a black mono stoptail 355 but I’m not sure it exists. Gil Southworth will probably write me to tell me he has one (he had the blonde 355SV stoptail in the book “Gibson Electrics: The Classic Years” by A.R. Duchossoir). So, if you’re out there and you enjoy reading my stuff and you have one of these guitars on my wish list, just pack it up and send it to me. I’ll send you a whole pile of money and a hand written thank you note.

The elusive red 59 dot. This one comes from Tom Hollyers wonderful site at www.es-335.net and I think I know who owns it. Maybe if I win the lottery, I'll make him an offer he can't refuse. I know of two others but they are both Bigsbys.

"The Watermelon" The best 345 I've ever owned and, like a dope, I sold it. It is the earliest known red 345.

2 Responses to “Wish List”

  1. harleytech51 says:

    Hi from the UK, i must congratulate you on a wonderful site, i cant stop reading the posts , its addictive…Id love to own a true Classic 335/355 model as soon as funds allow i will be on the lookout..At the moment im settling for the nearest i can get within my current budget, an ES333 in my favourite natural finish..Im having the body polished up as im not keen on the satin, also fitting a 5ply Pickguard and correct 335 type fitting kit from the USA and a change of pickups..I have some aged nickel finish Bare Knuckles Vintage Hots to hand but may consider some Gibson 57 Classics instead….Anyhow, enough of my waffling on about newer guitars….Im keeping my eyes open for a nice affordable “real” model soon and am certain to be watching your excellent site with interest…Keep up the good work.

  2. OK Guitars says:

    Thanks for the kind words. The changes you describe will improve your tone (well, not the pickguard) and are good choices. Think about Throbaks, Rolphs or Sheptones. All great boutique pickups.

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