Vintage 1952

I found this 335 birthday cake on the internet. Feel free to send me one if you have the baking chops. I thought it was pretty cool being it was a stoptail dot neck and all. I wonder if the PAF stickers are under there?

Before you go all nuts, there are no vintage 52 ES-335s. Most of you know they were first marketed in 1958. The vintage 52 item is me. I don’t do a lot of personal posts because this is a blog about the guitars and not, generally, about me. But today, just this once, I’m going to take a moment to reflect on turning 60 an event which occurred this morning at 2 AM. My Mom never let me forget that I ruined a perfectly good night’s sleep. What shocks and amazes me is how fast time has started going. It seem like yesterday I was 30. The first 30 years took forever but the second thirty flashed by in little more than a heartbeat. I hope the next thirty have the decency to slow down a little. My Dad lived to be 95 and he didn’t get a lick of exercise after the age of 50. My Mom would have lived forever (or at least to 100) had she had not been a crime victim in 2009. Her siblings are into their 90’s now. So, I have a shot at another 30 years. Thirty more years to try to become a better guitar player. Thirty more years to be a good father to my grown son. Thirty more years to be a good husband to my first and only wife. Thirty years to find all the great 335s, 345s and 355s that are lurking under beds and in basements. I still run 10 or 15 miles a week depending on the weather (and my joints) and I still try to play guitar for at least 5 hours a week. Those two activities are what keep me young(ish). Perhaps if I still had my hair I could pull off looking younger but bald gray guys tend to look old even if  still wearing pants with a 32 waist (OK, sometimes 33). Tom Petty once said (in a lyric, of course) “you never slow down, you never grow old.” I kind of think that’s true. If I’m going to die, I’d rather do it while I’m out running (which is likely) or while I’m playing guitar. But people keep telling me 60 isn’t old any more. The problem is that everyone who is telling me that is over 60. Also, consider this…I get plenty of guitars that are in excess of 50 years old. Some are mint, some are beat to hell-looking like they’ve endured thousands of hours of use and abuse. There are a hundred “in betweens” as well. The point here is that how old the thing is has almost nothing to do with how well it works. And, while guitars don’t have a lifespan in the sense we do, they don’t last forever. The idea, I think, is to be as functional as possible for as long  as possible. So, damn the arthritis, I feel a song coming on (which I’ll play as soon as I get back from my run).

17 Responses to “Vintage 1952”

  1. Charlie says:


    Congrats on your BD and sounds like you have many more in store. Keep those 335’s coming (and going)!

    (in the hunt)

  2. Stefan says:

    Happy Birthday, mate! I really enjoy reading your blog, discovered it this year. It’s not only that you’re really on top of your guitar knowledge, you also write really well!

    Funnily enough, I am turning 30 next week and am also contemplating age. Have a great birthday and may you play the guitar in good health for many years to come.


  3. CJScales says:

    Nice looking cake, but everyone knows the red ones taste better. Congratulations on hitting a real milestone! Hope you had a happy and mermorable day.

  4. Mike M says:

    I enjoyed that. Happy Birthday!

  5. gordon says:

    May you have another 35 years.
    On your 95 th birthday may you play Machine Gun off the top of your head with 2 original choruses.
    May I get to read your wonderful blog for those 35 years.
    Happy Birthday.

  6. Matt J says:

    Hope you have an amazing birthday and fantastic new year (and decade). I look forward to reading your blog and learning more and more about vintage 335’s, 345’s and 355’s

    Happy Birthday!!!!

  7. Murray says:

    Hey Charlie,

    Happy 60th… I’m a vintage 53, not far behind you. It is true that the years are passing by at lightning speed. I remember being a kid in the Bronx when I bought my 335 for $300.00, and a slice of pizza was 20 cents. Now I’m a 58 year old (59 in November) with wife, daughter, two puggles and my old 68 335. But I’m basically a happy guy, what is what counts. BTW AWESOME CAKE AND BLOG. All the best – Murray (‘68 335)

  8. OK Guitars says:

    I remember 15 cent pizza slices. A Big Mac was 49 cents and fries were 12 cents. I remember when there wasn’t a Big Mac-just hamburgers at 15 cents each. The NYC subway was 15 cents. Matinees at the local movie theater (a one-plex) were a quarter and they gave stuff away. I remember my father telling me about his youth in Manhattan in the 1920’s/30’s-nickel movies, nickel subway, 15 cent bleacher seats at the Stadium. He couldn’t afford any of that, so they hitched a ride on the back of a truck up to the Bronx and snuck in. Thanks to everyone who sent birthday wishes. What a nice group. I should have you all over for cake (and beer).

  9. Chris W. says:

    Cake and beer, I’m there! Happy belated birthday Charlie. I’m a Vintage ’69, so pretty much all the great guitars were made before me. At least I’m pre-Norlin/Nashville/Memphis.

  10. Pete Aguanno says:

    I’m a newcomer to your website and to es 335’s but I am enjoying both very much. Everytime I pick up the Gibson I am more and more impressed. I’d like to wish you Happy Birthday. I am eight years farther down the road than you are but despite the abuse of the sixties and the long grind from there to here, I am happy to say my dreams are alive and my cup is still overflowing. May it be so for you as well.
    Question: I bought a 2003 es 335 that measures 15 5/8″ at the lower bout. OK Guitars answered that variations were not uncommon in neck dimensions but admitted to not looking into to body measurements. Is this within a normal range? Any imput would be appreciated and once again, Happy Birthday!

  11. OK Guitars says:

    I’m actually going to address some of that soon. Thanks for reading.

  12. Pete Aguanno says:

    Great! I look forward to reading your comments.

  13. Pete Aguanno says:

    Hey OK…did you ever look into the lower bout dimensions?

  14. OK Guitars says:

    What exactly do you need me to measure? I forget (gimme a break, I’m old)

  15. Pete Aguanno says:

    I wish I could say that I don’t know what ‘old’ is but I’ll be soon passing that seventieth year (in thirteen months). Yikes! As Waylon Jennings said, “If I’d have known I was going to live this long…..I’d have taken better care of myself.”
    The lower bout on my 2003 es 335 measures 15 5/8″ and it has a gold label that reads Gibson USA.

  16. OK Guitars says:

    The lower bout on my wonderful 59 335 (the red one) is exactly 16″. Gibson must be trying to save money on wood. My 60, 61 and 64 aren’t in my house right now so I can’t measure them but i’ll post the measurements if they’re different.

  17. Pete Aguanno says:

    Thank you for such a quick response……not bad for an ‘old guy’.

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