RSS

A Little Common Sense (An Ebay Folly)

 

This 60 mono ES-355 looks great. A little too great. Nice one too-long guard, black knobs, amber tip...my favorite combination of 355 features. Is it me or does that gold look a little too good?

This 60 mono ES-355 listed on eBay looks great. A little too great. Nice one too-long guard, black knobs, amber tip…my favorite combination of 355 features. Is it me or does that gold look a little too good? That guard looks awfully good too not that I can tell from the undersized photos. .

Most of you know that I love, love, love mono ES-355’s. There’s one on Ebay that looks just great, although it’s priced out of the realm of, well, reality. Unless it’s one of those stupid rare stop tail 355’s, $17000 is a bit on the pricey side if you ask me. But, then again, if it had a pair of double whites and was close to mint, then maybe it isn’t so pricey. Of course, the seller doesn’t mention the bobbin color and I haven’t asked him. But here’s what struck me. I’ve had a number of mint ES-345s and 355s over the years and I’ve never seen one with hardware anywhere near this clean. Fifty five year old gold just doesn’t look this good. The plating is very thin and gold is very soft so anywhere you touch on the hardware is bound to wear. The gold on this guitar looks perfect and I mean perfect. That sets off an alarm. Hear it (woo, woo, woo)? If that gold is original, I will buy the guitar and eat it. How do I know? Well, like I said, it looks too good…like somebody replated it and then never played the guitar again. You’ve got to rest your hand somewhere and there doesn’t appear to be any wear at all. I recently replaced the tailpiece on a 345 with a gold repro and I wore the gold off of it in a month. I think the plating is even thinner now than it was back then what with gold at $1600 and ounce as opposed to $32 is 1960. Even so, the gold shouldn’t look that good. Look at the frets-plenty of oxidation meaning the guitar has been unplayed for a long time. When a 355 is left in the case for a long time, the celluloid used in the tortoise guard usually off gasses and corrodes at least some of the gold. Gold itself doesn’t corrode under normal conditions (nor does it tarnish) but it sure wears easily. So, I’m going out on a limb here and I’m going to suggest that this guitar is being misrepresented. It sure looks great and I’d love to own it but doesn’t it kind of make you wonder what else the seller isn’t telling you. Funny, he alludes to the new looking hardware but doesn’t come out and tell you it’s replated. On the other hand, the seller has zero feedback, so a certain level of common sense is called for in any case. Actually, what I really want is the case cover. Those are really tough to find. I’ve had two over the years and sold them both to clients who just about sold their souls to get them from me. So, maybe I’ll make him an offer once I find out what the real story is behind that hardware. I can tell you the Bigsby isn’t a repro. It’s tough to tell whether the other parts are or aren’t repro from the not so great photos but I’d bet they are original and replated. Update: One of my guitar buddies emailed the seller and he acknowledged that the gold was replated (after I suggested it might be). If I were buying it, I’d swap out the replated hardware for some properly worn original parts or I’d play the crap out of it until I wore some gold off of it.

This 60 ES-345 I had a while back was this close to dead mint. It was hardly played but the gold still showed some deterioration and a little wear as well.

This 60 ES-345 I had a while back was this close to dead mint. It was hardly played but the gold still showed some deterioration and a little wear as well.

8 Responses to “A Little Common Sense (An Ebay Folly)”

  1. Tim Bentley says:

    Wow. Never realised the plating was actually gold – I assumed it was brass or similar. Can’t have been cheap to replate!

  2. Rob says:

    The seller describes the pickups as being “double cremes”. Close enough to white.

  3. RAB says:

    Yes, wise to have the alarms go off…that gold plating is way too shiny to be original. A nice git-tar though…I am fond of mono ES-355 models myself! They have a unique sound with the ebony fingerboard, more bite than your rosewood boarded 335/345 IMHO…

  4. Ollie says:

    The gold on my ’66 falls off if I so much as look at it. In less then a year of ownership I’ve completely worn it off the bigsby arm. Dunno if it’s just me but I think these guitars look so much better once the gold has worn. The new reissues kinda look a bit tacky to my eyes and so does that ’60. Somehow wrong.

  5. Collin says:

    No way that any Gibson guitar parts are plated in actual real gold…. I’m not buying that for a second.

  6. cgelber says:

    Actually, they are. But it’s such a thin layer of gold it isn’t worth much.It’s even thinner now than it was 50 years ago. The price of gold was set by the government at $32 an ounce back then.

  7. mm says:

    Joe Bonamassa posted a pic of what looks to be this very guitar on his instagram account. Perhaps he purchased it?

  8. cgelber says:

    It’s a beautiful guitar-it just wasn’t what it was described to be. Joe B. will probably wear the gold off it in short order.

Leave a Reply

Optionally add an image (JPEG only)