Changes 1962

It’s a dot neck AND it’s a 62. Last of the dots were shipped in early 62. Then the blocks took over.

OK, back to the “changes” series just in time for Gibson to make a couple of big ones. It’s 1962. Men have flown into space, the young president is scaring the crap out of us with the Russians and their missiles and rock and roll is here to stay. But the dot neck 335 isn’t. Most folks equate 62 as the year of the block neck but it didn’t start that way. The first 62’s were, in fact, dot necks. You don’t see a lot of them and, while I don’t know exactly when the change was made, it seems like it had to have been very early in the year-my guess is early February. Out of the hundreds of 335’s that have passed through my shop, only two 62 dot necks have been among them. Why change from dots to blocks? As I understand it, a lot of buyers were put off by the dot markers because they were associated with the cheapest guitars in the Gibson lineup and the 335, while nowhere near the top of the line, was not a cheap guitar. So, to bring in those buyers who didn’t want to appear to be playing a cheap guitar, Gibson changed the markers to small blocks. Probably cost them about 75 cents extra per guitar. They were still cheap plastic. Only the 355 got real MOP.

The ABR-1 bridge was still the no wire type in 1962 but by the end of the year, the nylon saddles start to appear. I’ve always thought the nylon saddles showed up in 63 with the wire type bridges but I recently bought a 62 from the original owner who said he never changed the saddles and they were nylon. There is also some question about when the wire type bridge appeared. I’ve seen them on 62’s but I’ve seen no wire bridges on 63’s. Two things going on here. One, the change probably transitioned over a period of time and second, some folks are probably scavenging the no wire from a 62 and replacing it with a wire bridge and selling the no wire for big bucks.

The other big change to occur in 62 is only big in the collective mind of the collector. The venerable “Patent Applied For” pickup finally got its patent number assigned. Oddly, the number that Gibson put on the sticker wasn’t the correct patent number for the pickup. It’s the patent number for the Les Paul trapeze tailpiece. Why that is has been the subject of debate for as long as I can remember. As most of you already know, the only thing that actually changed when they went from PAF to patent number pickups was the sticker (The $1000 sticker). There are 62’s with two PAFs, two patent numbers and one of each. You also start seeing pickups with no sign of any label at all. There could be a number of reasons for that. Some pickups got neglected or somebody had a 62 with one PAF and one patent and wanted to make it look like both were PAFs and if one had a PAF sticker and the other had no sticker, well, doesn’t logic dictate that they are both PAFs? No, it doesn’t and don’t be fooled by some genius who tells you that.

So, 1962 is the year of some big changes but not a year for a lot of changes. If it ain’t broke… 62’s are wonderful guitars-to me it is a real sleeper year. The neck profile is still slim but it is usually slightly larger than a 61 “blade” neck. The center block is still solid (with a few exceptions) and the ears are still Mickey Mouse. And the 335 is still great

One of each. 62 is the first year of the patent number pickup, replacing (slowly) the PAF. PAFs will still show up for years but not as frequently. The pickup didn’t change, only the sticker.

A block neck 62 with the short lived (and horrible) sideways trem. I know, it’s not connected but it’s the only photo I have. It looks pretty cool but unless it’s perfectly set up, it just goes out of tune. You could still get a Bigsby and many trem equipped 335’s had the stud bushings for a stop tail covered with the “Custom Made” plaque (which they weren’t).


5 Responses to “Changes 1962”

  1. RAB says:

    Yup, 1962 year ES models can be very cool. The other thing I observed occasionally on 62’s is a factory modification where Gibson milled down the standard issue tuneomatic bridge body on the treble side. This was to provide more bridge height adjustment on guitars which had a flatter neck angle. I first encountered this modification on a cherry red 1962 335 I purchased. I thought it was an aftermarket mod by some do it yourselfer until I ran into the identically modified bridge on my ‘62 Epiphone Riviera! 100% “jake” as Gil Southworth would say!

  2. Rod says:

    When I bought my 62/63 335 45 years ago, the fingerboard had been planed down and refretted. \this was not enough to have removed the inlays. However, the bottom of the bridge had been machined or filed off. I’ve never really though about this but the neck angle was very low. Presumably this was Gibson doing ad hoc modifications at that time. (The guitar has since been renecked so I cannot check the original neck angle now. )

  3. okguitars says:

    The neck angle issue was fixed by 62. Human error is still alive and well, however. I’ve seen filed bridges on guitars from every year.

  4. Steve Newman says:

    Sorry for the grainy photo of my all time personal favorite ES 335, very early ’62 block marker, CUSTOM MADE/Bigsby model. Noticeably lighter than any other 335 I have physically handled, including my “61 dot neck. It had no window cutout in the bridge pickup cavity and a wide, but not super thin (or “blade” type neck) more like a medium depth neck with bigger, rounder shoulders in profile. It had a low neck angle, but not so low that the bridge needed modification. If I remember correctly, the TOM bridge wheel adjusters were only about 1/8 inch above the face of the guitar. It was a fantastic player with a wonderful, balanced tone between all pickup positions and very low action and seemed to have enormous sustain, both acoustically and plugged in. No wire ABR 1 bridge that originally had the nylon saddles (factory Bigsby) that I replaced with standard nickel plated saddles, after I decided to remove the Bigsby and use it as a stop tail.

  5. Rob Marsh says:

    I had a ’62 335. It had block inlays and one of each pick up. It had nylon saddles when I got it but I changed them to metal. I don’t recall if it had the ABR 1 wire bridge. Holes on the top and around the bottom strap button suggested it had a Bigsby at one point. Wish I still had it!

Leave a Reply

Optionally add an image (JPEG only)