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ES-335

What’s the rarest production (not special order) 335? A red 60. Rarer than any of the blondes, there are only 21 of them. How many are stop tails? Maybe a dozen or 15. How many are unmolested out of that dozen? Ten? Nine? This 60 ES-335 checks all the boxes. All 59 features (bonnet knobs, single ring tuners) and monster pickups. How’s 8K in the neck and 9.1 (double white) in the bridge sound to you? The neck is the slim 60, otherwise I would keep it for myself.

There’s an old saying around old guitars-“The great ones are the ones that get played.” I’m not sure I agree all the time but this one sure proves the axiom true. This is a mid year big neck 59 in factory blonde. It has been played. And played. And then played some more. It is strikingly beautiful and a tone monster.

This is unusual for a 61. It has the long pick guard. There are 60 335's with the short guard-plenty of them but long guard 61's are not common at all.

This is unusual for a 61. It has the long pick guard. There are 60 335’s with the short guard-plenty of them but long guard 61’s are not common at all.

Spectacular late 58 blonde. Probably the prettiest blonde I've ever seen (other than my wife)

Spectacular late 58 blonde. Probably the prettiest blonde I’ve ever seen (other than my wife)

The best artist series guitar Gibson has ever made. They really got these right (except for the pickup covers which they never get right). Feels like the real thing, sounds like the real thing. Hard to believe these are ten years old already.

The best artist series guitar Gibson has ever made. They really got these right (except for the pickup covers which they never get right). Feels like the real thing, sounds like the real thing. Hard to believe these are ten years old already.

Later 60 but still a long guard, watermelon red and still stupid rare. Serial number is actually the FON on this one. Gibson did this for a short period in 1960.

Later 60 but still a long guard, watermelon red and still stupid rare. Serial number is actually the FON on this one. Gibson did this for a short period in 1960.

Red dot neck. 59 serial. 58 FON and a factory Varitone. Probably the second red dot neck made (and the second one I've had)

Red dot neck. 59 serial. 58 FON and a factory Varitone.
Probably the second red dot neck made (and the second one I’ve had)

They made 50 blondes in 58. Rarest of the production TDN's. Not sure how many were bound neck and how many were unbound. This one lasted about an hour before it was gone.

They made 50 blondes in 58. Rarest of the production TDN’s. Not sure how many were bound neck and how many were unbound. This one lasted about an hour before it was gone.

You won't see another one of these anytime soon. I know of just two early block necks in factory blonde. The other is a lefty 64 that lives about 15 miles away from me. This is a 63.

You won’t see another one of these anytime soon. I know of just two early block necks in factory blonde. The other is a lefty 64 that lives about 15 miles away from me. This is a 63.

 

Real early (pre Mickey Mouse ear) unbound 58. This one still had its original uncollapsed thin ABR-1. Most of them collapsed within a year.

Real early (pre Mickey Mouse ear) unbound 58. This one still had its original uncollapsed thin ABR-1. Most of them collapsed within a year.

Star of the show once again is the 59 dot neck. These ran up a good 20% this year and show no sign of weakening in 2015 even with therapy exchange rates for European buyers. Flame tops are nice too but not a requirement for big bucks.

Killer 59 flame top. Not too many of these around and they are always dramatic and popular. This one came out of Kentucky.

ms60z

This flamey 60 was a great one as well. An early 60 with a big ol’ 59 size neck.

Near mint (really near mint) 59. No, the photo isn't loaded backwards. It's a lefty. Thanks to Alex.

Near mint (really near mint) late 58. No, the photo isn’t loaded backwards. It’s a lefty. Thanks to Alex.

Killer flame top 59. This had the big fat 59 neck even though it was pretty late in the year. It's pretty random once you get past A3100 in the serial numbers.

Killer flame top 59. This had the big fat 59 neck even though it was pretty late in the year. It’s pretty random once you get past A3100 in the serial numbers.

One of the very first ES-335s from the Spring of 1958. Pre Mickey Mouse ears, thin top, no binding and lots of hand craftsmanship. Earliest I've ever had and one of the top three 335's ever for tone. Really. $34000

One of the very first ES-335s from the Spring of 1958. Pre Mickey Mouse ears, thin top, no binding and lots of hand craftsmanship. Earliest I’ve ever had and one of the top three 335’s ever for tone. Really.

This is a factory black 1966 ES-335. It is a true one off factory custom with ES-355 7 ply binding on the top, bound f-holes and gold hardware. One of a kind unless you count the companion ES-330 that was ordered at the same time by the same buyer. I had that one too but now its gone. $16000

This is a factory black 1966 ES-335. It is a true one off factory custom with ES-355 7 ply binding on the top, bound f-holes and gold hardware. One of a kind unless you count the companion ES-330 that was ordered at the same time by the same buyer. I had that one too.

Red59Dot is my user name on a number of sites. I chose it because I had been on a search for one of the elusive “not supposed to exist” red 59s. It’s like Bigfoot. Someone swears they saw one and it winds up being a moose or something (or a 60). This one is for real.

 

This gorgeous unbound 58 belongs to a loyal reader who wishes to remain anonymous (so don’t go to his house and steal it). And who can blame him. Nice birdseye. 58’s have a thinner top which makes them unique among 335’s.

 

This really pretty 61 dot neck comes from reader Steve N. Note how different the red is compared to the 59 above it with the “watermelon fade”. Gibson changed the red dye so it wouldn’t fade so much (same one they used on Les Paul bursts which faded as well).

 

A 61 dot neck in red. Played but still rockin’ after 50 plus years. Just like me.

 

 

This is a really great 62. It came from the factory with a sideways trem so no holes in the top. Excellent condition and a bigger neck than most 62s. Not quite a 64 size but pretty big. Sideways is in the (not original) case. PAFs, too. This one went to the UK.

 

Check out the flame on the back of this 61 dot neck I found in Montana recently. Too bad the front doesn’t have the same wood. This one’s got a couple of issues but it’s a great player in beautiful shape. It’s my current favorite, so don’t buy it yet.

 

 

Here’s a 62 dot neck-one of the last of them as they switched to blocks in early 62. This one had the misfortune of being painted candy apple red or it could have gone back to Gibson to be refinished in “Sparkling Burgundy” which it could definitely be. This was an astonishingly good player.

This ’61 Dot Neck hasn’t been played for 48 years. It has sat in its case in a closet since 1963. I put new strings on it. I could have saved the old ones but that’s just going a bit too far, don’t you think? This one comes from Indiana

So, it’s got a headstock repair. It happens. get over it. Still a very cool fiddle and a great, great player. This one came from Phoenix.

“The Mexican” An original stoptailed 65 in cherryburst. Ever seen another? Found this one in old Guadalajara

Here’s a 62 I owned for awhile and really enjoyed. It had early PAT# Pickups and the “custom made” plaque

Here’s the same ’62 with the plaque and Bigsby in place

ES-335 63 Block Neck Historic Reissue 2009 Excellent and Very Close to the Real Thing

Here’s a Pretty Cool 1964 ES-35. Serial number is only 23 away from Claptons which sold for over $800,000. Shipped the very same day: May 20, 1964.

I love 64s and I love guitars with a backstory. This 64 belongs to my friend Andreja who lives in Serbia-these guitars don’t always stand still for 45 years. This guitar is supposed to have belonged to Denny Laine (Wings) at one point back when every Brit had to have a 335 in his arsenal.

Same guitar as above. This must be a good one. A well worn 335 almost always is a good playing good sounding 335. Otherwise, it wouldn’t get played so much.

154 Responses to “ES-335”

  1. ArchieTop says:

    Nice site and best of all it appears you do know your stuff.

    I got a blonde 1984 “dot” yesterday. The older gentleman I bought it from said it had literally lain under his bed for at least the last two decades and I believe him. It is in excellent condition. He said he changed the bridge (the original’s in the case pocket) and the knobs (originals gone). Question: what style knobs were original to this year & model 335?

    Thank you.

  2. Dan Goff says:

    I need to sell a friends ES 335 for him, serial number A245635. It’s in perfect condition no scratches or dings and the action is buttery smooth. Can you help me with the year it was made and it’s worth?

    Thanks,
    Dan

  3. okguitars says:

    Send a photo to okguitars@gmail.com. The serial numbers were used multiple times in the 60’s. Could be a 64 or a 65.
    It could also be from the early 70’s. Big difference in value.

  4. okguitars says:

    Gold bonnet type knobs were used on blondes.They are darker than the ones from the late 50’s.
    I have a set from an 82 if you need them. Not expensive.

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