New Feature: Ebay ES of the Week

1959 ES 335 Bone Stock with the correct and probably original case. Reserve Auction on Ebay ending August 5th

If I don’t periodically come up with some new ideas, I’m going to run out of things to write about. There’s a lot to know about these guitars but it isn’t unlimited and this seemed like a good idea. Here’s the concept: Every week-probably in the middle of the week since most listings begin on the weekend and end on the weekend-I’ll pick one ES 335. 345 or 355 or variant that’s listed on Ebay and evaluate it. This will be my opinion and not a suggestion that you should buy it or not. You’ll have to decide that for yourself. Also, it will never be for sale by me and I will not know or have anything to do with the seller. I don’t get a commission or a fee or anything like that. Since Ebay seems to be the largest marketplace for guitars, it makes sense to start your search for your 335 there anyway. Dealers are obviously another viable avenue-especially at the high end where if you get burned, you get burned big time. I have a rule-if the guitar costs over $10,000 and it’s listed on Ebay, I either go see it in person or I ask for an approval period-usually 48 hours. Any seller with nothing to hide should allow you that. You can even specify that you will return it only if it is not as described if the seller is hesitant to do so. Again, to be clear, these aren’t my guitars and I have no financial interest in any of them. The Ebay ES of the week will be a guitar I find interesting. I will comment on the price at times but never make a recommendation that you buy it. If I love it, I’ll say so. If I think it’s a good deal, I’ll say so. If I think it’s overpriced, I’ll say that too. Or not. It’s not my intention to sell someone else’s guitar nor is it my intention to keep you from buying it. It is my intention to educate you and educate you I will. So, for week one, we’ll start with a beauty. This is a 59 ES 335 “dot” neck. This is perhaps the most desirable of all the 335s. I’m partial to 58s and 64s but these are very popular which is why Gibson reissues them over and over again. It’s a reserve auction and, with high end guitars, the seller-who is a dealer- may just be trying to advertise what he has with no intention of selling it on Ebay. That’s typical for the very high dollar guitars like Les Paul ‘bursts and a bit less usual for guitars priced lower. There is another 59 on Ebay right now at $25,000 but it isn’t as attractive and is missing some very expensive parts-like the pickguard and pickup covers. But let’s concentrate on this one. Beautiful figured top and back and spectacular aging (the natural way). It will probably need the bridge replaced as the seller says it’s sagging. That’s metal fatigue and is not fixable as far as I know. Save the saddles. A correct bridge isn’t cheap but they’re pretty common.  You can probably find one in the $500 range. The only real negative that I see is the fingerboard and frets. They show considerable wear and will need some attention. There are some significant divots in the rosewood and a good bit of fret wear. Think about how much it will cost you to get this guitar into top playing condition with a fret job-or maybe you’ll get by with a dressing and, if they bother you, fixing the divots. I’m a fairly heavy handed player and fingerboard divots translate into sharp notes for me. I don’t think you’ll find a prettier 59 although you will find examples in better condition but they will command a large premium and you might be afraid to play it.  The finish is fairly heavily checked which I don’t find to be a negative and the sunburst pattern is very pleasing with a nice amount of fade. The pickups both read in the 8K range which many find to be a sweet spot for PAFs (I don’t totally agree). The seller doesn’t specify if the pickups are black bobbin, white or zebra. That would be a good question to ask since the value (but not the tone) of the guitar can be affected by that. If he tells you he won’t remove the cover (which he shouldn’t) tell him he doesn’t have to. Just take out one screw on the back behind the slug bobbin and one from the front on the screw head one. He’ll be able to see the color without messing with the covers. This guitar, at the top of the market would have easily approached $50K but those days have been and gone, at least for now. If a 59 is what you want and you can afford it, the price may depend on how much you want it. A friend and 335 expert thinks $30K or more. I think I would bail out at just under $30K unless the pickups are zebra or double whites-then I might go a couple of thousand higher. Again, that’s just me. So, if this one tickles your fancy and you’ve got the dosh, then it may be worth your consideration. Not to sound like a broken record, but this is my opinion. If you buy it and it turns out to be less than you had hoped, please don’t come after me. I only know what I can see in the photos. Here’s a link

The back has gorgeous figuring. Note the checking. That's not a bad thing.

Here's the negative. This guitar has played by someone who never heard of a nail clipper, I guess. The frets might just need a dressing but if you play with a heavy hand like I do, all those ruts and grooves will translate into sharp notes when you play.

5 Responses to “New Feature: Ebay ES of the Week”

  1. Sam says:

    Can you blog about how sunbursts changed over the years? EG: The Mexican appears to be a cherry sunburst with brown edges and neck. Whereas the older bursts seem to be quite different. Also, were there multiple (simultaneous) sunburst choices during the 60’s, or was it simply a matter of what Gibson was spraying at the time?


  2. OK Guitars says:

    Good idea. The sunburst underwent some very subtle changes from 58 to 69 but the addition of the cherryburst
    was a mid 60’s thing. The first 335 I ever saw was when I was 14 (in 66) and it was a cherryburst, so I kind of associated that finish with the 335 even though it was not that common. To have found an original stoptail in that color is extraordinary, I think. There was also an unusual sunburst called “Argentine Grey” which is neither Argentine or grey. It’s an almost monochromatic burst that goes through shades of brown. I’ve seen one on a 345. I think Gruhn might still have it. I’ll do a post after I do a little more research on the subject.

  3. Carsten says:

    Great idea, I really enjoy reading your blog!

    Greetings from Germany

  4. OKguitars says:

    Thanks. I appreciate your comments. I seem to have made considerable inroads in Europe. there must be a lot of 335 aficionados there.

  5. Spot on with this write-up, I really suppose this web site wants far more consideration. Iíll probably be once more to read much more, thanks for that info.

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