Badges? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Badges

If your brown case has this label, it's probably legit, if not original

Or this one on a brown or black case from 58 until at least the mid 60's. I've seen the badge as late as 67.

Or this one in the mid to late 60's although they were a secondary supplier. I don't think I've seen an Ess & Ess before 65. Doesn't mean they aren't out there though.

I wrote a pretty complete entry about ES-335 cases a while back but it’s time to go into a little more detail. Ask yourself this question: What’s the easiest part of a guitar to change? The case. Because cases were often provided by the music store, the “proper” or “original” case for almost any Gibson during the 60’s is a very hard thing to pin down. I’ve now seen vintage 335s that the owner insists have the original case in about 10 different varieties. Some of these owners were original. Let’s start with brown v. black (no its not a Supreme Court case-but we are talking about cases here). I’ve never seen a 58 -60 in a black Gibson case that was original. All of them should be, I believe, brown. The earliest black case I’ve seen was a 61 but the latest brown case I’ve seen was a 63. That’s a very long transition but when you put the music store factor into the equation, it makes some sense. By that I mean the fact that guitars were sometimes shipped without cases and the cases were supplied by the dealer. There seem to be at least 3 different brown hard cases for 335s (2 different Liftons and the Stone) but there seem to be maybe 8 different black cases that show up with little rhyme or reason from 61 on. The early ones are a little easier to pinpoint. Look for a leather covered metal handle. They move to the plastic handle with what looks like real stitching in 64 or so at least on the Gibson badged cases.  If your 62 comes in an “original” case with a plastic handle, you can rest assured it isn’t original. The later black cases have “simulated” stitching molded into the plastic. Something else I’ve noticed but it could be a coincidence. I’ve had 3 ES-355’s recently-all from 1965. Every one of them had an Ess & Ess case and I think I know why. By the way, you can tell an Ess and Ess because they are usually badged inside with the Ess & Ess logo and they have that annoying back latch. The headstock of a 355 is slightly longer than a 335 and the Ess & Ess case is slightly longer as well. I put one of the 355s into a GIbson badged case from the period and the headstock actually touched (barely) the end of the case. That is not a good thing. So, my theory is that when a dealer had a 355, he probably used the case that fit best. Then there’s the 63 ES-335 and the 64 ES-345 I got in a grey cases with blue interiors. These are standard Epiphone cases and, since Gibson was owned by Epiphone at the time, that doesn’t surprise me either. The 64 ES-345 was bought from its original owner and he insisted the case was original. The one oddity here is that he said he bought the case a couple weeks after he bought the guitar. Interestingly, I did the same thing when I took a trip to NYC to Manny’s in January of 1969 to buy an SG Standard. I had what I thought was the exact amount I needed in my pocket-maybe $275 (Manny’s used to discount pretty heavily). It turned out that the case was sold separately and I took the guitar home in the sort of triangular shaped shipping box. It had come from Gibson without a case. I carried it around in that stupid box until I could afford a case. So what’s the original case? The one I bought from a local music store in Schenectady (where I lived) or the shipping box or the one that I didn’t buy at Manny’s? These are the big cosmic issues that occupy my brain. That and whether a PAF without a label is a PAF or an early Patent number. Finally, I’ve gotten 335’s in Victoria cases. These were used by Fender for the Coronado series and while they fit a 335 well enough, I don’t believe they were ever a Gibson vendor. But that wouldn’t stop a dealer from putting one in the case closest to the door that fit the guitar.

If your case has this badge, it generally won't have another manufacturers logo. I've seen Gibson logos on Lifton badged cases but not very many-at least not on 335s or SGs

Victoria cases show up once in a while but they would likely have been dealer supplied. To my knowledge they were never a Gibson vendor (they were a Fender vendor). The 335 "killer" that Fender came up with, The Coronado came in a Vic case.

Leave a Reply

Optionally add an image (JPEG only)