The Twelfth Fret ~ Since 1977 ~

Gibson 1963 ES-335 (NO LONGER AVAILABLE)

We’ve just received a new Gibson 1963 ES-335 in a VOS cherry finish, built at the Gibson Memphis plant. What a guitar!

The ES-335 line was a hit from the moment it was introduced in 1958. The semi-hollow thinline concept combines the tonal richness of the archtop with the feedback resistance and versatility of solidbody designs. The physical design itself has classic lines and proportions, making for a very comfortable and visually appealing instrument that works in any musical genre.

This Gibson 1963 ES-335 is a re-creation of the 1963 model used by Eric Clapton during the Cream years. The VOS cherry finish looks like a perfectly preserved, but aged, lacquer finish; it’s lost its gloss and has a subtle patina, as do the metal parts, including the single-line Kluson style tuning gears, the nickel pickup covers, ABR-1 bridge with nylon saddles, and stop tailpiece. The nut is nylon and was slotted using the PLEK system. The neck profile is based on a 1963 model.

The body is built of laminated maple – laminate has better feedback rejection than solid woods – with spruce braces and cedar liners.

The center block is a light weight maple, with a ‘window’ cutout. This ‘window’ is an opening on the treble end of the treble pickup cavity. On the first few years of ES-335 models, there was only a hole drilled through the block, so the pickup wire could be fed to the controls. The controls themselves were installed through the treble F-hole. However, ES-345 and ES-355 models had the ‘window’ to allow the installation of the large choke used for the Varitone circuitry; these parts won’t fit through the F-holes. This had a side effect of making installation of the rest of the control assembly much faster, so the ‘Window’ feature was added to the ES-335 models.

The neck is a single piece of quarter-sawn mahogany with a rosewood fingerboard and the small block position markers characteristic of the period.

The pickups are BurstBuckers – a BurstBucker 1 in the neck and with slighly higher output, a BurstBucker 2 in the bridge. CTS pots and ‘Black Beauty’ capacitors are used for the controls. The Switchcraft pickup selector is placed nearly perfectly (for my hands) – when playing, your palm is likely near the bridge and it’s a flick of a finger, with almost no arm movement, to use the switch.

Introduced in 2013 as a 50th Anniversary model (and still referred to as such on the Gibson site, linked below) the Gibson 1963 ES-335 seems to have now lost its ’50th Anniversary’ designation though the guitars are identical.

These exceptional instruments come with a black Gibson case and Gibson Memphis Certificate of Authenticity.

Visit the Gibson website and read Gibson’s original posting about the 50th Anniversary edition of this guitar


Serial Number: Varies as new.   This example is 41556, built during early 2015 at the Gibson Nashville plant.

Pricing: $4,199.00 Canadian Dollars or $3.387.00 US Dollars (based on 1.24% exchange rate) with Gibson hardshell case

Status: AVAILABLE


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