’59 ES 335 TD

Gibson launched their ‘Electric Spanish’, or ES, range in 1958. ‘T’ stands for ‘Thinline’ and ‘D’ for double pickup’ (though all known examples are thinline and have two pickups making these designations rather redundant).

Videos of me playing this guitar here : clean & overdrive

Like the Les Paul ‘Standard’, the straightforward 335 is the instrument that has best stood the test of time. The costlier and fancier 345 and 355 variants are great guitars, but my own experience bears out the widely-held view that their complex tone circuitry compromises their fine tone. I still really like the look of stop tail 345’s, though!

Also in common with the first Les Pauls of 1952, the first ES335’s from 1958 had unbound necks and overly shallow neck angles which mean that their actions could not be adjusted low enough for modern tastes unless the bridge and tailpiece units were ground down. This was rectified by late-’58 and, like Les Pauls, examples from the later ’58-’59 period are the best playing, best sounding and most sought after.

This is one of the 529 shipped in ’59, ca. April. It has the wide, flat ‘dot’ neck, and as an earlier example it is still relatively thick. It’s in ‘stupid clean’ condition, as is its case. Double white PAF pickups, of course. It even has the original zippered canvas overcase, an extremely kind present from a dear collector friend, which has seen a little more wear but is also stupidly rare.  Altogether a nice ensemble.

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