Gibson introduced the Melody Maker in 1959 to satisfy the market for affordable, beginner-grade electrics. Constructed of a slab Mahogany body with a set Mahogany neck, the Melody Maker was designed to be cost effective. In 1961, the original single-cutaway body was replaced with a new double-cutaway body. The eye-catching pointed horns were intended to attract the rock n' roll generation. In 1962, Gibson offered the Maestro Vibrola as an option, too. The Vibrola added another dimension of expression, sure, but it also brought the Melody Maker more in-line with other lower-cost solid-body guitars (such as Fenders, which dominated the lower end).
This Melody Maker dates to 1965, and it features a single pickup, the optional Maestro Vibrola, and the Cherry Finish that became standard in '63. By the end of '65, the Melody Maker switched over to an SG body shape, so this may be one of the last to with the unique, double-cut body shape. It's not like any other Gibson shape, and it balances well on a strap, especially with the Vibrola.
As far as condition, this '65 Melody Maker finds us in nice shape. The tuners have been replaced with an economical 3-on-plate set of machines. All of the parts and components are original. The potentiometers date to the 34th and 35th week of '65. Under the blacklight, the finish fluoresces consistently, and there are no signs of damages, breaks, or issues. The original Vibrola is intact and functional, but as many players have found, the tuning is more stable when you disable it and string the bridge as a stop-tail wraparound.
This 1965 Melody maker has a fast, low setup with medium jumbo frets that have plenty of life remaining. Similar to an SG, the full length of the fingerboard feels accessible and easy to move up and down. The Melody Maker pickup is an interesting single coil that is more Fender-ish than other Gibson designs. Smoother and not nearly as hot and raw as a P90, but the guitar still captures something similar to the Les Paul Jr feel. The volume and tone cap give you more flexibility than you might expect. This is a lightweight guitar, too—6 lbs 0.2 oz with the tremolo arm.
This 1965 Gibson Melody Maker includes an older hardshell case that is a good fit with the help of some butcher paper to support the neck heel area.