There's something special about a true vintage "player" guitar. These are the real relics. A good guitar that has been played hard has a different vibe. It's reliable—a well-honed tool with its own style and mystique.
This 1969 Gibson ES-335TD is a true player guitar with some serious mojo. It captures the smooth, dynamic 335 tone that has inspired generations of players across a variety of genres and playing styles. A good ES-335 performs beautifully in every setting. It's a natural fit for jazz and fusion, but it can just as easily delve into the blues, hard rock, and beyond.
This 1969 ES-335TD sports its original sunburst finish, and it shows considerable patina, aging, playwear, and finish checking. Folks pay big bucks for an aged "Murphy Lab" finish or the Custom Shop "heavy relic" treatment, but this old 335 shows the authentic wear of a guitar that has been put to use night after night.
At some point along the way, the original pickups were replaced by early-'80s Seymour Duncan Seth Lover humbuckers. Both are marked with the "DCJ" sticker, which means they were wound by Marciela Juarez. These pickups provide the classic PAF sound—balanced with smooth high-end response and detailed harmonic content.
This '69 335 appears to have left Kalamazoo with an original stop-bar, but there is evidence that it had a Bigsby for a long time. It has been returned to the original stop-bar configuration with a Schaller-style tune-o-matic bridge.
Also, this 1969 ES-335TD has a repaired neck crack (not a break, but a crack behind the first fret). The repair is neat and stable, and it does not impact tuning stability. It looks like there was some finish touch-up along with the repair, but the finish has worn and feels fast. Other than that, it has been refretted, the nut has been replaced, and the tuners are late-'70s Grover Rotomatics.
Thanks to it's 1-5/8" nut and slim-taper neck profile, this 335 plays fast and easy all the way down the neck. It's a versatile player that can do whatever you need. It includes a Norlin-era Gibson case that has seen better days. Three of the buckles are broken, but it still does the trick. It's a fitting companion for such a broken-in battle axe.