Since 1958, the Gibson ES-335 has defined the sound of the semi-hollowbody archtop electric guitar. Its smooth, dynamic tone has inspired generations of players across a variety of genres and playing styles. Not many guitars have attracted such a diverse group of players. That's because the ES-335 performs beautifully in any setting. It's a natural fit for jazz and fusion, but it can just as easily delve into the blues, hard rock, and beyond.
By the mid-'70s, the 335 had undergone some minor changes, but it remained faithful to the late-'50s originals. This 1977 Gibson ES-335TD is an excellent player, and it sports a gorgeous Wine Red refinish. It appears to be an old refinish because it fluoresces as you'd expect under the black light. This one was made right before Gibson added the coil-tap switch on the upper treble bout, so it has the traditional controls. Also, the original trapeze tailpiece was abandoned in favor of the classic stop-bar tailpiece design of the late-'50s. It appears all of this work was done at the same time as the refinish.
All of the electronics/wiring are original, and the original patent # humbuckers are effective in delivering the right tone. They are balanced, and they deliver a wide palette of sounds. The pots date from '77, and they offer the flexibility you expect from a good 335.
Someone took great pains to ensure this '77 ES-335TD would play to its full potential. Its nut has been replaced with a precisely-carved unbleached bone nut, its rosewood fingerboard was refretted with vintage jumbo-size frets (.102" x .045"), and it has a "speed neck" stripped of finish. The result is a guitar that plays fast and smooth, and the larger fret wire makes it feel touch-sensitive.
This great-sounding 1997 Gibson ES-335TD is a fun vintage player with a lot to offer. Its got its own vibe and mojo, too—dig that pinky wear by the neck pickup! We suspect some jazzer got this guitar playing just right and then put it to work. It's hard not to love the combination of the Wine Red and the gaudy '70s flared headstock, too. The included case looks to be from the same era, and it's not particularly impressive, but it gets the job done.