50th Anniversary model of the iconic 1960 Gibson ES-335TD
By Gizmag Team
February 13, 2010
Musical instrument manufacturer Gibson has released a 50th Anniversary 1960 Gibson ES-335TD, perhaps the most legendary semi-hollow electric guitar of all. In 1960, the ES-335 was an instant classic, embraced by blues, rock, country and jazz players the world over and in one form or another the ES-335TD (and its siblings, the ES-345 and ES-355) would land in the hands of Eric Clapton, Alvin Lee, Chuck Berry, B.B. King, Larry Carlton, and countless other groundbreaking guitarists. The Gibson Custom Shop 50th Anniversary 1960 ES-335TD is the closest today’s player can come to obtaining the look, feel and tone of an original dot-neck 1960 ES-335TD, short of remortgaging the house
In the beginning of 1960, the ES-335TDs were built to the same specs as the 1959 versions and were offered in only Natural and Sunburst finishes. By about midyear, neck specs began to change to a thinner and more elliptical feel and ultimately, production of the Natural ES-335TD would cease and the Cherry finish would take its place in the latter part of the year. It is this later version that many argue the 1960 ES-335TD’s features had settled into their optimum form. With a fast new neck profile, striking new “insert” or “reflector” tone and volume knobs, the ES-335TD still retained early-spec details such as the dot fingerboard inlays, a double cutaway profile, full-length maple centerblock, and nickel-plated hardware that players have long seen as indicative of the model’s zenith.
All these and more are brought back to life in the Custom Shop 50th Anniversary 1960 ES-335TD, a reincarnation of one of the most legendary semi-hollow electric guitar of all time, handcrafted by Gibson Custom’s Memphis division to celebrate the model’s “golden anniversary”.
For this celebration, Gibson Custom is offering the later 1960 “fast neck profile” version, the most unique of the year, and is available in three finishes Antique Vintage Sunburst, Antique Faded Cherry or Antique Natural, all aged in Gibson’s acclaimed VOS (Vintage Original Specs) process, and loaded with period-correct hardware including “insert” volume and tone knobs, double band tuners and a pair of accurate PAF-style 57 Classic humbucking pickups.
The Custom Shop 50th Anniversary 1960 ES-335TD is equipped with pickups and electronics that accurately reflect the original units of the most desirable ES-335TDs ever made. A pair of ’57 Classic pickups capture that highly sought-after “PAF” style tone, noted for its unparalleled blend of warmth, richness and clarity, while quality CTS potentiometers with “bumblebee” tone caps and a Switchcraft selector and output jack translate the signal in pure vintage style
Additionally the neck features a holly head veneer, tortoise shell side dot material and has been completely re-tooled with accurate truss rod channel depth and profile based on scans by the Gibson Custom Shop Engineering Team. The Custom Shop 50th Anniversary 1960 ES-335TD is the closest today’s player can come to obtaining the look, feel and tone of an original dot-neck 1960 ES-335TD.
The original ES-335TD (“TD” for “thinline, double-pickup”) was a huge hit simply because it addressed so many different guitarists’ needs in one new design. The arched top and f-holes appealed to jazz and dance-band players who were still attached to the look of traditional Gibson “jazz boxes”, but who appreciated advancements such as a thinline, double-cutaway body. The maple center block that ran from neck tenon to end pin reduced feedback and provided the sharper, snappier tone that rock and roll and country players demanded, and also enabled the use of Gibson’s solid new Tune-o-matic bridge and stop-bar tailpiece pairing, which further aided tone and sustain.
With its historically accurate tone woods, electronics, and hardware, the Custom Shop 50th Anniversary 1960 ES-335TD packs all the tonal versatility of the original, and proves once again why the design has remained a favorite of guitarists from every genre of music since its introduction half a century ago. All Custom Shop 50th Anniversary 1960 ES-335TDs come with a silkscreened Gibson Custom Shop hard-shell case, a Certificate of Authenticity and a full complement of “how to” literature.
Full specs of the Gibson Custom 50th Anniversary 1960 ES-335TD here.