This is a vintage 1962 Gibson ES-335TDC electric semi-hollowbody guitar. This particular example, serial number 55225, is in fair 100% original condition and includes the original hard shell case! This early block inlay ES-335 was exported to the UK, where it was sold by Freedman’s Musical Instruments. Bert Sawyer, the original and only owner of this ES-335, can be seen in the scanned photo to the right, along with the guitar. Apparently, young Bert altered the guitar in several ways immediately upon purchase, and though all the original parts were retained, there are several very obvious and unfortunate condition originality issues.
Despite having had a pair of emblems mounted onto the face of this guitar (one of which required to be carved in), a Gretsch-style protective pad mounted to the back, and even a trapeze tailpiece added at some point, this guitar was properly restored to it’s original condition, and all of the original parts are re-installed.
The ’62 Gibson ES-335TDC features;
-original 1-piece Mahogany neck
– original laminated Maple semi-hollowbody construction with solid block
– original Patent No. sticker (P.A.F.) pickups
– original Cherry Red finish
– original double-line double-ring Kluson tuning machines
– original ABR-1 tune-o-matic bridge
– original lightweight stop tailpiece
– original chrome insert black top hat knobs
– original pickguard and hardware
– original large pebble, yellow interior, hard case
This guitar plays, feels, and looks great. This particular era produced some of the finest ES-335s ever made, in fact, this one is quite remiscent of an earlier production example from late-’59 or early-’60 with respect to neck shape profile and sound. Some Gibsons made between ’60-’62 feature pencil thin necks that are oddly contoured, however, sometime in ’62, the necks became significantly more substantial and much more comfortable. Somewhat serendipitously, this particular neck was always accompanied with factory large frets. When the aforementioned attributes are combined with P.A.F. pickups (with Patent No. stickers of course) you really have not just one of the best electric semi-hollowbody guitars ever made, but one of the best electrics instruments ever produced.
As mentioned, it feels great, plays incredibly well, and sounds fantastic. While it has never been broken, repaired, nor modified, there happens to be a catch. This guitar had a plaque installed, carved in rather, into the the face of the top: smack dab under the tailpiece. At some point, the original owner installed a truss rod cover of the wound. The guitar includes and original “Custom Made’ Gibson shield should someone wan to conceal it in an almost original manner. Also, there is a circular shadow near the neck pickup controls. There is a gigantic ghost on the back from a large pad was applied, where now the large adhesive pattern remains. Last, but not least, he installed a trapeze-style tailpiece, and added several holes in the butt of the guitar. While this compounds the already dreadful issues, at least all of the original parts were saved for a later date.