1974 Gibson ES-345TD

This is a vintage 1974 Gibson ES-345TD(W) semi-hollowbody electric guitar. This particular example, serial number 552556, is in nice condition and includes the original case. Though it clearly has several originality issues, it is still in perfect structural condition with no cracks, no breaks and no repairs. Produced in much smaller quantities than its more simple ES-335 counterpart, 1970’s ES-345s are actually quite rare.

This ’74 ES-345 features: bound maple laminated top, back and sides, the original Walnut finish, 3-piece mahogany neck, rosewood fingerboard with double parallelogram inlays, (2) original Gold pat no. pickups (2,737,842), the Gibson pantograph headstock logo (‘™69-‘™84), gold hardware and the original Gibson case.

Clearly, the previous owner cared enough about this ES-345 to invest quite a bit of time, energy and money into making it his dream guitar. Though most rather he didn’t pursue such, it did make it a great project or restoration for the enthusiast who doesn’t want to spend more than $3,000.00 on an original vintage example. As far as I’m concerned, the most important parts are still intact: the body and neck are in excellent shape considering the other mods, and the pickups are original and working. Everything else can be replaced, restored or upgraded fairly easily.

The guitar feels great. It has a 1 9/16″ nut width and a medium-sized deep C-shape/slim taper neck profile. The action is super low and very comfortable. The neck is perfectly straight and the truss rod works and turns with no issue. The Bigsby is a little clunky, and I would suggest a setup either way. The guitar weighs under 8 1/2 lbs., and is an all around great player’s example.

Surprisingly, the guitar is really quite clean for having been so heavily modified. The guitar displays an immense luster and glorious sheen with no real significant playing wear, no dings, no fading and only a subtle weather-checking. Check out the numerous pics.

As can be seen in the photos, this guitar has a few upgrades, or rather more appropriately referred to as non-original modifications. Firstly, the original trapeze tailpiece has been replaced with a recent production Bigsby tremolo, and the bridge is a vintage Japanese ABR-1 reissue replacement. The tuners have been replaced several times and the guitar currently has Grover Deluxe Kluson-style machines. Unfortunately, the previous owner used tuners requiring extra holes that are visible on the back of the headstock. The knobs are Gibson barrel knobs, but are not original to the guitar. The varitone has been disconnected and is included with the guitar. Two mini-toggle selector switches were added to the guitar that were wired to turn the pickups on/off, however they have since been disengaged and serve no current function. The guitar was re-fretted with original-style profile frets. The original nut was also replaced with a classic brass nut. The original gold tuner washers are also included with the guitar.

An ES-345 features a very different wiring layout than an ES-335, so the guitar was re-wired using the ES-345 platform to perform like an ES-335. Some people would substitute the entire harness for practical reasons, but all of the original electronics were retained. If this guitar will ultimately end up as a player’s piece, I would recommend a ES-335 style harness instead of the one currently in it.

ES345TD, ES345-TD, ES-345-TD, ES-355, ES355