Nashville, TN, May 24, 2010 — Gibson Custom has unveiled the 50th Anniversary 1960 ES-335TD. The original ES-335TD (“TD” for “thinline, double-pickup”) was a raging 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 centerblock 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. 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. Gibson Custom has commemorated this classic with the release of the 50th Anniversary 1960 ES-335TD.
In the late 1950s, Gibson was boldly pushing the envelope on electric guitar design. The effort resulted in several models that were just too far ahead of their time to sink in with players of the day—the Flying V and Explorer being cases in point — and were gone from the catalogue by 1960. The ES-335 however was an instant classic, embraced by blues, rock, country and jazz players the world over. By 1960, this model was really hitting its stride though it was certainly a year of transition for the iconic model.
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 kind of “Mickey Mouse” 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 Antique Vintage Sunburst, Antique Faded Cherry or Antique Natural finish, 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.
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, short of remortgaging the house and sinking the kids’ college fund on the venture.
With its historically accurate tonewoods, 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 hardshell case, a Certificate of Authenticity and a full complement of “how to” literature.