Gibson ES-335 Electric Thinline Guitar
Description: Gibson ES335 Electric Thinline Archtop guitar.
Available: 1958 to 1981 (but reissued by Gibson as a reissue dotneck in 1981)
Case: Brown hardshell case with a pink lining was the top-end
Gibson case from 1958 to 1961. Then in 1962 the case changed to a black outside
with a yellow plush interior. Also available with a low-end aligator cardboard case.
Collectibility Rating: 1958-1960 "dot" models with "large" neck: A+,
1960-1962 "dot" models with a "thin" neck: A,
1962-1964 "block" marker models: B+,
1965 to 1969 "trapeze tailpiece" models: C+.
Production: 1958:317, 1959:592, 1960:514, 1961:886, 1962:876, 1963:1156, 1964:1241,
1965:1750, 1966:2524, 1967:5718, 1968:3760, 1969:2197
The Gibson ES-335 guitar with its semi-hollowbody construction is a great guitar.
The solid maple block down the center of the body minimizes feedback,
but the hollow body wings gives good sustain, tone and weight.
This model is most desirable with a stop tailpiece and a large neck size.
Also the dot fingerboard inlays (aka "Dot Neck") version is also desirable.
Additionally the long pickguard (pre-1961) models are also nice.
Bottom line, the 1958 and 1959 models with stop tailpieces are considered
the best. Alternatively I like the 1963 and 1964 models with a stop tailpiece,
because the neck shape is nice.
A Bigsby vibrato on the 1958 to 1964 models hurts the demand of this guitar.
Also the 1960 to 1962 style "thin" neck also hurts demand
(compared to the earlier "large neck" models, but this is a general fact of
all Gibsons of this era).
If you need to figure out the exact year of your Gibson ES335, use the serial number.
This is located inside the body, on an orangle label inside the body's bass-side "f" hole.
See the Gibson Serial Number Info web page
for help determining the exact year.
If you have a vintage Gibson ES-335 guitar for sale, please contact me at
- Spring 1958 Gibson ES-335 guitar introduction specs:
- Thinbody, double cutaway,
semi-hollow body with solid maple block down center, 2 humbucking PAF (Patent Applied For) pickups,
2 volume and 2 tone knobs and a switch, tune-o-matic nickel plated bridge with no wire,
stop tailpiece or Bigsby vibrato, laminated beveled-edge "long" pickguard that extends below the
bridge, white plastic strap buttons, single-ring tulip Kluson tuners,
single bound top, back and rosewood fingerboard (early 1958 models with
no fingerboard binding), pearl dot fingerboard inlays, neck joins body at
19th fret, large chunky neck back shape, crown peghead inlay, sunburst or natural finish.
If a Bigsby vibrato was installed often a black "Custom Made" plaque is used to cover
the stop tailpiece holes (this feature is seen more on 1961 to 1964 models though).
- Late 1959 ES-335 specs:
- Cherry red finish available.
- Late 1960 ES-335 specs:
- Shorter pickguard that does not extend past
bridge pickup, "chrome top reflector" volume/tone knobs, neck size gets a very thin
back shape (neck back shape actually started to change about mid-1960).
- 1961 ES-335 specs:
- Natural finish no longer available,
Serial number now pressed
into the back of the peghead between the D and G tuners, in addition
to being on the orange Gibson label in the bass "f" hole.
Switch tip changes from amber to a white color,
strap buttons now metal instead of plastic.
- Mid-1962 Gibson ES-335 guitar specs:
- Small block fingerboard inlays replace dots,
wire added to ABR tune-a-matic bridge, double-ring tulip Kluson tuners.
The double cutaways change from being very rounded "mickey mouse ears" to
be just slightly pointed. This was a transition feature, where models as late
as 1963 still have the "Mickey Mouse ears", but some 1962 models have pointy ears.
Saddles in the tunematic bridge change from nickel plated metal to white nylon.
In late-1962 "Patent Applied For" pickup stickers on bottom of pickups
changed to "Patent Number" stickers. Again a transition
thing where PAF pickups can be seen as late as 1963 on some models.
Neck back shape size starts to increase in size too with late-1962/1963 models
having "normal" sized necks again (not the ultra-thin backshape of the
- 1965 Gibson ES-335 guitar specs:
- Trapeze tailpiece replaces stop tailpiece (Bigsby vibrato
is also still available),
chrome parts replace nickel parts, neck nut width decreases from the standard
1 11/16" to 1 5/8" or 1 9/16" (known as the "small" neck, and this subtle 1/16"
to 1/8" change is very noticible to anyone familar with these guitars).
These changed transitioned in
during 1965, so a 1965 model could still have a stop tail, nickle parts, and a 1 11/16"
neck (or have chrome parts, trapeze, and a 1 9/16" neck).
- 1966 Gibson ES-335 guitar specs:
- Indian rosewood replaces Brazilian rosewood on
fingerboard, peghead angle changed from 17 degrees to 14 degrees,
bevel angle on pickguard changed so the b/w/b layers are less noticible.
- 1968 Gibson ES-335 guitar specs:
- Neck size increases back to 1 11/16" with a decently
size back shape.
- 1969 Gibson ES-335 guitar specs:
- Walnut finish available. "f" holes cutouts
- 1977 Gibson ES-335 guitar specs:
- Coil tap switch added on upper treble cutaway.
- Gibson ES-335 guitar discontinued in late 1981 and replaced by ES-335DOT (reissue).
Since then many other versions of the 335 reissue model have been available.