Saturday, January 21, 2012

1970 Gibson ES-355

Wait a second? A 1970 model being featured in a site that celebrates guitars of the 60's?

Let me explain!

In my opinion, decades don't necessarily start at a particular year when it comes to styles. The semi-hollow Gibsons (ES-335, ES-345, ES-355 which all shared the same body design), while introduced in 1958, were a foretaste of the coming decade in their ground breaking design. These guitars, while rooted in tradition, featured a solid center block to allow the guitar to be played at high volume without howling. Throughout the 60s, volume kept getting louder and louder. Plus, the cherry red image of these guitars was ubiquitous on stages around the world throughout the decade.

This 1970 model differs only from those of the 60's in two ways- an embossed "Gibson" on the pickup covers (which only lasted until 1972) and a reinforcement volute on the back of the headstock. Sadly, the original bound tortoise-style celluloid pickguard of this guitar crumbled to dust (as they were prone to do).

The ES-355 differs from it's more famous sibling (ES-335) by featuring an ebony fretboard, L-5 style inlays and a six-position tone filtering system called the Varitone which I find very cool and demonstrate in the video below. This guitar has also been rewired from stereo to mono.

images courtesy of the author; c2012 Derek See.

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