Gibson / ES-350TN / 1956 / Natural / Guitar For Sale
Single Venetian (round) cutaway. This super rare guitar was only made in the 'T' format with two P-90's in 1956. This is one of the handful of exceptionally rare 'carved spruce top' examples that were produced during the very short run of this model. This 17-inch-wide guitar weighs just 6.30 lbs. and has a nice, fat nut width of just over 1 5/8 inches and a short scale length of 23 1/2 inches. Lightly flamed laminated maple body with triple binding on the top and bottom edges, three-piece lightly flamed maple/mahogany/maple neck, and bound Brazilian rosewood fretboard with 20 original thin frets and inlaid pearl split-parallelogram position markers. Headstock with inlaid pearl "Gibson" logo and pearl crown inlay. Back of headstock finished in black with a 'widow-peak'. Individual single-line "no-name" Kluson Deluxe tuners (stamped on the underside "2356766 / Pat Appld.") with single-ring Keystone plastic buttons. Two very strong P-90 pickups with outputs of 7.56k and 7.70k. The neck pickup with a black plastic cover engraved on the underside "UC - 450-1 / 2" and the bridge pickup with a similar black plastic cover and a black plastic spacer. Five-layer (black/white/black/white/black) plastic pickguard secured by one screw on the side of the body and pin to the treble side of the fretboard. Four controls (two volume, two tone) plus three-way selector switch on upper treble bout. The potentiometers are stamped "134 623" (CTS, June 1956). Gold plastic 'Bell' shaped knobs. ABR-1 Tune-O-Matic non retainer bridge with metal saddles on Rosewood base. Original specific 'loop' tailpiece (with no engraving on the bar). All hardware gold plated. Inside the bass 'f' hole is the original Gibson oval orange label with Style "ES-350T written in black ink and the serial number "A 23829" stamped in black. Inside the treble 'f' hole, stamped in black, is the FON (factory order number) "V5028 6". There is virtually no wear to the frets or the fretboard. There is some finish checking on the spruce top and a very small 'screw' hole has been professionally filled on the side of the guitar just above the neck strap button (the strap button has been re-fitted) but otherwise this exceptionally rare 'Spruce-Top' ES-350T is as near mint as one could ever wish for. Housed in its original Gibson 'four-latch' brown shaped hardshell case with pink plush lining (9.25).
"According to factory ledgers, the earliest examples were registered on 11th July 1955 (#A21057 through A21062) but the model was not shipped in quantity until 1956. These guitars were certainly show samples as only two 350Ts were recorded as being shipped in 1955. For the record, at least two out of the six earliest samples came out with a spruce top instead of a maple top… In early 1957 the 350T was one of the first Spanish electrics to be equipped with humbuckers as a substitute for the original single coil [P-90] pickups. All the other basic specifications remained unchanged except for the installation of a slightly modified tailpiece with enlarged upper loops and ES-350T engraved on the crossbar." (A.R. Duchossoir, Gibson Electrics -- The Classic Years, p. 235).
"In 1955 the ES-350 was fitted with a fully adjustable Tune-O-Matic bridge shortly before being discontinued as a full body electric. The same year, the thin-bodied ES-350T with shorter neck was unveiled and the regular 350 was definitively phased out in 1956" (A.R. Duchossoir, Gibson Electrics -- The Classic Years, p. 178).
"The ES-350T model took on the overall characteristics of the Byrdland especially with respect to the body and neck dimensions, but it differed in a number of details that were borrowed from the ES-350 (no "T") it was intended to replace in the Gibson line. So, the body was entirely made of curly maple without a solid spruce top, and the bound fingerboard was of of rosewood instead of ebony, with double parallelogram inlay. It lacked the black and white purfling of the Byrdland and the Kluson "sealfast" tuning gears which were replaced by regular keys with a tulip shaped plastic head. The tailpiece, though having a loop design vaguely resembling a "W" was different with the "ES-350T" name [sometimes] engraved in the upper part. At the time of its introduction the 350T was equipped with 2 P-90 type single coil pick-ups, and not with the Alnico pick-ups found on the more expensive Byrdland. In other words the ES-350T was somewhat like a… less fancy Byrdland. According to the September 15, 1955 list price, it was available with a Sunburst finish at $395 whilst the "Natural" version cost $410. The first ever Byrdland's and ES-350T's destined for the public were registered in 1955, more precisely with serial numbers A-20985/86/87 on June 30, 1955 for the Byrdland and serial numbers A-21057 to A-21062 on July 11, 1955 for the ES-350T. The two new models , however, were not delivered in quantity until 1956. Although the original full body ES-350 was not listed by Gibson in September 1955, the very last models of this type were shipped in 1956 and so during that year, the ES-350 and 350T were both available. To better outline the importance of these new models at the time of their introduction, let us recall that Chuck Berry, that giant of Rock promptly adopted the 350T - before changing later on in favor of the new semi-solid guitars - while Steve Cropper played a Byrdland in the early days of the Mar-Keys… Although the Byrdland and the ES-350T were not manufactured in large quantities owing to their price, the Thin Line" models offered guitarists an additional choice and Gibson was not wrong in abundantly developing this new style of instrument starting in 1956." (A.R. Duchossoir, Gibson Electrics, pp.116-117).
“The ES-350T was essentially an adaptation of the existing ES-350 to the Byrdland mode, i.e. a thinner body with a shorter and narrower neck. The sales of the full size ES-350 had peaked in 1952 and the model had been going slowly downhill. The thinline treatment was therefore seen as an opportunity to revitalise it. Built with an all-maple laminated body and less fancy appointments, the 350 was otherwise similar in size and shape to the L-5CES. In the early 50s the ES-350 was seen as the second best thing to an L-5CES, and after mid-1955 the ES-350T became the second best thing to a Byrdland. To further distinguish it from its predecessor, the 350T was fitted with a W-shaped art-deco tailpiece. At $395/$410 according to the finish, the 350T was $155 cheaper than the Byrdland whilst offering the same innovative features. This explains why until the end of the 50s it sold consistently better than its upper-grade cousin, which in turn outsold the more senior L-5CES. Like the Byrdland, and for the same reasons, the 350T was not marketed in quantities until 1956. The two models were then quickly adopted by professional artists looking for a suitable alternative to conventional guitars or to the more radical solid bodies. For instance, BB KING switched over to a natural-finished Byrdland whilst CHUCK BERRY picked up a blond 350T to tell the story of Maybellene.” (A.R. Duchossoir, Gibson Electrics -- The Classic Years, p. 60).
Fretted Americana , USA
We specialize in acquiring and offering the finest specimens of American vintage electric guitars with particular attention to those in their complete, original state. We are the only dealer to embrace a written code of ethics (in Terms & Conditions). We encourage you to read it.
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