GIBSON INCORPORATED, KALAMAZOO, MICHIGAN, 1958
GIBSON INCORPORATED, KALAMAZOO, MICHIGAN, 1958
GIBSON INCORPORATED, KALAMAZOO, MICHIGAN, 1958
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GIBSON INCORPORATED, KALAMAZOO, MICHIGAN, 1958
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GIBSON INCORPORATED, KALAMAZOO, MICHIGAN, 1958

A SEMI-HOLLOWBODY ELECTRIC GUITAR, ES-335 TDN

Details
GIBSON INCORPORATED, KALAMAZOO, MICHIGAN, 1958
A SEMI-HOLLOWBODY ELECTRIC GUITAR, ES-335 TDN
The logo Gibson inlaid at the headstock, labelled internally Style ES-335 / Gibson GUITAR T / Number A28118 is hereby / GUARANTEED / against faulty workmanship and materials. / Gibson INC. / KALAMAZOO, MICHIGAN, / U.S.A. and ink stamped internally T4893 8, of a natural finish, together with an original hard-shell case
Length of back 18 5/16 in. (46.6 cm.)
GIBSON
Sale room notice
Mark Knopfler plans to donate no less than 25% of the total hammer price received, to be split equally between The British Red Cross Society (a charity registered in England and Wales with charity number 220949, Scotland with charity number SC037738, Isle of Man with charity number 0752, and Jersey with charity number 430), Brave Hearts of the North East (a charity registered in England and Wales with charity number 1006247) and the Tusk Trust Limited (a charity registered in England and Wales with charity number 1186533).

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Lot Essay


Mark Knopfler first played a Gibson ES-335 on Bob Dylan’s 1979 album Slow Train Coming, in an attempt to achieve a bluesier sound. 'I was asked to do that,' Knopfler told Guitar Player magazine in 1984. '[Producer] Jerry Wexler said… “Try for a gut-bucket style of thing.” So, I borrowed a Gibson ES-335 that somebody down there had, and off we went.' It would be seventeen years before Mark would acquire his own vintage ES-335, when he purchased a series of rare ‘blonde’ examples from the production years 1958, 1959 and 1960 from Rudy Pensa in the late nineties. Knopfler told us: 'I got into blonde Gibsons because my pal Tony Joe White gave me his 330 that he done ‘Groupie Girl’ and ‘Polk Salad Annie’ and all those things. That was a blonde 330. And that started me off on thinking - because I love this 330 and I keep putting it on records - I’ve got to find the 335 that’s got my name on it. And I started looking and I found two or three blonde 335s. I just thought - what a lucky boy.' Knopfler purchased the 1959 ES-335 first in 1996 and used it to record the title track of his soundtrack for the 1997 black comedy Wag The Dog, and the song 'Baloney Again' on his 2000 studio album Sailing To Philadelphia. This 1958 example, distinctive for its unbound fretboard, followed in 1998, with the 1960 example (lot 39) completing the set in 1999. The 1958 and 1960 ES-335s were photographed by Guy Fletcher at British Grove Studios in March 2009 during recording sessions for Knopfler’s sixth solo studio album Get Lucky.

Mark Knopfler: 'This is a holy grail 335 Gibson, because the blondes like this are pretty few and far between. These are like hen’s teeth. It’s a great blues and rock and roll guitar.'

GIBSON'S ES-335
Of the many innovations that Gibson president Ted McCarty brought to market during his tenure, the thin and semi-solidbody (or semi-hollowbody in today's parlance) electric guitar was a game changer for many musicians. Since 1936, Gibson had been producing and successfully marketing electric guitars starting with the ES-150. From these early beginnings, Gibson's 'Electric Spanish' line grew, with improvements and upgrades to body design and materials, along with pickup design and placement. But viewed as a whole, these were all essentially archtop acoustic guitars with added electronic amplification. Though serving well as a rhythm instrument in big bands and jazz accompaniment, the electrically amplified hollow bodies suffered from feedback issues at higher volumes. In 1952, under McCarty's leadership, Gibson introduced their first solid-body guitar, the Les Paul Model. The solid body with little acoustic properties solved the issue by controlling feedback from the pickups while increasing tonal sustain and a tenor tambour. Realising the needs of the guitarist who desired an electric guitar with the outline of a traditional archtop, without the typical 3 3/8 inches of depth nor the weight of the Les Paul, Gibson merged their already successful 'Thinline' models with the ideas that drove a solid-body, to create a guitar that had the attributes of both. McCarty is quoted as saying: 'I thought we should have a new instrument that would have some of the sharp tone you get from a solid-body instrument, and some of the mellow tone from an acoustic hollow-body. I came up with the idea of putting a solid block of maple in an acoustic model and then make the pickups rest on the block. It would get some of the same tone as a regular solid-body, plus the instrument's hollow wings would vibrate and we'd get a combination of an electric solid-body and a hollow-body guitar.' The new model released in 1958 was the ES-335TD. The width of the body was 16 inches but only 1 5/8 inches in thickness. It would have two Humbucker pickups mounted into a solid maple tone block attached to the top and back and running the full length of the body. No one can deny the design theory mirrored that of Les Paul's guitar from 1941, which he called "The Log".

The success of the ES-335 was swift and, owing to the instrument’s versatility, would be embraced among a wide range of players. It has remained a standard within the Gibson product line since 1958. The ES-335 was made in three finish choices, Sunburst, Cherry (Red), and Natural (Blonde). Of the 1423 total ES-335s made between 1958 and 1969 only 50 would be produced in the natural finish option in 1958, 71 in 1959 and 88 in 1960, making these highly desirable in the collectors’ market.

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