es 345


1966 Gibson ES-330 (plus a Toronto street scene).  

The Epiphone version of this guitar was the Casino.  At well under 7 pounds, this guitar is light as a feather (well…a heavy feather anyway…).  One day I hope to find a 1968 ES-330.  ‘68 was the year they went to the “long neck” on which the the neck join is moved up by several frets (from 15 to 19 maybe?  I can’t remember exactly…), making access to the top-most frets easier.  The ES-335, 345 and 355 always had this join, but it took until 1968 to find it on the 330.


Happy #wednESday! All the way from #Brazil, @art_menezes stopped by #NormansRareGuitars! Here he is playing our @gibsonguitar #CustomShop ES-345, full video on our @youtube Channel, link on our bio. So what do you guys think of this @gibsoncustom? (at Norman’s Rare Guitars)

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Some shots from my last trip to The Twelfth Fret, one of Toronto’s best used and vintage guitar shops:

  1. There’s a lot in this photo, but let me draw your attention to the 1952 Les Paul gold top on the right.
  2. 1972 Gibson ES-345
  3. A couple of pretty lefty Les Pauls.  At left is a rare and pretty 1970s Gibson L5S
  4. 1968 Fender Telecaster (right) and a 1961-ish Stratocaster behind it.
  5. 1961-ish Stratocaster - note the sunburst doesn’t have much yellow in the area above the pick guard

Guitar shopping night is my favourite night!

This week: Long & McQuade Brampton, Northwest of Toronto, Canada.

  1. If I ever have to buy a 36 pound guitar I want ti to be this one.
  2. I love Gibson gold.  This ES-335  plays as good as it looks.
  3. Beautiful ES-195.  The colour is getting close to Gretsch territory!
  4. Speaking of Gretsch:  these!  I am a sucker for “sparkle” but that orange one on the right is so pretty.
  5. I once saw BB King in Vancouver with Kenny Wayne Shepherd.  needless to say it was a fantastic show.  My only complaint was that I was sitting center stage about 20 feet back and I had BB’s amp pointing right at my face!   After an four of him hitting those staccato punchy notes he is famous for, I thought my head was going to explode!  It didn’t though.  :D
  6. Notice anything odd about this Gibson “Lucille”?  Hint:  it’s semi-hollow.  No?  OK, hint #2: what feature do you usually associate with a semi hollow?  NO?!?  OK:  hint #3.  IT HAS NO F HOLES!  Lovely colour though.  
  7. Speaking of lovely colours, this is a new Strat and I don’t think I have seen this colour before.  It kind of looks like Firemist Silver…but not quite.  What the heck is it?   Don’t make me go to the website!
  8. I will admit I was not crazy about the Select line when it came out.  But I must say that Select Telecasters are amongst the most beautiful Fenders of all ever and ever.  Look at this lovely hunk of deliciousness.  I would lose the ‘bucker though…Fender should be single coils IMO.  

Tons o’ fun at Rivington Guitars on East 4th Street in Manhattan:

  1. Front window.
  2. Whoa.  Love that Bronco!
  3. NYC
  4. Vintage ES-345 in my fave late 60s/early 70s Gibson finsih “walnut”
  5. Mid 60s ES-125TDC
  6. This car was parked outside on 4th Street.  And I sh*t you not - there was a stuffed penguin behind the wheel!
  7. My dream:  1968 ES-330
  8. Late 60s Epiphone Riviera.

Doc Brown sets the DeLorean to 2014, arrives at CES to shill for Gibson

When Marty McFly uses your guitar to introduce the world to rock n’ roll and Johnny B. Goode, your marketing department is pretty much set forever. So when it’s your 120th anniversary, and you’re at CES 2014, a place where a replica Back to The Future DeLorean is basically a celebrity, there’s really only one thing Gibson could do. Get a DeLorean, get Christopher Lloyd to get out of it (apparently Michael J. Fox was otherwise engaged) and play the same ES-345 guitar Marty used to scandalize the Hill Valley High School crowd in 1955, and watch the money pile up. 

George Harrison and John Lennon, on stage in Sheffield during The Beatles’ final UK tour, 8 December 1965

Photo: © Sean O’Mahony/The Beatles Book

“Gibson’s ES-345TD double-cutaway hollowbody guitar was in effect a high-end version of Joe Brown’s 335 that Harrison had tried out back in 1962 [x]. […] Harrison used his new Gibson only for the filming of these promo clips [filmed on 23 November 1965: ‘We Can Work It Out,’ 'Day Tripper,’ 'Help!’, 'Ticket To Ride’ and 'I Feel Fine’], and later again this year during the last UK Beatles tour.
[On the 8 December 1965] Harrison played his new Gibson ES-345 as his main guitar, switching to the '65 Rickenbacker 360-12 for 'If I Needed Someone’.” - Beatles Gear by Andy Babiuk


Guitar shopping last week at Cosmo Music in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada.

  1. Fiesta Red Custom Shop Strat with matching headstock, and two National Electrics
  2. Used Cobain Jag - $999
  3. New lefty Cobain Jag - $1399
  4. Twins!
  5. Fancy lefty MIM Stratocaster.
  6. Gibson Custom Shop ES-345.  Love . This.
  7. I promised myself I would never again buy another black Stratocaster, but I would make an exception for this ‘68 Relic.  Except it cost more than $4000, and if I had $4000 to spend on a guitar it would be a vintage SG Special or a 1968 long neck ES-330.  :\

Tuesday Night Guitar Shopping was THURSDAY Night Guitar Shopping this week.  And the goodies were plentiful at Long &McQuade Bloor that night!

  1. Dude…that is one badass V!
  2. Angus Young?  No…Angus OLD!  :D  But seriously - Angus Young Signature SG (notice the lightning bolt fret markers!).  The colour looks odd here…but it was actually a version - albeit much darker - of Gibson’s ubiquitous cherry.
  3. Things to LOVE about an LPC:  1) PELHAM BLUE, 2) gold hardware 3) triple-bound body, neck and headstock, 4) awesome headstock inlay, and last but not least 5) PELHAM BLUE!!
  4. Epi Wildkat - along with the Epi Nighthawk - is probably the best value to cost ratio in the entire world of guitars! PS: above and to the left is an Epi Emperor Swingster (or as my cousin calls his, the “Emperor Sphincter”!  But it’s also a really good value for money.
  5. Up at the Matt Andersen show at the Rose Theatre in Brampton (a suburb of Toronto) the other day and I came across this shop called “Little Shop of Ice Cream”.  Their logo (bottom right of their sign) is a skull and cross bones made of ice cream (and two scoop for the bones!)
  6. See earlier comment on LPC and substitute the word “ebony” for the word “pelham blue" 
  7. Check out the interesting finish on this 335!  Behind are a "Lucille” and two more conventionally coloured 335s

My buddy Sean Pinchin showed up for his gig in Toronto this weekend with a GORGEOUS new Gibson Custom Shop ES-330 VOS.  He usual plays a 1932 National Triolian, so this was quite different for him.

I am partial to 330s because I love P-90s, and, more importantly, because I love light guitars.  Unlike the 335, the 330 is fully holow - there’s no “center block” of wood in a 330.  The center block was Gibson’s innovation (on top of their inventing the thinline to begin with!), to stop the uncontrollable feedback that would happen when people began amplifying archtops in the 1930s right though to the invention of the solid body electric guitar (for which several people including Paul Bigsby, Leo Fender and Les Paul, share the credit).  The Gibson Thinlines (ES-330, 335, 345, 355) came out in 1959 - and they started out with dot markers on the fretboard, changing to block inlays around 1963.  So if you see a vintage ES thinline line with dot markers, you know it is one of the earliest Gibson’s Thinlines.  Another thing to look for is the over-sized pickguard on the very earliest 335s.  Gibson was not sure if the line would succeed so they didn’t want to retool for nothing if the line failed to sell. So on the very earliest 335s they borrowed an existing pickguard from another model…but it was WAY too big.  If you ever see a 335 with a pickguard that reaches back past the bridge, it’s probably a ‘59 or a '60 and is therefore worth a f*cking fortune!  :D

Anyhoo:  Sean’s new 330 VOS looked and sounded stunning.  


Guitars of New York - at Guitar Center, W 14th Street.

  1. Heavy lacquer checking on this 1950s ES-295.  Notice that this was also one of the rare, special run, limited edition, “knobless” models.  Look closely…you’ll see what I mean! :D
  2. 1968 Les Paul Std. Gold Top
  3. 1964 ES-345
  4. 34th Street, Empire State Building
  5. New Rickenbacker 360 in a nifty metallic red.
  6. One of MANY tall buildings in New York City!
  7. No joke, this new Martin costs almost 50,000 dollars!
  8. See?!?  WTF???
  9. This was really tempting: 1965 Deluxe (it’s a no reverb model, so about $500 less than a similar Deluxe Reverb).

Guitar shopping at the Twelfth Fret, Toronto, this week.  So much fun:

  1. Gibson Custom Shop ES-359.  Wow.
  2. Vintage Gibson ES-345. WOW!  (note the made in USA Epiphone John Lennon tribute Casino in front of it!)
  3. So much WOW in this shot:  ES-125 and ES-137 (behind the 125), Fender D'Aquisto arch top, and a PRS in a really pretty colour…plus many more…
  4. Toronto’s Distillery District.
  5. 1930s Gibson-made Kalamazoo acoustic (wow!) plus 1997 LC-4ES behind it  (double wow!).  Note the interesting guitar on the left (hanging on the wall, behind the amp).  It started out as a 1965 ES-125 (not the thinline model - but the full depth one), but the previous owner(s) modified it heavily to be more like an ES-175, and added a Gretsch-like wiring harness with master volume.  This will never be “collector grade” guitar but it played and sounded amazing…and it was only $1250!  WOW!
  6.  AVRI ‘69 Tele Thinline.  I would love to have one of these someday.  Maybe I’ll just make my own…  Time to call up my friends at Maverick Guitar parts for a great price on a Thinline body!
  7. Machinery - Distillery District
  8. This may be the coolest thing ever.  CF Martin has tried to get into the electric business a few times - but their electrics have been commercial failures, IMO becausee Martin is so deeply perceived by players as making the best acoustic guitars in the history of all time and space, that it’s hard for players to accept electric guitars from them?*.  This was one of Martin’s attempts from the 60s.  I did not try it out, but my buddies at the shop said it was a fantastic player.

* So how did Gibson escape the stigma of being perceived only as an acoustic guitar company?  My guess (and it’s only my guess - I have no independent info to back up this opinion!) is that Gibson had been making arch tops with pickups for a number of years - so the public was already used to seeing electrified Gibsons.  And they also got into the electric solid-body game really early…in 1952…only a couple of years after the first mass produced electric solid-body guitar (the Telecaster) was released.  I am guessing that since Gibson was right in there with the Les Paul at the dawn of the solid body era - coupled with the fact that they had been making electric archtops for 15 or so years before that, players had no trouble accepting Gibson as electric guitar makers.  Martin stuck to their core business of flat and arch top acoustics, and therefore many years later when they tried to break in to the electric market, players were all like “wha?  A Martin electric?  No thanks!  Martin makes great acoustics, but I want an electric guitar built by a company that is specialized in building electrics.  A company that has had time to correct early design flaws.  Like Gibson for exapmle!”  :D

Fender made several attempts to get into the acoustic market in the 60s…and they failed as well.  Probably for the same exact reasons that Martin had trouble breaking on to the electric market…

Again…just my opinion.