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1963 Gibson ES-335 TDC Vintage Electric Guitar Cherry, Eric Johnson Owned & Toured w/ Flight Case & Lifton


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Up for sale, a 1963 Gibson ES-335TDC in collector-grade condition and in perfect working order, complete with the original Lifton case. Previously owned and toured by Eric Johnson and complete with his stenciled flight case (in addition to the Lifton) and letter of provenance, this ES-335 has a stunningly well-kept original Cherry nitro lacquer finish. This golden age Gibson ES-335 has many of the models most coveted features with the original humbucker pair, slightly pointed body cutaways, small block inlay on the bound Brazilian rosewood fretboard, a one-piece Honduran mahogany neck with long tenon joint, and nickel-plated hardware.

Lightweight and lively at 8lbs, this guitar has a naturally smooth sound with the articulation and snap of the maple body and the inherent warmth of the semi-hollowbody construction. As 1963 was a transitional year for the 335, the pickup complement includes a PAF in the neck position and a patent number humbucker of identical construction in the bridge position. The bridge pickup has a slightly aggressive upper midrange cut with a sparkling treble register and taut, smooth wound strings, while the neck pickup is extremely girthy and bubbly, delivering a muscly growl when pushed hard while also offering the delicate glassy detail and touch-sensitive responsiveness associated with the PAF sound. In what may be the best and broadest sound the guitar has to offer, the middle position on the three-way switch has a percussive character with incredible clarity and detail. Professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar, we've dialed in this ES-335TDC with fresh 10-46 strings, low action, and spot-on intonation.

The one-piece mahogany neck has a very slender, fast-feeling C profile carve at the nut, quickly gaining more shoulder and roundness as you travel up the fretboard, measuring .765" deep at the 1st fret, .870” at the 5th, and .965" at 12th. The bound Brazilian rosewood fretboard is a nice dark cut of this hallowed tonewood, professionally refretted with flawless medium jumbo fretwire that shows virtually no wear. The nut measures 1 11/16" in width. The headstock retains the original double ring, double line Kluson Deluxe tuners with clean, sharp-edged keystone buttons.

All of the electronics function as intended, and both humbuckers feature their clean respective PAF and patent stickers on the pickup baseplates. The pickups meter at 8.07k ohms in the neck position and 8.30k ohms at the bridge, and the solder is touched up on both original nickel covers. The original wiring harness features CTS pots which date to the 35th week of '63. The original ABR-1 bridge is intact with the correct foundry stamp on the baseplate, paired with the stopbar tailpiece, and the nickel plating shows only very light surface patina. All of the original plastic parts are intact including the wide bevel pickguard (with original nickel bracket) and set of black reflector cap knobs with clean silkscreened text on all the knob caps. Visible through the F hole, the original oval label is very clean with an inked serial number matching the number on the headstock.

An exceptionally well-preserved example, the rich, saturated Cherry nitro lacquer gloss is 100% original with no touchup or overspray, showing sparingly little fading when compared to the finish better shielded from UV light beneath the pickguard. The finish is framed by ambered body binding, and subtle bubble maple figuring extends across the back of the instrument with particularly dynamic grain patterns too. Cosmetic wear is limited to a spot of targeted buckle rash central to the waist on the back, with just a few additional minor marks on the body as a whole, both behind the bridge on top and on the back. The smooth nitro gloss is intact on the profile, free of palm wear with just a few small, shallow marks on the profile length.

The original Lifton hardshell case with smooth black exterior and gold plush interior is included, with the Lifton foil badge outside the case pocket and original latches and handle.

Eric Johnson's flight case is stenciled "335" with "EJ" white gaffer tape, and this premium touring case features a form fit interior. A short note from Eric Johnson is also included, noting his previous ownership and touring use of this ES-335.