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1978 Gibson ES-355 TDW Walnut, Custom Ordered Super 400 Inlay, Collector-Grade w/ Case, Tags


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Up for sale, a 1978 Gibson ES-355 TDW in collector-grade condition and in perfect working order, complete with the original hardshell case, factory paperwork, and stereo cable. A custom-ordered one-off example, this vintage Gibson features chrome hardware from the factory, as well as split pearl block Super 400-style inlay on the ebony fingerboard.

The untouched factory wiring is still set up for stereo operation, with both the original stereo splitter cable and a modern TRS to Mono 1/4" cable included for maximal versatility. Featuring a gloss Walnut finish over the semi-hollow maple body, this ES-355 has a sound with both breadth and immediacy, yielding crystalline trebles and defined wound strings. Via the Pat # embossed T Top humbuckers, the guitar delivers a bevy of traditional Gibson tonalities, with more midrange growl and cut in the bridge position, and round, bell-like warmth at the neck. Via the six-position Varitone rotary switch, the range of sounds that one can coax from this ES-355 is quite remarkable. The guitar weighs 8lbs 12oz, professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar with 10-46 strings, slinky action and accurate intonation.

The three-piece flame maple neck has a medium C-shaped profile carve at the nut, round shoulders in every register, and a gentle increase in additional heft further up the fretboard, measuring .855" deep at the 1st fret and 1.005" at the 12th. The bound ebony fretboard features custom-ordered split pearl block inlay, and the original medium jumbo fretwire is practically perfect, ostensibly lightly leveled and crowned in the guitar's lifetime, with good meat remaining. The guitar plays cleanly in every register up the 24 3/4" scale, the neck is straight, and the truss rod is responsive and adjusted for ideal relief. The nut width is a full 1 11/16". On the headstock, the guitar has all the hallmarks of a top-tier Gibson, with split diamond pearl inlay, multi-ply binding, and the original "Stereo" truss rod cover. The Gibson-branded, Schaller-made tuning machines function very smoothly with gleaming chrome plating.

The electronics work as they should, and the original wiring harness is untouched, still wired for stereo operation. The original pair of T-Tops have Patent #-embossed baseplates, and the pickup rings are modern replacements. The pickguard is a vintage spec transparent tortoise replacement with multi-ply binding, furnished by Fox Guards, and the original tortoise pickguard is also included, exhibiting some of the off-gassing common with the original Gibson tort material. Due to the ubiquitous pickguard off-gassing, the chrome pickup covers also show some patina on the treble side. Hardware includes the original Patent # ABR-1 bridge and corresponding trapeze tailpiece, and stock plastics include the switch tip, distinctive small Varitone rotary knob and a near-mint quartet of witch hat knobs.

The Walnut nitro lacquer finish is positively glossy and 100% original with no touch-up or overspray, and cosmetic wear is limited to an area of targeted buckle rash central to the lower bout, some vertical lacquer checking beneath the footprint of the pickguard, and just a few additional tiny marks and faint finish scratches on the body as a whole. The gloss on the neck profile is flawless and free of palm wear.

The original black tolex hardshell case with red plush interior is included, along with the serialized Gibson/Norlin warranty card, humbucker and Tune-o-Matic leaflets, and the original mono/stereo cable. A modern TRS to 1/4" cable is also included, along with the original tortoise pickguard.