8/09/2014

c.1969 Gibson ES-330 Thinline Hollowbody Electric Guitar




Poor guitar! This is a customer's much-abused ES-330 that might be confused for the venerable ES-335 at first. The differences between this type and its stablemate are quite large, though: the body is fully hollow like an acoustic instrument, the neck joins at the 16th fret (as opposed to the 19th on the 335), and originally this would've had "dogear" P-90 single-coil pickups installed.

To me this is all plus as I much prefer all of those options including the "closer feel" of this style neck joint, the more raspy/clear sound of P-90s, and the warmer/50s Gretschier tone of a hollowbody build. Unfortunately the P-90s were replaced with humbuckers at some point, the whole guitar was refinished poorly, and an unstable/sometimes sinking top at the bridge meant that the customer and I decided to simply pop a couple of "sound posts" in the interior to shore up the (too light) bracing. The end result is an incredibly slick-feeling guitar (yes, it has the super-thin late 60s neck) that has a more modern archtop electric voicing. It's fun! -- but not at all like what it might've been shipped from the factory.


Even with the changes it's a cool rig: the outline of the body (derived from Gibson's 30s archtops) is still voluptuous and it's very lightweight.


There are replacement Grover tuners to go with the yicky replacement finish. At least those (at the time) were an improvement on the originals.


Radiused rosewood board... thin 1 5/8" nut... and plastic block markers. The frets also look like they've been leveled and dressed a ton of times but they're still kicking. I did just the slightest level/dress on them to make sure they were all in sync with one another.



While we could've spent $50-80 for a new bridge (the original was missing), this $12 Asian-import part is doing just fine.






What I love is just how thin and light this is... it's like having the depth of a solidbody with all the familiar appeal of an old Gibson archtop's dimensions that hug your leg (when sitting) and push the guitar into the right place for your right arm.

1 comment:

drizzz said...

Sweet sound- if I could play a guitar this is the one I'd want :)