DAVE ROGERS & LAUN BRAITHWAITE
1965 Gibson ES-355
Mono Sparkling Burgundy
The Gibson ES-355 has been a favorite of blues, rock and jazz
musicians since its introduction in the late 1950s. B.B. King, Chuck
Berry, Freddy King and Keith Richards are just a few of the artists
who have made extensive use of the ES-355. This guitar was meant
to be the top-of-the-line model in the double cutaway thinline
electric series. It shared the ES-335’s solid center block and hollow
wings, but had the fancy cosmetic appointments – binding, gold
hardware, split diamond headstock inlay and ebony fingerboard
– of a Les Paul Custom.
From mid-1959 until the model’s discontinuation in 1982, the ES-
355 was regularly fitted with a stereo output and a tone selector
switch called a Varitone, also standard on the new for ’ 59 ES-345.
A mono version remained available until 1970, but it was produced
in smaller numbers than its stereo counterpart.
While this month’s featured guitar is the rare mono version, it is
also made more unusual by its color: Sparkling Burgundy. The
standard color for an ES-355 – until walnut appeared in 1969 – was
Cherry Red. Only a few examples in other colors are known to
exist, making this month’s guitar an extraordinary treat.
Be sure to check out Gibson Electrics – The Classic Years by A.R.
Duchossoir for detailed information on Gibson electric guitars
made through 1965.