ES-350TN (second variant) Guitars

1957 Gibson ES-350TN (second variant)

Color: Natural, Rating: 9.25, $18,500.00 (ID# 02016)
Call to Inquire: (818) 222-4113


One of the first examples of a PAF ES-350TN

1957 Gibson ES-350TN (second variant)

This stunningly beautiful 17-inch-wide, 2 1/4 inch deep, single Venetian cutway, thinline archtop guitar weighs just 6.20 lbs. Book-matched highly-flamed laminated maple top, laminated maple back (also highly flamed) and sides. Two-piece flamed maple neck with center mahogany strip with that wonderful thick '57 profile, a nut width of just over 1 5/8 inches and a short scale length of 23 1/2 inches. Brazilian rosewood fretboard with 22 original thin frets and inlaid pearl split-parallelogram position markers. Headstock with inlaid pearl "Gibson" logo and pearl crown inlay. Two-layer (black on white) plastic truss-rod cover with two screws. Orange oval label inside the bass f-hole, the model "ES-350T" in black ink and the serial number "A 25731" is stamped in black. Inside the treble f-hole the FON (factory order number) is stamped in black "U 9049 5". The body is triple-bound on the top and back, the f-holes are single-bound, the headstock and fretboard are single-bound. Individual single-line Kluson Deluxe tuners with single-ring Keystone plastic buttons (stamped on the underside "2356766 / Pat Appld."). Two original and perfectly matched 'narrow-spaced' PAF pickups with outputs of 7.60k and 7.59k. Black  plastic pickup rings stamped on the underside "MR 491 / M-69 7" and MR 490 / M-69 8" respectively. Five-layer (black over white) plastic pickguard. Four controls (two volume, two tone) on lower treble bout plus three-way selector switch on treble horn. Gold plastic bell-shaped "Bell" knobs. ABR-1 Tune-O-Matic non-retainer bridge with metal saddles on rosewood base and specific wire-loop tailpiece with "ES-350" on cross-bar. All hardware gold-plated. There is an added, period correct strap button on the heel. Apart from some playing wear to the first eight original frets and some very minor tarnishing to the gold-plated hardware this guitar is one of the prettiest examples of these wonderful '50s Rock'n'Roll specials that we have ever seen. The top, back and neck display remarkable flame. This is the best example of one of the very first PAF, blond ES-350s that we have handled! Complete with the original Gibson hang-tag, an original eight-page 1957 Gibson price-list (showing the ES-350TN price of $425 + $52.50 for the 'Faultless' case), the original? black leather guitar strap, and a Gibson string box containing the original? strings. Housed in its original Gibson 'five-latch' brown hardshell case with pink plush lining (9.00).

This guitar is one of the earliest ES-350TNs to be fitted with the narrow-spaced PAFs - the covers are brushed silver nickel and the adjustable pole-pieces are nickel. Gibson started using PAFs in early 1957 on some of their models including the Les Paul GoldTop, ES-175, ES-295, ES-5 Switchmaster, L-5CE, and Super 400. "At first the humbucking pickup was issued without any particular marking, like the previous single coil units. In the latter part of 1957, however, a small decal reading 'Patent Applied For' was applied to the underside of the bottom plate."
The earliest PAFs had brushed nickel silver covers and the hollowbody jazz guitars - the Byrdland and the ES-350 used a slightly different PAF in the neck and bridge positions which had different (narrower) string spacing. The distance on a narrow PAF from center to center of the two "E" adjustable poles is 1 13/16", compared to 1 15/16" on the "normal" spaced PAF pickup. If the pickup cover is removed from a narrow spaced PAF pickup, the "normal" pole position tooling marks can be seen on the narrow spaced PAF pickup. In 1957 just after Gibson had introduced the PAF and in order to accommodate the narrower string spacing of the ES-350 they produced the first examples using a standard base with six normally spaced holes which they turned round 180 degrees and drilled six new holes for the narrow-spaced poles and a new hole for the braided wire input. The adjustable pole-pieces used were the regular nickel type and the pickup covers were of brushed nickel silver. "Looks proved a more nagging aspect particularly whe the need for a gold-plated finish was raised. Seth Lover recounts: "Nickel silver worked very well. the only problem they had on the originals was the finish… nickel silver has a tendency to give a dull finish you know. I objected to putting any metallic plating on them to start with, so they painted them! Then sprayed them with an orange gold lacquer, a kind of orange colour lacquer to give it a gold appearance. well that would peel off and they didn't look too good or they came to wear off. So we finally went to plating. I cautioned them to use a very light coat of plating and said; if you want it gold-plated, don't put a heavy coat of gold, otherwise it affects the tone." (A.R. Duchossoir. Gibson Electrics - The Classic Years. p.65).

Gibson produced just 285 Natural ES-350Ts between 1955 and 1962, but this, the preferable "PAF" version did not appear until 1957, and less than 74 were made in that year - the total production run of natural ES-350Ts in 1957 but this figure includes the outgoing P-90 examples.

Introduced  in 1955, the ES-350T (with two P-90 pickups) featured the overall characteristics of the Byrdland, especially with respect to the body and neck dimensions. But it differed in a number of details that were borrowed from the earlier ES-350 (no "T") that it was replacing in the Gibson line. The body was entirely made of curly maple without a solid spruce top, and the bound fingerboard was of rosewood instead of ebony, and featured split parallelogram inlays. It lacked the black and white purfling of the Byrdland, and the tailpiece, though having a loop design vaguely resembling a "W" was in fact quite different, with the "ES-350T" name engraved in the upper part. When introduced in 1955 the price was a modest $395.00 compared to the very expensive $550.00 Byrdland. Chuck Berry played an ES-350T in the mid to late fifties, while Steve Cropper played a Byrdland in the early days of the Mar-Keys.

"In early 1957 the 350T was one of the first Spanish electrics to be equipped with humbuckers as a substitute for the original single coil pickups. All the other basic specifications remained unchanged except for the installation of a slightly modified tailpiece with enlarged upper loops and ES-350T engraved on the crossbar. From 1959 the model was built with a regular nut width (1 11/16 inch) while keeping the short scale neck. The designation was also officially changed to ES-350TD." (A.R. Duchossoir. Gibson Electrics. The Classic Years, p.235).

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