ES-345TDC Guitars

1962 Gibson ES-345TDC

Color: Cherry, Rating: 9.00, Sold (ID# 01810)
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1962 Gibson ES-345TDC.


This highly unusual and very beautiful stereo guitar weighs just 8.70 lbs. Highly-figured laminated maple body with a beautifully rich cherry finish. Semi-solid construction with  a maple central block, triple binding on the top and single binding on the back. One-piece mahogany neck with a nice, fat nut width of just under 1 11/16 inches, a standard Gibson scale length of 24 3/4 inches and a typical late 61/early '62 very fast medium-to-thin profile. Bound Brazilian rosewood fretboard with 22  jumbo frets and inlaid pearl dot position markers. Headstock with inlaid pearl "Gibson" logo and pearl crown inlay. Individual 'single-line' Kluson Deluxe tuners with single-ring Keystone plastic buttons and "D-169400 PATENT NO." stamped on the inside. Serial number "45432" stamped in blind on back of headstock. Two 'double-black' PAF pickups with black plastic surrounds and outputs of 8.01k and 7.59k. Each pickup has a small rectangular black "Patent Applied For" label on the underside. The pickup "rings" are the original black plastic stamped underneath "MR 491" and "M-69 7" (neck pickup) and "MR 490" and "M-69 8" (bridge pickup). "Short" five-layer black over white plastic pickguard. Four controls (two volume, two tone) plus three-way selector switch for pickup selection and six-position Vari-tone rotary switch for tonal settings, all on lower treble bout. Black plastic bell-shaped knobs with gold metal tops. With a gold circular plate around the Vari-tone switch. ABR-1 Tune-O-Matic non-retainer bridge with nylon saddles and factory Bigsby tailpiece. With the original Gibson orange oval label inside the bass f-hole, the style "ES-345TD" written in black ink and the serial number "45432" stamped in black. "Stereo Varitone" stamped in black on inside back of body to the right of the label. All hardware gold-plated. There are a few surface marks on the back of the neck but this guitar is still in (9.00) near mint condition with absolutely no fading whatsoever. Housed in the original Gibson four-latch, shaped black hardshell case with orange plush lining (9.00).

We have examined this guitar very thoroughly under ultra-violet light

We have checked the Gibson shipping records from 1962 and can confirm that '45432' listed as a ES-345 was shipped on 7/28/1962.

This is the only ES-345TD with a 'Pearl Dot' fingerboard that we have ever seen. We know that in the early sixties Gibson would take 'Factory-Special' orders. We have seen a ES-335 with ES-345 pearl split-parallelogram markers - but never an ES-345 with pearl dot markers.  

In general the ES-345 is not as popular as it's less adorned ES-335 stable-mate. One of the key reasons for this is the perceived 'extra-weight' of the Varitone transformer… and the 'superfluous' sounds of the Varitone switch (other than position # 1 which is 'straight-through'. In reality the weight is a very minor issue: we have had fourteen 1959-1964 examples over the years and the weight range was 7.80-9.50 pounds. We have also had nine 1960-1963 ES-355's (even more adorned - and with factory Bigsby or Gibson vibrato's) weighing between 8.50 and 9.60 pounds. We have had thirteen 1958-1964 ES-335's and their weight range was 7.60-8.50 pounds (nine of these weighed between 8.00 and 8.20 pounds). So this guitar at 8.20 pounds is only .60 of a pound heavier than the lightest ES-335 that we have handled and 'bang-on' the average of a typical '60 ES-335… We personally like the 'stereo' set-up and the additional variety of the Varitone, where a stereo jack goes into two separate amplifiers - but for those who don't, it is a very simple matter of plugging the two leads into one amplifier and setting the Varitone switch to #1 - this quite simply is the ES-335 sound at half the price of a comparable ES-335…

"The new electric with stereo and Vari-Tone circuitry was given a sneak preview in the March-April 1959 issue of the Gazette describing the ES-355T. It was then announced as the ES-345T, not only because it was pitched -- cosmetically and price-wise -- as an intermediate model between the 335 and the 355, but also because it originally retailed for $345.00 in sunburst finish. Besides the Vari-Tone switch, double parallelogram inlays on the fretboard were retained as a distinctive feature of the 345 compared to the existing semi-solid thinlines. The 345 was at first made available in sunburst and natural finish only, but by mid-1960 the selection was enlarged with the addition [of] two other colours: cherry red and Argentine gray" (A.R. Duchossoir, Gibson Electrics -- The Classic Years, p. 81).

"Exciting to play, thrilling to hear! This new Gibson can produce any sound you've ever heard from any guitar. The 'Vari-tone' selector switch...produces 18 separate sounds and creates hundreds of voices when coupled with tone controls. Though marvelously versatile, it is uncomplicated...may be used with stereophonic, monaural, or two-channel amplifier. The double cut-away thin body construction brings you the finest sustain and tone color with Gibson's low, fast, professional string action" (leaflet announcing the ES-345T stereo guitar, illustrated on p. 81 of A.R. Duchossoir, Gibson Electrics -- The Classic Years, p. 81).

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