ES-335-12C Guitars

1965 Gibson ES-335-12C

Color: Cherry, Rating: 9.00, $6,500.00 (ID# 02246)
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"Love Her Madly"


1965 Gibson ES-335-12C


This all original Gibson Electric Twelve-String guitar is one of the earliest produced in late 1965 and is just one of seven Cherry versions made that year. The guitar weighs just 8.20 lbs. and features a bound sixteen-inch wide, one and three-quarter inch thick laminated maple body with a maple central block. One-piece mahogany neck with a nut width of just under 1 5/8 inches, a standard Gibson 24 3/4 scale length and a very comfortable medium-to-thick profile. Black-faced 'long' headstock with inlaid pearl "Gibson" script logo and two-piece inlaid pearl diamond motif. Three-layer, black over white plastic truss-rod cover secured by two screws. Serial number "400851" stamped in blind on back of headstock. Kluson Deluxe 'double-line' strip tuners with oval white plastic buttons. Rosewood fretboard with 22 original jumbo frets and pearl block inlays. Two Patent No. humbucking pickups with outputs of 7.93k and 8.21k, the bridge pickup with a black rectangular label on the underside with "Patent No. / 2,737,842" in gold. Four layer, white over black plastic pickguard. Four controls (two volume, two tone) plus three-way selector switch. Black plastic bell-shape control knobs with metal tops. Gibson Tune-O-Matic (retainer) bridge with nylon saddles and specific trapeze tailpiece. Inside the bass 'f' hole is the oval orange, Kalamazoo label with 'style' "ES-335 TDC" stamped in black, "-12" in black ink, and the serial number "400851" stamped in black. The deep cherry finish is unfaded and the top has some very nice 'flame'. The back of the guitar has an oval shaped 3 5/8 x 21/2 inch loss of finish due to belt-buckle wear. Otherwise the guitar is almost as fresh as the day it left the Gibson factory in 1965 and commands a strong (9.00) exceptionally fine rating and it plays and sounds just as it should. Housed in the original? Gibson three-latch, black rectangular hardshell case with blue plush lining (9.00).

48 ES-335-12 sunburst finish were shipped in 1965 - only 7 ES-335-12 with the cherry finish were shipped in 1965
"A 12-string version of the ES-335TD was introduced at the height of the popularity of 12-string guitars. It shares the same basic characteristics as the third variant, except for an enlarged peghead inlaid with an elongated two-piece diamond motif, a modified Tune-O-Matic bridge and tailpiece (no raised diamond), and 12 tuners with oval buttons… The ES-335-12 was marketed in both sunburst and cherry red finish and after a peak of 1,048 guitars in 1967 the model was withdrawn from the catalog in 1971."

A total of 910 ES-335-12C guitars were shipped between 1965 and 1969; a total of 1,152 ES-335-12 sunburst guitars were shipped between 1965 and 1970.

"Electric twelve-string guitars were catching on in the 60s, mostly due to the popularity of Rickenbackers in the hands of The Beatles and The Byrds. Gibson had an early brush with this style of guitar, with its first double-neck electrics, one of which, the EDS-1275 Double 12, paired a regular six-string with a twelve-string. Gibson launched the ES-3312 (TDC cherry $410, TD sunburst $395) in 1965, effectively a twelve-string 335 with a split-diamond headsock inlay and a regular bridge with double-notched saddles.  (Tony Bacon. The Gibson 335 Guitar Book. p. 49).

John Phillips (1935-2001) of The Mamas & The Papas used an ES-335-12 at the Monterey International Pop Festival of 1967. Robby Krieger (1946 - ) of The Doors used a 1968 ES-335-12C on Love Her Madly, Texas Radio, and probably a few more… his guitar was sold at auction in 2010.

"Apart from the increased headstock length and its double triangle (broken diamond) peghead inlay, the ES-335-12 had the same specifications and underwent similar changes to the contemporaneous ES-335." (Adrian Ingram. The Gibson 335 Its History and its Players. p.39).

"Gibson made the ES-335-12 from late 1965 until 1970.  Twelve string guitars were huge in the mid 60’s due to the tremendous popularity of the Beatles, Byrds and a few others who depended on the twelve for much of their distinctive sound. Tom Petty would pick up the mantle later on. What all of these players had in common was that none of them used a Gibson. They just about all used Rickenbackers, which aren’t much easier to play because they mostly have a small nut as well. At least Rickenbacker solved the giant headstock issue with a clever mix of slotted and standard tuners. Not everybody used a Ricky - I recall seeing the Hollies using a Vox Phantom 12 and plenty of acoustic 12’s on stage but the 335? Not a one. This seems odd because the 335 was still a very popular 6 string and Gibson sold over 2000 of the 12 string version between 65 and 70. In fact, in 66, the 12 string version actually outsold the ES-345." (


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