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Dating an ES-335TD as 1966 or 1968

johnwittbrodt

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Mar 16, 2023
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Hey Everyone! This is my first post here so please let me know if I'm missing anything or breaking any rules.

I work at a retailer that deals out a ton of Gibson guitars every year, and every once in a while a customer will consign a vintage guitar through us which is always exciting but requires me to be very particular about all the specs and details. I'm sure as guitar enthusiasts and potential owners of vintage instruments, you know how important it is to get those specifications right so any customer can feel confident they're buying exactly what they expect.

Onto the issue at hand. Customer sent in a vintage ES-335TD believing it to be a 1968 model, however my initial inspections and research lead me to believe it may actually be a 1966 model. I've used a few different resources to try and parse out the serial number (True Vintage Guitar being the cleanest resource of serial number info). I'm raising the question here, to a group of people who may be far more intelligent than me, to see if you all have any more insight that might help me come to a more complete conclusion.

Serial number is 830191 which I believe to be either a 1966 or 1969 serial number. Are there any defining body characteristics that might be different between a 66 and 68? Below I've attached photos of the guitar and photos of the guts to the best of my ability. Let me know your thoughts! It's an awesome guitar.

20210318_143954.jpg20210318_143751.jpg20210318_143502.jpgIMG_3412-min.jpgIMG_3413-min.jpgIMG_3414-min.jpgIMG_3410-min.jpgIMG_3411-min.jpg
 

Wilko

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AFAIK, the pebble grain narrow waist shiny gold lining was used in the early '60s (around '62 to '64) and therefor shouldn't be original to this guitar.
weren't all 1968 cases gold inside? I don't know about the tolex grain, or shapes for 335. I know the les paul had a regular and rectangle shape in '68.

Here's my 1965 ES-335 with supposedly original dark red lined case:
335_head.jpg

335_incase.jpg
 
Last edited:

johnwittbrodt

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Mar 16, 2023
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Thanks all for the help! As I suspected, a great wealth of information among you. For those asking about the serial. It does look like it's actually 330191, there appears to be a bit of grain under the number that sort of makes it difficult to see, but it's way closer to a 3 than an 8.

Thanks again for the help! 1968 it is!
 

Vintage1

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Apr 19, 2006
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If the back of the neck has the VALUTE- that screams more than most other factors.
Thought I'd mention it before C.G. sees it- he is THE BEST in the world-
 

Wally

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Feb 27, 2003
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The knobs would not have been witch’s hat in 1966 but rather top hats. The witch’s hats came along in 1967. My 1966 ES-345 came in a yellow gold interior case. I bought it new in June, 1967. The 808xxx number is good for 1966, 1969, and also for three years in the 1970s…’73 thru ‘75, iirc. If this guitar had a volute with that 3xxxxx number, it would be from sometime in the first half of the 1970s.
I am not to9 sure I like the fret job.
 

Wilko

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also, those puffy looking very rounded over pickup covers scream late 60s.
index.php
 

marshall1987

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I'm reading the guitar's serial number as 330191.....NOT .....830191. This guitar is a 1967 ES-335 TDC. Ref: Gibson serial number lookup says: "329180 to 330199 1965 (wide neck), 1967"
 

Wally

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And…I wish my ‘66 ES-345 had been put into such a case the day I bought it new. I was young and even dumber than I am now. I did not even question the case….trusted them to put it in a correct case. They gave me a new case, but it was for a larger bodied Gibson.
 

neuroy

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Mar 10, 2008
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Many ´67 have more pointy ears....
In 1968 you´´ll find them more mickymousy...
 

Wilko

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Many ´67 have more pointy ears....
In 1968 you´´ll find them more mickymousy...
Really? never saw that. Once they got pointy in the early 60s, they never went back 'til 80s AFAIK
 
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