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Is this ES-335 a 59 Reissue

Budha

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Sep 14, 2023
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I have a 2009 Memphis ES-335 and I would like know if it is a 59 Reissue. I am confused by Gibson model nominclature. Gibson Customer Service tells me it is a "ES-335 in Historic Faded Cherry VOS w/ 1959 Neck". I am not getting an answer to the question about it being a 59 Reissue. It has a Gibson Custom COA with a 50th Anniversary hologram on the back of the COA. Serial Number A-999xx. It has a Gibson Custom case and has a Gibson Custom Shop label on the back of the neck. It has a long pick guard and Kluson style tuners. There is no serial number on the back of the headstock serial # and model info is on the orange sticker only. The bridge pickup wires pass through a small passage to the controls. It appears to me to have all of the attributes of a 59 Reissue.

I have searched the internet for information and am still confused. Any help is welcomed.
 

Wilko

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With a custom shop logo on the neck, it's not a reissue. "reissue" guitars don't have that logo.

it may have all the features of one, but that logo changes all that.

what does the cert call it?
 

Budha

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With a custom shop logo on the neck, it's not a reissue. "reissue" guitars don't have that logo.

it may have all the features of one, but that logo changes all that.

what does the cert call it?
I don't know what a cert is. The model on the COA is HB024m (ES335ARD-VOS). The model # on the orange sticker is ES-335.
 

jb_abides

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With a custom shop logo on the neck, it's not a reissue. "reissue" guitars don't have that logo.

I have seen CS logo on neck, with matching COA with A-serials, and the COA states "59 Reissue"... Now, the issue is whether they are considered "Historic" Reissues or a model named "59 Reissue" seems to be subject of discussion. And to add to the consternation, there are long digit numbered serials that bear the model name "59 Dot Reissue"... including Limited Editions LTD...

1699559764304.png

From what I can sleuth:
- 50th Anniversary 1959 ES-335 Reissue model number: ES335P50.
- Historic 1959 ES-335 model number HS35P9.

Memphis 59 Reissues:
- HB017M - VOS Sunburst
- HB019M - VOS Natural
- HB018M - Gloss Sunburst
- HB020M - Gloss Natural
...
- It looks like HB024M were VOS Cherry, although these were not originally offered in the US market, sent to Japan and elsewhere overseas... Story goes that failing to have dealers take all of them, they were then sent to US dealers. That seems to track with the ES335ARD-VOS. Not sure what it means but 'ARD' seems to show up overseas.

This is all confused because of inconsistency in information on the handwritten COAs and orange labels. Not to mentions the Nashville/Memphis back and forth.

@Budha Do you have the inspection checklist? Does it have pertinent model information codes?
 
Last edited:

Budha

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Sep 14, 2023
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9
I have seen CS logo on neck, with matching COA with A-serials, and the COA states "59 Reissue"... Now, the issue is whether they are considered "Historic" Reissues or a model named "59 Reissue" seems to be subject of discussion. And to add to the consternation, there are long digit numbered serials that bear the model name "59 Dot Reissue"... including Limited Editions LTD...

View attachment 23674

From what I can sleuth:
- 50th Anniversary 1959 ES-335 Reissue model number: ES335P50.
- Historic 1959 ES-335 model number HS35P9.

Memphis 59 Reissues:
- HB017M - VOS Sunburst
- HB019M - VOS Natural
- HB018M - Gloss Sunburst
- HB020M - Gloss Natural
...
- It looks like HB024M were VOS Cherry, although these were not originally offered in the US market, sent to Japan and elsewhere overseas... That seems to track with the ES335ARD-VOS. Not sure what it means but 'ARD' seems to show up overseas. Story goes that failing to have dealers take all of them, they were then sent to US dealers.

This is all confused because of inconsistency in information on the handwritten COAs and orange labels. Not to mentions the Nashville/Memphis back and forth.

@Budha Do you have the inspection checklist? Does it have pertinent model information codes?
I do have the inspection checklist. It has the inspection date of 12/1/09. It has the model # HB024M (ES-335 ARD/VOS) and the serial number A-999xx. The checklist is complete with the inspectors initials. The cover of the checklist says "Gibson Gold Warranty" & "Gibson Custom". Now I am not even sure it is a custom shop guitar. I believe the person I bought the guitar from honestly thought it was a Custom Shop 59 reissue. The fit and finish of this guitar a very good and it plays & sounds great. The original owner took very good care of this guitar. This binding, finish, and general craftsmanship are much better on this guitar than on my 2022 Les Paul Standard.

Thank you very much for helping me figure this out. It's a keeper no matter what it is.
 

jb_abides

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It's a Custom Shop, the COA should be signed by Rick Gembar, and state his title, and be embossed with Custom and the star logo. And the rear neck decal. And if the serial number matches the COA, then all good.

There's a lot of confusion regarding CS, Memphis and Nashville on the ES guitars, but as you stated... it's a keeper.
 

Budha

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It is signed by Rick Gembar and is embossed with Custom and the star logo. All the numbers match. Thank you for all your help.
 

wmachine

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I do have the inspection checklist. It has the inspection date of 12/1/09. It has the model # HB024M (ES-335 ARD/VOS) and the serial number A-999xx. The checklist is complete with the inspectors initials. The cover of the checklist says "Gibson Gold Warranty" & "Gibson Custom". Now I am not even sure it is a custom shop guitar. I believe the person I bought the guitar from honestly thought it was a Custom Shop 59 reissue. The fit and finish of this guitar a very good and it plays & sounds great. The original owner took very good care of this guitar. This binding, finish, and general craftsmanship are much better on this guitar than on my 2022 Les Paul Standard.

Thank you very much for helping me figure this out. It's a keeper no matter what it is.
It's a Custom Shop, the COA should be signed by Rick Gembar, and state his title, and be embossed with Custom and the star logo. And the rear neck decal. And if the serial number matches the COA, then all good.

There's a lot of confusion regarding CS, Memphis and Nashville on the ES guitars, but as you stated... it's a keeper.
It is a "Custom Shop Series Model". That is where all the "Custom Shop" references are in regards to this guitar/model. Gibson intentionally (I'm sure) muddied the waters with this series. There was some dissension in the ranks at the time between Memphis and Nashville. But the truth is that there was not a Custom shop in Memphis. Ever. Thanks to Gibson being a bit out of control at the time, this will forever be a source of confusion.
 

jb_abides

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But the truth is that there was not a Custom shop in Memphis. Ever. Thanks to Gibson being a bit out of control at the time, this will forever be a source of confusion.

Yeah, crazy times.

A state of confusion.

 

JASIII

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It says it was a "custom order". I don't interpret that as "Custom Shop".
 

Wilko

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It says it was a "custom order". I don't interpret that as "Custom Shop".
says it has a custom shop logo on the neck...

In my thinking, an R9 is a "reissue". Nothing about it is clearly not (intentionally) different from original. No custom logo or changed features. they can say it's a '59 reissue with big frets or whatever, but as soon as those changes are made it's custom and NOT a "reissue".

Example: The Classic 1960 is NOT a reissue, though many call it that and think it is.
 

JASIII

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I was only referring to the email he received. There was nothing in the email that would suggest Custom Shop, only that it was a custom order. Which I would interpret as being synonymous with "special order". And as another poster stated, there never was a Custom Shop in Memphis. If I had to guess seems like the Custom Shop in Nashville sent some stickers and COAs over to the Memphis factory to put on certain guitars manufactured there. Who knows though, really?
 

jb_abides

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Example: The Classic 1960 is NOT a reissue, though many call it that and think it is.

Gibson does not refer to the Classic as a Reissue. Others don't really count. Although you can see the build quality of the early ones and they also shared the production line until the Nashville CS was segregated from USA. Gibson will classify a particular model is a Reissue (closely based on but not necessarily historically accurate to their level of accuracy) or Historic Reissue which is historically accurate to their level of accuracy sans things they can't or won't replicate.

When a special order [custom-ordered], now Made-to-Measure, they typically use the build sheet of a Reissue as a basis, but then make sure to list the variations, and I haven't seen them call anything like this a Reissue except with explicit caveats. From M2M thru to Dealer Runs like 'Wildwood Spec' or 'CME-spec' ... CME spec R9s have a CME R9 serial for example, to underscore.

What the customer, resellers, etc. list things as -- another matter out of Gibson's hands.
 
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jb_abides

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I was only referring to the email he received. There was nothing in the email that would suggest Custom Shop, only that it was a custom order. Which I would interpret as being synonymous with "special order". And as another poster stated, there never was a Custom Shop in Memphis. If I had to guess seems like the Custom Shop in Nashville sent some stickers and COAs over to the Memphis factory to put on certain guitars manufactured there. Who knows though, really?

There was not a segregated physical location in Memphis [as in Nashville's Custom Shop]; instead, a line of Memphis-made guitars referred to by Gibson as 'Custom Shop' with that level of detail/care. Thus COAs, model information, and in this case the CS logo decal [which was early in Memphis but did not persist as long as their run of 'Custom Shop' models].
 

Uncle Gary

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I have one of those 2009 "59 reissues" in cherry red, as well. From what I remember at the time, they were part of a small run at the end of the year for the Japanese market. Then they decided not to take the entire order, so a few "leftovers" were offered to select dealers stateside. I purchased mine in December of 2009 from a dealer in Clifton Park, NY. I remember that Musicians Friend had one or two of them as well.

IIRC, 2009 was the "50th anniversary" year for the '59 ES-335. Gibson had announced that they would make a limited number of 50th anniversary ES-335s. There was to be 500 gloss natural, 500 VOS natural, 500 gloss sunburst and 500 VOS sunburst (2,000 total). Apparently, late in the year the Japanese distributor wanted more, but Gibson, having told buyers the run was "limited," couldn't do it without angering existing buyers, so they offered a limited run in the non-standard cherry red. To distinguish them, they had a "Custom Shop" decal on the back of the headstock. At least this is what I remember reading and being told from 14 years ago.

Whatever, it's a killer guitar, and a keeper.
 

Budha

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I have one of those 2009 "59 reissues" in cherry red, as well. From what I remember at the time, they were part of a small run at the end of the year for the Japanese market. Then they decided not to take the entire order, so a few "leftovers" were offered to select dealers stateside. I purchased mine in December of 2009 from a dealer in Clifton Park, NY. I remember that Musicians Friend had one or two of them as well.

IIRC, 2009 was the "50th anniversary" year for the '59 ES-335. Gibson had announced that they would make a limited number of 50th anniversary ES-335s. There was to be 500 gloss natural, 500 VOS natural, 500 gloss sunburst and 500 VOS sunburst (2,000 total). Apparently, late in the year the Japanese distributor wanted more, but Gibson, having told buyers the run was "limited," couldn't do it without angering existing buyers, so they offered a limited run in the non-standard cherry red. To distinguish them, they had a "Custom Shop" decal on the back of the headstock. At least this is what I remember reading and being told from 14 years ago.

Whatever, it's a killer guitar, and a keeper.
Uncle Gary, you are right that it is a killer guitar. I doubt I ever sell it but I would like to honestly tell a potential buyer down the road what it really is. It appears to have all of the features of a 59 Reissue except that Gibson says it's not a 59 reissue. Your recollection of the history of the red 2009's sounds logical. I see no difference from the 2009 59 reissues other than the color.

Thanks for sharing what you know.
 

Uncle Gary

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Uncle Gary, you are right that it is a killer guitar. I doubt I ever sell it but I would like to honestly tell a potential buyer down the road what it really is. It appears to have all of the features of a 59 Reissue except that Gibson says it's not a 59 reissue. Your recollection of the history of the red 2009's sounds logical. I see no difference from the 2009 59 reissues other than the color.

Thanks for sharing what you know.
Exactly, it seems to be entirely built to '59 reissue specs except for the color and the decal on the back of the headstock. Mine has been modded with a new wiring harness with audio taper pots (a job I'll never do again; fishing a harness in and out the 'f' hole is no fun). I also added reflector cap knobs just because I like the looks better.
 
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