Buying a Gibson ES-330TD 1962-72

Used Gear: Guitarist's guide to buying a vintage guitar


Each month in Guitarist Magazine, we dissect a piece of vintage guitar goodness and give you the run-down of every part of it, from the neck and the finish, to the tuners and scratchplate. We even offer advice on upgrades and improvements, and how to accurately appraise its age.

This is an excerpt from an article appearing in this month's magazine, with a complete list of serial numbers we were unable to include for space reasons at the end. To read the complete article, pick up a copy of Guitarist issue 330 at your local newsagent now.

Price Guide

New price: £163 (1965)

Price now: £1,000-£2,500

New equivalent: Gibson Custom ES-330

Buying Second Hand

Gibson introduced the all-new ES-335 in 1958, soon to be partnered by its more deluxe stablemate, the ES-355. In 1959 the stereo-equipped ES-345 came along, as did the less costly ES-330. It came in dual- (ES-330TD) and single-pickup (ES-330T) form with the same twin-cutaway outline and slim depth body as the other Gibson semis.

The ES-330 employed significant changes to construction and components that provided a very different performance. A lower price made it popular in mid-sixties beat group-era Britain, but a subsequent shift in fashion and playing styles saw sales suffer and ES-330TD production ceased in 1972.

Appreciate Your ES-330

Although seen by many players as a poor relation to Gibson's other twin-cutaway semis of the sixties, the ES-330TD has certainly had its fair share of fans, likewise even more fashionable close cousin, the Epiphone Casino. Somewhat surprisingly, manufacture ceased in 1972, which was ten years after the demise of single-pickup stablemate, the ES-330T, but renewed interest in more recent years has prompted Gibson to produce a number of relevant reissues.

Next: A guide to serial numbers

Serial numbers

Starting in 1961, Gibson adopted various serial numbering systems during the next 10 years. Some sequences were duplicated and refer to different dates, which can cause confusion when trying to accurately gauge the age of an instrument. The ES-330 spans a particularly prolific production period and this involves numerous relevant and rather confusing serial number series, which are displayed below.

  • 42,000s - 61,000s 1962
  • 61,000s - 70,000s 1962-64
  • 71,000s - 99,000s 1962-64
  • 000,000s 1967
  • 100,000s 1963-65
  • 100,000s 1970-75 (plus 'Made In USA' on headstock)
  • 100,000s - 144,000s 1963-64, 1967
  • 147,000s - 199,000s 1963-65
  • 200,000s - 290,000s 1964-65
  • 300,000s 1965-68
  • 301,000s - 305,000s 1965
  • 306,000s - 307,000s 1965, 1967
  • 309,000s - 310,000s 1965, 1967
  • 311,000s - 326,000s 1965, 1967
  • 328,000s - 329,000s 1965
  • 329,000s - 332,000s 1965, 1967-68
  • 332,000s - 368,000s 1965-66
  • 348,000s - 349,000s 1965-66
  • 368,000s - 370,000s 1966-67
  • 380,000s - 385,000s 1966
  • 390,000s 1967
  • 400,000s 1965-68
  • 401,000s - 409,000s 1966
  • 420,000s - 438,000s 1966
  • 500,000s 1965-66, 1968-69
  • 501,000s - 503,000s 1965
  • 501,000s - 530,000s 1968
  • 530,000s 1966
  • 530,000s - 545,000s 1969
  • 540,000s 1966
  • 550,000s - 556,000s 1966
  • 558,000s - 567,000s 1969
  • 570,000s 1966
  • 580,000s 1969
  • 600,000s 1966-69
  • 600,000s 1970-72 (plus 'Made In USA' on headstock)
  • 601,000s 1969
  • 605,000s - 606,000s 1969
  • 700,000s 1966-67
  • 700,000s 1970-72 (plus 'Made In USA' on headstock)
  • 750,000s 1968-69
  • 800,000s 1966-69
  • 801,000s - 812,000s 1966, 1969
  • 812,000s - 814,000s 1969
  • 817,000s - 819,000s 1969
  • 820,000s - 823,000s 1966
  • 820,000s 1969
  • 840,000s 1969
  • 828,000s - 847,000s 1966,1969
  • 847,000s - 858,000s 1966
  • 859,000s - 880,000s 1967
  • 893,000s - 898,000s 1967
  • 895,000s - 896,000s 1968
  • 899,000s - 920,000s 1968
  • 900,000s 1968
  • 900,000s 1970-72 (plus 'Made In USA' on headstock)
  • 940,000s - 943,000s 1968
  • 945,000s 1968
  • 947,000s - 966,000s 1968
  • 959,000s - 960,000s 1968
  • 970,000s - 972,000s 1968
  • Six digits + A 1970

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