Launched in 1959, the ES-345 was aimed to sit in between the 335 and the slightly more luxuriously appointed 355 models in the Gibson catalogue.
Like its stablemates, the 345 was originally designed to summon up the mellowness of an f-hole jazzer and combine it with the raunch of a solidbody. In order to achieve this, the 335-style instruments had a maple block running the length of the body to add warmth and sustain as well as eliminate troublesome feedback in one fell swoop.
"One thing that set the 345 apart was its Varitone switching and stereo wiring"
One thing that set the 345 apart was its Varitone switching and stereo wiring, the former having achieved some notoriety in guitar circles, with many players insisting that it did more harm than good!
The model has seen some variations in its livery since introduction - for instance, on early models, the ring around the Varitone switch was black, with the upgrade to gold being introduced during the second year of production.
The pickguard was also shortened in 1961 so that it no longer extended beyond the bridge and Gibson dropped the ‘jazz style’ tailpiece in 1982 in favour of the Les Paul-type ‘stop’ variety.
This gorgeous ’65 Sunburst model features a single-bound rosewood fingerboard with double parallelogram inlays, a trapeze tailpiece with raised diamond motif, gold hardware, PAF pickups and the longer, non-rounded horns prevalent on the 60s 335 series.
Notable ES-345 players include guitar connoisseur Steve Howe, who can be heard playing his Sunburst model on the Yes prog masterpiece, Close To The Edge.
The 345's pickguard was shortened in 1961 so that it no longer extended beyond the bridge.
Gibson dropped the ‘jazz style’ tailpiece in 1982 in favour of the Les Paul-type ‘stop’ variety.
There's a single-bound rosewood fingerboard with double parallelogram inlays.
Humbucking duties are handled by Gibson's much-loved PAF pickups.
The Varitone switching and stereo wiring set the 345 apart.