Gibson’s opulent semi-hollow ES-355TD was launched in the same year, 1958, as its close sibling the more workmanlike ES-335, and was distinguished by more upmarket appointments including a multi-bound pickguard and top, triple-bound back, a bound ebony fretboard and split-diamond headstock.
All of this added to an air of grandeur that made it, arguably, what the Les Paul Custom was to the Les Paul Standard: a more sophisticated big brother.
The ES-355 was initially launched as a conventional mono guitar, but the year after it made its debut, it received an upgrade that gave it the classic 355 spec.
Initially offered as an option alongside the mono version, buyers of the ES-355 TDSV could route the output of the two pickups to separate amps, for a stereo rig - although this necessitated the use of a Y-cable.
A more immediately obvious feature was the Vari-Tone circuitry - essentially a series of notch filters, selected via a rotary switch that expanded the available tones on tap.
Despite providing an extra bit of visual bling, however, most players would agree that the sounds offered by the Vari-Tone were of limited utility, and some 355 owners modify theirs to yield more usable variations.
The sideways vibrato on this stunning 1962 example became standard-fit on all ES-355s from ‘61, the same year that the longer original pickguard was shortened to end above the bridge.
We would like to thank New Kings Road Guitar Emporium for sharing this super-clean (and super-cool) guitar with us.
The Vari-Tone circuitry is essentially a series of notch filters, selected via a rotary switch that expanded the available tones on tap.
The sideways vibrato on this stunning 1962 example became standard-fit on all ES-355s from ‘61.
Upmarket appointments include a bound ebony fretboard and split-diamond headstock.