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1956 Gibson ES-350T

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Serial #: A-22432, orange oval label

Body size at lower bout: 17". Scale length: 23 1/2" Nut Width: 1 10/16" Body depth: 2 1/4"

Materials: Highly flamed arched maple top, back and sides; solid maple neck; solid Brazilian rosewood fingerboard; mother of pearl fingerboard and peghead inlay; 3 ply body binding, bound neck and peghead.

Hardware: Original hardware includes twin P-90 single coil pickups and electronics; gold Kluson Deluxe tuners with tulip keys; gold loop style trapeze tailpiece with engraved crossbar; adjustable Brazilian rosewood bridge with additional gold ABR-1 Tunematic supplied; 5-ply beveled pickguard; gold bell volume and tone knobs; 3 way toggle switch with original tip.

Notes: It was a disc jockey convention in Nashville, and the year was 1955. Gibson, Inc. had a booth demonstrating their new offerings, and ace session guitarists Hank Garland and Billy Byrd were sampling the merchandise. Then, according to Garland, Gibson rep Clarence Havenga asked the fateful question: "What would you like in a guitar that we don't already have?" By the time the three had finished brainstorming, a new guitar was born, that would revolutionize the electric guitar world forever.

First, both the scale length and nut width were shortened, to create Gibson's fastest neck ever, specifically tailored to facilitate stretch chord voicings and lightning fast leads. Hank had been playing a custom Stromberg with a slimmer body depth, and asked Havenga to match it. And thus the legendary Byrdland was born.

So popular was this innovative design that Gibson rushed another new model into production withon weeks. Christened the ES-350T, the new guitar retained the specs of the Byrdland, but added a figured arched maple body to reduce feedback and increase sustain and durability. After a pair of prototypes were built late in 1955, Gibson produced a small but historic run of ES-350T guitars in 1956, this first full year of production. Prized by performers such as Chuck Berry and Danny Gatton for their clear, powerful P-90 pickups, the '56 models became icons of the brave new world of rock 'n roll. Only 62 of these beauties were finished in the lustrous blonde lacquer that year, and we suspect that few if any have remained in better condition that the guitar presented here.

Surfacing in a small town music store in Connecticut, this striking guitar has been meticulously cared for, with all original finish and hardware, and showing no cracks, buckle, or fingerboard wear. Apart from some normal thumbwear and some light checking in the richly ambered original natural finish, the guitar appears to have been utterly babied for its entire career. The neck has a gentle C profile with flawless action over fresh medium tall fretwork, and the unique scale length makes wide voicings a snap, regardless of hand size. The twin P-90 pickups are sweet and detailed, with wonderfully extended frequency response, making this guitar an unusually versatile performer, equally at home with styles from bebop to rockabilly. A rare and striking example of a landmark in the evolution of the modern electric guitar.

Setup: The frets have been precision leveled, recrowned and polished as required; trussrod tension and neck relief adjusted; bridge height adjusted; bridge compensation set; string slots at nut and bridge inspected and recut as necessary; bridge foot contour inspected and fit to top as necessary; bridge wheels and tuners lubricated; fingerboard and bridge oiled; body and neck cleaned and hand polished.

This instrument is strung with medium gauge nickel roundwound strings (.012-.054). The guitar will accommodate lighter or heavier gauge strings, according to preference. String action is set at 5/64" to 6/64" at the 12th fret, with moderate relief for acoustic playing with medium strings. The action may be lowered or raised to your requirements with the adjustable bridge.

Case: Original brown Gibson Lifton pink plush lined hardshell case.


















































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