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Information on Vintage Gibson Archtop Guitars

A brief history on Gibson Electric Acoustic Archtop models Gibson Archtops come in an amazing range of models. The ES-350 was launched in 1947, and the first "new generation" Gibson electric archtops. It featured 2 fitted pickups and was designed ground up as an archtop electric acoustic archtop guitar. The single pickup ES-175 followed the ES-350 in 1949. Many consider the ES-175 as the first mass produced electric archtop from Gibson. Gibson launched a beginner electric in 1950 with the new 3/4 scale ES-140 model. In 1953 the ES-175 was offered with a second pickup. The L5 and Super 400 were top of the line jazz guitars and in 1951 Gibson added a CES designation with permanently installed twin pickups and controls. In 1955 Gibson launched Thin Line models often using the "T" designation after the model number. The new thin line guitars included the Byrdland and the ES-350T. Thin line guitars appealed to players who wanted a thinner, less bulky guitar. The ES-335 was introduced in 1958. While it looked like it had a thin line body it was actually a semi-hollow body guitar as it featured a solid block of wood running through the center of the body. This made the guitar much less prone to feedback when played at high volume. The ES-345 and 355 were introduced in the same time frame however they offered stereo wiring and a six way selector switch called a "Vari-tone". TD models were deluxe variations. Vari-tone was unpopular with players and and many guitars had the vari-tone wiring removed. Gibson continued to introduce variations of standard and thin line guitars and in the 60's they began to release signature models including the Barney Kessel Custom (1961), Johnny Smith (1961) and the Tal Farlow (1962). The 1961 ES-330 is a little unusual as it did not feature a solid central block in the body and the neck was set further into the body. Gibson continued to release models in the 70's, 80's, 90's and may of these guitars are still available today.


 
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