Introduced in 1959 as the successor to the ES-225, the ES-330 bridged the gap between the new centre block thinking guitars and Gibson’s classic archtops of the previous decades, becoming a firm favourite with players such as BB King and Grant Green not to mention the rhythm guitar of choice for many.
Theres no hiding with this guitar round your neck. Early cherry finishes were a slightly lighter shade than what we generally know to be cherry red but this is a great example of full bodied, cherry red from 1964. The finish has kept that deep colour both front and back and free from any knocks or wear. The colour really accentuates the grain pattern of the maple. There is a little crazing on the sides but the top has avoided this. The back in particular has some nice figuring.
The same can be said for the neck which has a few minor dings but nothing serious. The fretboard is excellent and the frets look unused. The plastics are in great shape with only very slight warping of the pickguard. The hardware shows little signs of corrosion and still has that lustrous shine which is rare for a 60 year old nickel plated Gibson.
Electronically the guitar has zero issues with the solder joints being untouched and both pickups undisturbed, strong outputs with original windings.
The guitar comes an 1964 Epiphone ES hard case which was probably the one the guitar store sold this guitar in as it is the exact same case as a Gibson, just a different colour and is in a condition that perfectly matches the guitar.
Acoustically this guitar has a pleasantly warm tone that certainly tips the hat to Gibson’s archtop heritage. Plugged in the guitar runs the gamut from warm neck pickup to a more honky, biting bridge pickup tone. The neck has the fuller 64 profile making it very comfortable and a complete delight to play.
If 330’s are your thing and why would they not be, don’t let this one get away…