This guitar is like a time capsule as it looks like it was purchased last year. An unbelievable find. Super clean ONE OWNER Gibson ES-330 in sunburst that was built at the Kalamazoo Plant in 1967. I purchased this from a dealer that sold it for the original owner. It was a sitting under a bed for many years and has little play wear. A true closet clean classic and completely uncirculated. Probably the cleanest vintage Gibson ES-330s you will ever see plus it has the original early Gibson pebble case which is very hard to find in its own right.
I have been looking for a nice Gibson ES-330 for a long time and almost purchased a few in the past. This one was too clean to pass up and I was willing to pay a premium for it. Hard to believe this guitar is from 1967 and is almost 5 decades old.
The only cosmetic defects are some minute nicks on top of the headstock and some very light finish checking only seen at certain angles in certain lighting conditions. The original pickguard is a little warped but in great condition. The pickups sounds great and the guitar plays very well and is very light and resonant weighing 5-lbs 15-ozs ounces. The pickups have original unbroken solder joints as shown as the guitar is all original as purchased new by the original owner.
- Model: Gibson ES330
- Color: Sunburst
- Finish Type: Nitrocellulose Lacquer
- Weight: 5-lbs 15-ozs
- Top Woods: Laminated Maple
- Back Wood: Laminated Maple
- Neck Wood: Mahogany
- Neck Shape: Slim Taper
- Neck Dimensions: .866 1st fret 1.00 12th fret
- Fingerboard: Rosewood
- Fingerboard Radius: 12″
- Inlays: Pearloid
- Neck Scale: 24.75
- Nut Width: 1.58″ Measured
- Frets: 22
- Headstock: Holly Veneer
- Binding: Body And Neck
- Pickups: P-90’s
- Controls: 2 Volume 2 Tone With 3 Way Toggle
- Hardware: Chrome
- Bridge: ABR-1
- Tail Piece: Trapeze
- Tuners: Kluson
- Case: Original Black Pebble Case
Gibson introduced the all-new ES-335 in 1958, soon the more deluxe ES-355 arrived. In 1959 the stereo-equipped ES-345 came along, as did the less costly ES-330 which came in dual (ES-330TD) and single-pickup (ES-330T) model with the same twin-cutaway outline and slim depth body as the other Gibson semis hollow bodies.
At first glace the ES-330 looks like an ES-335, but it isn’t anything even close. Unlike the Gibson ES-335, the Gibson ES-330 is a fully hollow body with no center block like the ES-335 making the 330 extremely light weight. The Gibson ES-330 is different in construction and sound featuring P-90 pickups unlike the ES-335 that uses humbuckers. Virtually identical to the Epiphone Casino (Epiphone was and is owned by Gibson) that actually out sold the Gibson ES-330 back in the later 1960s primarily due to the Beatles. John, Paul and George all owned and played Epiphone Casinos in the 1960s. Making the Casino still popular today. The Epiphone Casino was originally build in Kalamazoo Michigan in the same factory as the Gibson ES-330. This was soon after Epiohone was purchased by Gibson.
Paul McCartney purchased an Epiphone Casino in 1964 after being influenced by blues man John Mayall. McCartney told Vintage Guitar that he was inspired to buy the guitar that could “feedback” after he spent an evening at John Mayhall’s house listening to records. John and George later followed each buying Casinos in 1966. John and George played Casinos as their main instrument during the Beatles 1966 Revolver tour. John was probably most associated with playing the Epiphone Casino after the famous London rooftop concert.
The Epiphone Casino are probably most iconic instrument thanks to its association with The Beatles. In fact, two Kalamazoo designed guitars, the Gibson J-160E and the Epiphone Casino together share the distinction of being the only two guitars heard on every Beatles recording session.
McCartney still brings out his original 1963 Epiphone (shipped from Kalamazoo, Michigan on November 1, 1963) in concert for “Paperback Writer” and select cuts from Sgt. Pepper. Radiohead Producer Nigel Godrich, whose pal Thom Yorke plays a 1965 Casino, singled out McCartney’s Casino as his favorite guitar while producing Chaos and Creation In the Backyard. “If I had to choose one electric guitar,” said McCartney, “it would be this.”
In the heyday of the British Invasion, the Casino was also Rolling Stone Keith Richards’ main guitar who used his to record “Satisfaction”
The 330’s P-90 pickups for the first few years of production came with black plastic covers. Later switched to nickel covers, then chrome in 1965. A few were nickel plated plastic covers which are rare. The ES-330 hollow body construction and pickups create a sound that is quite different from the ES-335. The ES-330 doesn’t sustain as well or reject feedback as aggressively as the ES-335, but sounds nicer acoustically and has a woody and bell-like timbre. The 330 is a true pleasure to play without an amplifier. The guitar is loud and resonant, with a pronounced natural reverb. The 330 is quite fitting for Jazz players as well as R&B, Blues and Rock and Roll. The vintage P-90s can give a nice growl when you want it. Back off the volume control and hear a very different sound.
The tuners used on the 330 are also the plain Klusons, where the 335 generally uses Kluson tulip-tip tuners. The necks on the 330s up until about 1960 were pretty deep fat necks. Then the necks got slimmer seemingly around 1965. Also note that the ES-330 neck joins the body at the 16th fret, whereas the ES-335 neck joins the body at the 19th fret. Later, Gibson produced the ES-330L where the neck was elongated by joining it to the body at the 19th fret to allow easier access to upper frets. These are also nice guitars, but many players like John Lennon had a preference for a shorter neck and sometimes a shorter scale as shown with his famous Rickenbacker Capri.
Some early Gibson ES-330s (ES-330T) had a single P-90 pickup unusually mounted halfway between the bridge and the end of the neck. These instruments seem to be less desirable among some players. The dual-pickup instrument is called the ES-330TD. The ES-330 has been available in sunburst, cherry, natural, walnut, and a sparkling burgundy finish (available from 1967 to 1969). Tailpieces used are usually trapeze style, but some came with factory Bigsby vibrato as an option. From 1959 to 1962 the 330 had a dot fingerboard. Gibson changed to block fret markers after 1962. Also in 1962 the 330 body shape changed with the “ears’ becoming a bit more pointy and less “Mickey Mouse” looking in their style. The Gibson ES-330 TD Custom is a fully hollow body with no “F” holes version.
ES-330T – T is for thinline
ES-330TD – D is for dual pickups
ES-330TDC – C is for cherry
ES-330TDN – N is for natural finish
ES-330TC – would be a single pickup cherry model for example
ES-330L – longer neck that joins body at 19th fret more like a ES-335
The ES-330 was introduced in 1959 and phased out by 1972. It has been brought back by Gibson in reissues like the current Gibson Memphis 1959 ES-330 Historic that’s likely as close to owning a vintage ES-330 as possible.
The ES-335 has its advantages such as the center block that reduces feedback, humbucker pickups to reduce hum and neck joint at the 19th fret fro better access making the 335 better for louder rock. The Epiphone Casino and Gibson ES-330 are underrated guitars. Their single coil pickups have a nice clear chimey tone. The P-90s coil size produces a fatter and sometimes more growly sound than Fender single coils. The completely hollow body make the guitar lighter weight as well as more resonate like a hollow jazz guitar. I love these guitars.
The Epiphone Casino is quite related to the Gibson ES-330 in its history and specs. It is a closely related cousin. Far closer in design and sound that a Gibson ES-335 is. The early Casino has some mostly cosmetic differences. Since the Casino will always be associated with the Beatles, reissues that are mostly imports have been around for a very long time and very different build quality can be expected.
1961 Casino introduction specs:
- Dot fingerboard inlays
- Black pickup covers
- Metal peghead Epiphone logo
- Tortoise pickguard
1962 Casino specs:
- Pearl inlaid Epiphone peghead logo
1963 Casino specs:
- Single parallelogram fingerboard inlays
- Nickel plated pickup covers
- White pickguard
1965 Casino specs:
- Chrome plated pickup covers and other parts
1967 Casino specs:
- Cherry finish optional
Casino was discontinued 1970 and later were available as Japanese-made and then Korean-made lines.
NAMM 2014 – Gibson Memphis Historic Reissue Guitars
Gibson Memphis 1959 ES-330 TD Electric Guitar Reissue Overview
Gibson ES-330 TD Custom
Reverb’s Gibson ES-330 Demo
1962 Gibson ES-330 w/ Ian Bairnson – Phil’s Vintage Guitars
1962 Gibson ES-330 TDC Tone Review
1966 Gibson ES-330 TDC, Cherry Red at The Fellowship of Acoustics
1967 Epiphone Casino vs 1959 Gibson ES-330
1967 Gibson ES 330 (P-90s ) w/ Jam Tube Dreamer 88
The Beatles HD – I Feel Fine Live in Germany playing Epiphone Casinos
The Kinks – All Day and All of the Night playing a Casino