Gibson 335-12TD

Calling all serious players and passionate collectors! NOTE: if you are looking for
a totally stock instrument, this axe is probably not for you.

Have you been looking for that rare and unusual bird? An axe that you've never seen in
stores or pawnshops, but perhaps heard about or seen just once in the stable of a fellow
player, a display case of a serious collector or at a giant guitar show.

Here's the real deal! It doesn't get fewer and farther between than this axe. This is not one
of the 1990s reissues.

This is a Gibson ES335-TD12 serial # 403421. It was built sometime between 1963 and
1964. Very few of this 12 string version of the 335 were manufactured, and they were quite
difficult to come by even back then!

This instrument has the larger "F" holes and rectangular fingerboard inlays of the pre 1965 ES335
versions . It has the bright orange oval factory sticker. The pickups are HI-As, see Pickups picture
below for close-up and complete description. The only finish flaw is a small scrape on the back as
shown in the lower right, and a cymbal ding on the headstock.

Factory Sticker

The Scrape

The Ding

In the late 1970s this axe was modified from the stock configuration by Stars Guitars. I was the
electronics department at the store then and remember it well as few of us had ever seen one before.
I bought the axe in 1985 and try as I might, I'm not much of a 12 string player so I have decided
to pass it on to a more capable player or appreciative collector.

The instrument has lost the original Trapeze Tailpiece, 6-saddle bridge, bone nut, Kluson Tuners,
Gibson pickups, fragile open-end pots, stock strap buttons, press on Hat Knobs and pickguard.

Instead, it has a Stars Guitars Brass Mass 12 saddle bridge, modified and engraved Ming Tailpiece,
(shown below in the String Routing picture) a Brass Nut, pearloid handle Schaller Mini Tuners,
HI-A pickups, Mil Spec Clarostat pots, Brass Screw On strap buttons, and Stars Guitars Brass
knobs. A master volume was also added post pickup selector switch. Stars Guitars Brass Mass parts
were individually machined and assembled by people who cared, not cast by the tens of thousands
and thrown together by apathetic factory workers!

Anyone who has ever actually had the opportunity to play an original 335 12 will undoubtedly
lament the pitiful playability of the beast, but guess what? this axe actually plays and stays in tune,
has accurate harmonics and wonderful clear sustain.

I'm asking $6,500 for this one of a kind axe. I think that the reissues were listing for about $5,500.
A plush form fit 335 case is included. Buyer pays half of shipping and insurance from Santa Rosa, CA.

A few words of warning: If you are a player and you decide to change strings, save and refer to
the copy of String Routing (shown below) that is folded in the accessory compartment of the included
case. You will have a really terrible time attempting to figure out where each string belongs on the
tailpiece without that reference picture!!! and, unless you intend to clean the fingerboard, I'd suggest
changing one pair of strings at a time.

String Routing

The HI-A Pickups

These are the pickups, that in the mid 1970s gave Bill Bartolini his reputation for fantastic
sounding, incredibly low noise pickups that would not break, fade or go microphonic. They
are potted, with a big heavy copper shielding plate on the bottom and have ceramic magnets
that will never lose their strength. Although hard to get even at that time, and relatively expensive,
there simply was nothing better to be had in the pickup world. IMO, not much has changed.

The bridge pickup is a 118 and the neck pickup is a 110. These are loud and bright and they
both have a DCRs of about 6Kohm. After the factory burned to the ground in 1978, HI-A
became Bartolini Pickups & Electronics.

These pickups are worth $400 to $500 or more as a pair, but of course you can't get them
any more.