1963 Gibson ES-330 TDC

CRAVE Guitars says…

Thumbs up: Stunning looks and playability, condition, P90 pickups, light weight, OHSC

Thumbs down: Prone to feedback at volume, upper fret access, Bigsby re‑stringing

Decree: This is one sensational and pretty much faultless vintage guitar

Model Description:

Launched a year after the Gibson ES-335, the double-cutaway thinline archtop Gibson ES‑330 was introduced in 1959, may look very similar to its more costly bigger brother but under the skin it is a quite different instrument. The major differences include a fully‑hollow laminated maple body rather than the 335’s semi‑hollow body with its solid centre block, one or two P90 single coil pickups instead of the 335’s dual humbuckers, a trapeze tailpiece or Bigsby vibrato instead of the 335’s ‘stop’ tailpiece, and the mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard joins the body at the 16th rather than the 335’s 19th fret, giving it a different playing feel. By 1961, the familiar cherry finish was added to the existing sunburst and natural finishes. After 1968, the neck joint was changed to match that of the ES‑335, providing better access at the top of the neck (the so‑called ‘long necks’). The hollow body and single coil pickups tended to feedback and were noisy in high gain environments, which are arguably much less critical in modern live situations. The hollow construction, however, makes the 330 much lighter in weight than the 335. At first, these characteristics made the ES‑330 less popular than other Gibson ES models although it is now much more highly regarded as a credible and characterful instrument in its own right. While Gibson discontinued production of the original ES‑330 in 1972, it has been reissued a number of times since, usually in highly‑prized limited editions. It is notable that Epiphone (then owned by Gibson) produced an almost identical version of the ES‑330 called the Casino. Even though they are essentially the same instrument, the Casino has become well‑known and collectable because of publicity surrounding The Beatles in the 1960s. Original ES‑330s are now becoming highly prized as people begin to appreciate what a great guitar it is.

Guitar Description:

This is a truly, truly stunning, all‑original ES-330 TDC in sumptuous deep cherry (1962‑1972) with lovely nickel – rather than chrome – hardware and original factory Bigsby vibrato. It is in superb condition, especially for its age, with very minimal play wear. There is one very minor blemish to the finish and one of the original nylon bridge saddles may have been replaced. Basically, that’s all there is to comment on – not bad at all – aging gracefully well into the 21st Century. The (1963‑1964 only) nickel‑covered dual P90s give it so much more bite, grit and flexibility, perfectly complementing the open, woody sound of the hollow body. It feels, sounds and behaves differently, compared to the more sought after semi‑hollow ES‑335/345/355. Yes, the ES‑330 can be noisy and prone to feedback in high-volume situations because of the lack of the centre block but in every other instance, it has a distinctive voice all of its own and, in my view, just as worthy of consideration as any other model in Gibson’s formidable ES line up. There is an advantage to the hollow body in that it makes the guitar much lighter than its counterparts and very comfortable to play. The original Bigsby vibrato adds that additional bit of 1960s warble and it suits the 330’s sound and looks perfectly. This gorgeous ES‑330 is SO cool that, although I don’t have ‘favourites’, this is one of the most impressive instruments in CRAVE Guitars’ ‘collection’. This is one all-round exceptional guitar to die for.


  • Made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, U.S.A. in 1963
  • Nitrocellulose cherry finish
  • Mahogany set neck joining the body at the 16th fret
  • Rosewood bound fingerboard with 22 frets and small block markers
  • Scale length 24¾”
  • Original Kluson tuners with oval white plastic buttons
  • Original nickel hardware
  • Fully hollow bound maple laminate body with unbound twin f-holes
  • Original 4-ply floating scratchplate
  • Original nickel P90 ‘dog ear’ single coil pickups
  • Original switch, knobs, strap buttons, jack plate and socket
  • Original bridge (with nylon saddles) and factory Bigsby vibrato tailpiece
  • Original Gibson hard shell case


  • Martin Barre (Jethro Tull)
  • George Harrison (The Beatles)
  • Brian Jones (Rolling Stones)
  • B.B. King
  • John Lennon (The Beatles)
  • Paul McCartney (The Beatles)
  • Keith Richards (Rolling Stones)
  • Glenn Frey (Eagles)

Detail Gallery:

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