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Taco

ES-330-TD identification

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Hi everybody, I'm totally new here and trying to get some information regarding the above mentioned guitar serial Number 174425. A friend of mine (who is not a guitarist) is selling this guitar and I've been doing my best to get some information in order to suggest him a reasonable and acceptable price. I brought the guitar to my local dealer here in Geneva - Switzerland, but although at a first sight the guitar seems to be completely original apart from the fact that the frets and the nut have been changed, for the time being he's unable to come up with some evaluation, because of the following "weirdness" :

The inlays on the fretboard are not rectangular but parallelograms, but he doesn't think that the fretboard has been changed/replaced.

Would you guys know whether Gibson has built ES-330-TDs with parallelogram inlays, or what the exact config and infos on the Serial Number 174425 are.

I'm sorry for not being able to post pictures now (the guitar is with my dealer for the time being), but I will as soon as I can.

Thanks for any input or hints.

Have a nice day,

Taco 

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Hi Taco,

The serial number 174425 would date to either 1964 or 1965 (part of Gibson's confusing period of keeping records).  Knowing the number alone is not enough information to identify anything about the guitar's origins (other than the year it was made), unless one had a copy of the original Gibson log page showing that guitar in the listings (and even then it may not indicate the specifics of a customization).

So yes, an ES-330 from 1964-1965 would normally have had rectangular block inlays on the fretboard.  I have seen a few ES-330's and ES-335's with double parallelogram inlays (the type normally found on the 345), but it's not always clear as to why we see these.  One possibility is that they were originally custom-ordered that way, but it's probably just as likely that it could have been a later modification.  If the guitar could be examined by a vintage expert, they could probably determine whether a modification was done.  If the guitar had been custom-ordered that way, this would of course be better than if it had been modified, in terms of the guitar's value. 

If the different inlays were in fact the result of an original custom order, this complicates the process of assigning a value to the guitar.  The reason for this is that not everyone agrees on whether a variation from stock features is a good thing or a bad thing.  It makes the instrument more rare (and in this case I think it makes it more appealing visually, and the ornamentation on ES-345's was fancier than ES-330's- or ES-335's), but there are those who think that guitars are more appealing if they conform to the original model specs.  In my personal opinion, I think a custom order like this makes the guitar more special and should make it more valuable.  How much more is subjective.

I hope that his helps.

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10 hours ago, JimR56 said:

Hi Taco,

The serial number 174425 would date to either 1964 or 1965 (part of Gibson's confusing period of keeping records).  Knowing the number alone is not enough information to identify anything about the guitar's origins (other than the year it was made), unless one had a copy of the original Gibson log page showing that guitar in the listings (and even then it may not indicate the specifics of a customization).

So yes, an ES-330 from 1964-1965 would normally have had rectangular block inlays on the fretboard.  I have seen a few ES-330's and ES-335's with double parallelogram inlays (the type normally found on the 345), but it's not always clear as to why we see these.  One possibility is that they were originally custom-ordered that way, but it's probably just as likely that it could have been a later modification.  If the guitar could be examined by a vintage expert, they could probably determine whether a modification was done.  If the guitar had been custom-ordered that way, this would of course be better than if it had been modified, in terms of the guitar's value. 

If the different inlays were in fact the result of an original custom order, this complicates the process of assigning a value to the guitar.  The reason for this is that not everyone agrees on whether a variation from stock features is a good thing or a bad thing.  It makes the instrument more rare (and in this case I think it makes it more appealing visually, and the ornamentation on ES-345's was fancier than ES-330's- or ES-335's), but there are those who think that guitars are more appealing if they conform to the original model specs.  In my personal opinion, I think a custom order like this makes the guitar more special and should make it more valuable.  How much more is subjective.

I hope that his helps.

Hi Jim, thanks for the interesting reply. I'll post some pictures as soon as I can. Oh and the hard-shell case with the yellow fur inside, looks "original" too, but it has much more space at the head-stock side (as if it would be for a 12 string or bass guitar). My dealer (who a according to me is a reasonable and honest person) is offering my friend more or less 1800$ for the guitar in the state it is in . . . He told me that according to him there's around 400 bucks to get it back in shape, and that they would try selling it for 2800-3000$. To me the offer he's making my friend (who really needs money quickly), seems to be a bit on the low end in my opinion, but what do you think ?  

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I really couldn't give you an accurate estimate without seeing the guitar, and knowing more about its originality.  Naturally, if he is selling it to a dealer who needs to buy at a price where he can make enough of a profit to justify the purchase, your friend isn't going to get as much money as he would if he sold it himself or even consigned it to a dealer (who would then take a smaller percentage of the final sale price).  I think it's possible that $1800 is a fair offer, but I just couldn't say for certain.  I also have no idea what is involved in the $400 of repairs.  Anyway, I hope this is helpful in some way.

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Hi Jim, sorry for getting back to you only now . . . I have the guitar at home now and I could make pictures. BTW I bought the guitar for 1800$ and got it "fixed" (set up, cleaned, and back in shape) and I'm happy with it. Still wondering about this rectangle inlay mystery though. So apart from the global overall pictures where you see the guitar and its case, what are the kind of detailed pictures you'd need ?

Once a gain thanks a lot for your input and have a nice day.

As the size of pictures and the amount of posts here is limited per day, would you mind giving me your email so I can send you the pictures via email ? You can also find me on Facebook (Taco ZWART)

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Can someone please help me identify my guitar? There are no imprinted marks, no stickers inside sound hole. Only sticker shown is on the back of the head and it is missing a piece of the sticker, but it begins with D100. Was told when I bought it that it was a Yamaha, but this has a flat head on it. Can someone please help. I would at least like to tell people what brand I play when asked. Thank you!!!

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3 hours ago, Taco said:

Hi Jim, sorry for getting back to you only now . . . I have the guitar at home now and I could make pictures. BTW I bought the guitar for 1800$ and got it "fixed" (set up, cleaned, and back in shape) and I'm happy with it. Still wondering about this rectangle inlay mystery though. So apart from the global overall pictures where you see the guitar and its case, what are the kind of detailed pictures you'd need ?

Once a gain thanks a lot for your input and have a nice day.

As the size of pictures and the amount of posts here is limited per day, would you mind giving me your email so I can send you the pictures via email ? You can also find me on Facebook (Taco ZWART)

Hi Taco, please post some photos here.  A basic full front view, and whatever close-up photos you would care to add of the fretboard area.  You can post as many photos as you like, if you host them on a photo-sharing site and link them here.  Congratulations on getting the 330!

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Thanks Taco.  The database for your photos requires me to download each photo individually before I can see them.  I was actually suggesting that you use a photo-sharing site (such as flickr, imgur, etc) from which you can link individual image url's directly to share photos on forums like this.  Anyway, the one photo you provided is probably enough for me to share some thoughts. 

Your parallelogram fretboard inlays are of the type found on Epiphone's Casino and Riviera models (and probably a few others).  The Casino model was of course very similar to Gibson's ES-330, and both of these instruments were being manufactured at the Gibson facility during those years (the 1960's).  This probably makes the possibility (which is all I can really say that it is) that the inlays are original (as a custom order) to your 330 a bit more likely, since those parts were used in manufacturing guitars at the same facility.  It is also possible that somebody replaced the fingerboard at some point in time with a Casino fingerboard.  Either way, I think you have a very nice guitar indeed.  Determining its value, based on this unusual feature, is (as I said before) a subjective matter of opinions, and would be affected by clearing up the mystery as to whether it was an original custom order or a later modification.  This would be best achieved by a hands-on examination by a knowledgeable vintage guitar expert or repairperson.  And I realize that you may not have such a person nearby.  At any rate, I would say that you got a very nice guitar for a very good price.

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