1980 advertisement for the Gibson 335S range - A Shape You've Seen. The Sound You're Looking For.
The 335-S was Gibsons solid-body version of the semi-acoustic ES-335TD. Although it was approximately the same shape, it was actually smaller and thinner, though the same scale and with the same controls as a 1980 ES-335TD.
Around this time, Gibson were planning big changes with regard dealer authorisation. Models were to be placed in a 'series'; either Professional, Firebrand, or Sonex [Not to be confused with the older models of the same name]. There had long been a waiting list to become a Gibson dealer, and the Sonex series was to be a separately authorsied line, (and branded as Gibson Guitar Co. rather than just Gibson) presumably to allow more dealers. Each series followed the good (Deluxe), better (Standard), best (Custom) concept. So theoretically any instrument could have nine versions. This system was never fully adapted, but it does explain why, in the case of the 335-S, the Custom (traditionally the top of the range) is a lesser instrument to the Deluxe, and why many 335-S have the word PROFESSIONAL on the truss rod covers.
On its launch in mid-1980 it was described as follows:
Gibsons new 335-S Series combines a familiar shape with the playability and sustain of other legendary Gibson solid bodies. Shaped much like a diminutive ES-335, these double cutaway instruments allow players added sustain capabilities due to increased body mass and density.
Individually, the 335-S Standards contoured maple body features two high output Gibson Humbucking exposed coil pickups with one cream and one black coil. A rosewood finger-board is mounted to a three-piece maple neck. Gibsons new Autumn maple finish, available only on this model, exudes an earthiness that separates it from all other guitar finishes.
The Custom version of the 335-S utilizes the unmatched power of Gibsons "Dirty Fingers" pickups with a coil tap switch mounted in a sculptured mahogany body. The three-piece mahogany neck features a rosewood fingerboard with dot inlays and corresponding side dots. Gibsons incredible TP-6 tailpiece insures fine-tuning capabilties with fingertip ease. An outstanding Natural Mahogany finish tops this high energy instrument.
The 335-S Deluxe is offered in Tobacco Sunburst, Cherry or Silverburst finish on a mahogany body with a neck that features a bound ebony fingerboard. Pearl inlayed Gibson peghead, "Dirty Fingers" pickups with coil tap, TP-6 tailpiece, the new-ultra safe Gibson "Posi-Lok" strap button, and polished brass fingerboard nut for added sustain.
Launch prices were $499 (Standard), $599 (Custom) and $699 (Deluxe). Perhaps a Professional series 335-S Standard or Custom would have been manufactured, had the instrument been more sucessful. The Standard had disappeared from price lists by April 1981, and the Custom by June 1982. No 335-S models were shown in the January '83 price lists.
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