GIBSON | THIN ELECTRIC ACOUSTIC | ES-345TD

Gibson ES-345TD

Thin line semi-acoustic guitar

Gibson ES 345 description | 1959 announcement | 1967 ES-345
1963 Gibson ES345
A nice 1963 Gibson ES-345TD in the standard Sunburst finish

The Gibson ES-345 TD was launched in 1959, and first demonstrated at the summer trade shows of that year - along with the Gibson ES355 stereo varitone. These models came one year after the sucessful launch of the Gibson ES335 and Gibson ES355 models. All of these guitars were part of the new thinline series of guitars, characterised by a semi-hollow body: a maple top and back with a central maple block running the length of the body continuing from where the neck ends. The neck, in typical Gibson style, was initially mahogany, with a rosewood fingerboard. The 345 doesn't have some of the ornamentation of the 355, but it still has gold plated hardware, and the stereo varitone circuitry. In total 10560 345s were shipped between 1959 and 1979, with 1967 the peak. See ES-345 shipping data below.

Announcing the Gibson ES-345T, 1959

The stereo capability of the 345 featured heavily in early publicity material. The May/Jun 1959 Gibson Gazette proclaimed: New and first from Gibson... true stereophonic sound for the guitar... it goes on: Now - the surrounding sound of stereo comes to the guitar, and music becomes magic ...an exciting, thrilling experience for player and listener alike.

Gibson ES-345 catalog appearances

Gibson 1964 Electrics catalog
1964 Electrics

Exciting to play, thrilling to hear! This new gibson can produce any sound you've ever heard from any guitar. Though marvellously versatile, it is uncomplicated... may be used with stereophonic, monaural, or two channel amplifier
Gibson 1966 Full Line catalog
1966 Gibson full line catalog

...it offers six pre-set tonalities with the Gibson varitone control and exceiting stereophonic tone separation. It can be played through a stereo amplifier, two channel amplifier or two separate amplifiers. Special stero wiring and "Y" cable provide complete separation of tone
1970 Gibson thinline catalog
1970 Gibson thinline catalog

In 1970 Gibson produced a range of mini-catalogues, each covering a part of Gibson's range.
Gibson 1975 thinline catalogue
The 1975 thinline catalogue with bluesman BB King on the front.
Below the minimalist 1978 electrics catalogue entitled Quality / Prestige / Innovation
Gibson 1978 Quality /Prestige /Innovation catalogue
1980 Gibson catalogue
The 1980 Gibson catalogue This is the last catalogue to feature the ES345.

ES-345 Specifications

Gibson ES-345 TDC
1980 Gibson ES-345TDSV

The following description is taken from the 1970 Gibson thinline catalogue

This versatile instrument offers six pre-set tonalities with Gibson Vari-Tone control and exciting stereophonic tone separation. Play the ES-345TD through a stereo amplifier, two-channel amplifier or two separate amplifiers. Special stereo wiring and "Y" cable provide tone separation.

FEATURES: Curly maple arched top and back, gold-plated metal parts. Slim, fast, low-action neck joins body at 20th fret. Laminated neck, adjustable truss rod. Rosewood fingerboard, pearl inlays. Adjustable Tune-O-Matic bridge for perfect intonation. Twin Humbucking pickups with separate tone and volume controls which can be pre-set. Three-position toggle switch. Stereo wiring and "Y" cable. Vari-Tone built-in tone selector. Six pre-set tonalities. 16" wide, 19" long, 1 ¾" thin; 24 ¾" scale, 22 frets.

ES-345TD - Sunburst finish
ES-345TDC - Cherry finish
ES-345TDW - Walnut finish

519 - Faultless plush case
304 - Archcraft plush case
ZC-19 - Zipper case for 519 case

Gibson ES-345TD shipping figures

Gibson shipped 10560 ES-345 guitars between 1959 and 1979, the peak production years being 1967, then 1968. Check out a 1967 Gibson ES-345. The most widely employed finish was the basic sunburst, with 43% of guitars being that colour. Cherry is also a common colour, on about a third of the total shipped. It actually proved to be more popular than Sunburst in much of the late sixties and seventies. Rare finishes are Natural, Ebony, and Tobacco Sunburst. The earliest examples, and particularly the 50 Natural ones, are particularly sought after by guitar collectors.

  ES-345TD
(Sunburst)
ES-345TDN
(Natural)
ES-345TDC
(Cherry)
ES-345TDW
(Walnut)
ES-345TD
(Ebony)
ES-345TD
(Tobacco Sunburst)
ES-345TD
(Wine Red)
Total
1959 446 32           478
1960 251 18 252         521
1961 174   223         397
1962 102   204         306
1963 117   161         278
1964 218   193         411
1965 272   216         488
1966 278   186         464
1967 501   643         1144
1968 560   378         938
1969 201   213         414
1970 124   143 106       373
1971 100   120 128       348
1972 106   128 163       397
1973 127   307 305       739
1974 122   240 234 52 50   698
1975 48   7 73       128
1976 435     157     321 913
1977 127     116     144 387
1978 116     107     159 382
1979 114   2 109     131 356
Total 4539
43%
50
0.5%
3616
34%
1498
14%
52
0.5%
50
0.5%
755
7%
10560
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Bob Cullen Comment left 23rd January 2013 16:04:07 reply
I just pulled out of storage for at least 20 years a Gibson ES-345TD serial #636872 and it is still in perfect tune! Any Takers bcullen@cogeco.ca

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