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Gibson ES-347TD electric guitar

Thinline semi-acoustic

Gibson ES347
1978 Gibson catalogue

The minimalist 1978 electrics catalogue entitled Quality / Prestige / Innovation

1978 was the first year of ES-347TD production, and the first catalogue appearance

1980 Gibson catalogueThe 1980 'Gibson Guitar' catalogue was the first US catalogue appearance of the Gibson ES-347TD, despite the fact that it had already been in production since very late 1978
1981 UK Gibson catalogue produced by Rosetti1981 Gibson (Rosetti) catalogue This catalogue was produced in the UK by distributors Rosetti
1980 Gibson catalogueThe 1983 'American-made, World-played' catalogue showed two versions of the ES-347TD, with either gold and chrome plated hardware

The ES-347 was first produced in late 1978 at the Gibson Kalamazoo plant, USA. It was produced in line with the rest of the Gibson ES series, and, as the number suggests, can be placed between the higher end models, the ES-345 and ES-355. It had a maple body, back, sides and neck, and an ebony fingerboard. Gold-plated parts and block neck inlays. Functionally it was identical to the ES-335 of the same period, with the same pickups and circuitry.

According to early publicity (and it was strongly promoted), it was: "extremely versatile", and designed "for those players equally at home with many styles of music". "The ES-347TD offers increased tonal capabilities that include more brightness and sustain".

1980 publicity

Nicknamed the "hot one", the ES-347TD produces "power", "sustain" and "tonal flexibility"!

"Power" from the high output series VII Humbucking pickups
"Sustain" and "Brightness" from the maple center block, brass nut, Sustain Sisters and the maple woods
"Tonal flexibility" from the coil tap switch, tone controls and pickup selector switch

By the late seventies several thinlines (most notably the ES-335TD) were being shipped with a coil-tap switch, to allow the humbucker pickups to function in single-coil mode. This switch was initially placed on the lower cutaway bout (see the first two guitars, above), though this was soon relocated next to the other controls. The third guitar above is an option available first available in 1981; it has chrome plated hardware (initially described as nickel plated in some Gibson literature) instead of gold, and was available in some different finishes at different times, but was otherwise identical.

Gibson ES-347TD - Larry Carlton and the Gibson TP-6
Gibson ES-347TD - Larry Carlton and the Gibson TP-6
Precision performer Gibson parts advertisement, promoting the TP-6 fine-tuning tailpiece. The ES-347TD had been fitted with the TP-6 from around 1978.
Gibson ES-347TD - In the Gibson Spotlight...
Gibson ES-347TD - In the Gibson Spotlight...
1980 advertisement for the Gibson ES347TD semi acoustic guitar.
Model Gibson ES-347TD
Pickups Two Gibson series VII humbuckers
Controls Two volume and two tone controls, three-way pickup selector switch, coil tap switch.
Scale 24 3/4"
Body Maple top, rims and back, with maple centre block. 18 5/16" long, 16" wide, 1 3/4" deep.
Neck Three-piece laminated maple neck with ebony fretboard, and block position markers. Crown headstock inlay. Polished brass nut. 22 frets. Headstock pitch 14°. Width at nut 1 11/16".
Hardware Tune-o-matic bridge with 5/8" brass studs, TP6 fine tuning tailpiece. Schaller M6 machine heads. Gold plated (optionally chrome plated 1981-1984)
Finishes Ebony, Natural, Antique Sunburst, Antique Natural, Cherry, Vintage Cherry Sunburst

As previously mentioned, the ES-347TD was a product of the famous Gibson Kalamazoo plant, Michigan, USA however some time in the middle of 1981, production was moved to the newer Nashville facility. The serial number on Kalamazoo-built guitars will have a final three digits numbered between 001 and 499, the Nashvile from 500 upwards. It was included in Norlin-era Gibson price lists from January 1979, at $1069. The TD was dropped from the name in 1983, production of the ES-347 continued into 1985, when it had a list price of $1199.

The 1980 In the Gibson Spotlight advertisement lists Ray Benson (Asleep at the Wheel), Alan Kendall (Bee Gees), Joaquin Lievano (Jean Luc Ponty) and George McCorkle (Marshall Tucker Band) as early ES-347 users.

Production continued at Kalamazoo at least until 1981, with Nashville producing 347's certainly as early as 1982.

Norlin sold out to the Gibson Guitar Corporation early in 1986, and the ES-347, although not mentioned in 1986 price lists, was included in lists from 1987 onwards.

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