Gibson VOS 1963 ES-335 TD

I like the look and feel of a broken-in guitar. The Japanese call this broken-in-ness Wabi Sabi. Objects that reduce the emotional distance. Things that feel true, right, natural. A graceful ageing, a patina. An object that is present and has presence, yet doesn’t really call attention to itself.

Gibson Guitars has a series called Vintage Original Spec; VOS for short. To me, this is the Wabi-Sabi aesthetic in the form of a guitar. And these guitars are markedly different from the production line in several aspects.

The 1963 ES 335 VOS is true to the original in virtually every respect. The finish is a nitrocellulose that has been ‘taken down’ to produce that very soft patina. The hardware also has been aged slightly. The tuners are vintage Klusons. Unlike earlier and/or later 335’s, the horns are less dramatic; not the mouse-ear version. The neck shape is thinner also, and that in combination with the lighter overall weight makes for a very comfortable guitar to play, even taking into account that 335’s are ‘bigger’ size-wise. They use lightweight center locks with spruce bracing, getting this guitar as close as humanly possible to a real 1963 model.

The cherry red 335 is the must have color for lovers of all things 335. And the lighter the semi, the better. It is truly a rare thing to have all these factors coalesce in one guitar. Gibson has really pulled it off with this one.

I like nitro finishes also. They develop, over time, this wabi-sabi character. A nitro finished guitar feels more open, breathy; and over time, as the finish opens up and breaks down a bit, the guitar continues to come alive.

The MHS Humbuckers are scatter-wound, using Alnico 3 magnets. So each one is slightly different. All the VOS guitars use Bumblebee capacitors, for a very classic, vintage sound. The bridge saddles are nylon, for a less brighter attack.

One of the benefits of a semi-hollow is that the chambers produce a softer, yet wide and big attack. So, in conjunction with a good tube amp and an overdrive pedal, there is a silky sustain and overdrive that never sounds overly bright. One of our teachers here at nstuffmusic uses a 335 for virtually all of his gigs and sessions.

All the VOS guitars come with a custom hardshell case and a certificate of authenticity.

N Stuff Music is an authorized Gibson dealer.

For more info, just log onto or call 412.828.1003

-Mark Lucas

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