tryna find the right ES335


I've been doing a little online scouring for a 70's era Gibson ES335 for a little while now, only for the simple sake of desperately wanting a model with a trapeze tailpiece, and preferably the block inlays.

I know this is a very minor detail set, and all in all, any quality Gibson ES335 ought to do sonically and functionally.

And yet even more ironically still, I feel I really can't hang with slimmer nut widths and neck profiles.

I feel that a solid girthy '59 style, or even better yet '58 style Gibson neck with the ol' 1"11/16 suits my rather large hands and slender fingers, and allows me to play much more freely.

I own and play a decent few Fenders that have slimmer neck profiles, and I do enjoy playing them without any real problem, but I feel another Gibson will have to be bulkier for me.

And truth be told, I've felt that based on what I've seen thus far, for the aesthetic at least, 70s is pretty much all I can hope for, but I'm just a bit worried that a slimmer neck and nut will potentially limit my playability more than I can really account for with just speculation.

Not being able to play too many locally is also really hindering my research process.

I have no qualms with buying a newer model, but I just feel so attached to those two aesthetic details.

So all in all, what I'd like to ask is simply this; can I find myself a newer model that still fits the trapeze/block aesthetic, but perhaps with a more modern neck profile/nut width mentality?

Roast my outlandish dreams below, thank you.


Silver Supporting Member
Do you have experience of playing the narrow nut era Gibsons? I always thought I was a big neck guy, and avoided late 60/70s Gibsons because I'd lots of things online about how unplayable they were, but every now and then I'd pick one up in a shop and find myself liking it and now I own several from that era that I enjoy playing as much as my '58 ES225. If you have slender fingers they're not that hard to adjust to.

If you do want a bigger neck guitar with those spec, there's a few things to consider.

Although the dimensions at the nut are small, typically they taper a lot so they're only really narrow under the fifth fret. My '69 330 is super narrow at the nut but feels like a 50s neck once you're out of the cowboy chord area. Typically the larger ones are very late 60s into '70 but they do vary. You'll pay a big premium for a big neck '68 or '69 over a 70s guitar, but a player grade example might be a reasonable compromise. With Gibson though, if neck profiles are important to you always ask before buying - most of them follow a pattern, but lots don't. Hey, it's Gibson.

The era for the blocks and trapeze combo is early '65 to very early '81 - the narrow nut era for 335s is slightly shorter, running from the second half of '65 to mid '78. So, a '79 or '80 should be 1 11/16ths and in those years will have a medium C profile, very like a '63-'65 era neck. Those guitars have a few quirks over the earlier ones, as also in that era you have maple necks, a coil tap on the lower horn and a slightly pinched body shape, but they're still a 335 with a trapeze and block inlays.

Lastly, Gibson appear to have worked to a tolerance of about 1/16th when making necks, so you can find 1 5/8" nuts throughout the narrow nut era - and also 1 1/2", although dealers tend to keep their mouths shut when they have one of those. Never hurts to ask if they can measure the nut width if you're looking at a particular guitar.

The only reissue I can think of with blocks and a trapeze is the '68 RI from a few years ago. I've not played one but I believe they're 1 9/16th nut. Lots of stop tail block inlay examples obviously.


Two ideas. If you play and live with the narrow necks, you will get used to them, trust me. Gibson didn't do that to *lose* sales...they were loved for a long time by a lot of folks. Second, there are scads of newer ones, should be able to find a 1 11/16 neck, and add the trapeze, should be an easy mod.

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