Gibson ES-350N Arch Top Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1951)

Gibson  ES-350N Arch Top Hollow Body Electric Guitar  (1951)

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Item # 8265
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Gibson ES-350N Model Arch Top Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1951), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, natural lacquer finish, laminated maple body and neck, rosewood fretboard and bridge, original brown hard shell case.

This is a very nice example of an early 1950s blonde ES-350, one of Gibson's mainstays in the late '40s and early '50s. This is a 17" fully hollow laminated body electric guitar that, when new, occupied a place between the 16" ES-175 and three-pickup ES-5 in Gibson's line, being the most deluxe two-pickup laminated guitar offered.

This guitar appears to have been re-wired very early on with a switch substituted for the original third pot on the cutaway bout. The amber "speed" knobs are correct for the period 1953-55, as is the switch tip, suggesting this may well have been an early factory or dealer modification.

Originally the black covered P-90 pickups each had a volume control on the lower treble bout, with a master tone knob on the cutaway. As currently wired, the two knobs are a single tone and volume, with the switch on the cutaway doing its familiar selecting job.

While we generally prefer to restore guitars to their factory configuration, in this case most players will prefer the current easily selectable pickup options to the slightly clumsy original design. Gibson themselves abandoned the original layout and changed the model to a 4-knob and switch rig in late 1952.

The ES-350N is a fairly fancy guitar with an all-maple body, a single rounded cutaway, and two f-holes; this one has an attractive tiger stripe grain on top and back. All hardware is gold-plated, including the trapeze tailpiece with pointed ends and three raised parallelograms. The pickguard is five-ply laminated black/white plastic with a beveled edge.

The maple neck is a three piece laminate, the center element being a narrow black stripe. The rosewood fretboard is single-bound and inlaid with double parallelograms. The headstock is also single-bound with a mother-of-pearl crown and Gibson logo inlaid in the peghead overlay. The back of the peghead is painted black, coming to a point just below the nut on the back of the neck. The Kluson Deluxe tuners have plastic "tulip" single ring buttons.

The ES-350 was introduced in 1947 and was Gibson's first electric with a cutaway. It became a double-pickup guitar by 1949, making this a fairly early example. Blonde guitars like this were produced in smaller numbers than the sunburst version -- well under 100 each year -- with only 57 shipped in 1951. Production of the ES-350 was discontinued in 1956, replaced by the thin-body ES-350T.

This is a great-playing and sounding guitar well-suited to a variety of jazz, pop, blues, or early rock and roll styles. Tal Farlow and Barney Kessel are just two of the jazz greats to have made notable use of this model, one of Gibson's early classic electric guitars.
Overall length is 41 3/4 in. (106 cm.), 17 in. (43.2 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 3 1/2 in. (8.9 cm.) in depth at side, taken at the end block. Scale length is 25 1/2 in. (648 mm.).

This guitar remains in fine original condition except for the small changes required for the re-wiring job noted above and perfect reproduction gold Kluson Deluxe tuners with extremely accurate keystone buttons. It could easily be re-wired to factory configuration with no visible signs, if desired. There are small wear spots but really overall this is a very clean guitar with only the faintest finish checking.

The pickups have been potted (it looks like some time ago) with a putty-like material added around the coils under the covers; the sound is unaffected, and this is a less noisy guitar than many from this period! An excellent player and a fine example of the Gibson electric archtop tradition, complete in its original brown HSC. Excellent Condition.