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Gibson Custom ES-335 Dot Electric Guitar, 'Fat-Neck,' Antique Re

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Added On: Sunday 27 February, 2011

The ES-335 Fat Neck was introduced by the Gibson Custom Shop in 2008. For players who prefer a larger, heavier neck with a rounded profile for any reason--playing technique, larger hands, resonant characteristics, or just a true vintage look and feel--this historic reissue is the perfect instrument.

Countless music legends have immortalized Gibson's ES-335.

Two '57 Classic humbucking pickups and stopbar tailpiece.

Headstock with rich holly veneer and vintage tulip style tuners.

The Fat Neck is patterned on the run of 521 ES-335s produced by Gibson's original Kalamazoo factory in 1959. This distinctive six-string still has all the same winning tonal qualities as the Custom Shop 335s modeled in 1958: warm, darker, mellow rounded tones perfect for jazz or blues, supercharged with the edge, sustain, and plain authority that comes with semi-hollowbody design.

In keeping with the vintage '59s, the ES-335 Fat Neck not only boasts the correct rounded '59 one-piece mahogany neck profile, but the slightly smaller body of the originals and vintage lightweight maple centerblock construction. The Fat Neck's body measures 16 inches wide, 19 inches long, and 1.7-inches deep.

Body and Finishes
Each Custom Shop ES-335 Fat Neck has a plain maple top, back, and rims with a three-ply maple body construction and that vintage lightweight maple centerblock. Models are available in antique red finish, antique natural, antique ebony, and antique vintage sunburst. The pearloid dot inlays give the guitar its distinctive moniker, and they are balanced by a single-ply cream binding along the neck, top, and back.

Neck and Hardware
All hardware is nickel, and there's a classic ABR-1 bridge with a lightweight aluminum stopbar tailpiece. True to the original ES-335s, the neck has the rounded 1959 profile and a 24-inch scale length with an 1 11/16th-inch width at the nut. The headstock has a rich holly veneer and the tuners are vintage tulip style.

As with many other iconic Custom Shop reproductions of great Gibsons from the '50s and '60s, the 1959 ES-335 Fat Neck model has two '57 Classic humbucking pickups, two volume pots, two tone pots, and a three-way pickup selector switch. The guitar sports Gibson Brite Wire .010s strings.

Nitrocellulose Finish
Applying a nitrocellulose finish to any Gibson guitar is one of the most labor-intensive elements of the guitar-making process. A properly applied nitro finish requires extensive man hours, several evenly applied coats, and an exorbitant amount of drying time. But this fact has never swayed Gibson into changing this time-tested method, employed ever since the first Gibson guitar was swathed with lacquer back in 1894. Why? For starters, a nitro finish dries to a much thinner coat than a polyurethane finish, which means there is less interference with the natural vibration of the instrument, allowing for a purer tone. A nitro finish is also a softer finish, which makes it easily repairable. You can touch up a scratch or ding on a nitro finish, but you can't do the same on a poly finish. In addition, a nitro finish is very porous in nature, and actually gets thinner over time. It does not "seal" wood in an airtight shell--as a poly finish does--and allows the wood to breathe and age properly.

All VOS (Vintage Original Spec) series guitars will use a proprietary process that includes unique steps for staining, wet-sanding, and hand-rubbing; subsequently the guitars reflect what a well-cared for 40-year-old guitar looks like. The result is a remarkable patina that will delight even the most discriminating enthusiast.

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