There was a time when my only criteria for an ES-335 was 'red', but I spent way too long looking at pictures of them and eventually I gained the terrible ability to spot the difference between pointy horns, Mickey Mouse ears, mid-70s whatever shapes and modern era in-betweeners, and it was all downhill from there. For those unfamiliar/unafflicted, a handy diagram:
As far as I know, the machines that pumped out the big red guitars at the Gibson plant drifted a little loose over the years, which caused the gradual change in shape. I think that picture only covers 1958 to somewhere in the mid-'70s, so I don't even know how many different shapes of 335s there are. If you can't tell the difference then for the love of God
don't try to, because then you'll end up in my situation: I fell in love with the pointy eared fella third from the left, and from then on only that shape would do.
So, I surveyed my options. A: Blow $15,000 on a 1964 ES-335. B: Do without. Neither option was going to cut it, though, but the Guitar Gods were kind and a third option presented itself before long. C: Orville by Gibson. For some reason, ObG 335s are aaaalmost dead-on to that pointy-eared mid-60s shape that not even Gibson's '63 Reissue can manage to replicate. I didn't question it, I just hauled ass over to Ebay and Yahoo Japan and Google and wherever else I thought I might find me one.
Unfortunately, ObG 335s in cherry are apparently rare as hen's teeth, because it was several agonizing
months before one showed up. Luckily it was the most perfect guitar in the whole world.
I'm having a terrible camera day, so those will have to do for now. It has this gorgeous stained red finish, much like the new Antique Red 335s that Gibson's making, but I can't take a good picture of it. But the amazing thing is this guitar is 23 years old and it's almost spotless. I found one or two tiny spots, and the previous owner had switched the strap buttons to Schallers and reversed the neck pickup ring (I think that's a Clapton thing). Otherwise this guitar looks like it just rolled off the production line. It's in far better condition than my 2011 Les Paul. I keep looking over at it to try and convince myself it's really real.
It sounds... well, it will
sound amazing, but right now it sounds pretty great. It has those weird Gibson humbuckers with the printed circuit boards on the bottom that say 'The Original', and I don't really like them at all. Honestly I think I would have rewired the thing even if there was nothing wrong with it, because I'm a masochist that way, so it's nice to have a reason to
. Unplugged it's absolutely dreamy, resonant and lively and sustaaaaainy. It makes vowel sounds; I love it.
Here's where you guys will have to help me, though. The seller advertised it as a 1988, but I'm preeeetty sure it's actually an '89. The serial number is G894157, with no spaces. Now, my Google Fu tells me that there are two potential ways of reading a one-letter, six-digit ObG serial number. The G obviously means Terada, so that's easy enough. The digits can either be one for Year, two for Month and three for Production Number, or two for Year and four for Production Number. I think the seller thought it was the first option, but that would mean it was made in the 94th month of 1988 (which I believe is October 1995
). The other way would mean it was made in 1989, with a production number of 4157, whatever that means. Does that check out, or am I missing something?