"Peggy Sue" Meets "Bad to the Bone"
1958 Gibson ES-225TDN
This super rare featherweight guitar weighs just 6.20 lbs. and has a 16 1/4 inch wide, just under 2 inch deep, 'double-bound' laminated maple body with two 'f' holes edged in white. One-piece mahogany neck with a fat nut width of just over 1 11/16 inches, a standard Gibson scale length of 24 3/4 inches and a wonderful thick '58 profile. Brazilian rosewood fretboard with 20 original thin frets and inlaid pearl dot position markers. Headstock with inlaid pearl "Gibson" logo. Two-layer (black on white) plastic truss-rod cover. Individual single-line Kluson Deluxe tuners with white plastic oval buttons and "D-169400 / Patent No." stamped on the underside. Serial number "T 4895 34 11" stamped in black inside the treble f-hole, and model "ES-225TN" stamped in black inside the bass f-hole. Two wonderfully resonant black P-90 pickups with outputs of 8.55k and 8.11k and black plastic covers, the neck pickup cover stamped on the underside "UC-450-1 2", and the bridge pickup cover stamped on the underside "UC-450-1 1" with an additional black plastic 'spacer'. Five-layer black over white plastic pickguard secured by original neck-pin and side bracket. Four controls (two volume, two tone) on lower treble bout, plus three-way pickup selector switch on upper bass bout. Gold plastic bell-shaped "Bell" knobs. Combination trapeze bridge/tailpiece engraved with "PAT." All hardware nickel-plated. The original tailpiece has been invisibly repaired at the hinge, the original nut has had a small 'fill' at the low 'E' string end, and a later matching white plastic strap button has been fitted on the neck heel. None of the aforementioned are really obvious to the naked eye. This guitar is in exceptionally fine (9.00) condition. Apart from some very fine, minor finish checking, the bare minimum of belt buckle wear and two tiny marks on the back, a few very small marks on the edges of the body and the headstock, one tiny mark on the back of the neck just behind the fifth fret, this very beautiful example, from one of the very best years, is as good as one could ever wish for. Housed in its original Gibson brown four-latch hardshell case (same as an ES-335) with pink plush lining (8.75).
Before the ES-335, 345, 355. Before the ES-330, and even the humble 125TC. Before any of the legendary series of Gibson thinlines that changed guitar design forever, there was this slim beauty, where it all began. "Introduced in 1955, the ES-225T [with one P-90 pickup] was the first thinline electric to be produced in sizeable quantities. A dual pickup version was subsequently marketed in 1956 and both models remained in production until 1959 at which point they were, at least according to Gibson brochures, replaced by the ES-330T/TD. In fact, the ES-125TC/TCD later emerged as the true successors of the ES-225T/TD…The overall shape and construction of the ES-225 can be likened to a thin-body ES-175. The model is primarily characterized by its Les Paul combination bridge/tailpiece which in 1955 was fitted only to the all-gold ES-295. The ES-225T was the first Gibson electric to be issued with a single pickup placed half-way between the fingerboard and the bridge. At the outset, the ES-225T was offered in sunburst finish only but natural became optional in 1956" (A.R. Duchossoir, Gibson Electrics -- The Classic Years, p. 229).
"It was a disc jockey convention in Nashville, and the year was 1955. Gibson, Inc. had a booth demonstrating their new offerings, and ace session guitarists Hank Garland and Billy Byrd were sampling the merchandise. Then, according to Garland, Gibson rep Clarence Havenga asked the fateful question: "What would you like in a guitar that we don't already have?" By the time the three had finished brainstorming, a new guitar was born. Garland had already commisioned a guitar from Elmer Stromberg that was about an inch thinner in depth than a conventional archtop. After his meeting with Havenga, Gibson rushed into production three new models with the slimmer body: the Byrdland, the ES-350T, and this revolutionary guitar, the ES-225T. Unlike its premium priced siblings, the ES-225 was targeted at a mass audience, and was massively popular. Over 2200 of the new Florentine cutaway thinlines shipped in the first two years of production alone. However, only a tiny fraction of these were finished in the rich amber blonde lacquer, less than 10% of total production by the time the model was discontinued in 1959."
The total production run of ES-225TDNs between 1956 and 1959 was 542 guitars, with only 223 of them made in 1958, and selling then at a modest $244.50. Many great guitarists currently use an ES-225TD, including "The Wild Man" of Rock, Ted Nugent, and the "Bad to the Bone" George Thorogood, but back in the fifties, one of the better-known advocates was Niki Sullilvan of Buddy Holly and The Crickets. (#2114)
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