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Guitar of the Month: 1968 ES-355 Gold Sparkle

All that Glitters…

Guitar Shop TV’s “Guitar of the Month” is this magnificent 1968 Gibson ES-355 Gold Sparkle double cutaway, recently featured by The Chicago Music Exchange, which is located at 3316 North Lincoln Avenue in Chicago. The CME website described this amazing guitar as follows: “Perhaps inspired by the radical spirit of the times as much as by the then-traditional, elegant looks of the Les Paul Goldtop, this 1968 ES-355 was ordered as a factory one-off in Gold Sparkle finish. As a unique piece of semi-hollow history, it is a stunning example.

“The finish retains its golden hue, with only the slightest hint of greening that sometimes befalls such gold Gibsons as the ES-295 and even the Les Paul Goldtop. Underneath the pickguard, there’s one spot of heavy finish wear that goes down to the wood, almost appearing as a burst bubble or the victim of something being dropped on it—otherwise, the guitar is very clean, with some moderate finish wear on the back of the neck but only minor wear elsewhere. The chrome hardware is beautifully intact. The neck pickup cover is nickel, but all other parts appear to be original.

“The ES-355 was an upmarket development of the popular ES-335, complete with some cosmetic appointments similar to a Les Paul Custom, like five-ply binding around all body and headstock edges, the split-diamond peghead inlay, and block fingerboard inlays. The ES-355 was available with Varitone electronics and a Bigsby that make each example even more unique, but this customer apparently didn’t want these complications—just a very classy-looking tone machine.”

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