A beautiful 1949 Gibson ES-350N, serial #A4308.
Gibson introduced its first electric
guitar—the ES-150—in 1936. Its
acceptance by influential players like Eddie
Durham and Charlie Christian led to the
manufacture of both lower- and higher-end
models (the ES-100 and ES-250, respectively)
over the next few years. These earliest
electric guitars were amplified with a magnetic
“bar” pickup (later called the Charlie
Christian pickup) designed by Walter Fuller.
The apex of Gibson’s pre-war electric production
was the 17" wide ES-300, which
used a long diagonal pickup in an attempt
to deliver a more natural acoustic sound.
Gibson’s refinement of the electric guitar
was halted briefly during World War II. When
production had fully resumed after the war, a
cutaway version of the ES-300 was designed
called the ES-350 Premier. This guitar was
initially equipped with one neck-position P-90
pickup (also designed by Walter Fuller), covered
by a black plastic shell. By 1949, a bridge
pickup was added and the model became
known simply as the ES-350. The ES-350
remained in production until 1956, when it
was replaced by the thin-bodied ES-350T.
LEFT: The ES-350N boasted a 17" wide body with
two P-90 single-coils designed by Walter Fuller.
MIDDLE: This guitar’s truss rod cover is engraved with
“Earl,” which helps explain the “EJS” initials on
the pickguard. RIGHT: In 1949, if you wanted a natural
finish instead of a sunburst finish, you paid a $15
The natural finished 1949 ES-350 pictured
this month perfectly matches the description in
the original 1949 Gibson catalog:
• Beautifully figured curly maple body
and neck with Gibson Golden Sunburst
or selected natural wood finishes.
• Modern cutaway design to make all 20
frets readily accessible.
• Clear, brilliant solos or full, mellow
backgrounds by regulated dual pickup
• Alnico No. 5 magnetic poles individually
adjustable for tone balance.
• Gold-plated metal parts offer rich
• Tone and volume controls make possible
wide, powerful electronic range.
• Body size 17" wide and 21" long.
Gibson’s elegant natural finish reveals
a highly figured curly maple body and neck.
The 1949 list price for an ES-350N was
$340, plus an additional $39.75 for a plush
hardshell case. The current value is $7,500.
Detailed in-depth information on the
ES-350 and other Gibson electric guitars
can be found in Gibson Electrics—The
Classic Years by A.R. Duchossoir.
Original price: $340 in 1949, plus $39.75 for
Current estimated market value: $7,500
Dave ’s Guitar Shop
Dave Rogers’ collection is tended
by Laun Braithwaite and Tim Mullally
and is on display at:
Dave’s Guitar Shop
1227 Third Street South
La Crosse, WI 54601
Photos by Mullally and text