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


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 premium.

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 amplification.
• Alnico No. 5 magnetic poles individually adjustable for tone balance.
• Gold-plated metal parts offer rich decorative accents.
• 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 hardshell case
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
davesguitar.com
Photos by Mullally and text by Braithwaite.

Looking for more great gear for the guitar player in your life (yourself included!)? Check out this year's Holiday Gear Finds!

Read MoreShow less

Dunable announce new Minotaur model featuring Grover Rotomatic Keystone tuners.

Read MoreShow less

This full-amp-stack-in-a-box pedal brings a new flavor to the Guitar Legend Tone Series of pedals, Missing Link Audio’s flagship product line.

Read MoreShow less

John Bohlinger plays “Grandpa,” Kurt Cobain’s 1953 D-18 that resides in the Martin Guitar 1833 Shop and Museum.

Energy is in everything. Something came over me while playing historical instruments in the Martin Guitar Museum.

When I’m filming gear demo videos, I rarely know what I’m going to play. I just pick up whatever instrument I’m handed and try to feel where it wants to go. Sometimes I get no direction, but sometimes, gear is truly inspiring—like music or emotion falls right out. I find this true particularly with old guitars. You might feel some vibe attached to the instrument that affects what and how you play. I realize this sounds like a hippie/pseudo-spiritual platitude, but we’re living in amazing times. The Nobel Prize was just awarded to a trio of quantum physicists for their experiments with quantum entanglement, what Albert Einstein called “spooky action at a distance.” Mainstream science now sounds like magic, so let’s suspend our disbelief for a minute and consider that there’s more to our world than what’s on the surface.

Read MoreShow less