| November 2, 2023 |

The Gibson Crest: An ES-335 Killer?

This rare Gibson model was only in production for four years, and few players have seen one up close—until now

2 Nov 2023

Unlocking the Mystique of Vintage Guitars—the Gibson Certified Vintage Program  

Vintage guitars have a certain mystique that captures the imagination of musicians and collectors alike—that’s why we offer the Gibson Certified Vintage program. They’re not just instruments; they’re pieces of history with a unique story to tell. One such rarity in the world of vintage guitars is the Gibson Crest, a model that enjoyed a brief but remarkable production run from 1969 to 1972. Let’s delve into the intriguing story of the Gibson Crest and explore why it’s considered a prized gem among guitar aficionados.

Exploring the Rare Gibson Crest: A Vintage Gem From 1969-1972  

The Gibson Crest is, by all accounts, a rare breed. Only 208 of these guitars were ever made during its relatively short production run, and of those, a mere 56 rolled off the assembly line in its inaugural year, 1969. VintageGuitarandBass.com points out that the Crest only appeared once in a Gibson catalog—on page 3 of our 1970 Thinline Catalog—and that it may have been produced at least once with brushed silver hardware in addition to the advertised gold hardware—an unconfirmed induction made from a scan of “Build of Materials” document from the era that notes brushed silver hardware and a Bigsby as part of the package. Photos of the maverick specimen have not emerged as of this printing—contact us if you have photos!

The Crest pictured in this article is from those original 1969 specimens, adding an extra layer of allure to its already enigmatic history. With a new certificate of authenticity and limited lifetime warranty, this particular instrument sold in late 2023. It was shipped to its new owner with a detailed letter of appraisal confirming both provenance and history, signed by Gibson’s Director of Brand Experience, Mark Agnesi.

A Luxurious Vintage Offering and Its Unique Features  

What set the Gibson Crest apart from its contemporaries was its status. Back in its heyday, this guitar commanded a price tag twice that of the iconic ES-335. Its premium pedigree was evident in every facet of its design and construction. 

The Crest boasted a fully hollow ES™ body shape, reminiscent of classics like the ES-330 and Epiphone Casino™. The guitar’s body featured exquisite Brazilian rosewood top, back, and sides—all brought together in a stunning Natural finish that accentuated the exotic wood’s inherent beauty. It also featured gold Kluson® Waffleback®  tuners with Keystone buttons, split diamond Mother of Pearl Block headstock inlays, MOP block neck markers, and intricate marquetry inlays on the back.

Masterful Craftsmanship: Exploring the 1969 Gibson Crest’s Beauty  

One look at this 1969 Crest, and it’s clear that it’s a testament to the masterful craftsmanship of the era. The 5-piece maple neck was adorned with a rich Brazilian rosewood fretboard, complete with original frets. While the passage of time left its mark, there’s a unique charm in the lacquer checking and subtle playwear that adorns this instrument. Our current Murphy Lab Collection instruments exhibit many of the same soulful qualities of wear, age, and love.

A guitar’s soul often lies in its pickups, and the Crest was no exception. This vintage beauty boasts a pair of floating Johnny Smith pickups, renowned for their warm, articulate tones. These pickups were an integral part of the Crest’s sonic identity, delivering the kind of lush, resonant sound that discerning musicians and jazz aficionados cherished. Gibson Johnny Smith pickups are known for producing a rich, full-bodied tone with remarkable sustain, making them a preferred choice not only for jazz guitarists but also for those looking to infuse their music with a touch of vintage elegance and sophistication.

The Complete Package: Gibson Crest With Original Case and Upgrades  

To make this Crest even more appealing to the buyer, it shipped with its original hardshell case with a new handle to ensure that it is ready for many more years of musical journeys. For added practicality, a strap button was thoughtfully added at the heel, making it a versatile companion for the lucky new owner.

Find out more about the Gibson Certified Vintage Collection and shop now.