Gibson ES 340!
Guitar Photo & Review
If you’re looking for the information on the Gibson ES 340, you probably want to know about the ES-340TD -- although you can be forgiven for dropping a few letters from this cumbersome name.
The Gibson ES-340TD was a short-lived model intended to be out of phase with the rest of the rock world. If that sounds like something you can relate to, you might still be able to find a nice one used.
You’ll have to look hard, though.
Produced for only six years, their availability today is limited.
Its ability to go out of phase is actually the one thing that separates it from its nearest cousin.
If you think about it, it’s an awfully big name for a one-trick pony.
Launched in 1969 and only available until 1974, the ES-340TD (with TD standing for Thinline Double, referring to its thickness and its double pickups) was exactly like the ES-335TD except for one thing: wiring differences allowed players to choose an out-of-phase configuration that provided what Gibson once called a “snarly” sound.
You know what they meant.
While the ES-335 had a regular three-way selector switched that allowed you to choose to use your neck pickup, the one at the bridge or both, the ES-340 switched worked differently.
It allowed you to choose between off, both pickups in phase or both pickups out of phase.
Separate volume control knobs on the two pickups allowed them to be blended to get just the sound you wanted, essentially substituting for the regular switch that had been subverted to a new purpose on this model.
Categorized as a thin archtop guitar with a semi-acoustic body, the Gibson ES-340TD featured a double Venetian cutaway design.
The model was so short-lived because Gibson did a curious thing in 1973.
They fitted all ES-335s with a coil tap that could recreate the out-of-phase sound of the 340, making this once cutting-edge new instrument obsolete.
With one simple addition to an already-popular model, the 340 went the way of the dodo.
Since the 340 had been more expensive than the 335 anyway, no one complained.
While the Gibson ES 340 survives as only a footnote in the history books today, players who own them say they hold their own among their ES series cousins, despite being just a little different.
You could call them the black sheep of the Gibson ES family.
They tend to slip into a different world sometimes, but doesn’t everybody?
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