The semi-hollow, thinline-with-center-block Gibson ES-335 carves its own sonic and historical niche in the world of electric guitars. It’s on the short list of models whose look and sound are instantly recognizable. When Gibson Memphis decided to do a spot-on reproduction, Warren Haynes’ 1961 335, affectionately known a Big Red, proved to be an excellent choice.
For three months, “Big Red” was studied, measured, weighed, and compared so that the Gibson Memphis Warren Haynes Celebrity Series 1961 ES-335 could be an exact replica. The body is made of individually matched maple/poplar/maple cathedral-pattern veneers, which are hand-stained in ’60s Cherry to match the original. The maple center block is particularly lightweight, greatly affecting the tone and sustain of the guitar and adding resonance. The Celebrity Series 1961 ES-335 has a laminated, ’60s Cherry maple top, “Mickey Mouse” cutaways and a lightweight mahogany neck, which was shaped to exacting “Big Red” standards.
Burst Bucker pickups, which are Warren’s favorites, were used in conjunction with Black Beauty capacitors in order to re-create his 1961 335’s big, airy, open tone; the complex mids, sweet highs, and focused lows are all there.
Other unique, period-correct specifics include nickel-plated brass saddles and long bridge studs and anchors, all of which increase sustain exponentially. His guitar was so perfectly modeled that Warren actually uses the re-creation on tour, not just as a back-up. More than just an artist model guitar, the Gibson Memphis Warren Haynes Celebrity Series 1961 ES-335 is an exact replica of an iconic guitar from the golden age of the 335.