Since the late 1960s, Larry Carlton has appeared on thousands of recordings as a session player, in addition to his work as a solo recording artist which has earned him 18 Grammy nominations to go along with his three Grammy statues. Throughout it all, the main constant in Carlton's wide-ranging career has been his beloved 1968 Gibson ES-335, which he still uses today.
The guitar for the man dubbed "Mr. ES-335."
Two '57 Classic humbucking pickups and stopbar tailpiece.
Schaller M6 tuners and chrome-finished hardware.
From the time his parents put a six-string into his hands at the age of six to his first gig at a supper club in 1962 to his first recorded album in 1968, With A Little Help From My Friends, "Mr. ES-335 has wowed audiences and critics alike with his virtuosity, and his unique bluesy rhythmic melodies and ringing guitar tone. He immediately endeared himself to anyone who was lucky enough to hear his distinctive blend of American jazz, blue, rock and pop guitar, which he developed by studying the inspirational techniques of artists like Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery, Barney Kessel, B.B. King, along with legendary saxophonist John Coltrane and trumpeter Miles Davis.
Body and Neck
Gibson Custom decided to honor Carlton's legacy in 2004 with the introduction of the Larry Carlton ES-335, which faithfully recreates his renowned six-string semi-hollowbody guitar, thus making it the perfect instrument for any musical setting. This legendary instrument features plain laminated maple top, back, and rims, with single-ply, creme-colored binding around the top and back. The finish has been dubbed the "Carlton Burst" for its resemblance to the faded burst finish on Carlton's original guitar. The standard 24-3/4-inch scale neck features a slim-taper profile, topped with a 22-fret rosewood fingerboard, pearloid block inlays and single-ply binding along the fingerboard.
A pair of Gibson's legendary '57 Classic pickups deliver all the warm, full tone and balanced response expected from a Gibson humbucker. Other standard appointments include a Nashville Tune-o-matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece, Schaller M6 tuners and chrome-finished hardware. The Larry Carlton ES-335 from Gibson Custom comes with the standard Gibson Custom case and certificate of authenticity.
Applying a nitrocellulose finish to any Gibson guitar is one of the most labor-intensive elements of the guitar-making process. A properly applied nitro finish requires extensive man hours, several evenly applied coats, and an exorbitant amount of drying time. But this fact has never swayed Gibson into changing this time-tested method, employed ever since the first Gibson guitar was swathed with lacquer back in 1894. Why? For starters, a nitro finish dries to a much thinner coat than a polyurethane finish, which means there is less interference with the natural vibration of the instrument, allowing for a purer tone. A nitro finish is also a softer finish, which makes it easily repairable. You can touch up a scratch or ding on a nitro finish, but you can't do the same on a poly finish. In addition, a nitro finish is very porous in nature, and actually gets thinner over time. It does not "seal" wood in an airtight shell--as a poly finish does--and allows the wood to breathe and age properly.
All VOS (Vintage Original Spec) series guitars will use a proprietary process that includes unique steps for staining, wet-sanding, and hand-rubbing; subsequently the guitars reflect what a well-cared for 40-year-old guitar looks like. The result is a remarkable patina that will delight even the most discriminating enthusiast.