Hail! Hail! Gibson Presents the Chuck Berry 1970s ES-355

Chuck Berry (1928-2017) performs on November 23, 1981, at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan.
(Image credit: Ross Marino/Getty Images)

Rock ‘n’ roll progenitor Chuck Berry needs no introduction. Following a genre-defining 64-year career his pioneering technique remains woven into the fabric of modern electric guitar playing. 

Paying tribute to the rock ‘n’ roll legend, Gibson have unveiled a brand-new signature model – the Chuck Berry 1970s ES-355.

Chuck Berry 1970s ES-355

Gibson Chuck Berry 1970s ES-355 (Image credit: Gibson)

This follows the limited-edition release of the Chuck Berry 1955 ES-350T. Berry famously played the thinline hollowbody ES-350T model as well as semi-hollowbody thinline double-cutaway electric ES-335, ES-345, and ES-355 models following their introduction in the late '50s. 

Interestingly, Berry was also an early adopter of the Les Paul, using a Custom model in the early part of his career.

Chuck Berry with Gibson Les Paul Custom

Chuck Berry with Gibson Les Paul Custom (Image credit: Gilles Petard/Redferns)

The Gibson Chuck Berry 1970s ES-355 is a recreation of Berry’s treasured 1978 ES-355 model and comes in a transparent Wine Red finish. This color is similar to the 355’s introductory Cherry finish and was available alongside Walnut and Sunburst finishes as standard for the ES-355TDSV in Gibson’s 1978 catalog.

The ES-355 was introduced in 1958 as an upmarket version of the new ES-335. By the following year, two versions were available: the mono ES-355TD and the stereo ES-355TD-SV. Decoded, this rather lengthy moniker translates as follows: Electric Spanish Thinline Dual-Pickup Stereo Varitone.

The chickenhead knob 6-way Varitone switch – a simple capacitor/filter array – allows various tone ‘presets’ to be selected and can also be found on some mono output guitars. It’s featured on the new Chuck Berry model, complimenting the broad range of tones available from the instrument’s dual Custombucker Alnico 5 pickups.

Staying true to the original, the Gibson Chuck Berry 1970s ES-355 features a maple laminate construction with spruce bracing and a maple centerblock, along with a 3-piece maple neck (volute included) and ebony fingerboard. Typical 355 appointments also include multiple-ply binding and gold hardware throughout, with eye-catching large block fretboard markers and 5-piece split diamond headstock inlays.

This collectible Murphy Lab Aged guitar is currently priced at $6,999.00 and is available in a limited run of only 100 instruments. Shipping with a custom-made red-lined 70s-stye case this unique piece of rock ‘n’ roll history also includes a captain's hat and conduit bracket/finger holder along with a numbered certificate of authenticity.


(Image credit: Gibson)

Visit Gibson's webite for more information on the Chuck Berry 1970s ES-355.

Rod Brakes

Rod Brakes is a music journalist with an expertise in guitars. Having spent many years at the coalface as a guitar dealer and tech, Rod's more recent work as a writer covering artists, industry pros and gear includes contributions for leading publications and websites such as GuitaristTotal Guitar, Guitar WorldGuitar Player and MusicRadar in addition to specialist music books, blogs and social media. He is also a lifelong musician.