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Question regarding a 60's semi hollow guitar

Q: Hello there,
I recently bought a 60's japanese "lawsuit" copy of a ES-335 semi-hollow. The guitar is completely stripped and sanded down. It is on it's way to me in shipping as I'm emailing you. I will be refinishing it and adding all the hardware to it. My questions looks like it had a bridge and a trapeze tailpiece. I want to replace the bridge (ABR-1 style) and also add a stop tailpiece next to it instead of the trapeze. I can't seem to locate anywhere online any specs or drilling templates on where to drill/place that stop tailpiece. If you can point me in the right direction or if you have a diagram of an ES-335 style semi-hollow guitar with correct hardware placement, I would be greatful for your help. I've attached a pic of the guitar to give you an idea.
Thank you so much.

A: I can't tell from the picture that you sent, but your guitar looks hollow. An ES-335 semi hollow is solid for a six inch wide stripe down the center. The pickups, bridge etc. think that they are mounted in a Les Paul. Only the part under the F-holes is hollow. The Gibson ES-330 is hollow.

Your guitar has a very thick, pressed plywood top, and it looks very strong, but if you bolt on a stop tailpiece, it will pull out. The absence of mounting holes for the bridge is further evidence that your guitar originally had a tailpiece with a floating bridge. I could be wrong. If there is a big chunk of maple stretching from the underside of the top to the inside of the back and neck block to tail block, then mount any kind of hardware that you like.

If it is, in fact hollow use ES-330 hardware. Measure from the zero fret to the 12 fret, double it and add 1mm. That gives you the distance from the zero fret to the high E string slot on the bridge. Get a piece of sticky backed sand paper and stick it to the top, centered on where the bridge will go. Scrub the bridge back and forth until the bottom of the bridge fits the top perfectly. Stew-Mac sells a fine little jig to keep the bridge from rocking and rounding the feet. You will probably need to shim the neck back so that the bridge will be tall. You want good down pressure from the strings to hold the bridge from slipping. Slide the bridge back and forth until the strings play perfectly in tune.

Steve Mason

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