Ok folks now here’s something you don’t see every day. Not only is this a pretty clean example of a 1959 Gibson ES-350T in natural finish but it used to belong to Franny Beecher who was one of the original members of Billy Haley’s Comets!! Yep, that’s right this guitar played its part in early Rock-n-Roll history. Only Franny himself knows how many gigs this was played on.
The current owner told me that he bought it directly from Franny about 2-3 years ago and he got to chat with him at great length about the guitar and his career as a Comet. There are many photos of Franny playing a mid 1950’s Gibson Les Paul “Black Beauty” but after a certain length of time Franny had to give the Les Paul back to Gibson. He then purchased this ES-350T. The guitar is essentially stock except it had some fret work done some years ago and because the fretboard was planed a bit the inlays became very thin. One is actually missing. I am going to again lightly plane the board, install new inlays, re-fret, new bone nut and set it up for some rockin’ fun times! One interesting point is that the fretboard is made of ebony and has the “widows peak” near the neck pickup along with the 5-ply binding. You usually see this type of fretboard on the fancier Byrdland model. The double parallelogram inlays are usually seen on the ES-350 but only up to the 15th fret. This guitar has the inlays up to the 20th fret which is one fret more than a Byrdland. This inlay scheme is usually found on the 1959 ES-345 model. These few anomalies make this guitar even more unique.
I will be making posts with some photos of the progress. It will be a bit of a lengthy project but I will post the end result. I actually can’t wait to get this guitar up and running so I can play some Comet licks on it!!