1969 Gibson Crest
For your consideration, Garrett Park Guitars presents this 1969 Gibson Crest
One of the rarer Gibson models, the Crest was made from 1969-1972 though Gibson also produced another Crest model earlier that never really took off.
This model is in amazing condition and in addition to being collectible its also an extraordinary guitar.
Serial Number: 824233
If you have any questions regarding this guitar feel free to call, chat, email, or stop by the store.
Photos are of the actual guitar
In ’69, Gibson revived the name with a guitar that bears little resemblance to Nelson’s creation. A double-cut thinline similar in appearance to an ES-355 but constructed from figured Brazilian rosewood veneer, it had no solid block in the body, leaving it fully hollow like the ES-330. The body also had a center back strip of decorative wood marquetry and was top-bound with multiple plies of white/black and the back is triple-bound. The elevated pickguard was matching Brazilian rosewood veneer bound in multiple plies of white/black like the body. The guitar had two f-shaped sound holes, each triple-bound.
The electronics included two “floating” mini-humbucking pickups with individual Volume and Tone controls and a pickup selector toggle on the lower treble bout. The pickups were mounted using L-brackets and there were no body routs or cutouts. The bridge was removable with a two-footed rosewood base and a Tune-O-Matic top. The trapeze-style tailpiece had three raised parallelograms on the cross bar and a Brazilian rosewood centerpiece with inlaid MOP trapezoid and etched with “Crest” in script.
The three-piece maple neck was a combination of the familiar and unusual. While the peghead was a standard Gibson “open-book” shape with multi-ply binding and sealed Kluson tuners, the single-bound Brazilian rosewood fingerboard joined the body at the 15th fret (rather than the 19th). This had the unfortunate effect of making the higher frets inaccessible. The inlay pattern was identical to a Les Paul Custom or 335 of the period with rectangular mother-of-pearl blocks in the fingerboard and the five piece split-diamond in the peghead. The truss-rod cover was engraved with the model name in script and the heel had a decorative cap in white/black/white veneer.
The hardware was available in gold-plate (1969-’71) or silver-plate (’69-’72). This distinction gave rise to the colloquialisms “Crest Gold” or “Crest Silver” now generally used when referring to these guitars.
Unfortunately, the second Crest had a number of design flaws that made it difficult to use. Beyond the inaccessible upper frets, the lack of a center block caused it to easily feed back. The removable bridge also tended to move if the guitar was given light-gauge strings, thus making it note incorrectly. The mini-humbuckers were a dubious addition, not favored by many.
To the best of our knowledge, 172 of the second-generation Crest were produced before the model was discontinued in ’72. At a list price of $895, it was expensive, but sold reasonably well. Today, it is valued by collectors for its beauty and relative rarity, but is not a player favorite.
The first Crest is a rare bird, indeed, and both stand as examples of Gibson’s ability to create variations on a theme, a characteristic which has come to define the company.
To learn more about Andy Nelson and his career, visit grinnellfamily.org/images/andybook.pdf.
This article originally appeared in VG June 2016 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine.