The Gibson ES-335 is the world's first commercial thinline arched-top semi-acoustic electric guitar. Released by the Gibson Guitar Corporation as part of its ES (Electric Spanish) series in 1958, it is neither hollow nor solid; instead, a solid wood block runs through the center of its body. The side "wings" are hollow, and the top has two violin-style f-holes over the hollow chambers.
Before 1952 Gibson produced only hollow body guitars, which are prone to feedback when amplified loudly. That year saw the introduction of their first solid body, the Gibson Les Paul, based on Les Paul's experiment, "The Log," which was merely a fence post with a neck, hardware, and pickup attached. By 1958 Gibson was making a few solid body models which had much lower feedback and better sustain but lacked the darker, warmer tone and unamplified volume of hollow bodies. The ES-335 is an attempt to find a middle ground: a warmer tone than a solid body with almost as little feedback. Though semi-hollow bodies like the ES-335 are essentially a compromise of earlier designs, for the same reason they are extremely flexible as evidenced by the ES-335's popularity in a wide range of music, including blues,...