Gibson Custom Shop ES-335 Larry Carlton Signature Prototype #002


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Gibson Custom Shop ES-335 Larry Carlton Signature Prototype #002

For your consideration, here’s a truly special and one of a kind piece of history. Owned by Sammy Sanchez, a 2002 Gibson Custom Shop ES-335 Larry Carlton Signature Prototype Serial #002 in Excellent condition, with its original case, case candy, Certificate of Authenticity, and Larry Carlton leather strap, photos and memorabilia

In case you might not know, Sammy Sanches is a well known Guitar Tech guru and luthier. For several decades he has worked for some of the most influential guitar players and artists such as Santana, ZZ Top, Slash, Lenny Kravitz, Ben Harper, Toto, Keb Mo, Bonnie Raitt, George Benson and Larry Carlton just to name a few…When not on tour he works at his shop as luthier and taking care of some of their instruments.

This Prototype #002 is the result of +30 years working alongside Larry Carlton and the Gibson Custom Shop. Gibson meticulously recreated Larry’s 1968 ES-335 in Vintage Burst. As Larry’s longtime guitar tech, they asked Sammy to work as a consultant. After months of crafting and refining, Gibson presented two prototypes. Number 001 was given to Larry and #002 to Sammy.

These are markedly more accurate to the original than the production models, the Gibson Custom ES-335 Larry Carlton Signature or “MR335”. Years ago, Larry asked Sammy to re-fret his original ’68 ES-335. In order to do that, he had to level the fretboard which caused some of the block inlays on the higher frets to pop out.  Upon Larry’s approval, he replaced the original plastic inlays with real pearl. When Gibson inspected Larry’s original, they discovered the pearl inlays and therefore used pearl inlays as well over the entire fretboard. These two prototypes are the only models to feature pearl inlays, unlike plastic on the production guitars.

According to Sammy, Larry wasn’t quite happy with the neck profile on these prototypes, so he worked hard on his #002, sanding it to make it exactly as Larry wanted it (neck thicknesss at 1st Fret is .790″ and at 12th fret .910″, nut width is 1.67”). Soon after it became one of Larry’s main guitars along with his original. As you can see on some photos, Carlton played this prototype #002 on tours abroad, recording sessions and many shows. It seems like he liked #002 much better than his #001, just because it got so much closer to his original in neck feel and weight (8.4 Lbs).

Definitely this guitar is extremely unique and there’s no other in the world like it. You can check the Gibson Certificate, body stamp and inspection tag where you can confirm this is a one off instrument. Plus, included with the guitar are some photos from Sammy’s personal archives where you can see Larry Carlton playing this guitar with the same brown leather strap that is also included in its case and a Letter signed by Sammy Sanchez.

Yes, I know you can also get an original ’68 ES-335 for the same or even a lesser price. This guitar is ideal for a someone looking to get a highly collectible piece of gear that has been played by such an iconic guitar player and it has a pretty valuable history.

It ships out professionally packed and insured, or personal delivery depending on the area within the United States. Local Pickup in LA is available.

International buyers please get in touch first about shipping.



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