by Jennifer Lazell Sonsalla-Potter
(Bedford, Texas, USA)
1968 Blonde Gibson Hollow Body
1968 Blonde Gibson Hollow-body (prototype) of the 1972 released TD-320. Serial Number on neck 954568 (this serial number does not coincide with any Gibson series released serial numbers, Gibson could neither confirm or deny this guitar as a prototype as it was created prior to the 1986 buyout by current owners.)
My father acquired this guitar at an estate sale in Southern Michigan in 1974 the seller at the time asked my dad why he chose that particular guitar out of the several other top selling styles she had at auction that day,(all Gibson, of course) my father's response was "I have never seen or heard anything like her."
The seller told my father that her husband was let go from Gibson in 1968 just 9 months before his retirement, he was working on this hollow-body model to be the possibly the first Les Paul hollow-body (we know there has never been one of those!) When the engineer lost his position with the company he took (most likely without permission) the just finished prototype, the only guitar he played after that until he died 2 years later.
He of course left behind all plans and dies used to create it, so 2 years later they started to produce the TD-320,the cheapest guitar of its time it quickly became known as the smasher guitar (the ones the rock stars would smash at the end of a show!)
The guitar I have is larger both in body size and neck length then the later produced TD-320 and she can sing like no other guitar I have ever had the pleasure of hearing either. She has been played (as she was created to do just that) and love unconditionally by every musician that ever touched her (the damage to the Gibson Logo on the neck came in 1978 when I was 3.
I tipped it off its stand and into my father's other 2 guitars). Jim Croce asked my dad in 1979 in a dive bar in Columbus Ohio if he could take her off his hands for 150.00 bucks (3 times what my dad paid for her, a whopping, 45 bucks at the time.) I am asking $8,500.00 USD OBO
Serious inquires only as this guitar is a huge part of my life and parting with it is devastating enough. email at liljnwi(at)yahoo.com
Again, Gibson would neither confirm nor deny my claim to it being a prototype, they were nice enough to offer to place her permanently in their museum though.