Even with the ES-335 and fancier ES-355 model, Gibson saw room in the middle for a third model and the company filled that spot in 1959 with the ES-345.
Where the 335 had single-ply binding around the top, the 355 had seven-ply binding, so the 345’s top was triple-bound. The 335 was nickel-plated, the 355 was gold; there was no middle ground so the 345 was given gold plting and the 355 was given a vibrato unit to make up for it. In-between the dot fingerboard inlays and the large pearl blocks, the 345 sported double-parallelograms, a well-established inlay pattern on midline Gibsons.
Like the ES-355, the ES-345 was equipped with stereo output, which was a seldom-used but benign feature. However, the Varitone control ultimately made the 345 less desirable than the basic 335, and many players had their 345s rewired to bypass the Varitone.