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Old 03-23-2009, 10:54 AM   #1
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Les Paul vs. ES-339

OK, some might find this laughable, but hear me out....

A lot of folks swear by the Les Paul, and that's fine. But at the same time, I sort of put a guantlet down for Gibson to "build a better Les Paul". I gotta be honest...after reading the reviews on the ES-339, I can't help but wonder if they've already done that, and the tone killer has been sitting under my poiny nose the whole stinkin' time. I saw the reviews, and the price intrigued me...but what really got the ball rolling was when I started doing some amateur research into the tonalities in conjunctions with my own experiences with the archtop vs. the solid body....

But it was Bonehead (who just bought an ES-339) that gave me a bit of confirmation towards this line of thought:

http://www.mylespaul.com/forums/othe...-pictures.html

Supposedly, this model offers you all of the presence and bottom end of the ES-335 (and I can testify to this just jacking around on a clone model...the real deal much be frightening!)...but it's in a package the size of a regular Les Paul solid body. Furthermore, they've put some mojo in there with their Memphis circuit which assists in preserving high end when the volume is turned down...and they've done some work towards preventing microphonic feedback which a lot of archtops and hollow bodies are notorious for.


Also bear in mind that the Standard (and even the Traditional and the Classic) are regular production models. The ES-339 is a CUSTOM SHOP PRODUCT for around 1800 dollars.

That's about the best price going for the best amount of craftsmanship Gibson offers in terms of a group that builds electric guitars for 'em.

So nah...no knock against the Les Pauls...they're great guitars...but if you're in the market, I don't think you should overlook these great little archtops.

2 cents.
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Old 03-23-2009, 02:25 PM   #2
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Re: Les Paul vs. ES-339

Sounds awesome, but I prefer the looks of the Les Paul over the ES. I would definitely buy and play an ES, but the Les Paul would still be my #1. As great as the ES sounds, I bet it can't duplicate that raw powerful dirty Les Paul tone. I believe that unmistakable Les Paul tone, can only be achieved through a Les Paul.
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Old 03-23-2009, 02:34 PM   #3
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Re: Les Paul vs. ES-339

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Sounds awesome, but I prefer the looks of the Les Paul over the ES. I would definitely buy and play an ES, but the Les Paul would still be my #1. As great as the ES sounds, I bet it can't duplicate that raw powerful dirty Les Paul tone. I believe that unmistakable Les Paul tone, can only be achieved through a Les Paul.
Murfdog....A Les Paul is a great sounding instrument (and that single cutaway look has an iconic status)...but IMHO when you take a hollow body or an archtop and you play it through a loud amp...there's no feeling in the world like having that guitar vibrate underneath you while you're sustaining notes.

As it stands, the newer Les Pauls are already chambered. This is the truest sense of "chambering" in a traditional block archtop.

Looks wise? Yeah, the LP is an icon, of that there is no doubt. Quality wise? I think people would be crazy to write off a CUSTOM SHOP guitar like this on the market for 1800 dollars.....

If someone's got one in a store along with a bunch of Lesters and you're in the market, what does it hurt to plug it in and try it out? You just might surprise yourself.
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Old 03-23-2009, 02:37 PM   #4
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Re: Les Paul vs. ES-339

just buy it already sentry lol
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Old 03-23-2009, 02:38 PM   #5
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Re: Les Paul vs. ES-339

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just buy it already sentry lol
Make one in a left handed model. And don't tempt me....( if I did that, then you'd have to hear me whine about dumping one of my Gibson LP's because I had this killer Custom Shop guitar... )
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Old 03-23-2009, 02:41 PM   #6
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Re: Les Paul vs. ES-339

i have both.

i would sell the 339 before any of my pauls.

its cool, but if you already own a LP, just pay a little more and get the 335.
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Old 03-23-2009, 02:50 PM   #7
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Re: Les Paul vs. ES-339

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i have both.

i would sell the 339 before any of my pauls.

its cool, but if you already own a LP, just pay a little more and get the 335.
Interesting. Does the 335 have that Memphis Circuit on it as well?
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Old 03-23-2009, 02:56 PM   #8
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Re: Les Paul vs. ES-339

no
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Old 03-23-2009, 02:57 PM   #9
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Re: Les Paul vs. ES-339

and fwiw, i think the memphis circuit Sucks with a capital S. turn the volume pot to 5 and it goes silent.
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Old 03-23-2009, 03:06 PM   #10
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Re: Les Paul vs. ES-339

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and fwiw, i think the memphis circuit Sucks with a capital S. turn the volume pot to 5 and it goes silent.
Hmmm....might need some Mojo on it.

Does yours have the 60's profile neck or that chunky '59 neck on it?
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Old 03-23-2009, 03:06 PM   #11
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Re: Les Paul vs. ES-339

fiddy nine
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Old 03-23-2009, 03:15 PM   #12
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Re: Les Paul vs. ES-339

I saw one of these at the shop today for $3800. I didn't have the energy to be a dick.
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Old 03-23-2009, 03:17 PM   #13
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Re: Les Paul vs. ES-339

you pos TRADER!






































jk

that thing sounds great!
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Old 03-23-2009, 03:17 PM   #14
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Re: Les Paul vs. ES-339

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fiddy nine


Isn't that the same neck style they put on the stuido LPs?
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Old 03-23-2009, 03:18 PM   #15
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Re: Les Paul vs. ES-339

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you pos TRADER!

jk

that thing sounds great!
Hahahaha...well, you know, Custom shop stuff for under 2 grand....

(and Leumas...you should take a rubber hose into that store and beat the owner with it for trying to sell 'em for that much. )
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Old 03-23-2009, 03:21 PM   #16
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Re: Les Paul vs. ES-339

Jack Zucker, (the guy in that video) is an incredible player, wonderful author and teacher, and a great guy.

He knows his tone, too.

ES-339's are great guitars.

Personally, I like the full-size 335, and will be sticking with that.

But the tone, features, and price of the 339 are certainly tempting. Many people are saying it's the best Gibson in decades.

And I know a couple guys who swear by 335's who do a lot of flying, and are getting 339's as travel guitars.

Will I be the last diehard 335 guy left?
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Old 03-23-2009, 03:24 PM   #17
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Re: Les Paul vs. ES-339

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Originally Posted by gmacdonnell View Post
Jack Zucker, (the guy in that video) is an incredible player, wonderful author and teacher, and a great guy.

He knows his tone, too.

ES-339's are great guitars.

Personally, I like the full-size 335, and will be sticking with that.

But the tone, features, and price of the 339 are certainly tempting. Many people are saying it's the best Gibson in decades.

And I know a couple guys who swear by 335's who do a lot of flying, and are getting 339's as travel guitars.

Will I be the last diehard 335 guy left?
No way, Mac!!! 335's are just incredible guitars. I'd actually like to see Gibson work to improve those as well...

But the 339 is definitely a "new kid with a vintage attitude"....and I think it should be a feather in Gibson's hat for making these.

On a bigger note...I really do think archtops and solid body Les Pauls are converging into a newer model. I'd love to see the 339 in a single cutaway configuration. (that would probably drive people bonkers. )
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Old 03-23-2009, 03:40 PM   #18
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Re: Les Paul vs. ES-339

I have to say that these are appealing. I haven't drank the archtop kool-aid yet though like sentry. I just don't have enough experience with them yet, the casino is my archtop introduction...and truthfully if I had it to do over again I would have looked for a semi-hollow instead of a full hollow. It's still a bad-ass guitar, which I got for a wicked deal though.
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Old 03-23-2009, 03:54 PM   #19
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Re: Les Paul vs. ES-339

I'd love a single-cut ES-339, Sentry. Sounds like a great axe to me!

I was just kidding about being the last 335 guy: they're great guitars.

If I had my way though, i'd have them move that input jack to the side like they did with the 339: that's always been my biggest, and only criticism of the design.

Aside from that, it would be nice if Gibson kept a better eye on the weight of 335's: vintage examples are fairly light. The modern ones are usually 1-2 pounds heavier.
even my '82 weighs quite a bit less than any modern 335 I've played.

That's not a bad thing, but imho it makes the guitar sound more like a solidbody, (more Les Paul even,) than 335.

It would be nice if they made it both way for the guys who prefer the vintage-style though.

(Maybe they need to start chambering the center block! )
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Old 03-23-2009, 04:04 PM   #20
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Re: Les Paul vs. ES-339

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leumas View Post
I have to say that these are appealing. I haven't drank the archtop kool-aid yet though like sentry. I just don't have enough experience with them yet, the casino is my archtop introduction...and truthfully if I had it to do over again I would have looked for a semi-hollow instead of a full hollow. It's still a bad-ass guitar, which I got for a wicked deal though.
Well, don't take my word for it...tell you what....the next time you go to a music store where they have these, ask to try one out. But instead of this "ooh, look at me! I'm Mr. Clean Jazzy guy" in terms of tone and the amp settings , put that sucker in front of a fat Marshall, crank up the gain, and just hit smack those strings with a big fat pick...and if you pull the vibrato just right, be welcomed back with sweet sustain that slowly disintegrates into blissful feedback!

I am by no means a soft player. When I got my archtop, Alex Lifeson and Ted Nugent were more in line with the type of sound I was looking for vs. the other stuff that's frequently played (and sampled) in terms of these guitars.
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Old 03-23-2009, 04:16 PM   #21
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Re: Les Paul vs. ES-339

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Originally Posted by gmacdonnell View Post
I'd love a single-cut ES-339, Sentry. Sounds like a great axe to me!

I was just kidding about being the last 335 guy: they're great guitars.

If I had my way though, i'd have them move that input jack to the side like they did with the 339: that's always been my biggest, and only criticism of the design.

Aside from that, it would be nice if Gibson kept a better eye on the weight of 335's: vintage examples are fairly light. The modern ones are usually 1-2 pounds heavier.
even my '82 weighs quite a bit less than any modern 335 I've played.

That's not a bad thing, but imho it makes the guitar sound more like a solidbody, (more Les Paul even,) than 335.

It would be nice if they made it both way for the guys who prefer the vintage-style though.

(Maybe they need to start chambering the center block! )
On a side note: Even though it's not Gibson, Epiphone did a teaser at NAMM this year with a model called the Swingster that looked to be about the size of the 339, but was a single cutaway with a Bigsby and was equipped with coil tapping right out of the factory. All they did was a blurb on it, but I'm interested to see if Ep's actually going to roll that model out, or if they'll throw that ball back into Gibson's court.
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Old 03-23-2009, 04:19 PM   #22
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Re: Les Paul vs. ES-339

Sentry, I totally agree with the 339 sounding very good, I've payed a couple of them and they really sound nice.

I almost bought one two weekends ago when they discovered at the store they had a light carmel burst in the back, still in the box. That's the finish I like on the 339!

Tell you why I didn't snatch it up, that's due to the top being a poly laminate with a nitro finish. For the price of the 339 they should have a solid top, when I see laminate I automatically think cheap, not that that's a bad thing, but the price should be reflective of that consideration IMO.

If I could pick a 339 up for say $800-$900 then I say sure, good deal. Anything more than that and they can keep it.

Oh that's right they do sell them for around $800-$900! Just the name on the headstock changes to Epiphone.
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Old 03-23-2009, 04:25 PM   #23
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Re: Les Paul vs. ES-339

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Sentry, I totally agree with the 339 sounding very good, I've payed a couple of them and they really sound nice.

I almost bought one two weekends ago when they discovered at the store they had a light carmel burst in the back, still in the box. That's the finish I like on the 339!

Tell you why I didn't snatch it up, that's due to the top being a poly laminate with a nitro finish. For the price of the 339 they should have a solid top, when I see laminate I automatically think cheap, not that that's a bad thing, but the price should be reflective of that consideration IMO.

If I could pick a 339 up for say $800-$900 then I say sure, good deal. Anything more than that and they can keep it.

Oh that's right they do sell them for around $800-$900! Just the name on the headstock changes to Epiphone.
Hmmm....Well, if you're not sold on the poly...well, that's fair. But I don't think they'd be using the cheap stuff outta Custom Shop. (still, I know Poly's a huge turnoff for a lot of folks. Fair criticism.... )

EDIT: I went to the site to verify the finish because in truth I can't see custom shop putting poly on one of their guitars....that's not poly/nitro.....it's lacquer. Anyways, I don't think the chances are pretty good of finding a Custom Shop guitar for that price unless it fell off a truck....
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Old 03-23-2009, 05:31 PM   #24
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Re: Les Paul vs. ES-339

it is a "custom shop" axe, but it is made in memphis, not the custom shop.
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Old 03-23-2009, 05:43 PM   #25
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Re: Les Paul vs. ES-339

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it is a "custom shop" axe, but it is made in memphis, not the custom shop.
Custom Shop = Custom Shop.

I know I'm inviting flamage for talking about this guitar on the LP forum but the CS did put their tag on the back of it.

(And if you want to get into that one, IMHO the REAL Custom Shop is still in Kalamazoo MI operating under a different company name... )
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Old 03-23-2009, 05:46 PM   #26
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Re: Les Paul vs. ES-339

Congrats Sentry, you've replaced cookie-boy for worthless threads. HAhahaha.
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Old 03-23-2009, 05:47 PM   #27
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Re: Les Paul vs. ES-339

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hemply View Post
Sentry, I totally agree with the 339 sounding very good, I've payed a couple of them and they really sound nice.

I almost bought one two weekends ago when they discovered at the store they had a light carmel burst in the back, still in the box. That's the finish I like on the 339!

Tell you why I didn't snatch it up, that's due to the top being a poly laminate with a nitro finish. For the price of the 339 they should have a solid top, when I see laminate I automatically think cheap, not that that's a bad thing, but the price should be reflective of that consideration IMO.

If I could pick a 339 up for say $800-$900 then I say sure, good deal. Anything more than that and they can keep it.

Oh that's right they do sell them for around $800-$900! Just the name on the headstock changes to Epiphone.
Just so you know, on hollowbody and semi-hollow body electric guitars, laminate is usually preferable to solid wood.

That's not just my opinion, but that of many esteemed luthiers and guitarists,

The original 335's, 330's, 175's, etc were all made from laminate woods.

Thin, carved solid wood on an electric guitar usually equals feedback, a loss of sustain, and a certain amount of "mush" in the tone.


I have a vintage Benedetto/Tobias archtop: a gorgeous guitar. Sounds and plays incredibly well. It's all hand carved, old-growth European mastergrade timber.

It has a wonderful, custom Armstrong floating humbucker, and sounds great plugged in- until the volume gets to a moderate level.

At that point, it becomes tubby and hard to control. Thin, solid wood just isn't stiff enough to hold up at higher volumes.

So I have this beautiful, very valuable archtop that I record and do some gigs with. But if I need an archtop sound at 90% of gigs, I bring my ES-175.

I've noticed the same thing in several ES-335-style guitars made from solid wood, (Eastman, Carvin, Collings, Gibson.) It's not that those guitars don't sound great, but they sound best at low to moderate levels. Above that, you're asking for trouble.

So considering it's intended audience, it only makes sense that the ES-339 is made from laminates.
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Old 03-23-2009, 05:48 PM   #28
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Re: Les Paul vs. ES-339

Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Sentry View Post
Custom Shop = Custom Shop.

I know I'm inviting flamage for talking about this guitar on the LP forum but the CS did put their tag on the back of it.

(And if you want to get into that one, IMHO the REAL Custom Shop is still in Kalamazoo MI operating under a different company name... )
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Old 03-23-2009, 05:48 PM   #29
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Re: Les Paul vs. ES-339

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Congrats Sentry, you've replaced cookie-boy for worthless threads. HAhahaha.
You're welcome.
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Old 03-23-2009, 05:57 PM   #30
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Re: Les Paul vs. ES-339

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Originally Posted by The_Sentry View Post
Custom Shop = Custom Shop.

I know I'm inviting flamage for talking about this guitar on the LP forum but the CS did put their tag on the back of it.

(And if you want to get into that one, IMHO the REAL Custom Shop is still in Kalamazoo MI operating under a different company name... )

not true.

the custom shop is located in nashville. the semi/hollow plant is in memphis. only the Historic/Signature Semis/Hollows are made in the CS. the rest are made in memphis. according to gibson, the CS and the memphis plant are under the same management umbrella and they call it all the Custom Shop. this was confirmed by the "CS" rep on the Gibson forums.

my r9 was made in the CS. my es-339 was made in memphis. both are "custom shop." but only the R9 was actually made in the custom shop.

gotta love Gibson....
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