NGD! 1959 ES 335 RI - CME etc

Discussion in 'Other Gibsons' started by mdubya, Mar 8, 2018.

  1. mdubya

    mdubya Senior Member

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    Gah! I have been resisting the CME temptation for months. I already scored an ES LP Goldtop last fall at the beginning of this sale. And I have a 335 Dot that I love. It is an awesome guitar. But the 1958 and 1959 ES 335 RI's just haunted me. :eek2: I made several low ball offers over the months. I always received the same counter offer replies, which I declined. But I knew what the low price was. Haunted, I tell you.

    I was checking CME everyday for what was available. I was listening to the raves about how great these guitars are, how much they feel like the real deal, etc. Haunted. I saw 2 1959's and a 1958 pop up 2 weeks ago. I have seen that before and seen them disappear just as quickly. I made my low ball offers on a 1958 and 1959, each.

    I got a reply, 1958 - gone. 1959, same counter offer I had received a few times before. OK, let's do it. Transaction completed, guitar on the UPS truck. Ready and anticipating! :jam:

    A few days later the box comes. Smaller box. Small case. Black case. WTF is this?

    A Walnut SG Custom with a Richlite board?!?!?!? :doh:

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    My heart sank. Mistakes happen, but I was sure the very limited supply of 1959 ES 335 RI's would surely be exhausted. My opportunity missed. :hyper:

    I'll spare you all the details of the exchange, the lack of communication, the phone calls, the sinking feeling of the deal falling apart, the excuses, etc. Not a very good feeling at all in the way things went.

    Ultimately, the right guitar showed up. It showed up in the middle of a busy, exhausting day, me with not enough sleep and typical busy day chaos swirling around me, distracting me.

    I dug into the box, though, and pulled out what turned out to be the correct guitar. I was mildly underwhelmed at first. Lots of things CME said they would do were left undone. And the recent Memphis VOS leaves much to be desired, IMHO (same complaints I had about the ES LP VOS).

    Keep in mind I own a Memphis Gloss ES 335 Dot, and Custom Shop ES 330 VOS, and a Nashville Custom Shop Firebird along with several other more pedestrian, but nice guitars - real keepers.

    FF a few days. I put a nice set of Pure Nickel 9's on it. Cleaned and polished the smudged up filthy guitar. Gave the setup a few minor tweaks and dialed in the pickups ever so slightly. Now we are getting somewhere.

    It plays great! I already have experience with the MHS Custombuckers and these are excellent on this guitar, too.

    Yes, there are a few imperfections (on a guitar Gibson lists for $6400! :facepalm: :shock: ). But, for the most part, with several very small tweaks and adjustments, the guitar is coming into focus.

    Do I wish it was perfect and blew my socks off and light shone out of the case when I opened it (as almost literally happened with my gloss 335, 330, and Firebird)? Absolutely!

    But it is turning out to be a subtle and very good guitar. Oddly, it has a 2018 model #. Gibson doesn't list any new 1959 335 RI's since 2016. :hmm: I think they are taking already made leftovers and slapping new model #'s and labels and serial numbers on them.

    Sorry for the extremely long winded intro. Here it is:

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    :jam:
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2018
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  2. mdubya

    mdubya Senior Member

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    I did a bunch of research trying to wrap my head around this guitar. For better or for worse (probably for the better), it is very different from my 2014 ES 335 Dot. I love the Dot. No qualifications. It is everything I hoped and expected it to be. The string spacing at the nut and bridge was not to my liking, but otherwise, perfect out of the box.

    The finish on the 1959 RI is very different from the 2014. A little different from my 2013 ES 330 VOS, too. The 330 is a perfect guitar. Stunning. Jaw dropping. Sublime. With the research, though, I saw a lot of real 1959 ES 335's which look very similar to my new RI. The grain, the "character" in the wood, the red hue in the fade of the burst, even the sunset orange in the "sunny" portion of the "sun"burst looks like the old guitars. And that big fat neck. It makes the guitar "feel" so different to the 2014, which has a great, comfortable, very payable, wide and slim neck. The slim neck on the 2014 gives the guitar a very sleek and slim feel, overall. The big neck on the 1959 RI dominates the feel of the guitar and makes the guitar feel chunky and substantial. Not a bad thing at all, just surprisingly different.

    Overall, I am kind of glad they feel so different. It justifies both guitars.

    The big neck on the 1959 RI is very comfortable and playable, too. Not a hindrance at all. It feels almost exactly like the neck on my 330.

    The nut and bridge are cut to perfection. String spacing is perfect. Very impressive. The fretboard is great, too. The guitar vibrates and resonates and rings, it has more of an acoustic tone than the 2014. And kudos to Memphis, the pots and the pickups are great! There might be better out there, but these are excellent and do what they are supposed to do, and do it very well. No complaints.

    The change to 9's and the slight dialing in of the bridge and action went with zero drama and made the guitar much more comfortable and playable for me.

    Regarding CME, I have had 2 previous transactions with them that left me feeling very positive about them. This one only turned out OK through my own persistence. CME need to be commended for offering these stunning deals, and I am happy to have been able to take advantage of 2 of these killer Memphis blowout deals.

    I would encourage anyone thinking about buying one of these Gibson Floor Models to absolutely do so. They are not perfect, but the deals are unbelievable. And the guitars are great. They might require a little attention, but they are really great guitars.

    :dude:
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2018
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  3. wmachine

    wmachine Senior Member

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    Glad it is working out for you. So what is model number? (I like following the numbers)
     
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  4. mdubya

    mdubya Senior Member

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    ES5918HBNH1
     
  5. wmachine

    wmachine Senior Member

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    Thanks. The numbers usually make sense, but not always. Like is this case. What makes it a 2018 model? IOW, how is it different from a 2016 model?
    And being a 2018 model, what is it doing in this warehouse clearing blowout sale?
    Definitely some odd things going on.
    Fortunately, none of that has anything do with the guitar itself, and there is no doubt the recent Memphis reissues are great!
     
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  6. mdubya

    mdubya Senior Member

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    That's what I am saying. :D :hmm: The guitar I bid on claimed to be a 2016 model. When I saw the "18" in there I was confused. That said, it appeared to be brand new in the box. Strings were fresh, no oxidation. The 2015 ES LP I bought had clear signs of having sat for 2 1/2 years. Nothing horrible, but dirty frets and old, dead strings, and the VOS job was excessive. This 335 has a heavier VOS treatment than I would have preferred, too. But that is easy enough to clean up.

    There were things on the ES LP that I could have been critical of, quality wise. This 335 is no different. If it was for sale "as new" in a store, it would be a no go. At once in a lifetime, blowout prices, I am much more forgiving, for both guitars.
     
  7. bossaddict

    bossaddict @david.beason on IG Premium Member

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    HNGD! Glad it all got sorted out.
     
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  8. cnote

    cnote Premium Member

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    That's a great looking guitar - I hope you enjoy it!

    Wildwood now has a 2018 Memphis Historic Reissue 1958 up on its site - so I'm not sure what's going on. I thought 2016 was the last year for this line of 58 and 59 reissues from Memphis, but your guitar and now this makes me wonder. If and when Gibson publishes the specs, it will be interesting to see if anything is different than the 2016 run.

    Wildwood has the Gibson Memphis 58 reissue at 5799 - substantially higher than the 2016 58 Reissues went for new, and FAR higher than what CME sold you yours at.
     
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  9. mdubya

    mdubya Senior Member

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    A08793.

    What can be told by the serial number? :hmm:

    Has the Memphis shop (building) been sold? Shut down? Relocated?

    I am curious.

    The Wildwood 2018 1958 RI is more than 2x what I paid. :shock: Wildwood probably knocks a few hundred off, but still.

    Wildwood 2016 1959 RI models have A08 and A09 serial numbers. The 2018 1958 RI has an A09 serial number.

    In any case, I fully support helping Gibson out of their financial meltdown in the most bargain basement, cut rate way I can. Those $800 ES LP Specials at CME. Good lawd! what a deal! :shock:

    The CME talking point is that Memphis simply made too many guitars.
     
  10. mdubya

    mdubya Senior Member

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    Trying to capture some of the subtleties of the guitar in more natural lighting.

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    The reflections make it almost impossible!

    I would say subtle is the key word for this guitar. Playing, tone-wise, looks, everything. It truly covers nearly everything from breathy, acoustic-like jazz box tones right up to heavy, hard rock tones. My 335 Dot comes close to that, too, but this seems to have an even broader reach.
     
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  11. mdubya

    mdubya Senior Member

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    I can't believe I have only had this guitar a week. :shock: It feels like several weeks, at least. I've been playing it non-stop, and the hangover from the CME emotional roller coaster has faded.

    1. I realize that the CME shenanigans left me feeling doubtful about this guitar in general. That is a shame. I have had very positive experiences with CME prior to this transaction. ETA: I won't let one less that great experience ruin them for me.

    2. One of the things that makes my ES 330 so stunning is the heavily grained walnut back. That is not a historically correct feature of the ES 335, so that comparison is unjust.

    As I posted upthread, this 335 is all about subtlety. And it has positive subtlety in spades. The guitar plays and sounds great and I haven't been able to put it down.

    I did a quick A/B with my 2014 and the 2014 holds its own I am glad to say. And it has its own personality with the 60's neck and the '57 Classics. It, too, sounds and plays fantastic.

    Bottom line, I am happier with, and quite taken with, TBH, the '59. I am glad I finally feel 100% good about this guitar. It puts a big smile on my face, and I can never wait to pick it up and play it. :dude: :hippie: :jam:
     
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  12. Stinky Kitty

    Stinky Kitty Senior Member

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    Glad you got things sorted out now, and can appreciate that magnificent guitar! It took me nearly five years of chasing Les Pauls until I realized that the 335 / 355 is the model for me. So versatile, so rich..

    Rock that Babe!
     
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  13. Pop1655

    Pop1655 Premium Member

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    It’s a beautiful thing!!!!
     
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  14. mdubya

    mdubya Senior Member

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    Thanks! I remember thinking I would never own a Gibson 335. Then thinking i would never own a reissue. Now I have both. I am grateful to be so fortunate (thanks to CME's blowout deals! :shock: ).

    The standard 335 never failed to impress, every time I have played it. The '59 RI is very much the same way, and I am reliving many of those feelings the standard 335 brought me when I got it.
     
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  15. mdubya

    mdubya Senior Member

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    Thanks Pop! I am glad I am finally enjoying it as I should. I don't know specifically why this buying experience affected me in such a negative way, but I am glad to be past that!
     
  16. cnote

    cnote Premium Member

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    Those late model 59s with the big neck and these MHS pickups and other nice features are addictive. Especially if it's one's only ES-335, such a different experience/tone/inspiration than a Les Paul. The neck on these is a revelation for me - very much prefer it to the smaller necks on the 63s I've had in the past, and even like it better than my old real 60 ES-355. Glad you saw past the experience and enjoy the guitar for what it is - I had to do something similar on a recent high dollar LP with bent bridge posts - just swallow hard, replace them and move on and enjoy.
     
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  17. mdubya

    mdubya Senior Member

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    Thanks for the support, cnote! :dude:

    The more I play it the better it gets.
     
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  18. cnote

    cnote Premium Member

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    I'm finding the same. And given the way it is built, I bet that will continue for a long time.
     
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  19. mdubya

    mdubya Senior Member

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    Yesterday, I played the 2014 Dot Reissue all day. It felt immediately familiar and played as good as I could ever remember. The '57 Classics sound different from the MHS Buckers, but sound as good as I always remember them sounding, reminding me why I wanted a 335 with '57 Classic, so bad, for so many years.

    Today, I switched back to the '59 RI. I was worried that the comfort and familiarity of the Dot was going to put some distance between me and the '59 RI. There was no need to worry. The '59 immediately felt comfortable and familiar, too. And very different. I was surprised how quickly the '59 just felt like an old friend and did everything right, no shortcomings whatsoever. Not only is the neck fat and round, but it is also the widest fretboard I have. It feels like some sort of custom boutique jazz box with a mile wide fretboard.

    My nephew was anxious to play the '59 on Easter. He liked it, but wanted to get to the Dot Reissue and declared it his favorite of all of my guitars. He did like my SG Classic, too.

    Add in the Firebird and the ES 330 and I am in a real good place, guitar wise. Not a bad place to be.
     
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  20. Brewdude

    Brewdude Senior Member

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    How do you like the 330 compared with the 335's? Is the feedback from the fully hollow body a pain to deal with?

    I've seriously been GAS'ing for a 330 after picking up my 335 so am curious how people that own both enjoy the 330. I've come to adore my 335 and thought of another one with P90s is incredible!
     
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