Help me decide on a Gibson ES 335 please...

nicolaidenmark

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First and foremost: apologies for posting quite a few threads lately :rolleyes:

I have now decided that IF I'm to purchase a new guitar, it's going to be the ES 335- it's a cool guitar!

I have a few questions though, which I'm hoping some of you might be able to answer:

I have heard that Gibson recently started to laminate the ES 335s as maple /poplar / maple instead of all maple. What are the consequences of this? Tonally, durability and quality wise?

The 335 I tried had a 60s neck, which suited me good. What are the differences between that 60s neck and the 63 neck profile? I have yet to try the '59 style neck, however, I'm worried that it will be to fat.

I like the cherry / antique red color for an 335- is antique red an antique CHERRY red? I take it, "antique" refers to the shifting of nuances in red color, (simulating light playing wear)?

Dot vs. block inlays: I've always played a strat but I think the block inlays look good- but what is it like to play blocks compared to dots?

PUs: Burstbucker Pros vs, 57 classics? I played a plain top dot, which has the 57s and it sounded ok. As I understand it, BBPs have more output whereas the 57s are suposed to have a more "airy" tone? Which is the best for an ES 335 you think?

Tuners: For a Gibson, I think Grover Kidney beans look odd. Tulip tuners give the classic Gibson look imo. But which are better (doing their job: keeping the guitar in tune)?

So, IF I am to purchase a new guitar, it comes down to these three, of which, I have only played the former:

Gibson - Gibson Guitar: Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Bass Guitars, Baldwin Pianos and (in cherry finish) Possible cons: Grovers, plain top. Possible pros: 57 PUs?

Gibson - Gibson Guitar: Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Bass Guitars, Baldwin Pianos and (cherry finish): Possible cons: Fat neck, Grovers, plain top. Possible Pro: Cheaper than the block vers, 57 PUs

and

Gibson - Gibson Guitar: Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Bass Guitars, Baldwin Pianos and Possible cons: M/P/M lamination, the feeling of the block inlays, more expensive then the 2 others... Pro: Antique red, visual appearance of block inlays and tulip tuners, light weight maple Block

Please help me choose my (perhaps) future Es 335 :thumb:
 

nicolaidenmark

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First and foremost: apologies for posting quite a few threads lately :rolleyes:

I have now decided that IF I'm to purchase a new guitar, it's going to be the ES 335- it's a cool guitar!

I have a few questions though, which I'm hoping some of you might be able to answer:

I have heard that Gibson recently started to laminate the ES 335s as maple /poplar / maple instead of all maple. What are the consequences of this? Tonally, durability and quality wise?

The 335 I tried had a 60s neck, which suited me good. What are the differences between that 60s neck and the 63 neck profile? I have yet to try the '59 style neck, however, I'm worried that it will be to fat.

I like the cherry / antique red color for an 335- is antique red an antique CHERRY red? I take it, "antique" refers to the shifting of nuances in red color, (simulating light playing wear)?

Dot vs. block inlays: I've always played a strat but I think the block inlays look good- but what is it like to play blocks compared to dots?

PUs: Burstbucker Pros vs, 57 classics? I played a plain top dot, which has the 57s and it sounded ok. As I understand it, BBPs have more output whereas the 57s are suposed to have a more "airy" tone? Which is the best for an ES 335 you think?

Tuners: For a Gibson, I think Grover Kidney beans look odd. Tulip tuners give the classic Gibson look imo. But which are better (doing their job: keeping the guitar in tune)?

So, IF I am to purchase a new guitar, it comes down to these three, of which, I have only played the former:

Gibson - Gibson Guitar: Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Bass Guitars, Baldwin Pianos and (in cherry finish) Possible cons: Grovers, plain top. Possible pros: 57 PUs?

Gibson - Gibson Guitar: Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Bass Guitars, Baldwin Pianos and (cherry finish): Possible cons: Fat neck, Grovers, plain top. Possible Pro: Cheaper than the block vers, 57 PUs

and

Gibson - Gibson Guitar: Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Bass Guitars, Baldwin Pianos and Possible cons: M/P/M lamination, the feeling of the block inlays, more expensive then the 2 others... Pro: Antique red, visual appearance of block inlays and tulip tuners, light weight maple Block

Please help me choose my (perhaps) future Es 335 :thumb:

Come on guys. Help me out here!
 

sliding tom

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Lots of questions and the answer to most of them is: doesn't matter much. Don't get a headache over the colour. A guitar that will have the exact right shade of cherry but doesn't do it for you in the end? Leave it alone. The Grovers are good tuners but if you don't like them you can easily swap them for a set with tulip buttons. I've heard nothing but good about the way '57s sound in a 335. The wood laminates shouldn't worry you either because with the exception of a few cork sniffers who might not even be very knowledgable a maple/poplar/maple laminate is O.K. and might have been used even in vintage guitars sometimes. Plain top: well, it's the classic look - vintage 335s were plain maple with a very few exceptions. I think you'd be well served with the regular model - I don't think that the much higher prices for a fat neck or block neck are justified, it's just marketing. Hope that helps.
 

g6120

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Lots of questions and the answer to most of them is: doesn't matter much. Don't get a headache over the colour. A guitar that will have the exact right shade of cherry but doesn't do it for you in the end? Leave it alone. The Grovers are good tuners but if you don't like them you can easily swap them for a set with tulip buttons. I've heard nothing but good about the way '57s sound in a 335. The wood laminates shouldn't worry you either because with the exception of a few cork sniffers who might not even be very knowledgable a maple/poplar/maple laminate is O.K. and might have been used even in vintage guitars sometimes. Plain top: well, it's the classic look - vintage 335s were plain maple with a very few exceptions. I think you'd be well served with the regular model - I don't think that the much higher prices for a fat neck or block neck are justified, it's just marketing. Hope that helps.

i believe thats good advice from this fella

ive recently purchased a gibson es 335 anniversary 50th sunburst and i got lucky its a great guitar its blown me away and i went through the question process as you have placed on the platform but until you have that guitar in your hands and playing it either its the right one or not .

im kind of a backround buff once ive stumbled into something i find i like then i dig for the history of that example and right now its the es 335 but thats just me i appreciate the things that you dont see in front of you the roots of origin .

some dont get caught up in such which is fine i remember reading something awhile back where this fella was in a music shop in england and to his surprise there was paul mccartney looking over guitars so he started a conversation and during so at one point asked paul what guitar strings he preferred at that instance paul looked hesitated ... i really dont know they are just long and shinny .

not to say for a second paul does not appreciate his guitars and so on but if it works for you then its the right chioce because sometimes we can get caught up more with the specs on the cover the lather rather than whats deep inside not visual that can offer you satisfaction .
 

BlueFin

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I waited a long time before I finally got my 335, I played a good few and found them to be all over the place, not a single one was like the other. I finally purchased an Historic Resissue, Cherry Red, long pick guard, Kluson tuners, Classic 57's, dot inlay. The setup was incredible, it just played like a dream and sounded exactly like I wanted. A good 335 in the right hands can do just about everything. I'm glad I waited and found a great one. Good luck with your search, play as many as you can.
 

nicolaidenmark

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I think I'll ask the store to take home the 2 historics and a dot plain top. Do you think after playing 3 one will find a good model? I mean, compared to what other people are saying: that you need to play a lot to find a good one?
 

sliding tom

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Do you have the chance to try out more? Do you know someone with a good 335 so you can adjust your ears? Being able to choose out of three, not to speak of being able to try them at home is more than most people will ever have a chance of.
 

nicolaidenmark

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I don't know anybody with a good es 335 (because I cannot judge what makes it a good ES). However, as far as I know, the store has an 8 days "Try it out, if you don't like it return it for a full refund" arrangement. I trust my dealer though. He's helped me a lot and I trust he will be able to tell whether the ES is good or bad. He says that lately since 2007, Gibsons in general got better.

Being an almost noob, I suppose that a good ES 335 would be the one that vibrates the most?
 

sliding tom

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Play it unplugged first - a general rule is that even electrics should sound good without being amplified. Pluck a couple of open strings and lightly touch the neck and headstock. Can you feel the vibrations? If so, the guitar can't be too bad.
 

djlogan33

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I would suggest the "ultimate-ES-335"...the B.B.King Lucille

I have a R8 Flametop and a Lucille

I have played the ES-335, ES-345, ES-355, ES-336 & ES-339.
In my opinion the Lucille is the best for the following reasons:
- Varitone 6-way switch
- stereo amp jacks (each pickup to a differnt AMP - sounds real cool)
- thick 59's neck
- no f-holes

A new Lucille will cost $2799.
You can get a nice used Lucille on eBay for around $1700.

See attached picture of Lucille from the Gibson website.

The semi-new ES-339 is a Les Paul sized ES-335, which comes with a 50's or 60's neck for only $1799 new.
Also see the attached picture comparing the sizes of a Les Paul - ES-339 - ES-330
 

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Brian Butler

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I've played a 335 and nothing but a 335 for 30 years. I wouldn't have sneezed on a solid body. Then I discovered an SG. The body punch it has that the 335 doesn't, led me to trade the 335 for a '61 reissue SG. It's one of the finest put together guitars I've ever held, but it had "no tone". Guts, but only one 'feel' - gutsy. I took it back to the store within a few days.

So I bought a Les Paul Standard. Great tone great feel. Within a month however, I missed the glorious bloom, full color spectrum of sound, whatever you call it, that the 335 has that the solid body Les Paul doesn't. (frankly it is mostly noticeable without an amp, ha ha - but I play a lot without an amp)

So I recently got my hands on a 339 which is identical to a 335 but smaller body (I like that). The sound seems to be just what I remember from my 335 a month ago. :)

And now I have the same quandry. Which guitar to own? The Les Paul or the 335? For me it boils down to this: The 339 seems a "finer-built, more finessed" guitar than the LP. Acoustically it whops the LP hands down, but I'D RATHER PLAY THE LP (though maybe that's because it's a change after 30 years). So I'm stuck.

So maybe the question for you is: not considering tone, or looks or quality, if you had both guitars sitting in your living room, which one would you rather play?
 

nicolaidenmark

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I'm set for a 335. Lps and lucilles just don't do it for me.

I guess the question is: whether I like the 59 fat neck over the 63 slim tapper.

In Denmark a dot plain is 2,700 dollars and the historics are 3,400. But I like the antique red finish. Only the '59's got '57 PUs though....

Historics are better built?
 

sliding tom

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Really depends on your preference for neck shapes ( I assume you're talking hand fatigue caused by a fat vs. a slim neck?). Although I prefer bigger necks, besides my Gibson 335 with a '59 style neck I have a Tokai 335 with a very thin neck that I feel very comfortable with nonetheless as I enjoy my LP Special DC with a 60s slim taper.
 

djlogan33

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Really depends on your preference for neck shapes

========================================================
I have very large hands and the thicker the neck, the better for me.
I seem to have more control of my left hand, when I fill it up with a thick neck. That's why I have a '58 Reissue, which has the thickest neck.
My '59-style neck on my Lucille feels thin, compared to my R8.

I also heard that a guitar has a better tone with a thicker neck.
Is this true?
 

sliding tom

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I also heard that a guitar has a better tone with a thicker neck. Is this true?

Not necessarily a better tone but different. A bigger neck will in most cases yield a fatter "bigger" tone.
 

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