Is the Gibson 335 The Best Guitar Ever Made?

Mike I

Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2010
Messages
2,315
Reaction score
2,812
I think a really good one probably Is. It’s just that a lot of them don’t seem to be really good.
Mind sharing some stats to expand on that statement?

Is this from your personal experience of playing scores of 335's, or is the 335 model just not your cup O tea?
In which case it wouldn't mean the guitars aren't good ones.

Just asking because I have owned several, and played tons, and they've all been fantastic. Yes some had pickups that wasn't quite my sound, or needed a set up, but never seen them bashed as a group. Some don't like the smaller necks they started in 65, thru the 70's, but I don't mind them.




image5.jpeg
 

Lefty Elmo

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2008
Messages
2,776
Reaction score
4,141
Been a Les Paul guy since I bought my first one in 1977.
But, when I played an ES-345 a decade ago I heard the voice of God!. I got my own es-345, a one-off lefty custom made in 1964, and think the nickname "burst killer" is appropriate.
lefty  64 es 345 j.jpg
 

BDW60

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2009
Messages
878
Reaction score
1,081
Mind sharing some stats to expand on that statement?

Is this from your personal experience of playing scores of 335's, or is the 335 model just not your cup O tea?
In which case it wouldn't mean the guitars aren't good ones.

Just asking because I have owned several, and played tons, and they've all been fantastic. Yes some had pickups that wasn't quite my sound, or needed a set up, but never seen them bashed as a group. Some don't like the smaller necks they started in 65, thru the 70's, but I don't mind them.




View attachment 511916
I‘ve played at least 20 over the years, searching. I found a real nice 2015 Memphis 63 reissue, owned it for a few years. Sounded great but it was the most finicky guitar I have ever owned in terms of needing adjustments. That thing was always moving around while my other guitars weren’t. But when it was right, it was really right. I looked past the shoddy work on the F holes and a few other things.

Right now, I’m getting by with a very good Edwards 125 LTS. Solid top, so it doesn’t really hit the 335 thing dead on but still very good.

I guess I compare it to LP chasing, and in my experience, it’s been harder to find 335s.

Not scientific.
 

Quoitsman

Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2015
Messages
46
Reaction score
131
My 335 is my only Humbucker guitar.

And it is simply a wonderful workhorse! It does so many genre's so well, as Mdubya stated above.

I couldn't see myself without one.

All my Les Paul's are P-90's.

Add in a vintage ES-330, and ES-125, and you see I'm a P-90 guy, but I really do love my Memphis 335!

I've had many HB LP's, but gotta love those P-90's!

Now I just need a Luther Dickinson Sig. ES-335 with P-90's and I'll be set!

The 330 is great, but being fully hollow, it will feedback like a banshee if you let it.
Gibson Memphis did a run of p90 loaded 335 I think around 2012-16. I've been tempted and they often go for less than the HBucker guitars.
 

cybermgk

Singin' the body lectric
Gold Supporting Member
V.I.P. Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2011
Messages
15,137
Reaction score
21,584
NO



It is uncomfortable for a LOT of people, not as versatile as several guitars, somewhat prone to feedback.

If you were to objectively rank each guitar under a 1-10 scale for various categories, such as musical versatility, comfort, weight, ease of play, etc, . and aggregate the scores, I am pretty sure a Strat would rank highest (even if you DON'T consider anything other than SSS format). Gretsch Jet might make #2 or 3. ES-335, not top 3 imho.
 
Last edited:

wmachine

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 4, 2015
Messages
855
Reaction score
773
This subject was doomed for discussion right from the beginning by using the word "best". "Best" always needs to be defined first or it the whole diecussion is disjointed. And this true anywhere the "best" of anything is discussed. My very first answer to the thread question is, best in what respect? Meaning most versatile? Further definition of "best" would give the subject much better direction and get much more objective responses.
 

Adinol

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2015
Messages
382
Reaction score
302
...it was the most finicky guitar I have ever owned in terms of needing adjustments. That thing was always moving around ...
I'm a guitar tech (and luthier) and I'd be interested to know exactly what you mean by "always moving around".

I assume you mean that the guitar needed frequent setups, fro whatever reason. But I would like to know more details and perhaps try to unravel what exactly was going on with that guitar.

Although I am a big fan of Gibson guitars I do have issues with them, but I'd like to hear specifics about yours.
 

Bluesman1956

Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2013
Messages
50
Reaction score
35
Mind sharing some stats to expand on that statement?

Is this from your personal experience of playing scores of 335's, or is the 335 model just not your cup O tea?
In which case it wouldn't mean the guitars aren't good ones.

Just asking because I have owned several, and played tons, and they've all been fantastic. Yes some had pickups that wasn't quite my sound, or needed a set up, but never seen them bashed as a group. Some don't like the smaller necks they started in 65, thru the 70's, but I don't mind them.




View attachment 511916
Pure conjecture
 

BDW60

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2009
Messages
878
Reaction score
1,081
I'm a guitar tech (and luthier) and I'd be interested to know exactly what you mean by "always moving around".

I assume you mean that the guitar needed frequent setups, fro whatever reason. But I would like to know more details and perhaps try to unravel what exactly was going on with that guitar.

Although I am a big fan of Gibson guitars I do have issues with them, but I'd like to hear specifics about yours.
yes, frequent adjustments. It would be playing fine one day with no buzz and i would pick it up a few days later and there it was ... during the same seasons. It also had a bit of a dead note (g string, 12th fret) that never wanted to ring out even after a pro setup.

Poorly finished F holes (very rough) ... it was just annoying stuff.

But when it was right it sounded really great.
 

Sharp

Senior Member
Joined
May 26, 2013
Messages
217
Reaction score
291
There is no best, in my books, but I appreciate the sentiment. The 335, and all other semi-hollowbodies, are a great design idea. Basically a solid body with beautiful appointments. Very pleasing to the eye and enough of a different sound to the solid body.
 

elkman28

Junior Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2020
Messages
5
Reaction score
4
The 335 I had just felt unwieldy, but I did settle on its younger brother in red, the 339. I'm not going to claim it's the best at anything, but it's well balanced, smaller and plays well, even I don't. It's just the sort of thing Martyn Booth would have designed if he were still at Gibson and given a free hand? Another thing thing with the 335, I was always uncomfortable about having the jack on the top! I'm more comfortable with it on the edge where it "knows its place"
 

Adinol

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2015
Messages
382
Reaction score
302
yes, frequent adjustments. It would be playing fine one day with no buzz and i would pick it up a few days later and there it was ... during the same seasons. It also had a bit of a dead note (g string, 12th fret) that never wanted to ring out even after a pro setup.

Poorly finished F holes (very rough) ... it was just annoying stuff.

But when it was right it sounded really great.
It is impossible to know exactly what is going on without inspecting your guitar. It does sound like there's a high spot on the 13th fret and that the neck might not be stable. If you had a way to precisely measure the relief of the neck when the guitar performs well and then measure the relief when it is buzzing, then we would know if the neck is unstable. The relief also affects the action (although that's not how one adjusts the action).

What might (just might) stabilize the neck (just a bit) is cleaning and oiling the fretboard.

One thing that might makes a neck unstable is the wood grain absorbing and/or releasing moisture to and from the air. Wood grain is a sponge, basically. The wood grain on the fret board is open grain. Although it is not end grain it still allows transfer of moisture.

Now, oil and water (i.e. moisture) don't mix. When you oil the board you saturate the upper layer of the wood grain with the oil (basically, you put oil finish on the wood). The presence of oil reduces the transfer of moisture somewhat.

Also, using low viscosity superglue on the frets might help a bit in making the neck more stable. This should be done by an experienced tech (or luthier, even better) and should be done before oiling. Superglue is used by some luthiers and tech when fretting and/or refretting and it (as many other things) open to discussion and differences in opinion.

Another thing that might hep is buffing the fretboard. This also should be done by an experienced tech. The buffing compound will be rubbed into the top layer of the open grain. If course, you'll have to remove the excess compound, when cleaning up, but it's just another minor detail that might help, if the problem is that the neck is unstable.

But before any of that I would check if the frets are completely leveled.

I know that some will disagree with some of these suggestions, but it is what I think might help if the neck is unstable, as I suspect. I can't really think of any other thing that would be causing the problems you've described, other than the neck.

And I don't think this will magically change your guitar, but these details might help at least to a noticeable degree.

Wish you well...
 
Joined
Oct 4, 2020
Messages
94
Reaction score
135
Well there really isn't a "best" guitar. But I will say a 335 is a great guitar to have in you're arsenal.
It can cover a lot of styles of music. The same thing can be said for a Les Paul, Tele, Strat, Jackson PRS etc....
For Christmas 2011 my then fiancee bought me a Made in Memphis Historic '59 fat neck.
I got it at dealer cost which was $2485. I use the guitar often and it really sounds and feels awesome!

Here I am with "The Drifters" back in December of 2018




Screenshot_20201118-191519.jpg
Screenshot_20201128-125934.jpg


In the studio

Screenshot_20210102-131116.jpg
 

bum

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2015
Messages
1,397
Reaction score
1,867
yes, frequent adjustments. It would be playing fine one day with no buzz and i would pick it up a few days later and there it was ... during the same seasons. It also had a bit of a dead note (g string, 12th fret) that never wanted to ring out even after a pro setup.

Poorly finished F holes (very rough) ... it was just annoying stuff.

But when it was right it sounded really great.
First up - I believe you and am not disagreeing with you or your experience, I totally believe what you say.
I say that because I think it's important. My experience could not be more different, to the point that I have (on many occasions) got my guitar out of the bus storage area when doing a gig, took the guitar out, gone to tune it and it's already tuned in.
It's a running joke with the rest of the band at this point, there is always someone looking at me when I go to tune up for soundcheck waiting for a thumb up or thumb down off me depending on if it's in tune or not lol
 

dspelman

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2009
Messages
11,204
Reaction score
7,692
Best guitar ever made? Hell no. And I say this as the proud owner of more than one, including an old ES-335-12 string.

Good guitars, to be sure. Best? No.
 

Prospector

Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 27, 2015
Messages
237
Reaction score
156
Not the best...for me. I find the 335 body shape to be uncomfortable and unwieldy. I did, however, own a smaller sized ES-336 that was a wonderful guitar that I enjoyed for years. Different strokes......
 


Latest Threads



Top