Best value ES335?

Beyer260

Member
Messages
628
To use an extreme example, consider WBT vs. acid core plumbing solder.
The difference there isn't about conducting electricity though, it's about the fact that the acid core in plumbing solder is designed to join pipe and sheet metal and will eat electrical wire leading to failure of the connection. Properly heated leaded solder joints will last essentially forever.

There's certainly nothing wrong with using WBT and if it's worth it to you, go for it. I can't cast stones, I just spent a couple thousand dollars on mic preamps for recording, and no one in my band but me can hear the difference between them and the preamps in a Focusrite Scarlett.
 

Chippertheripper

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,639
The Firefly 335 guitars seem to get great reviews, they are affordable, but because of those two things they are very difficult to find. When Amazon has them, they sell out quickly.

I tried one and sent it back.
Not that I’m a qualified cork sniffer in any way, but once I had it in my hands I knew instantly it was going to be a long and reasonably expensive road to get it to where I wanted a semi hollow to be.
I got there for probably about the same money, but with much less headache, with the ibg335.
The firefly though, full hardware swap, all the fretwork, new nut, and I was still going to be left with a guitar that had some of the thickest finish I’ve ever run across.
Some people are for sure happy with them, and I’m not trying to diminish that joy. It just wasn’t going to be the one for me.
 
Messages
350
I tried one and sent it back.
Not that I’m a qualified cork sniffer in any way, but once I had it in my hands I knew instantly it was going to be a long and reasonably expensive road to get it to where I wanted a semi hollow to be.
I got there for probably about the same money, but with much less headache, with the ibg335.
The firefly though, full hardware swap, all the fretwork, new nut, and I was still going to be left with a guitar that had some of the thickest finish I’ve ever run across.
Some people are for sure happy with them, and I’m not trying to diminish that joy. It just wasn’t going to be the one for me.
Yeah, the off-brands pretty much guarantee you'll be replacing something. I don't mind the heavy coat of finish but some don't like it.
 

axe4me

Member
Messages
4,498
"Epiphone Inspied By Gibson" is a good start.

I'm a big Gibson 335 junkie but the prices are insane.

If you can find what you like in the used market, then that's the place to go.

I still have my 1969 Gibson 335 that I bought new in Aug. 1969 at Sam Ash for $250.00

Every other Gibson 335, I purchased used.

Again, Epiphone is a good start and not the stepchild of Gibson.

My '69................

1969gibsones335tdc.jpg

My used "Blueberry" Gibson 335..............

2018gibsonmemphisfiguredblueburstes335dot.jpg

2018gibsonmemphises335back.jpg



My Epi 335..........
epiphoneblushburstfront.jpg

epiphoneblushburstback.jpg
 
Messages
350
"Epiphone Inspied By Gibson" is a good start.

I'm a big Gibson 335 junkie but the prices are insane.

If you can find what you like in the used market, then that's the place to go.

I still have my 1969 Gibson 335 that I bought new in Aug. 1969 at Sam Ash for $250.00

Every other Gibson 335, I purchased used.

Again, Epiphone is a good start and not the stepchild of Gibson.

My '69................

View attachment 640481
My used "Blueberry" Gibson 335..............

View attachment 640483
View attachment 640484


My Epi 335.......... View attachment 640487
View attachment 640488
I'm starting to think that Gibson should put more time and effort in the upper-range Epiphones (which are getting better and better), and less time and effort into the lower range Gibsons (which are, to put it politely, not getting better and better).
 

axe4me

Member
Messages
4,498
More Epiphone goodness:

invernessgreenepitraditionalproes335.jpg

The bottom guitar is a limited edition Epiphone ES 355 that I found at the Mays Landing GC for $418.68 (tax included).
epiescousins.jpg


Although not a 335, I was fortunate to stumble upon a limited edition Epiphone Casino on Craigs List NJ.

This is a Sunshine Orange (not worn) 2019 Epiphone Casino..................

epiphonesunriseorangecasino.jpg
 

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fishlog

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,136
I just may have climbed out of this rabbit hole after playing/owning several semi’s. An IBG Epi (x2 watch the fret work on these I played at least 10 and bought 2 before I found one with out sharp fret edges) and Eastman T486 which was killer but just lacked some tonal character I thought. A bunch of Gretsch guitars including a Panther which were all great but make no mistake they are Gretsch not 335s.

Then off hand I got a deal on a Ibanez AS93. Little to much gold but it sounds killer and playes great. My new pup of the moment is the Super 58s!

So now I own an ‘95 AS80, an ASV100 a JSM20 and they all kill it. But I think The AS93 does the best if I am splitting hairs. Probably be the one I keep as I really only want to keep one.

Definitely bump up from an AS73 to the 93 for the Super 58 pups.
 

IRG

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,235
I’m also searching for a new, affordable 335 type. I’ve had 3 in the past, have enjoyed them all, but have been without for a few years now.

High on my list is the Ibanez AS73 or AS93. Differences I can see are the as93 has a maple body (verses Linden, is that basswood?), ebony board (versus walnut, never had that in a fingerboard before) and the pickups are Super58’s, versus a ceramic version. And it’s about $200 more.

I like the Epiphone ES335 versions too, seems to have a lot of fans here too. Likely get this from Sweetwater as well, anything else I’m missing? The Ibanez is my preferred model at the moment. Thanks
 

axe4me

Member
Messages
4,498
As a Gibson 335 owner, IMO all 335's are/sound different.

An Epiphone 335 is in the same family of a 335 butonly come close.

Gretsch hollow body guitars are a different animal.

IMO, Gretsch guitars have a uniqueness like no other.

The chime is fantastic.

My Gretsch hollow body guitars:

2005gretschg6120dsv.jpg

2018gretschg6135t-59vs.jpg
 

Jrossignol24

Member
Messages
113
Are they *that* good? I can't see myself dropping that kind of money on an Asian "me too" guitar, when for not *that* much more, you can have the real thing, made in USA.


They are, but it's a shame about those icky Laurel fretboards. I really hate when companies pick a component we can't upgrade to cut corners on. CITES isn't even a thing anymore get the Rosewood flowing again! Or charge an extra $20/guitar and use Ebony!
A sa2200 being called an Asian me too guitar is blasphemy. Custom shop level instrument. Leagues above any USA made Gibson. Guaranteed. Small group of highly skilled craftsmen make each and everyone. Just like their SG1820s etc. you could not be more wrong. High end Yams are borderline perfect instruments
 

Johnnyg123

Member
Messages
87
I have a 1982 Yamaha SA-800 and it is the absolute dog's bollox. Cost me 550 euros about 5 years ago.

Yamaha were on a buzz (like sire now with the Larry Carltons) at the time of building the brand and putting the best of parts and plenty of labour into them.

I have played a few from this milenium and they didn't come close

If you can find an old one on reverb or wherever they are amazing and do not seem to go for big money

Outside of that the aforementioned Sire Larry carltons are great too.
 

GenghisBomb

Member
Messages
196
A sa2200 being called an Asian me too guitar is blasphemy. Custom shop level instrument. Leagues above any USA made Gibson. Guaranteed. Small group of highly skilled craftsmen make each and everyone. Just like their SG1820s etc. you could not be more wrong. High end Yams are borderline perfect instruments
You know what, maybe if I played one, I would be blown away. My 70's Aria Acoustic is MIJ, and it has almost spoiled other acoustics for me, as it blows away just about anything under $2,000.

But for me, the lack of standards on the Asian imports makes me skeptical every time. The tendency to use lower quality/no-name components always makes me worry, and of course, the whole reason they're made in Japan and not the US is to keep the costs down. Like I said, I have been wowed. Sire in particular (made in Indonesia) has my undying support. Their instruments just do it better than their competitors, regardless of price. Maybe the Yamaha is like that. You are not the first person who has raved about the SA2200, so I daresay I am likely just in the dark here.

I have a 1982 Yamaha SA-800 and it is the absolute dog's bollox. Cost me 550 euros about 5 years ago.

Yamaha were on a buzz (like sire now with the Larry Carltons) at the time of building the brand and putting the best of parts and plenty of labour into them.
I discovered Sire last year. When I returned to the instrument in 2020, I jumped on an Epiphone LP Classic, the one in my profile pic. It's a decent guitar, tho with two years of experience now, I am finding a lot of nits to pick. Anyway, I saw the Sire's at the local shop, but kindof scoffed at them. I think I plugged in the L7 for about two minutes, as their basses had been getting rave reviews. I didn't want to like it, as liking it would undermine my Epiphone.

I do remember even then being super impressed with the overall build quality, but found the "slippery" neck cheap feeling (oh how little I knew!). It didn't help that the store has *mis-priced* the Sire guitars at $785 US, when they were *supposed* to be $675 US (now $750). So anyway, I forgot about it largely, and just assumed they were a generic "copycat" brand.

Fast forward 6 months, I had bought a Strat I just wasn't bonding with, and happened to walk in to the same shop, and they had corrected the pricing, and had an S7 HSS on the wall. Now with a little bit of experience, I plugged it in, and was *blown* away. I couldn't believe how great it played. The neck was borderline *perfection*.

I wish I had grabbed one then, especially since the price has gone up since. But anyway, in March, I ran in late one evening to grab a Snark, and walked in to a used L7 on the floor for $590 with a case. I jumped on it, even though I only was able to demo it for ten minutes, and through a solid state amp I didn't love. I kindof bought it on faith, wanting to erase the mistake from before. I had done a bit of research on them in the meantime, and was confident that it would sound great through my rig, and that if it didn't, that they were rare and coveted enough that I could re-sell or trade it easily.

I just took it home a month ago, and I nailed it. It *blew* me away through my rig. Just an absurdly great instrument. It actually killed off a case of GAS I had for one of those Epiphone 59 Standards, which I ended up cancelling a layaway on (those are great guitars too BTW).

I am eyeing grabbing an S7 when one comes along again. I tried out their Telecaster (T7), and liked it, but I am not sure I am a big enough Tele guy to grab one. I am going to play one a bit more though, as they don't last long when it stock.
 
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Johnnyg123

Member
Messages
87
I actually have an S7 and love it. I decided to put 8s on it for ***** and giggles. (It comes with 10s and I am a lifelong 9s user) I decided to use that as an excuse bring it to a luthier also for a professional setup.

He told me the neck was very straight and needed light relief. (Don't we all) and there was a slight issue with the input jack which he fixed. Otherwise I'd say he just re set the action and the pickup heights and did the intonation.

It's super now. You could bend the strings round the back of the neck if you wanted. 8s are a little too light in fairness, but I may get used to them on this guitar.
 

Beyer260

Member
Messages
628
High on my list is the Ibanez AS73 or AS93. Differences I can see are the as93 has a maple body (verses Linden, is that basswood?), ebony board (versus walnut, never had that in a fingerboard before) and the pickups are Super58’s, versus a ceramic version. And it’s about $200 more.
Beware if you're buying used though, prior to 2013 the AS93s had the same crap ceramic pickups as the AS73.
 

IRG

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,235
Beware if you're buying used though, prior to 2013 the AS93s had the same crap ceramic pickups as the AS73.

Thanks, no I'm thinking about a current model AS93, with the Super58 in it, which are supposed to be pretty good. But I don't hear many bad things about the AS73 either. I'm not really a jazz guy, nor do I play super clean that often. I'm more rock, blues, ambient noodling, and some metal, though this guitar would not be my choice for that genre, I have others better suited.
 

jamester

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
7,969
But for me, the lack of standards on the Asian imports makes me skeptical every time. The tendency to use lower quality/no-name components always makes me worry, and of course, the whole reason they're made in Japan and not the US is to keep the costs down.
I wouldn't lump Japanese guitars into the lower cost/quality guitars of China and Indonesia, also Yamaha is a Japanese company so why would they make their guitars in the US? Japan makes very high end guitars, with prices in line with high end US made guitars.

For example, the SA2200's MSRP is $3,148.80

Another example would be the Ibanez semi-hollows; the Indonesian models top out around $1,000 ($1,200 for the Scofield). However the Japanese models are around 3x the cost, with the non-Sco model at $2,699 and the Sco model at $3,000.
 

Jrossignol24

Member
Messages
113
You know what, maybe if I played one, I would be blown away. My 70's Aria Acoustic is MIJ, and it has almost spoiled other acoustics for me, as it blows away just about anything under $2,000.

But for me, the lack of standards on the Asian imports makes me skeptical every time. The tendency to use lower quality/no-name components always makes me worry, and of course, the whole reason they're made in Japan and not the US is to keep the costs down. Like I said, I have been wowed. Sire in particular (made in Indonesia) has my undying support. Their instruments just do it better than their competitors, regardless of price. Maybe the Yamaha is like that. You are not the first person who has raved about the SA2200, so I daresay I am likely just in the dark here.


I discovered Sire last year. When I returned to the instrument in 2020, I jumped on an Epiphone LP Classic, the one in my profile pic. It's a decent guitar, tho with two years of experience now, I am finding a lot of nits to pick. Anyway, I saw the Sire's at the local shop, but kindof scoffed at them. I think I plugged in the L7 for about two minutes, as their basses had been getting rave reviews. I didn't want to like it, as liking it would undermine my Epiphone.

I do remember even then being super impressed with the overall build quality, but found the "slippery" neck cheap feeling (oh how little I knew!). It didn't help that the store has *mis-priced* the Sire guitars at $785 US, when they were *supposed* to be $675 US (now $750). So anyway, I forgot about it largely, and just assumed they were a generic "copycat" brand.

Fast forward 6 months, I had bought a Strat I just wasn't bonding with, and happened to walk in to the same shop, and they had corrected the pricing, and had an S7 HSS on the wall. Now with a little bit of experience, I plugged it in, and was *blown* away. I couldn't believe how great it played. The neck was borderline *perfection*.

I wish I had grabbed one then, especially since the price has gone up since. But anyway, in March, I ran in late one evening to grab a Snark, and walked in to a used L7 on the floor for $590 with a case. I jumped on it, even though I only was able to demo it for ten minutes, and through a solid state amp I didn't love. I kindof bought it on faith, wanting to erase the mistake from before. I had done a bit of research on them in the meantime, and was confident that it would sound great through my rig, and that if it didn't, that they were rare and coveted enough that I could re-sell or trade it easily.

I just took it home a month ago, and I nailed it. It *blew* me away through my rig. Just an absurdly great instrument. It actually killed off a case of GAS I had for one of those Epiphone 59 Standards, which I ended up cancelling a layaway on (those are great guitars too BTW).

I am eyeing grabbing an S7 when one comes along again. I tried out their Telecaster (T7), and liked it, but I am not sure I am a big enough Tele guy to grab one. I am going to play one a bit more though, as they don't last long when it stock.
But Yamaha is a Japanese company…They are exporting their own high end product as Gibson does to Japan. There is no cost cutting involved. Why would they make their high end stuff in the US? The Japanese standards are higher than ours.
 

Jrossignol24

Member
Messages
113
I wouldn't lump Japanese guitars into the lower cost/quality guitars of China and Indonesia, also Yamaha is a Japanese company so why would they make their guitars in the US? Japan makes very high end guitars, with prices in line with high end US made guitars.

For example, the SA2200's MSRP is $3,148.80

Another example would be the Ibanez semi-hollows; the Indonesian models top out around $1,000 ($1,200 for the Scofield). However the Japanese models are around 3x the cost, with the non-Sco model at $2,699 and the Sco model at $3,000.
Written at the same time as me haha
 

Bass Butcher

Member
Messages
115
I've never heard of Carparelli before. Their guitars are made in the Chinese Saein factory, you say?
Carparelli (the founder's surname), previously the 'Dot on Shaft' brand (yes, couldn't have picked a worse name), were/are made in the Korean factory. Both were similar to first generation 'Vintage' brand guitars, way under-priced for what you get. The Arco 'shredder' with the P-90's is a stellar guitar and is an active/passive, with a 1 watt (iirc), pre-amp onboard. I paid 450 for it and it had easily a 1k+ price point neck, build quality, 'fit and finish', etc. The SG was as authentic as it comes once I put Gibson pups in it, again just a beautiful player.
 

Bass Butcher

Member
Messages
115
But Yamaha is a Japanese company…They are exporting their own high end product as Gibson does to Japan. There is no cost cutting involved. Why would they make their high end stuff in the US? The Japanese standards are higher than ours.
Exactly and well said. One constant on these forums is people confusing brands with manufacturers, through lack of any actual knowledge of the subject.
 




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