Best value ES335?

stratzrus

Philadelphia Jazz, Funk, and R&B
Gold Supporting Member
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23,875
Not sure where they are now pricewise , but I’ve got an ES-333 that’s a monster guitar, need different pickups but otherwise amazing. Better than many 335’s I’ve played.

:agree

ES-333s are basically 335s with some cosmetic differences and sell for a thousand dollars less.


"The ES-333 is quite similar to the Gibson ES-335, but varies from the ES-335 in the following ways:

  • The finish is a thin satin finish, versus the ES-335's thicker full gloss finish.
  • The headstock has a silkscreen Gibson logo, versus the ES-335's inlaid pearloid logo.
  • The headstock has no further decorative inlay, versus the ES-335's "crown" headstock inlay.
  • The pickups are Gibson type 490R and 498T, versus the ES-335's Gibson 57 Classic pickups.
  • The back of the body has an access cover for the electronics, versus the solid rear of the ES-335."
I love mine. It's previous owner installed a set of Duncan Antiquities and it kills. The rear access cover is a major plus if you ever want to upgrade the electronics.

50802394827_49f5275085_c.jpg
 

stratzrus

Philadelphia Jazz, Funk, and R&B
Gold Supporting Member
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23,875
The cheapest 333 on R right tow is 2150 + shipping. Non epi tom delong, that is.
I don’t know if I’d file that under smoking value, personally.

From their price guide...one player got a great deal on one in April. They average between $1,800 and $2,000, still cheaper than a 335.

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"Smoking value" or not, I'd buy one for $1,800 if it was in very good condition, particularly if it had upgraded pickups which many do. I bought one for my son that had Seth Lovers in it when he graduated from med school. He loves it.

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SAB54

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
90
I have an Eastman T185MX. Comes stock with Lollar Imperials. Great craftsmanship on the guitar. Plays as well as my PRS guitars. I got it for $1200.
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Chippertheripper

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,647
From their price guide...one player got a great deal on one in April. They average between $1,800 and $2,000, still cheaper than a 335.

52163258357_31019f1346_c.jpg


"Smoking value" or not, I'd buy one for $1,800 if it was in very good condition, particularly if it had upgraded pickups which many do. I bought one for my son that had Seth Lovers in it when he graduated from med school. He loves it.
Congrats.
 

bluegrif

Member
Messages
5,724
The Starfire IV is, IMO, a better guitar than the Gibson. I have had mine since 66.
If you’ve had yours since 66 it bears almost no relation to the Starfires of today, which are good guitars, but Asian-made repros.

I agree though, a Starfire from the original company is a wonderful instrument and better than most current production Gibson 335s. I had a Westerly example from the 90s and it was superb. But the OP is interested in spending less than a new 335 and most USA Starfires are actually more expensive than a new 335.

That said, the new Asian reissues are as nice as most of the other suggestions at a similar price point. If I was looking at a $500-$600 semi, I’d definitely check em out.
 

LBXPDX

Member
Messages
1,442
I have a minor GAS for an ES335 (style) right now, but not sure if I wanna fork out min 3k for one. What are my options?
I know I posted Eastman earlier, but I forgot to add on rather large detail that I find significant. The frets. Eastman uses Jescar fret wire. It is a great wire that does not wear as quick as most all other wire.
 

Mike Carrigan

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
24
I assume you're talking about WBT Silver Bearing solder, which contains about 4% silver (otherwise you'd be applying with a torch and a separate flux). It's definitely easier to work with than the "lead free" gunk and is less prone to cold solder joints, but if say you hear a difference I'll just have to take your word for it. The point of solder isn't to conduct electricity, but to hold components in place that conduct electricity.
True, it is kind of an esoteric concept, but conductors have come a long way toward better sound, and while I can’t provide the scientific info, it seems logical to me that a different formulation of solder might conduct audio signals better (sound quality). To use an extreme example, consider WBT vs. acid core plumbing solder.
 

Mike Carrigan

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
24
I assume you're talking about WBT Silver Bearing solder, which contains about 4% silver (otherwise you'd be applying with a torch and a separate flux). It's definitely easier to work with than the "lead free" gunk and is less prone to cold solder joints, but if say you hear a difference I'll just have to take your word for it. The point of solder isn't to conduct electricity, but to hold components in place that conduct electricity.
I am also a guitar player, and I use cables from Quantum Audio Designs, they’re oxygen free copper (oxygen free means a purer signal path, which is another topic) soldered with silver solder, and sound great (and they are also directional, yet another topic). Silver solder becomes more popular as more people use it. I just thought if anyone wants more info on the above, just do a search and you will find plenty of audiophile articles.
 

GenghisBomb

Member
Messages
196
Hands down, the Yamaha SA2200 is what you want. :cool:
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.

The current inspired by epiphones are nothing to sneeze at. Some treble bleeds and pickups to taste and see ya later.
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!
 

Daka3

Member
Messages
2,364
Get a newer Epi Riviera. The 335’s more, shall we say, funky cousin. Hurry up. You Can Thank me later.
 

TooMuchFiber

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,174
:agree

ES-333s are basically 335s with some cosmetic differences and sell for a thousand dollars less.


"The ES-333 is quite similar to the Gibson ES-335, but varies from the ES-335 in the following ways:

  • The finish is a thin satin finish, versus the ES-335's thicker full gloss finish.
  • The headstock has a silkscreen Gibson logo, versus the ES-335's inlaid pearloid logo.
  • The headstock has no further decorative inlay, versus the ES-335's "crown" headstock inlay.
  • The pickups are Gibson type 490R and 498T, versus the ES-335's Gibson 57 Classic pickups.
  • The back of the body has an access cover for the electronics, versus the solid rear of the ES-335."
I love mine. It's previous owner installed a set of Duncan Antiquities and it kills. The rear access cover is a major plus if you ever want to upgrade the electronics.

50802394827_49f5275085_c.jpg
Isn't the body of a 333 smaller than a 335?
 

Golem

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,759
Not to dis OP, but there's a lot of threads on this topic. For me, it's the Ibanes AS series. Give me one with Super 58s and it's close enough to what I like in a 335 for my taste. I prefer the ergonomics. The Super 58s are closer to the brighter PAFs I like in those kinds of guitars anyhow.

Used, they are a tremendous value.
 
Messages
350
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.
 

derekd

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
46,872
Ibanez Artcore semi - perhaps the John Scofield signature... Also - the Eastman versions of the 335 are also fine guitars...
Yeah, between Ibanez, Eastman, & Epi, they pretty much have it covered.

There are lots of others out there like Sire, Firefly, heck, Rondo, I think even Harley Benton makes one.

I had an Epi Dot 15 years ago that was a winner. Gave it to a student.
 




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