ES-330 topic, please just the experts and wise.

teleman1

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
15,001
I am interested in a 330. I tried a couple of 60's and they sound and play wonderful. But I do not enjoy the width of the neck;too thin. Is it correct that the late 50's and early 60's had wider necks than the mid 60's????? Now, doe the es-330L have a wider neck like the earlier ones? If so, they are more conveniently priced, like by half compared to the $4000 mid sixties.

Please help me out here with some good knowlege.
 
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g6120

Member
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309
Who me a expert no but I do have a Gibson ES 330 L and its just about a year old now . The neck on my guitar is a decent size and I would not describe it as very narrow or thin at all its more so crafted like a late 1950s Gibson neck .

Early ES 330s had a chunkier neck where as the later they narrowed the profile down . The ES 330L is crafted more like the earlier examples and I do prefer the larger necks myself .

One more thought for consideration Gibson is no longer manufacturing the ES 330 L but there are still a few to be purchased at some retailers .
 

candid_x

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,676
Not expert nor wise, but my first electric was an ES330, bought in '66. It fit me like a glove, and I have smallish hands. I think it would be considered a rather slim and tapered neck. However, I have played ES335's with slimmer and heavier carves. So I'd say it was in the middle.

 
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mark norwine

Member
Messages
17,158
The small nut you speak of is a 1-9/16" nut. That's the width from about '66 - late 70's.

You can find a 1-5/8" nut here & there during that period.

The wide nut is 1-11/16" and was the standard width throughout the 50's and up to about '65.

During the late 60's, Gibson changed the 330 so that the neck was not so far inset, but was set like a 335. Originally, the 330 joined at the 16th fret, but they changed it to a 19th fret design.....again: like the 335.

Note that it was simply a design change....it was never called 330L. That designation is reserved for recent reissues.

IMO, the 19th fret versions lack some of that "330 magic". Don't know why...but they just do. I've also seen late 60's 19th fret 330's "fold up", perhaps because of a combination of the thin body & less "neck meat" inset into the body.

If you want a wider neck, get an early 60's. The new 330's (and 335's) use a thicker plywood, and the guitars simply don't resonate. They lack a "bouncy tone"....but the old ones rule!

Good luck!
 

g6120

Member
Messages
309
If you want a wider neck, get an early 60's. The new 330's (and 335's) use a thicker plywood, and the guitars simply don't resonate. They lack a "bouncy tone"....but the old ones rule!

Good luck![/QUOTE]

Im not a expert when it comes to Gibson guitars and I dont have that kind of information but Im curious where is the documentation that states the dimensions your referring to for ES 335 , ES 330 guitars when it comes to variations of thicker plywood, you had mentioned .
 

supa-fuzz

Member
Messages
1,340
You may want to check out Epiphone Casino's from the 1960's too, same guitar, different headstock.
 

kelvinator60

Member
Messages
891
Yeah skip the new ones. Magic is not there and long neck on a 330 is just wrong. If have owned my '66 ES330 since 1995 and has been my #1 since purchased. I have no issues with the nut width but if you want bigger you have to go early 60s or late 50s and you have to pay for that. Try to find one with a headstock repair or some other issues for a good player and that should cut the cost down.

Epiphone Casinos are a fine substitute but are costly due to the Beatle association.

The ES330 and Epiphone Casino are truly wonderful guitars and are still insanely under appreciated on the whole. They breath or something. I don't know. Perfect weight to boot! I'll take one over a 335 any day. Much more versatile.

Here's an 80s Casino MIJ: http://cgi.ebay.com/Epiphone-Casino...n-/160593494833?pt=Guitar&hash=item25641e4331

I have never played one but have heard NOTHING but great things about them. I would really love to own that guitar. That would be as close to a 60s as you would get without breaking the bank.
 
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Elias Graves

Senior Member
Messages
1,837
What about the modern Casino Elitist models? What kind of necks do those have?
Imported body with Gibson guts, right?

EG
 

mark norwine

Member
Messages
17,158
Im not a expert when it comes to Gibson guitars and I dont have that kind of information but Im curious where is the documentation that states the dimensions your referring to for ES 335 , ES 330 guitars when it comes to variations of thicker plywood, you had mentioned .
You don't need documentation; you need to play some guitars.

Old ones have thinner tops & resonant, bouncier tone.

New ones are stiff sounding...sometimes downright "dead".
 

bazooka47

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
860
I play a '68 (despite being dubbed worthless by the 'TGP cognoscenti', mine sounds anything but "dead"). The nut width is between 1 5/8 and 1 11/16.

The neck is not what I would describe as "wide", but it has a nice full roundness that to me is very comfortable.

Having given the measurements, I agree with what others have said- put away the ruler and play guitar! ES-330s from any year are great guitars. The neck is part of the experience.

 
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StanG

Member
Messages
4,667
I'm not an expert, but I own a '67 ES-330: it has the 1 9/16 nut, but the neck profile has some girth to it ( it is approx .9 " thick at the 2nd fret) , which offsets the narrow nut, at least for me. Very resonant acoustically.

I also have a recent chinese epi casino, which has a wider nut and a nice neck profile also, and matches the vintage Gibson in acoustic resonance and pop. I put a Gibson P-90 in the neck position and it is a really nice guitar. I bouight it as a cheap replacement for the 330, but like it enough I will keep it even if I end up keeping the Gibson.

check the emporium as I cant afford to keep the Gibson.

From what others have said about the RI 330, you may be better off with one of the Epi casino's for lot's less $.

 
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8,095
My experience with elite Casinos is the have a wide nut and slim front to back profile. Some of the earlier Koreun casinos have a chunky neck; they seem to vary widely.

I agree with the "forget the 330L" sentiments as well as the "long neck 330 is just wrong" crowd. You will need a '59-'62 330 to get all the goods and a substantial neck.
 

Drew816

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,353
Pre 65 is what you're looking for; my luthier locally has a 62 or 63 dot neck in Cherry that is literally 'brand new' that he's been talking about selling. It is the cleanest vintage guitar I've ever seen, too big a neck for me (I prefer the later more narrow necks, my 330 is a '67 w/ factory B7); his guitar would not be cheap (probably in the $4-4.5k price range) but MAN it's killer!

Good one's in that period don't come cheap but they are fantastic guitars and well worth the effort.

Good luck!
 

909one

Member
Messages
2,197
I owned a reissue 330L and after about a year of trying various mods to get it to sound more like a vintage 330, I sold it. I bought it because I couldn't afford an early 60's 330, and like you and I hated the thinner necks of the mid-late 60's versions. Also, I bought one from Woodwind-Brass on the the one year no-interest credit card, so that made things a little easier. ;)
The guitar played amazing, probably one of the best guitars I have ever played. But no matter what i did, the tone was just too stuffy and wooly sounding. I didn't have that chime and airyness that early 330's have.
The stock pickups suck, bigtime. They are way overwound. I put Lollar Vintage winds in there, and they sounded much better, but it still wasn't right. It was really tough to let go of a guitar that played that well, but the sound just wasn't right.

If you can save up for an early 60's 330, do that. If not, I think the Elitist Casinos are the gonna be the best alternative for new.
 

teleman1

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
15,001
When I first tried the two I was looking at, it was a friend who was looking at it. The weight and the unplugged tone is awesome. When I tried at first, I was overwhelmed by the sound. I noticed my fingers weren't having a great time. I thought it was just me. Then when i got interested and tried it a second time, I noticed how thin the neck was and I wasn't exactly bonding.

I had tried a 300L last year and I really liked the way the neck felt and thought it sounded good unplugged. Are they really that bad???

Also, the price of either the 65 red or the 67 burst is 4 bills? I see stuff on EBAY and the price is way less and they don't seem to have issues. Also, I will not buy a guitar without trying it.

And HEY, thank you folks for the info, we are a brain trust of info here at TGP and I hope I help others here as you have helped me!
 

909one

Member
Messages
2,197
I had tried a 300L last year and I really liked the way the neck felt and thought it sounded good unplugged. Are they really that bad???
No, I wouldn't say they are bad by any means, actually very fine guitars. However, they really don't sound like vintage 330s. They have a much different tone. Alot darker, jazzier, woolier sounding. I think its the combination of the thicker top and the neck set at the 19th fret.
I like hollowbodies to sound open, and kinda airy.

ok, here is a good camparision, its maybe not as drastic i am making it seem, but you can really hear the difference between the vintage 330 and 330l. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIMnrEMWRZs&feature=related
the 330L guitar does sound pretty good there, however... it just didn't work with my setup. it sounded horrible with my tweed. way too much midrange. maybe with a vox it would sound good though.
 

teleman1

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
15,001
Thanks 909. Did it sound good unplugged,(330L).

Two years ago I walked into Norms Rare guitars,( try not to go there cause it just messes with your mind; guys are not suppossed to have multiple orgasms). I tried a early 60's 330 with a tweed. THAT was the sound I was looking for!!! I am probably the person that started the Lollars are too polite label. I put them into a Les Paul Special and lost the desire to hear it anymore and sold it. BUT I wanted p-90 sound. The guitar at Norms p-90 tone was beyond incredible. I acquired a 61 Melody Maker routed with p-90's. THe guitar played well but the Korean PU's in it, sounded way too polite, but good. So I did the p-90 search. From the internet search as well as I could I discorved Wofetone and Antiquites. It reads at Seymours website that these are the real deal. Well I got them, and then upon hearing them, my buddy got one and my other buddy is looking to install them also. SO, I'd say, the 330l with Antiquites, should sound fantastic???? They have the correct alnico 3? magnets and they kill. Back off the volume into the sweetest tone you'd expect from a great P-90.
 

909one

Member
Messages
2,197
ps...
in this video the dude compares the 330L to a vintage '59 les paul. i think the 330l sounds closer to a solidbody than a 330. that's why i didn't like it.
 




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