ES 335 Favorite Upgrades?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Bhodie, Aug 27, 2008.

  1. Bhodie

    Bhodie Member

    Messages:
    611
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2007
    Location:
    Central FL
    I tried searching this.. but you cannot look up 335, tone pro, etc because the words are too short?!? so I apologize if it is well covered some place.. if so, hit me up with a link and I will read my butt off :)

    I see a lot of discussion around locking bridge and stop tail piece, as well as light weight aluminum tail pieces used on LP's.. but was wondering how many people prefer to use them on 335's and what their experience was..

    Right now it is a stone stock 2007 cherry gloss ES-335 dot.. not the expensive CS reissue, but the next one down.. so it does not have the long neck tenon, but has the same everything else (except the holly headstock veneer) as far as I can tell.. (these things are really hard to research too as people call them all kinds of things.. and the Gibson page is not too clear either.

    In fact, as far as I can tell, the satin finish is the same except for less glossy finish (Gibson acolytes, please fill in the blanks for me if I am way off)

    But I digress.. besides the question re the tail piece and bridge, any other favorite upgrades to that model? (pots? caps? tuners?) Internals look like a real PITA to change.. is it as bad as it looks like to change pickups?

    Other helpful suggestions welcomed!

    Gracias!!
     
  2. Bob V

    Bob V Member

    Messages:
    1,191
    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2007
    Location:
    Glen Head, New York
    You might have tuning machines with bolt bushings insead of older style press-fit bushings. The bolts were a technological improvement until people started clamoring for vintage correct hardware. Your hardware is nice and shiny, nobody treated it to prematurely gunk it up like the Historics. Also you probably have '57 Classic pickups whereas some of the custom shop reissues have Burstbucker 1&2 pickups.

    I put a lightweight aluminum tailpiece on my ES-339 (similar, I'm not saying they're the same guitar) and all it did was keep me from wondering whether it would make a difference.:jo

    OK here's a simple thing you can do to stop jonesing for modifications. Go get some 5/16-24 socket head set screws at the hardware store (look for fine thread 24 pitch) and install them in the threaded inserts under the tailpiece studs - count the number of revolutions you turned the studs to remove them, and put the setscrews in that many turns plus four or five (too far and they'll fall out beyond the threaded inserts and get loose in the hole underneath). The setscrews will act as a lock or stop-nut so your tailpiece studs can be tightened down against them.

    Also, a poor-man's substitute for the Tone Pros locking hardware on the tailpiece is to lower the treble side about a turn or a turn and a half compared to the bass side. The resulting angle will start to jam the tailpiece in the studs so it's held more tightly of you think that coupling there is going to change the sound that much. If you want to go nuts there's a tailpiece made by Faber that tightens everything.

    As for a TonePros bridge, their AVR is an improved ABR-1 type which I would consider if you find you cannot get enough adjustment range for proper intonation adjustments, otherwise I wouldn't mess with the bridge. I have a Tone Pros bridge on another guitar, and the biggest feature is the adjustment range for the saddles, not the locking deal, as far as I'm concerned. Besides the saddles on your guitar were custom notched at the Gibson factory for optimal spacing of the strings. Unless you special order it a Tone Pros bridge is going to have the saddles pre-notched with even spacing rather than the proportional spacing you have now.

    I do believe in strap locks, though. Take a look at the Gibson forums for ideas.
     
  3. slopeshoulder

    slopeshoulder Senior Member

    Messages:
    7,885
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2006
    you can't polish a turd.
     
  4. Bhodie

    Bhodie Member

    Messages:
    611
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2007
    Location:
    Central FL
    Wow.. while I have seen a lot of discussion around ES 335's, I have never heard that exact sentiment. With the classic 57's the guitar sounds great through the Top Hat.. not like an LP.. or any other of the guitars I owned.. which was the reason for getting it.

    Was your comment based on just an overall objection to Gibson/ES 335 or do you have some specific complaint about them that would preclude you from looking at improvements?
     
  5. buchla300

    buchla300 Member

    Messages:
    1,387
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2008
    Location:
    Belgium
    Plenty of pros making a living with these "Turds".

    Being constructive..
    I quite like the Classic 57, but they can be improved upon. I'd say if the sound isn't exactly what you are looking for, but is in the ballpark, then some very nice PAF style pups with decent pots etc, will be a good way to go. On a 335, I'd just get it done in a shop. Too tricky. My choice for Pickups? Pricey, but I love Tom Holmes Pups
    That and a tonepro tailpiece would probably be a good way to go.
     
  6. bluesjuke

    bluesjuke Disrespected Elder

    Messages:
    24,154
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2005
    Location:
    Gretchen's House, Bluesland, TX.


    That's true......but when it's not a turd you don't have to polish it!


    Bhodie, Your 335 does have a long tenon- they all do.
    The only difference is that the Historic 335 has a tenon that is slightly wider.
    I have an HIstoric 335 and a USA 335 and they are both outstanding.

    I have had others in the past and have never done a thing to them.
    They were great as they came.

    Enjoy yours!
     
  7. Bhodie

    Bhodie Member

    Messages:
    611
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2007
    Location:
    Central FL
    thanks for the info.. it is exactly what I am talking about regarding finding info on these guitars. If you look at Gibsons site.. they specifically reference the "one piece mahogany neck w/long neck tenon" for the Dot Reissue, and for the "standard" 335, they just say "one piece mahogany neck" leading you to believe that it does not have a long tenon. They also mention the holly headstock veneer.. so I assume the standard 335 has some other wood as a veneer.. but it is painted black so who cares?

    I appreciate the posts.. I have the opportunity to put some Lollar low wind Imperials in it that a friend will sell me at a really good price, and I think the advice to have my tech do it is right on.

    Last question.. i have upgraded PIO caps, but do the pots need to be replaced? Favorite types? rating?

    Regards!
     
  8. OlAndrew

    OlAndrew Member

    Messages:
    2,350
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2007
    Location:
    Sedona, Arizona
    I'd say, just play the thing the way it is for awhile. It takes a bit to get used to guitar, and see what you can get out of it with fingers and skill. Then, if something really annoys you about it, see if a good setup fixes it. If that fails, then go to mods.

    Those 335s are pretty good stock, (unless you got a dog...it happens, but not that often). If you use a Bigsby a lot, then maybe you need to think about things like a Graphtek nut and a roller bridge, but on a stoptail, no need.

    Of course, if you're trying to emulate someone's tone, you can go slowly and expensively insane, trying different boutique pickups, tone caps, and so on. There's no end of threads about that kind of thing on here.

    At least if you've played it a lot, you'll be able to better define to a tech or a pickup maker, just what's wrong now and exactly what you want, so they can do a better job for you.

    By the way, I'd say Larry Carlton's turd polished up pretty nicely, don't you think?
     
  9. Rasta1

    Rasta1 Member

    Messages:
    55
    Joined:
    May 11, 2008
    Location:
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    That sums it up for me.
    I have a 335 from '91 or so and I just recently changed the the selector switch. took me about 35 mins. and I was back in the amp and playing up a storm.
     
  10. FrankieSixxxgun

    FrankieSixxxgun Member

    Messages:
    3,040
    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2008
    Location:
    Tampa, FL
    RS Guitar Works modern kit. Seriously. I tossed one in my ES-335 in lieu of the stock 300k pots and junk caps, and good lord did that guitar open up. I probably wouldn't screw with anything else on it. Aside from a wiring kit, my guitar is bone stock.
     
  11. Bob V

    Bob V Member

    Messages:
    1,191
    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2007
    Location:
    Glen Head, New York
    I believe the holly headstock veneer feature is a return to using real wood for the peghead facing, another example of the Custom Shop's futile attempt to satisfy the cork sniffers, but on the other hand if you're paying for a Historic Reissue you should expect it to be made the same way if that's what you want. On vintage pieces you can see where the lacquer has shrunk in and the grain is printing through a bit; modern ones are smooth. I don't know when they stopped using the wood veneer, but modern production-model headstock overlays are made of fiber that's black through and through, sometimes with cleaner edges around the pearl inlay (sometimes the changes are made for reasons other than cost cutting). If it's holly wood veneer, you can sometimes see the lighter wood where the dye did not fully penetrate when you look at the edge of the peghead facing around the trussrod rout. On a fiber plate, it's black all the way through.

    Now, sometimes Gibson's ad copy says "Holly headstock inlay" and that can confuse things (the description of the Custom Classic Les Paul is one example). That's a different issue, referring to the flame or double diamond or flowerpot or other inlays that have appeared on pegheads of various models.
     
  12. bluesjuke

    bluesjuke Disrespected Elder

    Messages:
    24,154
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2005
    Location:
    Gretchen's House, Bluesland, TX.


    Even with '57's in all of my LP's the 335 with '57's sounds quite a bit different.
    It's the guitar more than the pickups.

    The '57's are my favorites.


    I did the Vintage RS Kit in my R8 because it needed it but in my 335's I find no shortcomings, thus no need.
    In my R8 I was glad I did that.

    That's a guitar by guitar thing IMO.
     
  13. humbuster

    humbuster Senior Member

    Messages:
    744
    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2007
    Cork sniffer here;

    My Historic 63 Block, is quite fine the way it is; thank you.

    I think the faded cherry finish is the reason it sounds so good.

    Rock on.
     
  14. L3stat

    L3stat Member

    Messages:
    31
    Joined:
    May 23, 2007
    Am thinking of getting locking tuners for my 335, currently has Kluson vintage style tuners. How do I tell if the bushings are screw-in or press-fit? The screw-in bushings are hexagonal in shape? Sorry for being a complete noob.
     
  15. jzgtrguy

    jzgtrguy Member

    Messages:
    6,103
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    This is what I would do.
    Tone Pros bridge assembly with Titanium saddles
    Jason Lollar Imperial pickups.

    Those would be the two big things.
     
  16. CocoTone

    CocoTone Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,647
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2005
    Location:
    Cobourg
    I bought a 335 faded this year, and all i did to it was 500 k volume pots, and an aluminum tailpiece. Polished it up, some vintage knobs and switch tip, and I am real happy with it. i was going to go the historic route, and I played a ton of them. This guitar kept calling me back. Saved over a thousand dollars going the faded route. I'd put this guitar up against any 335 and wouldn't be embarrased.

    CT.[​IMG][​IMG]
     
  17. JimmyR

    JimmyR Member

    Messages:
    3,793
    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2006
    Location:
    sub lacum
    I have an '07 Fatneck 335, so it has the bigger neck (obviously!), '57 Classic pickups and the Kluson style tuners which I prefer, if only for aesthetic reasons. I put on an aluminium tailpiece but can't really hear a difference. I had tried Tonepros bridges before and didn't care for the tone! So the bridge is stock. I also tried Lollar Imperial pickups and I have to say I prefered the stock bridge pickup. So the bridge pickup is back to being the '57 but the neck pickup is the Lollar because (A) it sounds good and (B) it will be a major PITA to swap it back! The Lollar sounds clear and full but doesn't have the same quack as the '57.

    I deliberately played the guitar for many months before making any pickup changes because I thought I'd see if I could get used to the '57s. Seems I did! I have left the pots etc stock because they work really well on my guitar. In fact the pots work better on my 335 than on any other of my guitars. With a 5E3 Deluxe I can all sorts of different tones just by using the pots. So my advice would be just to play it a lot until you find something that really does need changing.
     
  18. jzgtrguy

    jzgtrguy Member

    Messages:
    6,103
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    Your playing my guitar:drool. I might change the caps and pots but you seem to say they work well. How is the neck on your 335? Is it boat back big or like an old Les Paul. I like big but not too big, I cannot get comfortable on the slim 60's neck profile.
     
  19. L3stat

    L3stat Member

    Messages:
    31
    Joined:
    May 23, 2007
    I have an 07 Fat Neck too. Sold 2 earlier 335s because of their slim necks. I'd say the Fat Neck is very close to the 50s neck on the current LP Standards, if my memory serves (had one but let it go). Very comfortable, not as fat as the pre-03 LPs (before they started the 50s and 60s neck designations).
     
  20. HRydarcik

    HRydarcik Member

    Messages:
    927
    Joined:
    May 13, 2007
    I did a few mods to my Tokai ES 120....I switched the nickel pickup mounting ring screws for black ones, put a Gibson Historic truss rod cover on it and aged the hardware....other than that it's bone stock.
     

Share This Page