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ES-335 on the cheap

tjmicsak

Member
Messages
5,597
I am looking for suggestions on a ES-335 that has great tone, well made, but on the cheap, kinda like an Epi, Agile, or similar. I leave the option open to upgrade the Pups for Antiquity Humbuckers or '59s, so in that respect I would be looking for a build that would do them justice.
Something in the range of $800-1200.
Any good suggestions?
 

MartinPiana

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,447
Eastman T185 (fully hollow, solid woods). See TGP's Jack Zucker's website for a review of numerous 335 types, including this one. I love mine. Get 'em for under $1k used.

 

XKnight

Member
Messages
11,087
You can get a used Gibson 333 in that price range. Also, look at used Heritage guitars. They are made in the old Kalamazoo Gibson plant and are a bargain used.
 

Jan Folkson

Member
Messages
1,440
A couple of years ago, I got an ES333 in pretty great condition for $700 and just recently threw some Classic 57s in it. Amazing guitar.
 

re-animator

Senior Member
Messages
8,240
yammie.


those yamaha sa's are crazy good for the money. yamaha's QC is outrageous considering their price range.
 

pennylink

Member
Messages
1,904
yammie.

those yamaha sa's are crazy good for the money. yamaha's QC is outrageous considering their price range.
+1 for Yamaha. SA2200 are fabulous guitars, as are the older SA2000 :) You can get them near the top of your price range.
 

TeamJA

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
413
by cheap, you're probably thinking less than $300? check out an ibanez or washburn HB series.

but $700-$1000 is not that much after you buy pickups, deal with crappy frets (fret dress), replace electronics (becuase they suck in cheap guitars) and possibly replace tuners. then you're just left with a hot rodded piece of crap. yes, it might sound great but the resale value is horrible and you'll always wonder what a Gibby might sound like...

been there done that.
 

chucke99

Member
Messages
5,121
With a top range of $1,200, not much is too far out of your reach except guitars that are overpriced based on the logo on their headstock. For $1,500 you can get the best of the MIJ's and other really nice guitars.
 

Tone_Terrific

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
33,314
I store-bought a used Epi dot for $325 cdn, now have a DiM HfH as the neck pup, and am repeatedly struck by how good this guitar plays and sounds. It is still l a wee bit woofy sounding, compared to a Strat:)p) but the fretwork and overall build quality is, well, would you believe magnificent?
335's are not my thing, for ergonomic reasons, but for sound and value....great.
 

pennylink

Member
Messages
1,904
I am looking for suggestions on a ES-335 that has great tone, well made, but on the cheap, kinda like an Epi, Agile, or similar. I leave the option open to upgrade the Pups for Antiquity Humbuckers or '59s, so in that respect I would be looking for a build that would do them justice.
Something in the range of $800-1200.
Any good suggestions?
Have you made a decision yet?

There are a couple Yamaha SA2200 on eBay right now in the $1,100 - $1,200 range :)
 

gill

Member
Messages
738
several years ago, I bought a Korean made Hamer Ecotone for 300 shipped. Really a decent copy. I had new pickups installed and that was an improvement, but if i had the chance to do it again, I'd go for a nice Japanese clone like the Tokai, Edwards, Yamaha or older Ibanez, Electra, Greco clones. They just seem to have a better feel and build quality and the pups are usually nice enough to keep.
 

bluesjunior

Member
Messages
5,921

The one above is my ES335. It was originally from a series called Hohner Professional in the late 80's and at the time retailed for £375. I bought mine used in 1997 when I went to buy an amp I had seen advertised. I fell in love with the colour first and foremost and when the guy said he was selling it for £125 I jumped at the chance. I also ended up buying his Carlsbro 60 Twin amp head + a closed back speaker cab which I found out later was loaded with two Celestion G12H-100s. The whole lot cost me £225. Thinking about it now it was the deal of the century. It was a good player as well I found out later at home. About three years after I bought it the British mag Guitar & Bass did a head to head on the best budget ES335s and the Hohner won in the £300-500 range which pleased me and backed up my judgement. The year after that I upgraded it completely and now only the wood and the tailpiece remain from the instrument I bought. It now has Schaller pearloid tuners a Tusq nut, a Nashville bridge and Graph Tech string saver saddles. Two Kent Armstong vintage '59 humbuckers. A new wiring loom consisting of CTS pots, Orange Drop Spragues and a proper US made three way switch and switchcraft jack. I hand carved the scratch plate, truss rod cover and pick-up surrounds from solid Mahogany.All in all these upgrades have cost me around £300 but I like it like that and it has been head to head with several real ES335s at our weekly jam club and holds it's head up proud against any of them and beats them all in the beauty dept. The colour has darkened considerably since I bought it and the body which was originally lighter than the binding is now more or less the same colour. Like my partscaster these guitars have no retail value but as they will never be sold and will be passed on to my kids I have absolutely no regrets. Both of them sound and play just how they should and I am proud of them both.
As an aside I just remembered. In the Guitar & Bass article it mentioned that of all the ES335 copies they tested including Washburn, Hamer et al the Hohner was the only one which had proper Mickey Mouse ears like a Gibson which you can clearly see in the photograph.
 




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