ES335 Help!

charley

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,333
Hi friends,

id really like to buy an ES 335. I used to have a 72 Walnut 335 and foolishly sold it to pay for grad school!

I’m torn between buying another vintage one and a newer one. I am quite familiar with the Norlin era 335s, and don’t mind the thin neck, etc. The prices have gone up considerably for a 335 from this era since I had mine, so I’m a bit apprehensive about spending 4K on a Norlin.

I’ve not tried a newer 335, and am wondering people’s impressions of the newer stuff? I see there is the regular 335, the satin 335, the 59 335, the 61 335, and the 64 335. How is the quality of a new Gibson USA 335 vs a Custom Shop? Ideally, I’d like to spend less than 4K on a guitar, but will pay that much if it means getting a better instrument. I could also be happy with a satin 335, assuming the difference in price is because of cosmetics....not playability or tone.

I would definitely like a Gibson....not a Heritage or Collings or other brand. I am ok with changing electronics or hardware if necessary....I’d rather customize my 335 than pay a bigger cost upfront.

thanks.
 

glenngross

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
424
You should be able to get a used Memphis built 335 (not a USA model) for under 4K.
 

RodneyDJones

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
17
I just got a 2020 Gibson Original Collection gloss ES-335 in Sixties Cherry. I love it! The finish is perfect, the neck is amazing, it's light weight and the quality is evident. Fantastic guitar. Was 3k brand new.

I would love a CS '59 but I could not spend $5300.
 
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Jahn

Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
28,685
True, recent ES-335 offerings are darn good. If you don’t like the pickups that’s your mod right there. If you are looking to grab one for a reasonable price that you don’t want to mod, I’d hunt a Shaw-era early 80s ES-335 dot reissue down. Make sure it has the Shaw pickups! If it’s too goopy sounding you can also swap in 500k pots. I just looked on reverb and plenty are below $4k, and maybe you can make offers for under $3k who knows.
 
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saltbird

Member
Messages
1,689
I'm loving the 2020 Gibson original collection gloss Es-345 burst I got. Even more so than a few of the vintage examples I tried, but I was looking for a specific woody & mid-focused tonality, so there's some bias at play there. The build quality is almost flawless—some slight painting-over on the binding in one spot is the only nitpick I've found. It's barely even noticeable.

I've been very happy with the T-Type pickups and electronics in it as I haven't felt the need to mess with them, which I can't say the same thing about a lot of Gibsons I've tried. I'd like to eventually do a push-pull pot for an out-of-phase middle position eventually. Probably when it goes in for a fret job.
 

MIke MM

Member
Messages
643
After playing Fenders and single coils for 40 years, I fell in love with this 2020 Satin Vintage burst and bought it last month.

I can't tell you much about the new "Calibrated T Type" Pick ups in it, since I'm new to humbuckers (and have read mixed things online, but would love to hear more) but the quality of the one I have is great, and am totally in love with the C carve neck.

IMG_3619 (1).jpg
 

Jayyj

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,971
I'm a big fan of older 335s, so might as well weigh in on those.

Pricing on Norlin era is all over the place, but they can still be found for well under $4k with a bit of patience. Pay particular attention to the more oddball models, such as the ES340, ES335CRR/CRS and 335 Pro, as they often sell for less than a 335/345/355. Pros had very hot pickups but they sometimes show up cheap with changed pickups and a Pro with something like Seth Lovers could be a show stopper. 70s 335s have a bad rep, but even owning a few more valuable 60s ones my favourite 335 is a late 70s 355 I've had forever.

Late 60s have gone insane recently and I half expect them to come back down, so they need approaching with caution, but I bought a player grade '66 with swapped out electronics and a stunning figured top for $3.5k last year, so they're out there.

80s and 90s 335s Dot RIs are great value guitars and not too expensive. Early 80s might be a smart buy, they're going up in value and likely to continue too do so. They're very consistent and well made guitars.

If you don't overpay to begin with (be patient, watch the market for a bit and see what price things actually sell for rather what the current Reverb asking prices are) any of these will hold their value very well, so although they're not cheap they're a fairly safe place to put your money for a bit. It's a bit academic as once you have a good 335 you'll never want to post with it anyway but still, good to know!
 

gillman royce

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,300
Not a lot of people like walnut as a color. You should be able to replace the one you sold with another of the same without too much trouble and $$$.
 

silentbob

Member
Messages
1,295
The newer stuff is pretty good. I have a Government Series 335 from a few years ago and absolutely love it, once I yanked the dirty fingers pickups that were in it. I've played a few more that were all pretty good guitars as well.
 

BigDoug1053

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,139
I remember those walnut 335s. I always thought they were beauties.

I suggest you get out and run the racks in your local stores. I have Gibsons I have bonded with from the late 80s to 2017, so, IMO Gibson has been putting out quality guitars forever. But will the guitar speak to you? THAT is the important question and why it's a good idea to keep and open mind and see which guitars truly speak to you. Take your time is my my advice. That, or be willing to quickly return any on line purchase that does not speak to you.
 




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