For ES335 tone, feel, and overall vibe/quality @ much lower $$$$...

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by BlueHeaven, Mar 30, 2020.

  1. Joel Toms

    Joel Toms Member

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    I was thinking the same thing and surprised not many have mentioned - what about Yamaha (SA2100 or SA2200)? I’ve seen many used for $1000-1200 in excellent shape, and I hear they’re great value. But I haven’t pulled the trigger yet.
     
  2. Obsessive Tinkerer

    Obsessive Tinkerer Member

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    Early 80’s Ibanez AS-50 or AS-100 (The AS-200 would be over budget) are all that, a bag of chips and everything else that’s cool. I’m not going to say it wipes out an original 1959 ES-335, but they’ll stand with or beat anything from the Norlin era forward. It might take a bit to find one, but when you do they’re fantastic.
     
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  3. stratplexi

    stratplexi Supporting Member

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    +1

    I bought one of these on sale as a trial to make sure I would like a 335 size guitar before taking the plunge on a Gibson. The Epi turned out to be a fantastic guitar that punches way above irs weight. I would not hesitate to recommend one of these. You will more than likely be satisfied and save yourself some coin in the process.
     
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  4. Woollymonster

    Woollymonster Member

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  5. magilla

    magilla michaelggguitar (IG) Gold Supporting Member

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    Lovely. Is this one of the more recent (2016?) '59 RIs with the MHS pups and thermally treated Adirondack Spruce bracing and all that jazz? Man ... that maple ... soft and pillowy ... the tone of that finish ... so inviting.

    I'm lusting after either a '58 (I think the no binding and huge neck are very cool) or '59 myself. Love Mick's from TPS.
     
  6. Woollymonster

    Woollymonster Member

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    It's a 2013 Memphis '59 ES-335. The MHS pickups are very sweet. Good size neck .90" at first fret. Ordered this one up from Wildwood after seeing it built at the Memphis factory.
     
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  7. deytookerjaabs

    deytookerjaabs Supporting Member

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    Echoing, for 50's and early 60's type feel:

    H-535 (used) (fret nibs, neck angle & headstock angle & nut width feel right, usually have some shoulder on the different neck profiles)
    Gibson ES-333 (Gibson does a good Gibson)
    MIJ: Epi Elitist, Particular models of Tokai, Greco & Orville



    Honorable mention to Eastman but IMO their neck carves (usually a generic C with little shoulder), neck sets, fret profiles and ergonomics feel a bit different than the traditional gibson based ES. Great guitars nonetheless.


    Sheratons, Yamaha SA's, MIJ Norlin copies, PRS's, Ibanez artists, etc all venture into a different territory than the classic 335 thing IMO.
     
  8. HotBluePlates

    HotBluePlates Member

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    If you're okay with a poly finish and cost is a factor, you should look into late-90s Epiphone DOT guitars. Look for the ones with a serial number beginning with "S" as those were made by Samick in Korea. The guitar itself will be between $3-400, and I'd say budget another $4-500 for pickups, a wiring harness, and the fee to have those installed (you don't want to be installing those yourself in an F-hole guitar).

    You should try playing one before diving in, as the neck shape may or may not be your thing. However, the Samick-made Epiphones were among the best, and are limited mostly by the pickups/electronics. When I worked at Gibson USA & Epiphone in Nashville in the 90's it was common for guys there to buy the DOT and then install Gibson electronics/pickups in the guitars to get a great 335 for very much less money.

    And if the poly feels too thick/sluggish, you don't have to feel bad about taking some 600-grit sandpaper to the neck finish... It will be an ultra-smooth matte finish after that, and can always be buffed back to gloss.
     
  9. electricity17

    electricity17 Member

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    Gibson ES-333 is a great option if you can find one. I've got one with a natural finish, slapped a pickguard on it, swapped the pickups (stock ones are not great for this guitar), and it's a monster.

    I tried the Epiphone 335 Pro as well, also a very nice guitar. Should be some good options out there!
     
  10. Rossi163

    Rossi163 Supporting Member

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    My two cents:

    Every Eastman guitar (but one) I've tried out was really, really good. Solid value no matter what style it was. The semi hollows seemed especially good.

    I once spent over an hour playing every top shelf electric and acoustic at a well stocked vintage shop and the best guitar in the store, hands down, was a used, 2000's Heritage 535. It was perfect in every way as far as playability and workmanship.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2020
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  11. stratfish

    stratfish Supporting Member

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    My 335 journey ended in low budget satisfaction after spending 1000's of dollars on Gibson Custom Shop 335 reissues and a beautiful flamed Heritage.
    I SOLD THEM ALL and bought a 1980's Burny 335 copy (lawsuit era Made in Japan guitar) that sounded better and played better than the high dollar guitars.)
    I got an exceptional deal with Throbak pickups and a new Gibson case - which were worth more than the $600 I paid for the guitar. (Guitar was free because it had a head stock repair.) Promptly sold the Throbaks and dropped in my favorite set of Antiquities - and have never looked back.

    One of the few guitar deals that I came out on top... am in to this rig for about $500 including the cost of the pups.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2020
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  12. guitarfly02

    guitarfly02 Supporting Member

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    ^This. The SA2200 is the best 335-style guitar I've played. The stock bridge pickup is simply fantastic! You won't regret grabbing a Yamaha
     
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  13. KiddBilly

    KiddBilly Member

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    Eastman is definitely the first name that comes to mind. I went down to their regional dealer to check out a SB-59 (their take on a Les Paul), and ended up trying a T386 while I was there. One of the best semi hollows I've ever played, and as everyone has already said above, you ought to check them out if you are looking for Gibson/Heritage alternatives
     
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  14. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Supporting Member

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    Exactly so.
    All Epi's are not the same including the actual body size and neck profile.
    The cutaways are tight as are the 339 cutaways.
    I decided 335's were a poor fit for me after having an Epi for awhile.
    Some 335's sound VERY good, however, but YOU must try.
     
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  15. 3940bigdaddy

    3940bigdaddy Supporting Member

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    A used one. :D:D:D. Seriously about a couple of months ago in my local CL I saw an Ad for a 1990's Natural finished ES-335 for $1300. It was in excellent condition. I don't play ES-335's but in hindsight I should have bought it and flipped it. Someone bought it and about a week later it was advertised at over $2k.
     
  16. GuitarMike69

    GuitarMike69 Member

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    This is always my answer to the question of a more affordable 335 type guitar. I have a 1979 Yamaha SA2000 and it's an incredible guitar. I've justified selling some nice 335s by promising myself I'd hang onto this guitar.
     
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  17. Eugene Wallace

    Eugene Wallace Member

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    yeah, i have a 1979 yamaha sa1200s, amazing thing.
    Solid spruce top, nice meaty mahogany neck, birch ply? sides and back., alder and spruce centre block.
    the tone is rich with plenty of 335 vibe.
     
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  18. ZENTISH

    ZENTISH Member

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    After reading this thread I went on ebay and did a search for "red 335". While looking I saw a 1980 Gibson ES-335 S Deluxe solid body. I have not heard of this guitar, anybody here?
    They did have a nice red Hamer ES-335 MIK.
     
  19. Kriso77

    Kriso77 Supporting Member

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    The Eastmans sound fantastic and build quality is top notch. The t386 and 486 have a bit more snap due to the maple neck. these can be had with plenty of change left.

    Heritage guitars are built on with true Gibson bloodline and can be had for $1500 used.
     
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  20. MR.K

    MR.K Member

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    I have a '16 Blonde '58. Carter 64 Ox4's installed. It's home.
     
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