Gibson ES-335 compared to Howard Roberts Fusion?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Tone Loco, Apr 16, 2016.

  1. Tone Loco

    Tone Loco Silver Supporting Member

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    Anybody who's had both care to comment on the differences between these two semi-hollow guitars?

    Looks like the HR has better upper fret access and an ebony board, but other than that is there a huge difference in sound or feel if you had comparable pickups in both?
     
  2. swiveltung

    swiveltung Member

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    The HR is a much thicker body, more like an ES175. It also has a chromite center block (pretty much balsa) I bought one brand new in 2004. I didn't like it much actually. The other thing I didn't like was it came with really tall frets ... something like .055 tall! I felt there was a big difference in sound to me.
     
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  3. Lumpy Trousers

    Lumpy Trousers Member

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    The HRF sounds more like a hollowbody than the 335. I had one and liked it - awesome neck pickup tones, and great bridge tones for distorted chords. The only thing I didn't like as much was using the bridge pickup for single notes - clean or distorted, it sounded a little anemic. If you want a guitar that works great for Jazz and is functional for Rock, the HRF fills the bill.
     
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  4. jads57

    jads57 Supporting Member

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    Es-335 has more of Mid voiced tonallity vs Low and Highs in the HR Fusion. Both excllent instruments , I went w/ the 335 Historc 1963 Memphis!
     
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  5. DiPa

    DiPa Constant GAS Silver Supporting Member

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    Comparing any guitar to the legendary ES335 will put the other at a disadvantage. Here is why: The 335 is a work horse of a guitar with exceptional tones. I love them to death and they are beauties. The ES335 is the world's first commercial thin line archtop semi-acoustic electric guitar released in 1958. It is exceptional as it is neither fully hollow nor fully solid; instead, a solid maple wood block runs through the center of its body. The ES-335 prevails a middle ground giving a warmer tone than a solid body, with very little to no-feedback- they are for this reason extremely flexible, as evidenced by the ES-335's popularity in a wide range of music- jazz, rock and blues. Many records have been recorded with an ES335, it is iconic indeed!

    To answer your question, the HR Fusion is a great, great guitar, designed for the great late Howard Roberts.
    The semi-hollowbody laminate maple construction has a chromyte center block and maple neck for a tone that is immediate, clear and articulate. It comes stock with a pair of Gibson's 490R and 490T humbuckers, the tone has the sweetness and sparkle of alnico magnets. The HR was used by other players as well, REM guitarist being one of them.

    My HR fusion shown below has a very acoustic sound, much more than my other jazz guitars. I replaced the stock pick-up with a pair of Bare knuckle Abraxas pups from across the pond, and wow, it just opened up the tones even further. I like the way it sounds now compared to the stock pups. Its not a heavy guitar by any means and has a nice maple medium neck profile.
    1 11/16" nut width, bound ebony fretboard. The guitar plays cleanly up the neck with low, comfortable action. On the headstock, the guitar sports a set of Gibson branded tuning machines with flawless gold plating. A Nashville Tune-o-Matic bridge and "Finger" tailpiece complete the body hardware. I love this guitar and even more so now with the Bare Knuckle pups.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  6. DiPa

    DiPa Constant GAS Silver Supporting Member

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    After I replaced the stock pups on mine, it sounds amazing. I was on the fence when I first got mine in 1997 or thereabouts, and struggled with it. Few years ago I did the pup swap and wow, it ain't the same anymore.
     
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  7. DiPa

    DiPa Constant GAS Silver Supporting Member

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    335 is a monster and King of guitars. Love em!
     
  8. Little_Wing

    Little_Wing Member

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    I had a beautiful red 335 in the 70's, till it got stolen.:(
     
  9. RJLII

    RJLII Member

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    I like the HRF recipe, but they always looked like the neck was on crooked to me. They all seem to angle over to the bass side too much.
     
  10. Tone Loco

    Tone Loco Silver Supporting Member

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    Maybe because of the big cutaway on the treble side? I like that roomy cutaway, personally.
     
  11. RJLII

    RJLII Member

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    There's that. But I think they're shifted over too.
     
  12. icr

    icr Member

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    I have both and compared them side-by-side in the video below. I actually put the HR Fusion with the ES-175 in terms of tone. I don't think it is a substitute for an ES-335. It is more like an ES-175 for string bending and louder playing.
     
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  13. DiPa

    DiPa Constant GAS Silver Supporting Member

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    Nice clip, yeah I have both as well, really great guitars.
     
  14. EL 34 X2

    EL 34 X2 Member

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    I liked the HRF I had quite a bit. It could straddle the line between Rock and Jazz really well, and could even work as an acoustic substitute with the volume and tone controls rolled off a little. Only thing I didn't like was the huge cutaway. Though the upper fret access was great, there was just something visually that bothered me.
     
  15. doublescale1

    doublescale1 Suhr S-Classic Gold Supporting Member

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    FWIW - guitarist Michael Ward plays a HRF all over the first Jacob Dylan album - pretty tasty tones to be found on that recording.
     
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  16. Stratburst70

    Stratburst70 Member

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    I find the 335 more feedback resistant than the Howard Roberts - a consideration when playing live.
     
  17. Bob Pollock

    Bob Pollock Supporting Member

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    I think he used it with John Hiatt too.
     
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