Gibson ES-335 versus '59 Fat neck or Variotone..

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Dylan61, Jan 20, 2008.


  1. Dylan61

    Dylan61 Member

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    What is your opinion about the them, Gibson ES-335 versus '59 Fat neck or Variotone.

    I like to play BB King and Otis Rush stuff, all day long!

    Will I cover there sounds with a Variotone best, beside its in the fingers etc..
     
  2. bluehugh2

    bluehugh2 Gold Supporting Member

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    I just bought the Fat Neck and am happy with it. All those guitars you mentioned are Custom Shop guitars (in theory, all 300 series guitars are now Custom Shop). I suppose you'd need to go to a Historic to get more attention to detail. The main difference between the guitars you mentioned is neck size... sure a Varitone adds more tones, but few are super useful. The stock 335 and 345 guitars will have 60's slim necks and the Fat Neck will have, er,... a Fat Neck. :)
    All that said, I find the 345 very appealing because it's a classy instrument with a great vibe. If you like medium profile necks... I'd go for the 345. They do come up on ebay in the mid to high 2000 range. Good luck in your search!
     
  3. bluesjuke

    bluesjuke Disrespected Elder

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    If not going for an Historic I would pick the Fat Neck.
    I went for the '59 Historic and am well satisfied.

    There is plenty of variation of tone in a standard 335 setup.
     
  4. dharmafool

    dharmafool Supporting Member

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    There's a lot of difference between the recent crop of varitones and the ones in '60s guitars. First, the cap values are considerably different, so the notch filtering it provides doesn't match the vintage circuits. Second, the modern inductor (choke) is tiny compared to the behemoth the vintage 345 and 355 used to have, located by the bridge pickup.

    Would the inductor difference alone have an critical effect on tone (even if their values were the same)? I'm not certain, but it seems to me that whenever something transformer-like is miniaturized, the resulting sound ain't going to be the same, right?

    You can get a custom-spec Varitone switch with the correct cap values (PM me for that info) from HAS Sound, but you'll have to go scavenging for the vintage choke -- then get it installed, which involves serious routing.

    IOW, listen critically to the contemporary Varitones and make sure you really like where the filter-notches are located along the frequency spectrum. I'm not saying you can't get B.B. King or Otis Rush tones on them, I'm just saying beware.

    Finally, A good 335 with premium pickups and harness will not fail to produce big smiles and spine-tingles with its many, many fabulous tones.
     
  5. Dylan61

    Dylan61 Member

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    I might choose the Fat neck but like the blocks too.

    May I ask for what is about the 'street' price for a Historic?
     
  6. JimmyR

    JimmyR Member

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    I recently got a Fatneck '59. Guitar. It's better than the Historic '59 I used to have, and that was a good one too. But the Fatneck, even though maybe not as historically accurate (do I care??) is a wonderful 335. Maybe mine is a particularly good example? I don't know, but I do know that it sounds amazing and plays beautifully. I'm not that fussed about low actions but this one has the slinkiest action I have in my collection. And it is chock full of incredibly usable tones from 1 to 10 on the vol pots.

    I have never played a guitar that sounds so good with the volume on the treble pickup on two! Through a tweed Deluxe or lo-po Twin I can get Freddie, BB and (60s)T-bone. I can even get very close to Freddie's LP P90 sound.

    I think it's worth paying a bit more for a Fatneck over a regular 335 Dot. Not only does it have the bigger neck, which helps get a punchier tone and stays in tune better, but it also has the vintage style tuners which reduce headstock mass and IMHO can only help tone matters. Let's just say mine is a keeper!
     
  7. Dylan61

    Dylan61 Member

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    JimmyR, or others, I have a question about the case,

    did your Fatneck '59 came with a black case with a 'white' interior?

    Thanks in advance!
     

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