Gibson ES-339 vs. Sadowsky Semi-Hollow

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by duaneallen, May 1, 2008.

  1. duaneallen

    duaneallen Supporting Member

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    I had decided a while ago that I was getting a Sadowsky Semi-Hollowbody guitar. It totally blew me away at NAMM. Then I just played a Gibson ES-339 and was blown away. There is a big difference in price, so I'm not sure what I'm going to do. Anybody compare the two side by side? I'm sure that Zucker will chime in (hopefully). Anybody notice any significant differences between the two? I'll be playing mostly modern jazz and some blues on it. Is the Sadowsky worth twice of the Gibson? Please post your thoughts. Thanks.
     
  2. odourboy

    odourboy Member

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    Bump. I'm interested in responses to duaneallen's question also. Anyone?
     
  3. Jim S

    Jim S Silver Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    I have not played the 339 but from what I have read I'd think the two guitars in question would be very different. Simplistically, I believe the

    • 339 lies inbetween a 335 and Les Paul
    • Sadowsky semihollow lies between the 335 and Howard Roberts or fuller bodied jazz boxes
    I may be wrong. However, I have 8 Sadowsky instruments and they are all incredible. The semihollow is on my list at some point.
     
  4. duaneallen

    duaneallen Supporting Member

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  5. doobiebrother

    doobiebrother Member

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    Never played the Sadowsky but I've had a 339 for about 2 months now and Jim is right - somewhere between a 335 and a Les Paul. Much more open sound with less compression, wonderful clarity and real sweet response across the whole range. I had mine setup and added tonepros bridge & tailpiece - truly awesome guitar...really.
     
  6. bbarnard

    bbarnard Member

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    Jack has video clips on his website comparing the two. You may want to start there.
     
  7. RadackGuitars

    RadackGuitars Supporting Member

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    The Sadowsky is going to be lighter and much more resonant. It has a spruce center block.
    No other semi-hollow really touches it.
     
  8. odourboy

    odourboy Member

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    Jack reminded me of his review page in another post. The top two are the Sadowsky and the ES-339.

    http://www.sheetsofsound.net/semihollow.htm

    Havnig listened to Jack's youtube clips of both (and compared to my own ES-339), it was the tone that clearly struck me. The Sadowsky has that hollowbody jazzy tone in spades - quite different from the 339 which has that typcally Gibson electric sizzle and sustain.

    So cost (339 being less than half the cost of the Sadowsky), quality of construction aside (I can't imagine the Sadowsky not being the clear winner), looks (entirely subjective) aside, I think the choice would be easy depending on the sound you're after.
     
  9. mps1156

    mps1156 Member

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    I was looking at the Sadowsky a couple months ago and while I'd like to have one in my arsenal, I decided to call Chuck Thornton of CP Thornton Guitars and order a Professional. I had the pleasure of playing one of his Elites several months back and the quality and workmanship is flawless. Around the same price as a Sadowsky, but entirely made in Maine and touched by one individual - Chuck. Do yourself a favor and look into it.
     
  10. Jim S

    Jim S Silver Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    One day I'll get a semihollow.

    For me, I'd shy away from the 339. Despite it's accolades, I want the guitar's tone far removed from a solid body voice since I have a slew of solid body guitars including 3 types of Les Pauls. As the 339 is supposedly in between the 335 and Les Paul camp, I'll be looking at the 335, 137, etc..... and Sadowsky semihollow.

    I'm pretty sure I'll end up with the Sadowsky. Nearly everything Roger comes up with sounds like a gem.
    .
     
  11. BPlexico

    BPlexico Gold Supporting Member

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    Being the proud owner of a Sadowsky Jimmy Bruno & a Sadowsky Jim Hall, I can tell you the quality and attention to detail on these guitars are exceptional. The setup and playability are impeccable, they are light weight and resonant, and just want to make you pick them up and noodle on them endlessly.

    Having owned and played quite a few Archtops & Hollowbodies over they years, at their price point (and perhaps beyond, I cannot attest to that) they are best in class, IMHO.

    Have not had the pleasure of playing a Semi-Hollow yet - however it is the only guitar on my short list.

    Again, different needs for different folks, but I can attest that everything I have read or heard about the quality of Sadowsky instruments is true.

    Barr
     
  12. * velcro-fly *

    * velcro-fly * Supporting Member

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    Hey Jim -

    With all due respect, key phrases in your posts are "from what I've read" and "as the 339 is supposedly in between the 335 and Les Paul camp..." - indicating that you've not yet seen one in person or played one...

    I own one, and it's nothing like my Les Pauls...get your hands on one - and let your ears decide, not what your eyes read...I predict you will be pleasently suprised ;)

    Steve E
     
  13. Jim S

    Jim S Silver Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    Absolutely. That's why I said that. I'd certainly play before I dropped the coin but those are consistent things.

    Then again, I have read the Michael Jackson has property rights to parcels on the moon so you have a valid point.
     
  14. TNJ

    TNJ Gold Supporting Member

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  15. duaneallen

    duaneallen Supporting Member

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    Well I've made my decision. To make a long story short, I haven't been able to decide which one to get. Yesterday I bought the 339. This guitar was AMAZING! Really great guitar! But the more that I thought about it, for jazz, the Sadowsky is the best semi-hollow that I've played so far. So I took the Gibson back, and am going with the Sadowsky. It sure was tough bringing the Gibson back though! Thanks for all replies.
     
  16. Jim S

    Jim S Silver Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    Can you add your .02 comparing/contrasting the Sadowsky semi hollow vs an ES-335?
     
  17. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    Sorry I didn't see this earlier. The 339 and sadowsky are totally different instruments. The Sadowsky semi is a true fusion of an archtop and a solidbody. Here's a quick and dirty chart comparing the sounds relative to a les paul and a 175.

    The 335 is very similar to the 339. It's a bit tubbier and less tight.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. duaneallen

    duaneallen Supporting Member

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    Thanks Jack, that's a great chart. I have not been able to compare the Sadowsky to a 335, but I would guess that the Sadowsky has a more open, acoustic tone. When I get one, I'll compare it to my Heritage 535 (which is very similar to a 335).
     
  19. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    By the way, I would rate the 535 slightly to the right of the 335/339 and the PRS Hollowbody would be very close to the El Rey.
     
  20. DrGonzo

    DrGonzo Gold Supporting Member

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    I'm not sure I agree with the 339 and 335 being on the same line in your chart. I can definitely hear a difference between my 335 and my friend's 339 running into a clean Fender amp. To avoid the esoteric tone terms I'd say the 335 sounds more 'hollowbody'ish' while the 339 has a little more of the Les Paul flavor in there. Maybe it's splitting hairs, I just wouldn't want the original poster to think that you can get all of the tones in a 335 out of a 339 or vice versa.

    Having said that, I still love an impromtu chart in a guitar discussion :)
     

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