Help me settle an argument I had....Les Paul or ES335? Which is more versatile?

blues junkie

Guitars have nothing to do with it... depends on how good the player is...will determine how versatile the guitar is.


Silver Supporting Member
Some 335s have coil taps too you know. Either way, my vote is 335 also.


Mod Squad
Staff member
Yeah.....I own a ES-333 (a 335 w/o inlay in the Headstock/satin finish/rear electronics cover) with Coil Taps (Lollar Imperial's)....and it beats my LP's for versatility. My band-mates...and audience member's often comment on how good that thing sounds....


Not trying to 'Cop' the Thread...But, being an OLD Gibson guy back in the day and jumping ship a couple of decades ago to mostly a Fender Fella'...I see the 339 being a GREAT alternative to a 335 (which still holds a place in my Heart)...and a LP., and not just by 'Being a jack of all trades and a Master of none'...I played a couple in some recent trips to the Music shops and I think they are excellent 'gits....I do know the first time I touched one it was marked @ $1999. Map...and in 2 weeks the same guitar had a $2299. tag on it, None the less, This and a great Strat. could get a musician along way...just my $0.02 worth. Tom


You're trying to solve an argument between 2-3 people by possibly starting another between 10,000?

I say SG.

From a statistical standpoint ... 10,000 is a better sample than only 2 or 3


I vote the 335 ... mainly because it can sound liek a big jazz hollow body when you want it to ...

And I love LPs

I have not heard the new LP standards with the coil tap and out of phase stuff ... but that sounds like it has potential ... that sort of set up worked well for Jimmy Page



Disrespected Elder
I've owned plenty of both for long periods having both at the same time.

I would say the 335 without hesitation.
Having the same pickups and wiring and hardware does not make them identical at all in and of itself.

I have all four (LPs, Strat, Teles, and 335s).

Out of the bunch the 335s and Teles are more expressive over a wider range.


Frikkin genyus
Platinum Supporting Member
(raising hand) Umm... ...everyone's talking as if they have a common definition of "versatile". I'm gonna call y'all out on that one.

What, exactly, do you mean by "versatile"? I think this discussion is kinda pointless unless that's out there on the table.

Personally, I'm with the poster who said versatility is most often a quality of guitar PLAYERS, not guitars.

But OK, I'll answer the question I just raised and then play along with the OP. For me, for a guitar to be versatile, it should do all of the following:
1. be happy at a wide range of volume and gain levels, both from the amp and from the vol knob on the guitar
2. ditto the tone settings
3. be something I can make work in a lot of different musical settings. (this is where a good player can overcome what people might think of as a "wrong" guitar; for example I happily use a vintage Les Paul Junior for jamming on jazz standards)

What I really DON'T care about, in terms of thinking about versatility of a guitar, is the number of pickups or pickup settings. I'd always rather have 1, or 3 GREAT sounds than a whole bunch of OKAY sounds. As long as I can get the variation I need from the vol and tone knobs (see 1 & 2 above) lots of different pickup combinations are more of a distraction than anything else. And, at least to my ears, they NEVER all sound great.

So, OK, with respect to the Les Paul vs. 335 conundrum, well, a great vintage Les Paul with PAFs is a whole different animal than any modern LPs. Much better according to my criteria. But, for that matter, so is a great vintage 335. To me those are just two different flavors of great, but I wouldn't say either is "more versatile" than the other. To be honest, neither of them is a great fit for the jazz thing -- I'd rather have a 330 or a Tele by far. (or, funny enough, even the Junior -- which does this super-cool tenor sax kind of thing if you dial in the amp right)



Based upon what type of music you're playing

and what type of TONAL coloration you're looking for....

I contend, that the 333/335 will give you MORE tonal variations, and colors, then a

Les Paul..

AND...... the 333/335 will give you "one thing" the LP cant:


IF I ONLY HAD ONE GUITAR......a 333/335 would be "THE ONE"

Here's my next guitar purchase....(I wish)

Isnt she SWEEEET???? Birdseye Maple.....




Silver Supporting Member
I recently bought my first ES335 (black/dot RI) for a steal from a local GC. I'm a Tele guy mainly and have owned many LP's (don't currently own one though). I can't believe I missed out on the 335 for so long. I freaking love that guitar! It's so comfortable and sounds just awesome with the stock pickups (57 classics, I think). I'll never be 335-less again. Not sure if I'll get another LP...don't currently have GAS for one in the least.

My vote is 335. Rock/blues/jazz...covers them all really well and has it's own thing going on. LP's are great too, of course.

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