Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by jccpraznman, Sep 14, 2017.
You make some absolutely valid points....... I've just come to realize that I prefer the 'fake' handmade guitars still being built in small batches at the original Gibson plant over the 'real' ones being mass produced by the cnc operators at either of the G Brand sweatshops.
my favorite has always been early 60s - but i will tell you I'm playing a norlin era that is every bit as good in tone ( i know some will scoff ..... but at least the one I got has been every bit as good as the 60s - if I'm willing to not lie to my ears and fingers
I was in the same boat. I had to have one, I wanted vintage, but couldn't afford to spend $5k on a late 60s and didn't want the narrow nut-width. I landed on an '85 in Tobacco Sunburst. From '81-'89 (someone correct me if I'm wrong about the end year), Gibson, even under Norlin, released reissues of the 59/60 versions. Natural, Black, Tobacco Burst, Cherry. The 81-86 or 87s have Tim Shaw humbuckers which are one of the best recreation of OG PAFs and highly sought after. Some people change the pots to 500k (I believe they're 300k in V&T) and some don't. I didn't. 87/87-89 have Bill Lawrence circuit board pickups which are still considered good but are much darker than the Shaws. I didn't prefer them. Typically a medium C profile, wide flat frets standard of the time. Mine literally plays like butter because of the profile and fret size/height.
You can find them for like $2450/$2500-$3000 with most around the $2600-$2750. There is a ton of information about these 80s 335-Dot Reissues on TGP, Les Paul Forum, Reverb, and ES-335.com. I highly highly recommend these. Best guitar I've ever owned and played and the tobacco burst is amazing
Its very interesting that the 335, 345 "survived" the Norlin era. No silly pancake bodies!
I love my 2014 '63 reissue. I won't change a thing on it... completely stock. I've only ever left two guitars stock, and this one perfect in every way.
Also, I've owned 30+ guitars (which is nothing compared to some folks on this forum), but this one will be handed down to the next generation. It is that good.
S-l16003 by Family Man posted Sep 7, 2017 at 8:51 AM
Headstock by Family Man posted Sep 7, 2017 at 8:51 AM
Body Front by Family Man posted Sep 7, 2017 at 8:51 AM
Gibson and Heritage are your top ones.
Eastman and Epihone if you are on a low budget.
Do they come with a paper bag to put over that fugly headstock tho?!?
Yeah man, I'll never be able to figure out where they got such an idea...
If anyone is serious about buying a Gibson ES, 335s and others, call Chicago Music Exchange. Now. They made a buyout of Gibson Memphis new old stock, and have them for prices nearing 50% off (and some even more) of Gibson street prices. Don't trust the website listings, CALL THEM.
Check out the Heritage H-535. Better then Gibson Custom Shop quality at a fraction of the price.
This is my vote too. The guys who never left Kalamazoo Gibson old factory and is churning out basically custom guitars.
An hour away from me is the largest Heritage dealer in the Southeast. I wasn't a semi-hollow fan but after playing a Heritage 535 in Pelham blue it all changed.
If I'm going to buy a semi-hollow I'm going back to that guitar shop and pulling the trigger on a Pelham blue Heritage.
It played so well, it was comfortable but the tone was insane.
Is anyone else doing or matching these deals that you know of? I spoke with CME a few minutes ago, and they just sold the last of the lightburst plaintops that I was interested in. Bummer.
They are stupid prices and they don't last long. At all. I messed up and missed an awesome deal last year. Now I'm set, but someone else can learn from my stupidity. If you plan on waiting six months, plan on paying more money because the deals are here and won't last long unless you're waiting for this time in 2018.
Doah! So the guy says he wants a Gibson ES 335 concerned about which model ... Then comes the avalanche "You might look into Heritage, Collings, Eastman, D'angelico, Epiphone, etc... ". The Guy wants a Gibson ES 335!
As Mr Vidal just commented - you might check out CME (Chicago Music Exchange) See if they really are selling a bunch of ES models at a big discount - (if that matters)
If by "press and rumors" you mean tgp "experts" complaining about Gibson qc, then I'd recommend you ignore the press and rumors as they're greatly exaggerated around here. Griping about Gibson has become a (lame) pass-time on tgp. I'm convinced most of it is people getting off on acting superior to a well known pricey brand. There are defective guitars out there, for sure, but nothing like the prevalence tgp would lead you believe.
If you're concerned about getting "a bad one" and you're considering buying new, here's my advice fwiw - buy from a reputable dealer who has a reputation for good customer service and individual attention. In other words avoid the big retailers like Sam Ash, Guitar Center and Sweetwater. I don't mean to criticize them unfairly, but those organizations are too big for it to really matter to them whether you get a really good guitar or one with problems. Find a smaller shop like Wild West, the above mentioned Chicago Music Exchange, Wolfe Guitars (if you're considering Heritage) or whatever the "high end" small shop Gibson Dealer nearest you and call or email them about what you want and your budget constraints. Someone there will at least be able to inspect the actual instrument you're buying to ensure there are no problems.
Good luck and let us know what you end up with.
The Heritages are more "real" than the current Gibsons for that reason, IMO. They're certainly far better value.
Also, funny how people complain about the Heritage headstock, which is modelled after a vintage Loar-era Gibson headstock, yet never complain about, say, a Collings.
I traded my 1974 ES-355 and 2003 ES-335 Dot for a pair of new H535s. They were just better in every way. Best guitars I've ever owned.
The early to mid 80's dots (especially with Shaws) are universally regarded as in the upper echelon of 335's of any vintage. I've owned a few 335's (including two 70's models but no 50's or 60's but I've played some 60's ones) and my blonde '81 was a standout. Bigger neck FYI, if that's your thang.
Currently, the 63 block and 59 dot reissues seem to get great press, with smaller and bigger necks respectively. I haven't had a chance to sit down and really compare a few of each back to back though.
If you have to buy sight unseen, I'd say go with one of the three above, if they are in your budget. If you have a more modest budget... better to try before you buy. Maybe take a road trip to the DC area and check out Chuck Levin's or one of the big box stores.
Just FYI other than a few oddball budget models I haven't played many really "bad" ones. I had a '78 with a trapeze that I converted to a stoptail, had the factory coil tap on the lower bout. It was not a bad guitar at all. But some examples like those I mention above tend to be consistently on the better side of things.
I have owned a 1965 Epiphone Riviera and a 1968 335......the first was stolen and the I sold the second one.
I now own a Thorn Grantura (see avatar) and it is the best type 335 that I ever owned. This guitar will never leave my hands.