Looking for 335 builder

Bords

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I'm looking for a builder for a 59 Gibson 335 replica (minus the headstock). I'm not really looking for an interpretation but rather someone who appreciates the vintage features like hide glue, neck tenons and routes to build a true replica. I would also do an unfinished guitar and have the finish done elsewhere. I found someone in Europe but the weak US dollar would make it very expensive.

Any recommendations or builders willing to take on the project would be much appreciated.
Thanks!
Andy
 

TNJ

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Scott Heatley
Mike Stevens

Look no further.

S.j
 
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Terry McInturff

40th Anniversary of guitar building!
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It's an admirable quest! Be aware that few will be able to build an exact replica; as you know, the originals feature bodies of plywood. Few if any of us builders have the gear to press/mold arched plywood tops and backs.

A superior guitar will be made from solid wood anyway. Bent solid wood sides, etc.
 

Bords

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cool thanks for the leads. I'm following up and will post the results.
 

cherrick

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Try Tony Nobles in Wimberley Texas. You should be able to pull up a phone number via Google or I can get you one.

Tony wrote the electronic column in Vintage Guitar for many years and apprenticed with Mark Erlewine, Dan Erlewine's cousin in Austin, TX.

Tony built a guitar for me (not a 335) and it's major killer in craftsmanship. And he also builds acoustics so I know he could do a great 335. Also he is extremely knowledgeable about Les Paul 59 replica building.

Here is an article:
http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/Issue/column?oid=oid:177150

Here is a MySpace page:
http://www.myspace.com/tony_nobles_guitars
 

jzucker

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20,962
It's an admirable quest! Be aware that few will be able to build an exact replica; as you know, the originals feature bodies of plywood. Few if any of us builders have the gear to press/mold arched plywood tops and backs.

A superior guitar will be made from solid wood anyway. Bent solid wood sides, etc.
Depends on what you mean by superior. Some of the best guitar tones in history have been made by pressed plywood topped guitars.

This includes a guys like Larry Carlton, Joe Pass, Jim Hall, BB King, etc. A technically better instrument doesn't necessary make a better *SOUNDING* instrument...
 

Terry McInturff

40th Anniversary of guitar building!
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Depends on what you mean by superior. Some of the best guitar tones in history have been made by pressed plywood topped guitars.

This includes a guys like Larry Carlton, Joe Pass, Jim Hall, BB King, etc. A technically better instrument doesn't necessary make a better *SOUNDING* instrument...
I agree, and those are excellent points.

It largely depends upon who designs and builds the guitar as well. It takes a huge amount of experience to build a 335 style that maximises that design's potential, and which deals successfully with the resonance challenges inherent in that design. Very challenging.

"Superior" is one of the most subjective terms in our language; and so, for this reason as well, you are most correct.
 

JPERRYROCKS

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1,312
Plywood is usually better for amplified guitars like a 335. Rarely do you see soild top, back and sides with 2 p/u's for plugging in anymore. Maybe for the old time jazzers, but it's feedback city and it's not the best set up for a lot of players. But most of them are larger guitars and not thin like the 335 in that regards, though.

Gibson is making some really fine guitars now especially in their hollow ES line. It's their one bright spot over the last few years.

People like Steven do awesome work, buy at 8-9 grand (US $) for a guitar, it's very expensive.

I'd check out the historic Gibby's if you want something reasonable in cost.

I'm not sure I would spend 7-8k new on a hollowbody 335 style guitar as it's plywood. It's a diminishing return in value. But I guess it's your $ if that's what you want. Like Terry said, lots of builders aren't set up to make 335 style guitars as it's a bit more difficult process.
 

Jim S

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15,144
If I were in your shoes, then I'd hunt down a nice old 335 or check out the Sadowsky semihollow or a Collings.

I think a one-off custom 335 'copy' replica (I don't mean that in a negative way), will have very poor resale or trade value.

My .02
 

Terry McInturff

40th Anniversary of guitar building!
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
7,082
Plywood is usually better for amplified guitars like a 335. Rarely do you see soild top, back and sides with 2 p/u's for plugging in anymore. Maybe for the old time jazzers, but it's feedback city and it's not the best set up for a lot of players. But most of them are larger guitars and not thin like the 335 in that regards, though.

Gibson is making some really fine guitars now especially in their hollow ES line. It's their one bright spot over the last few years.

People like Steven do awesome work, buy at 8-9 grand (US $) for a guitar, it's very expensive.

I'd check out the historic Gibby's if you want something reasonable in cost.

I'm not sure I would spend 7-8k new on a hollowbody 335 style guitar as it's plywood. It's a diminishing return in value. But I guess it's your $ if that's what you want. Like Terry said, lots of builders aren't set up to make 335 style guitars as it's a bit more difficult process.
With the greatest possible respect (!),

If one retains the solid center rail (which one must do if staying true to the basic design of the original) then feedback reduction is quite good indeed.

I do understand that the damping factor of plywood is an aid in that regard, but this pales in comparison to the damping power of that solid center rail.

The right builder, using solid wood, (bent solid sides, carved top and back) will have a wider tonal palette to work with as regards the actual tuning of the body. This is a tremendous advantage.

Obviously there are "magic" 335's out there and some that do not quite meet that standard. For instance, luckily, my old 1960 ES345 is a great one. My notes rate it as one of the top ten Ive worked on (unfortunately I no longer own it, but a dear friend does). What made it so special? Well...the craftsmanship isnt extraordinary...charming, cool, and a bit sloppy..but by luck, it exhibits fewer of the "dull vs live zones" that can plague this design.

To master this challenge...which is most often the result of body resonances robbing string energy...the PRF of the body needs to be dialed-in on an individual guitar-to-guitar basis. This requires building with solid wood.

And so, it can be shown that the brilliant ES335 design requires a bit of thought (!) to be brought to what I'm looking for...rich, fruity tone and an incredibly even responce on the entire fretboard. Thus far Ive marshalled all of my experience to this end and have made good progress..but not quite what I require...yet. I'm at the point at which replicating the great points of the '60 345 would be repeatably do-able, but it's not quite "better enough".
 
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jads57

Silver Supporting Member
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6,139
Try a I-35 Collings, even though it's different from a ES-335.I think you'll find it to be about one of the best guitars in that style available. I see used ones go here for less than 4k. Best of luck.
 

fenderbender4

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2,479
Sorry to hijack, but I was kind of curious about a guitar that is ES-335 "esque" in that it has those more articulate cleans but a bigger, tighter bottom end? Is there a wood combination that would do this well? Or is it the case of just getting a solid body?
 

Quinny

Member
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1,307
Another recommendation for Heatley, although not sure if he is taking custom orders currently. He has only built 2 (although a 3rd is brewing)...but they are very, very good. :)


 






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