Plz Halp: Dotneck 335 or Blackguard Tele - Jazz funk(/rock) Fusion

Discussion in '"Vintage" Instruments' started by PhilDeVoid, Feb 13, 2018.


  1. PhilDeVoid

    PhilDeVoid Member

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    Hi All,

    Im a huge fan of both the infamous Blackguard Tele and the ES 335 and have an opportunity to buy either at quite a good price.

    I ask that you help me take the following criteria into consideration:

    The style of my music (which is what I play the majority of the time) requires the following:
    On one hand - funky rhythms, singing/lyrical fairly high gain leads, legato leads, and on the other hand - very clean and round bop-worthy jazz tones. Please note that I am aware of many of the other styles of guitars that are out there but am only interested in comments pertaining to these two guitars.

    OR just imagine if you had to pick one guitar and had to play jazz fusion, funk, and really clean jazz lead guitar and be able to do Stern, Khan, Early 70's Mclaughlin, Carlton, Ford, Henderson, Coryell, John Abercrombie, Benson, Martino, etc.. and play funky rhythms and or hotter rock rhythms - YES, much of this is in the hands. Lets assume the hands and amp are a constant variable and you can pick between these two guitars. The price is obviously quite a fee but is near identical. Lets imagine they're the same and are not a part of the conversation.

    Please talk me into one of them or Feel Free to list pros and cons :)

    Very thankful for your help.
     
  2. buddyboy

    buddyboy Gold Supporting Member

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    The Blackguard
     
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  3. eddie101

    eddie101 Member

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    Get both!!
     
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  4. jumping@shadows

    jumping@shadows Supporting Member

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    I would go with the 335- more versatile and ‘neutral’ overall vs a Tele, and fatter all round with the humbuckers yet still plenty of clarity-perfect for jazz and high gain stuff alike.
     
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  5. sidekick

    sidekick Supporting Member

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    Recall a long-standing musician on the LPF who used to play all over the USA, (varied music) say he felt that a vintage Thinline Gibson or a Blackguard Tele covered nigh-on all bases for him.

    As much as I regard both, would personally lean to the Gibson with the flatter fingerboard radius plus the Thinline being a bit more 'forgiving' in terms of it's 'playability'. ... VMMV though.
     
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  6. Bluzeboy

    Bluzeboy Member

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    Spoken in true TGP style. :)
    You can play anything on any guitar, pick the one you can’t put down.
     
  7. MR.K

    MR.K Member

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    Search out some of YouTube clips of your favorite musical genre's past and present. I believe you'll find quite a few Gibson ES guitars being played. It's true that a Telecaster covers a lot of territory but for the long run I'd look hard at the semi hollow. It depends on the amp being used also.
     
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  8. Mwoodbro

    Mwoodbro Silver Supporting Member

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    I am with those stating either could cover what you need. The more you play either, the more you will find ways to make it work for your various needs.
    I would go with whichever you find the most comfortable to play.
     
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  9. PhilDeVoid

    PhilDeVoid Member

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    Thank you all for the helpful replies.

    On one hand, I play a ton of really bendy stuff that the tele is difficult for plus with the longer scale length AND the added string tension due to the fact that the strings anchor through the body, the strings don't take as kindly to legato playing as the notes decay faster - however, this is less noticeable if you're playing fast lines.. its do-able for sure but the 335's scale length offers much more ease in both of these regards. The other thing is that the natural, yet organic sounding (especially in the case of good PAF's) tone of early gibson with gain is incredible and the compression of humbuckers helps the tactile experience of legato playing (at least in my experience the higher output and compression helps allow for a silky-feeling and sounding touch).

    Thing is, I go crazy for fender cleans.. there is no question that I would rather funk out on a tele than a 335.. plus, while a very slight roll off on the neck pickup tone control results in a beautiful clean jazz lead lines tone, on 335's, I find that something about blackguards neck pickup can almost sound L5 esque and pristinely beautiful for clean round lead in a way.. its so crazy!! (Note that my experience may not be generalizable to one of the PAF era 335s as I have played more mid-late 60's 335's and only two from the stop tail and PAF era)..
    And with gain, I find there is something on blackguards due to the way the scale length plus string through is - not to mention the flat pole bridge pickup - where you get these crazy random and welcomed overtones that are just so emotive and I don't believe you really get those in the same way on a 335 (please correct me if im wrong).

    Im torn!
     
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  10. jumping@shadows

    jumping@shadows Supporting Member

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    What I believe you’re saying there is you’re a ‘Tele guy’ ;)

    I agree on all counts that the quirks of a good Tele offer a unique and explosive/intuitive experience that’s so inspiring, and if you value that most highly, then there’s only one choice imo.

    I recognise a good Tele can ‘do anything’, but if you have a jazz session and own an L5 you’d be quirky to take the Tele instead, unless ‘that Tele thing’ is what you get off on, and I think it’s clear you do!

    Fwiw I find an early 330 gives me that Tele rawness and intuitive expressiveness in a Gibson flavour, but that’s not gonna help the debate much :)
     
  11. MR.K

    MR.K Member

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    I have both a Telecaster and a es335. I'm wishing sometimes one will be like the other but in the end the 335 wins if only because it's such a beautiful instrument. It's like playing a Ferrari. If your in a band situation just switch guitars for a specific song. Your into "sorta" territory. Each will sort of sound like the other, but they are different animals.
     
  12. bluejaybill

    bluejaybill Member

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    I would ask which you have more experience playing, and which you feel you play better. Telecasters IMHO are more difficult to play well unless you have played them a lot. 335's are more forgiving in that regard.
    I also think that 335's are more versaitile in a live situation for most of the sounds you are looking for, except funk comping, that will be better on a tele.
    Yes, you can make a tele sound like a jazz guitar, though the old blackguards have pretty dark sounding rhythm pickups and can get muddy if you turn them down.
    And you can get a vintage lead pickup to sound like a PAF, but on the 335 those sounds are just THERE, no need to go searching.
    Overall if I had to pick one I would pick the 335, and I don't even own one. But I mostly record now and nothing records better than an old telecaster!
     
  13. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    I play in a funk / r&b band that does some fusiony stuff (Crusaders, Jaco, Steely Dan, early Chicago, etc.) and I own an old dot-neck 335 and a maple-neck Tele. I love them both. I've used both on gigs. Ultimately...the 335 is more useful to me based on my personal tastes...but it could go either way.
     
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  14. Rossi163

    Rossi163 Supporting Member

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    This is the correct answer.
     
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  15. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    Fixed it for you.
     
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  16. Bluzeboy

    Bluzeboy Member

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    pick a dozen that you can’t put down.

    Yeah, kinda my problem.
     
  17. JackD

    JackD Gold Supporting Member

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    I have pretty much been a 335 guy most of my playing career (at least since 1978). You can do anything with them. So if I had to pick, I'd say 335.

    That said, a Tele is an excellent compliment to the 335 insofar is it is different enough, but not so different that you'll have issues. I resolved this many years ago with the "both" solution--only I have 6 335 style guitars and 3 Teles, so I can cover all the bases!
     
  18. monkmiles

    monkmiles Supporting Member

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  19. Blanket Jackson

    Blanket Jackson The stars look very different today Silver Supporting Member

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    You could get a blackguard tele from a variety of builders that runs the gambit from shoddily constructed all the way up to master built, and they sound as different as you would expect.
    I have not very often heard of a horribly build 335 style guitar. Hardly, like never.
    I own both types. I have an amazing Tuttle blackguard and a Collings I35 335-ish style. Both are exceptional. I have also owned Fender built teles plus Heritage and Ibanaez 335-styles. No contest the latter wins there.
     
  20. tonewoody

    tonewoody Member

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    Blackguard, virtually indestructable.

    335...not so much.
     

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