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School me on ES-335

jruano

Member
Messages
1,145
Never had one, what do I need to look into? What are the differences, dot, no dot?... I get lost. Thanks in advance.
 

Benz2112

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,920
The aesthetic stuff like inlays is typically indicative of the features on the golden era instruments (50's-60's). For the most part, the contemporary guitars tend to have a mishmash of popular features, so some will have small blocks, others will have dots, of course not to be confused with Studio or some models called a Dot, which may not have all the features of the regular 335. Important changes that have occurred in recent times is neck carve and pickups. Certain years have a choice of neck carve, so you should know what you are getting into ahead of time. The pickups have changed from 57's, to Burstbuckers, and now primarily MHS. In recent years, Gibson has offered the 335 in a satin faded finish, all the same features, just without the glossy finish. I have one myself, you save a few bucks, and I like the look. There are historic reissues that get high praise, and typically cost more than the standard production model, as well as signature models that incorporate different vintage reissue specs like the Rusty Anderson or the Warren Haynes.
 

zztomato

Member
Messages
11,407
Go play as many as you can. I have a 68- it's a peach. I've played other 68s that were nowhere near as good. I like the CS 63ri. Nice neck. Again, one could be great while another could suck a$$.
 

jruano

Member
Messages
1,145
So are they all over the place as far as neck and appointments?... there's no 50's, 60's type deal as in for example LPs?

What would be the "classics"?
 

jamester

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,588
Gibson has messed around with them so much over the years, I think it's impossible to answer that question!

I'd say figure out the aesthetics you want (blocks/dots, flame/plain..), the kind of neck you want (60's slim, 50's fat, modern C...) and your price point, and then track down and try to play as many as you can. Assume nothing about tone and playability based on specs, as they vary all over the map regardless of model...
 

ToneDeVille

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,705
I've had 4 in the past 30 years...and don't own one. Never could dial in a sound that worked for me. But of those 4 my favorite one was a dot neck sunburst. 2nd favorite was a blonde trapeze tail with coil taps.
 

fancychords

Member
Messages
551
I have a block 335 I bought in 2017 but it’s stamped 2016. Not a custom shop just a regular standard and it’s perfect. I find the tone controls very sensitive the slightest movement changes the tone unlike other Gibson’s that I’ve played. It has burst buckers and to me it sounds glorious. Also as you increase the tone controls the guitar gets a bit louder. Don’t know if they’re all like that or just mine.
 

budglo58

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,455
I would recommend trying some out. The 50s necks were big, some huge. Then they went in the other direction in the 60s. I have had 4 modern ones. The dot necks were thinner, but not skinny at all. My present one has the “rounded C” that is thick, but not huge. The 57 classics were great ,but so are the burst buckers . The build quality has been great the last several years. Different feel than a Les Paul.
 

Jayyj

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,561
So are they all over the place as far as neck and appointments?... there's no 50's, 60's type deal as in for example LPs?

What would be the "classics"?

Nowadays the reissues are actually pretty good with neck profiles - aside from the standard model there are reissues that have specific years and they're not far off the originals. '58 is big, '59 big but less clubby than '58, '61 is slim front to back, '63 is medium, '68 is narrow etc. The standard model has got a bit confusing but if you go back a few years there was basically the Dot RI that came in 50s and 60s neck profiles. An 80s through 2000s Dot RI will likely be a very great unfussy 335 for sensible money.

Don't forget there's the siblings as well - the 345 with fancier inlays and an extra tone control, and the 355 that has the full Les Paul Custom cosmetics and usually a vibrato. The 355 is my favourite of the bunch.

Soundwise there's three basic schools of 335s - sophisticated sounding guitars with great cleans that do the jazz guitar with better feedback resistance that Gibson originally intended, guitars with a bit more growl that do the blues rock thing beautifully, and guitars that basically think they're a chunky looking Les Paul. Often people go to try a 335 with a particular expectation and are disappointed, but I think you just need to keep trying until you get a fix on how much they vary. To me they vary more than any other major guitar design, although I rarely dislike one - I could quite happily own a dozen and feel like they all do something distinct to each other though!
 
Messages
23,884
Gee... this is not gonna be easy, I see... ;)
No, it is one of the toughest acquisitions out there, in terms of finding the right one. Very frustrating.

My advice is to play every one you can find and if the "right" one comes along, pay a little more than you want to but buy the darned thing. The difference between getting a bargain and maybe paying a little too much - it just doesn't matter in the long haul.
 

Mpcoluv

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,247
No, it is one of the toughest acquisitions out there, in terms of finding the right one. Very frustrating.

My advice is to play every one you can find and if the "right" one comes along, pay a little more than you want to but buy the darned thing. The difference between getting a bargain and maybe paying a little too much - it just doesn't matter in the long haul.
335s are all over the place with regard to tones and feel. You really need to try before you buy IMHO.
Don't discount the early 80s models with Shaws. Some of these are magical. Some are not....
 

Dexter.Sinister

Still breathing
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
6,781
I picked up '74 from a dude in PR, have Joe Glaser PLEK it in Nashvegas, replace the collapsed bridge, and move it to a better case. That guitar does (almost) it all. Dreaded Norlin era axe is my second GREAT guitar from the era. Both were '74s...

Stock Pat# T-top pups. Brilliant.

 

Buck Woodson

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,017
I like the varitone switch on my 345. Most 345s have them, most 355s do not. Worth considering IMO.
 

stratzrus

Philadelphia Jazz, Funk, and R&B
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
20,971
No, it is one of the toughest acquisitions out there, in terms of finding the right one. Very frustrating. My advice is to play every one you can find and if the "right" one comes along, pay a little more than you want to but buy the darned thing.
People who are telling you to try a few until you find one you like are giving you good advice. But it doesn't have to be a lifelong quest to find one, particularly if you're located where there aren't a lot available to try.

I bought mine on eBay without playing it and it's exactly what I wanted. To me, the most important thing is knowing what neck carve you want. I wanted a '60s slim taper because I don't enjoy playing guitars with fat necks since I had previously played Strats for years. You may want to decide in advance if you want '57 Classics or Burstbuckers but a lot of people swap pickups once they get them.

Mine was four years old when I got it and it sounded "new". I wasn't in love with the tone but it was okay. Now that it's 17 years old it sounds fantastic, the tone really matured over the years with a significant difference noticeable around year eight.

It's true when people say that they vary but it doesn't have to take months of searching to find one. I looked online for a few weeks and finally bought one used in mint condition that had the antique sunburst finish (no red) and neck carve that I wanted. Flames on the top were a plus but not a requirement. It's now my #1 and I couldn't be happier with the results.

 
Messages
5,051
Had two; a '90s DOT in figured cherry and a blonde. Couldn't get on with either and then discovered the Yamaha SA2200 which puts most Gibson ES3XX types I have encountered to shame. Unless you really can't live without the Gibson name, you should do yourself a favour and check out the SA...
 
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Messages
5,034
I ended my 335 search when I found my Yamaha SA2200. It's probably not for everyone, especially if only a Gibson will do. There are a few alternatives to consider depending on where your priorities lie and how full your wallet is
 
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