semihollow page updated (Gibson 339 content)


Pretty comprehensive list. I wish I had the patience to get acquainted with that many guitars. I have a Verythin Classic set up with round wounds and it has all kinds of sustain, still would'nt be my first choice for rock though. Great resource - a guy can get a fairly quick overview of most (maybe all) popular semis from a pro who has owned them.


Acknowledging this is all very subjective of course -

I love 335's but there is a big difference among certain years and certain model variations (i.e. trapeze vs. stop), and if you're shopping for one it's best to play a lot of them. I find the 'funk rhythm' conclusion funny since so many classic funk and r&b bands used them.

The 335 has always been my favorite semi - which is not to say there's things I wouldn't take that with the appropriate grain of salt

Maybe a totally different beast, but I also love the original early 70's two-humbucker Fender Tele Thinlines, if you can find one in good condition. This is one guitar where I think they really dropped the ball on the reissue - they don't sound or feel anywhere near as good as one of the originals. I used to own a '72 and I regret getting rid of it 'cause now they're stupid expensive.

And you wanna talk quirky - I love those 70's Fender Starcasters. never owned one but I used to moon over them in the stores when I was a kid, and still to this day whenever I play one I really dig them. Not really a 'versatile' guitar in the way a good 335 is, but they have something all their own - maybe a bit of a white elephant, ultimately, but cool nonetheless

I don't share Jack's enthusiasm for the Eastmans, personally - I like the import D'Angelicos more in that price range

As far as low-end 335 copies go, I'm surprised I don't hear more about the Hamer Echotone - with a good pickup and hardware upgrade it could be an excellent guitar, and for many the pickups are really not that bad to begin with. I've hooked students up with a couple and they really sound and play nice, though very much in the '335 mold' if that's what you're looking for.

I also think the Guild semis - Starfire, etc - can be really great if you find a nice one. I especially like the way Bigsbys feel on them, and I'm not crazy about Bigsbys on 335's. And I think the (chambered, not strictly semi I guess, depending on where you draw the line) Guild Bluesbird is one of the great sleeper guitars. Were it not for Saul Koll currently building me something decidedly Bluesbird-esque, I would own at least one in a heartbeat.

Hey Jack, you know Jewell? We played together in a guitar quartet for a while - great guy, great player.

Top Bottom