Which ES-335 to buy??

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Chicago.Blues, Aug 25, 2008.

  1. Chicago.Blues

    Chicago.Blues Member

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    During several months I have considered which humbucker guitar to buy. I have no HB guitar right now – only Strats and acoustics. I (try) to play the blues, most often through a clean channel except for adding some TS9 once in a while. It really has to be a Blues/Jazz tone monster. So what to buy? I have played the Epiphone Sheraton and Broadway, Gibson ES-137, LP’s, the Firebird and a couple of ES-335’s….

    I think that I will probably end up buying an ES-335 – all though I really like the inexpensive ES-137 too. Anyway – back to the ES-335. There are so many different versions and I just have not been able to find a store in which I could compare them. Further they are often refereed to under different names – so it’s not really transparent which one you are playing…

    I have been looking at GC site and really want to understand what buying-mistakes I should avoid… How big is the difference between the overall price levels?
    Is it really worth it to save up another $2k (almost) to get a 1963 re-issue? Is the tone and playability really so much better?

    $4,500 http://www.guitarcenter.com/Gibson-...ck-Reissue-Electric-Guitar-517859-i1149700.gc

    $2,800 http://www.guitarcenter.com/Gibson-...c-Guitar-with-Gloss-Finish-517280-i1149276.gc

    $2,800 Fat Neck http://www.guitarcenter.com/Gibson-...k--Reissue-Electric-Guitar-518921-i1150271.gc

    $2,000 http://www.guitarcenter.com/Gibson-Custom-ES-335-Satin-Finish-Electric-Guitar-103108940-i1149624.gc

    Another couple of questions:
    - Is the fat neck version warmer in tone than the ‘slim line’?
    - As I really want a warm and sweet tone I have heard that the Burstbucker’s should be superior compared to the 57’s – is this correct?

    What would you suggest me to buy?

    Thank you in advance!
    Lars
     
  2. karmadave

    karmadave Member

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    Neck shape has the least impact on tone, however it greatly effects playability. My suggestion is play different neck sizes until you find one that is most comfortable for you. 57 Classics sound good in ES-335's. More people seem to like Burstbuckers in Les Pauls, but I've never played them in my ES-335.

    There used to be a few more differences in the ES-335 line, but I think Gibson's marketing makes it confusing at times. I would suggest you go play a few, through your amp if possible, and decide for yourself...

    -KD
     
  3. archtopjazz

    archtopjazz Gold Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I think the 57 Classics sound great in the 335.
     
  4. GCDEF

    GCDEF Supporting Member

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    Heritage 535
     
  5. schundog

    schundog Member

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    I went with a ES-335 Memphis Reissue, 57 Classics, vintage sunburst, and it's definitely my #1. I got out the door for $2400 with case, tax included. Whatever you do, play it first!! I tried about 10 different ones at different locations before I found this sweetheart.
     
  6. franksguitar

    franksguitar Member

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    I'd look for a used one on gbase or online that you may find less than 2K. You can also consider the ES339 which is $1799 new.
     
  7. shawntp

    shawntp Member

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    Ive often thought about a used ES333 - with the back plate so it would be easy to tear apart and rebuild with different parts. They go for just over 1G and you could make a killer Gibson 335 for under 1500 with swapped pickups, RS Kit - Killer!
     
  8. bilbal

    bilbal Member

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    :agree
     
  9. SLG

    SLG Member

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    I would highly recommend an Epiphone Elite/Elitist ES335. After I bought the first one, I was so impressed, I bought a second. The Elite/Elitist ES335's have the 60's slim profile neck, so if you're looking for the 50's baseball bat, they won't fit the bill. One of my Elite's has a pair of Burstbuckers. They are good sounding pickups, and a notch or two above the Epiphone stock pickups. The Elite/Elitist guitars tend to be very consistent so if you buy used, online you'll save some money and have a good chance of getting a great guitar. Prices typically run $750-$900.

    I've owned several ES335's over the years including a couple of Gibsons and some vintage 60's models. The two Elite/Elitist models I own are superior instruments. After I reduce the guitar-amp collection, I may consider buying a third Epiphone Elite. I already own the sunburst and cherry red finishes. I'd like to own the natural finish and perhaps install a set of Fralin P92 pickups.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2008
  10. BigPapiFan

    BigPapiFan Member

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    I'll echo the sentiment that you should play each different style before deciding. BTW, here are a number of dealers that will beat the pants off those Guitar Center prices and give terrific service as well. My favorite is E.M. Shorts but there are a bunch of other good ones.
     
  11. hank

    hank Member

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    Chicago, I've had a ton of guitars and a few 335's by Gibson. I've settled on the MIJ Tokai ES series. They are excellent replicas, equal or better to most 335's and a huge savings when buying used or new. I'm not saying they are better than everything else. I'm saying that the bang for buck quality far exceeds others.

    Just another thought. Good luck.
     
  12. frank62

    frank62 Member

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    I know you said 335, but the 339 is a Custom Shop axe for around 1800 brand new.
     
  13. Chicago.Blues

    Chicago.Blues Member

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    Thank you guys - I appreciate all of your inputs! I am still puzzled but once again today I went to try out a couple of 335's. They were both named 335 dot reissue. But have a look at the GC website – I cannot find the exact match. Stupi stupid. The prices were some 2,798 – but no guitars on the www are priced like that . So once again – I am not fully sure what I have tried ..

    Anyway one was pretty nice to play - but a vintage sunburst which I’m not that excited about. The other was a cherry but the frets felt like climbing Mount Everest – they were so high and edgy. Interesting though – there was a significant tone difference. The cherry burst had the fattest sound – but each note on the vintage sunburst just came out clearer and more ‘individual’ – not as muddy as the cherry burst. I keep looking :eek:) I have also considered the 339 but I have not yet been able to try one. I’ve seen the 359 but I haven’t tried it either. I also feel like it’s really not the real blues –thing ;o)

    I definitely also want to look at the Tokai – if I can find one … It does not have to be a Gibson .. the right feel and tone is crucial.

    Also tried the Sheraton II again. It’s really good value.. and great tone! I would love to try the Elitist Sheraton! By the way – is it possible to replace the NY mini HB with 57’s??

    [FONT=&quot]Lars[/FONT]


    [FONT=&quot][/FONT]
     
  14. Carl_Tone

    Carl_Tone Member

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    If it does not have to be gibson have you looked at Edwards?

    It has a full neck, full gibson nut width, and solid wood construction.

    Also a mahogany block which will give a deeper tone...if that's what you want.


    Really hoping someone will do some real amp clips with one soon.
     
  15. Drowned Rabbit

    Drowned Rabbit Black Beauty Beats Burst

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    I pulled this from a thread I started awhile back.
    This is my experience with my Gibson ES335......

    This is Cricket. So named because of it's pleasing tone and for the fact that I was very lucky in getting it. I bought this guitar from musiciansfriend. It was the least expensive 335 they carried. Non-Historic, the cheap finish, no frills. I had the guys at Gary Brauer's put some Lindy Fralin Humbuckers in and, when I went to pick it up, the tech said it was the best 335 he'd ever heard. He tried to buy it from me on the spot! For whatever reason, this one's a winner. Next to it is my Swart AST head (from the original run). Awesome amp.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  16. Chicago.Blues

    Chicago.Blues Member

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    See that's what I need ... a bit of luck :eek:)
    Thanks for sharing!
     
  17. chris77

    chris77 Member

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    [​IMG][/quote]

    So did you have to sell ALL the furniture for that thing? Man GAS can really get cha!:hiP
     
  18. Zhurh

    Zhurh Member

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    I have strats & teles. RK is building me an LP over the winter. I know so little about 335's but one sticks in my head and it's not going away. Drew Zings 335 on the Boz Scaggs DVD in San FRan. What model, color/finish is she? Somebody here knows the one of which I speak.
     
  19. Clrtxf

    Clrtxf Member

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    As much as I can say about it is that Dot's (at least in my experience) have typically lacked some of the warmth and depth of tone that I really love about a 335, the neck has always felt to be very strangely set up to me. If it were me, I'd probably go with the satin purely because of price, but those 60's re-issues are quite a prize
     

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