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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Gibson ES-335 versus ES-339…. What are your thoughts please?

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by historicus146, Apr 15, 2017.

  1. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Telefied Ad Free Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    Austin, Tx
    My dear friend Scott has a first year red 339, it sounds and looks great, stays in tune beautifully, and he loves it.
    It just looks weird.
    Specifically, the horns or ears are too small.
    I'll totally cop to being into a guitar's look.
    "My" solution would be a 1-2 inch reduction in the lower section's diameter.
    I'd keep the "Mickey Mouse" ears like original, pre 1964 335s.
    moosie likes this.

  2. screamin eagle

    screamin eagle Friend of Leo's

    Oct 9, 2008
    S. CA
    Personally, I have a hard time calling a 335 a big guitar. Seems standard to me. And I do have smaller guitars. A 335 on a small person, just looks like a smaller person is playing guitar. A small guitar on a big person can look funny.

    I always thought that Freddie King made his goldtop look like a ukulele.

    Little Jimmy Dickens was small in stature, but seeing him play a regular size guitar (or even a jumbo) just looked normal to me:

  3. Dukex

    Dukex Tele-Meister

    Nov 8, 2012
    Nothing wrong with the 339, I just prefer the 335.

  4. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 17, 2003
    Spring City, Pa
    IMO, both of those guitars are essentially a Lester with wings.
    Any sonic differences can be attributed to the fact that 2 different guitars will just sound different.
    The significant difference between the 2 guitars will be how you think they look and how you feel when you hold them.

  5. red57strat

    red57strat Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Oct 4, 2003
    I wanted to like the ES-339 when it came out. I played a few and found that they didn't sound like full sized ES-335s. Luckily, though I'm barely 5'9", I don't find an ES-335 to be a large guitar. They're a perfect fit standing or sitting.

  6. RubyRae

    RubyRae Friend of Leo's

    Dec 8, 2009
    335 is an absolute classic guitar. 339 is not my cup of tea, especially for that kind of money.
    They can be well made but I like my classic styles. 335, Strat, Les Paul, Tele, and I love the 330. To answer your question, just because it looks like a mini 335 it's not. It's a random hybrid type that most likely will not be around for as long as the other great Gibson guitars. Just my opinion, but if i was going to throw down 2k on a guitar it would not be a 339.
    Obsessed and moosie like this.

  7. MonkeyJefferson

    MonkeyJefferson Tele-Meister

    Oct 26, 2010
    I got one of the Epi blue p90 339's a few years ago as a gift. It's a great guitar. Perfectly versatile. A nice palate cracker to my teles.

  8. AAT65

    AAT65 Friend of Leo's

    May 29, 2016
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    I thought I wanted a 335, or a Sheraton or similar, until I picked up one in a guitar shop and played it: then I realised that, as the man walking his husky said, "it's too frickin' big" (but he didn't use "frickin'"). But I still like 339s, wildkats etc, and it just seems I'm not really comfortable with the larger body, especially sitting down. It's not because my arms are short (I'm 6' tall with arms in due proportion), it's just being so different from Strat, tele, LP style bodies.
    So - as usual - the answer is personal preference, your own comfort factors, YMMV!

  9. Rob J

    Rob J Tele-Meister

    Feb 14, 2007
    Nor California
    I've been lucky enough to have had both the Gibson 335 and the 339 at different times. Just lately, I got the bug for another semi hollow body so went looking. Having owned "real deal" Gibsons in the past this time I decided that the extreme extra cost over an Epiphone equivalent was not worth it so I narrowed my search to Epiphones.

    I will admit that I much prefer the "look" of a full sized 335 but after trying out several Epi 335s, from Dots, to the ES 335 Pro to Casinos, I came home with an Epiphone 339 Pro. There are more things that I like about it than things I don't. First of all, it's lighter and easier to handle than a 335 - not a HUGE difference but slightly more comfortable to play. I've always found 335s to be bottom heavy, especially when sitting. This is not a problem with the 339. I like the placement of the output jack on the side of the 339 rather than on the front. The 339's smaller body looked sort of "toy like" to me at first but it's growing on me.

    As far as sound, this guitar actually sounds better to me than the Gibsons that I have owned. The '57 humbuckers in them always seemed too dark sounding to me and I couldn't tame it with tone controls. This Epi is clear and articulate and I can't find anything that I'd want to change on it. The stock pickups sound good, the tuners work well - not anything to really complain about.

    So for me, even though I could fork out for a Gibson 335, unless I found one that was next to perfect and a realistic price I'd rather go the less expensive route and be happy with my Epiphone. Would I have preferred a 335 over the 339? The jury is still out, but so far I'm thinking that I've made the right choice. In the best of scenarios I guess I'd like to own one of each, but these days I'm shooting for less guitars, not more.

  10. Paul G.

    Paul G. Friend of Leo's

    Mar 17, 2003
    Rhode Island
    At 5'9", I'm not tiny. But I grew up on "midget" solid and semi-solid guitars. I've owned 335s and Guild Starfires. I think a good ES335 is one of the greatest-sounding and most versatile guitars ever. I just can't get with the shape of 'em.

    I've got an Epi 339 I love. Is it a Gibson 335? Not quite, but pretty close. If I'm feeling it, and the band is cooking it makes no never mind.

    Try 'em both. Don't trust us, we're crusty and opinionated.
    tonyj likes this.

  11. magicfingers99

    magicfingers99 Tele-Meister

    May 7, 2015
    I own (and play) an ES-339 and like it a good bit, I took the tiny pickguard off to make it easier to work on the high frets. I think the size makes it easier to play and I've got the P90's on mine which are nice.
    Also have one of these Yamaha's(AE 500) which is a bit bigger but also plays and sounds well.
    its sort of a thin version of a jazz box. ES-335 is also a fine guitar - I picked up a body from Guitar festish and if I ever find a neck I like, I'm going to make one of my own.

    I like hollow body guitars, a friends' cousin had an ES-335 which I tried to play when I was learning
    it was at that time the easiest guitar I had ever played.


    size wise 339vs335 looks like this.

    KyAnne likes this.

  12. Area51

    Area51 Tele-Meister

    Nov 4, 2016
    New Mexico
    I have an Iby AS200, which is proportionally the same size as the 335. The only thing I don't like about the guitar is how big it is. I much prefer the 339 size, which is on par with most "regular" sized electrics. It's close in size to a tele.

  13. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    335 all the way, for me, thank you.

    That said, I haven't touched a 339. But my 335 is just splendid, and visually the 339 looks oddly unbalanced, to me.

    I play seated (hey BB!). If I had to gig standing, I might take a different view, but it would be from a practical perspective, not overall better guitar.

    Really don't care for the pointy ears. Bring back Mickey. But... hard to do on that smaller body...

    Just my opinion, of course.
    Last edited: May 19, 2017

  14. goonie

    goonie Friend of Leo's

    Dec 20, 2011
    My opinion - the 335's mouse ears look faintly ridiculous. The 339's ears are less pronounced so to me it looks much better than the 335.
    KyAnne likes this.

  15. blowery

    blowery Tele-Meister

    Nov 10, 2015
    335 Player here. The body feels about perfect to me. I've always played a jumbo guitar, so it always made my strats feel pretty small. Now that I'm playing my 335 almost exclusively, it just feels right.

    Of course I'm 6'5", so maybe that makes the size seem not so ridiculous.

  16. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 16, 2014
    Auburn, California
    If you've got back problems get a 339. That's about all there is to it.
    KyAnne likes this.

  17. cabra velha

    cabra velha Tele-Afflicted Platinum Supporter

    Jan 21, 2016
    estados unidos
    Its not entirely an ergonomics issue, but its not a bad place to start. For all practical purposes the only part of a semi 33X that really matters tonally is whats between the neck and the bridge, the rest is decorative. This isn't to say that there aren't tonal variations, but I believe there is just as much difference sonically between two ES-335s as there is between a 339 and any given 335. Personally I have a full size archtop which I generally play sitting down, my heavily modded 339 is now my main electric (blasphemy I know) and I don't find it unbalanced or neck heavy on a strap. I think Gibson 339's are a pretty good value compared to 335's on the used market, the Epi 339 is a screaming deal-a pickup upgrade and rewire and its virtually a match, I wish my Epi had meatier frets that was the only advantage with the Gibson 339 I owned.

    I think Ibanez actually started the business of shrinking semi's, I remember playing one of the smaller Ibanez's back in the late 80's and I was impressed, but really all Ibanez's were impressive compared to Gibsons back then.

  18. AngelDeville

    AngelDeville Tele-Afflicted

    Dec 27, 2007
    I'm 6'2" I prefer the size of the 339.

    It has the shape of and size of a DC special.

  19. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 30, 2013
    Horn Lake, MS
    I don't think weight would be a issue with the ES-335 since they're semi-hollow guitars. I also don't think there's a difference in sound between the 335 and 339.
    I personally prefer the smaller sized ES-330(hollow body) and ES-339(semi-hollow body guitars). The ES Les Paul's, Wildcat's and Casino Coupe's are also nice.
    KyAnne and AngelDeville like this.

  20. Del Pickup

    Del Pickup Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 24, 2008
    New Zealand
    I've got both of these and, to my ears, there was only a very small difference in tone between the two instruments. The 339 could be said to have a slightly 'smaller' sound in terms of the airy, woody tone from a 335. But, as I say, it's a very small difference and not one that would have swayed me in deciding which to buy.

    The only reason I bought the 339 was that it belonged to a friend who was moving back to the US and I got it for almost half price of a new one - and it was immaculate.

    The one thing that I do prefer on the 339 is the neck which is a bit chunkier than the 335 which is very slim. The 339 is also noticeably lighter so, if weight is a consideration then that might be something to be taken into account. The body size isn't really an issue for me with the 335 - I grew up playing a full bodied dreadnought so it's second nature to me to have a larger bodied instrument.

    Some have described the 339 as being more Les Paul-like in tone but I don't think that's altogether true. It's got a much more 'open' tone to my 57 Goldtop RI which has a much tighter, focussed tone to it - even taking the different pickups into account.

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