Teach me about 335s, please.

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by nosuch, Nov 8, 2018.

  1. nosuch

    nosuch Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,645
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2008
    Location:
    Cologne
    This summer we started an organ trio playing classic soul jazz and funk. I used my Ibanez JSM10 so far, tried the tele once – it's not quite right for that. Yesterday I went window shopping semi hollow guitars tried some in every price category. I really liked the stanford crossroads thinline 30 and 35, guitars like a 330 and 335 respectively. But the Ibanez held its ground against these. Now, the Gibson ES 335 is the one that started it all so I had to try some. The shop has a lot of 335s starting at about 2000 €. Most of these where nothing special, nothing to write home about. The one I really liked was a '61 VOS that would set me back like five and a half grands. Wow! But I liked the neck while most of the others (58 reissues) had baseball bats. And the tone was also special, woody, resonant, old school.

    Which 335 should I look at – years, models – for a reasonable price and good quality. The Ibanez will serve me well until I find something special, but I kind of would like to get deeper into that kind of guitars
     
  2. Frank'n'censed

    Frank'n'censed Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    11,804
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2011
    Location:
    Parts Unknown
    I have a Heritage H-535, the sister company’s version of the original. Iconic & very versatile guitars, capable of great tone...their size is probably the big detractor for many. My guitar has a goldtop finish & factory Bigsby.

    https://heritageguitars.com/pages/h-535
     
  3. jayyj

    jayyj Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,110
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2014
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    Firstly, 335s are one of those designs where they vary a lot in character, even within similar models. I tend to break them down into three categories: 335s that are very sweet and well suited to jazz and low gain blues, 335s that have a little growl to them that suit blues and classic rock, and 335s that think they're Les Pauls and do the indie and hard rock end of things.

    Then there's the family models. The 335 is the standard version, the 345 adds a bit more binding and inlay and an extra six position tone control (vintage ones are stereo as well) and the 355 adds an ebony board, lots more bling and usually a vibrato (many also having the varitone and stereo wiring). The 330 is fully hollow with P90s. There have been a bunch more of them, but those four are the classics. With the modern ones there's not much difference between the main three aside from cosmetics - 355s usually seem to be at the rockier end of the spectrum, which might be the ebony board adding a little snap, but who knows... maybe they just look a bit more rock and roll and it deceives the ears!

    Historically 335 neck profiles changed significantly over the years. Original '61s were generally about the slimmest front to back that a vintage 335 is likely to be. The reissues try to be in line with how they would have been originally, so broadly speaking of the recent reissues a 58 is huge, a 59 big, a 61 slim, a 63 medium and a 68 medium but narrow at the nut. The non reissues tend to narrow it down either to 50s being 59ish or 60s being somewhere between 61 and 63. My favourite is the 63 - I have a couple of original '65 Gibsons with that profile and it feels perfect to me.

    Weight varies a lot in 335s, generally from a little under 8lb to pushing 10lb. If weight is important to you, remember to ask.

    I'm not a great believer in particular recent years being special - I think there's more variation from one guitar to the next than there is one year to the next unless we're talking the various eras of Gibson as a company (in the 60s 335 specs changed every couple of years, so the year makes a big difference. I preferred it when there were less options and I'm nowhere close to keeping up with every variant of the 335 they make nowadays, but they seem to be generally nice guitars they're making today. The 90s stuff always seems good value and very consistent. If you go as early as 80s people are starting to try to ask a premium because 'vintage' but I'm not sure they're massively better than 90s ones. 70s and earlier is a whole other conversation with huge differences in design as you work backwards.

    Last thought... 335s are amazing. Best design ever, even if I do say that on a Telecaster forum!
     
    metale, tonyj and Henfield Tele like this.
  4. Shidoin

    Shidoin Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    876
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2009
    Location:
    Ventura CA
    If cost is a consideration, a used made in USA Guild would be much cheaper, and every bit as good of a guitar. I sold my nice 335 after I got a SF; I much preferred the Guild. 335’s vary a lot; they run from OK to mind blowing.
    If you find a great one, they’re worth every penny.
     
    Johnkir64 likes this.
  5. robt57

    robt57 Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    23,706
    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2004
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    See any Elitist and Historic Epiphones?

    Google Epiphone Elite / Elitist 63' ES-335 DOT as one suggestion.
     
  6. BB

    BB Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,257
    Joined:
    May 17, 2003
    Location:
    Great Pacific NW
    Ive had various 335's, Guild Starfires, etc. All great guitars, but they paled in comparison to my 1981 Ibanez AS200.... The forerunner of your JS 10. Unless you got a dog JS 10, stay where you are bro!
     
    Tony Forman, nosuch and brookdalebill like this.
  7. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Age:
    60
    Posts:
    5,995
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2004
    Location:
    central ky
    I vote for the heritage 535, but I don't how many of them might show up in your area. it's as good as a 335, but usually less expensive. I owned a 335 for awhile and I like the heritage much better.
     
    bcorig and hrstrat57 like this.
  8. hrstrat57

    hrstrat57 Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,500
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2016
    Location:
    Rhode Island
    Heritage 535

    You're welcome!
     
    bcorig likes this.
  9. nosuch

    nosuch Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,645
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2008
    Location:
    Cologne
    After playing some and also the downsized models like the 339 or Epiphone Casino Coupe I found out that I actually like the size. It just sits very solid and supports me as a player. The neck sticking out so far is another thing, though. I'll try a (fullsize) Casino and ES 330 to see how I like that – I'm also an avid fan of Grant Green so will at least try – though I think Humbuckers and sustain block (335) are the way to go for punch and utility when playing loud.
     
  10. nosuch

    nosuch Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,645
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2008
    Location:
    Cologne
    Maybe the best advice. Still be looking a bit to the left and right and also up.
     
  11. Tonemaster

    Tonemaster Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,140
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2008
    Location:
    Ontario
    Play a lot of them. Of all guitars out there, 335's vary the most in just about every category. Tone, feel, build quality, fit and finish. Lots of dogs out there. When you find one, grab it and run![​IMG]
     
    brookdalebill and hrstrat57 like this.
  12. Bob Womack

    Bob Womack Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    888
    Joined:
    May 28, 2016
    Location:
    Between Clever and Stupid
    Don't loose sight of the plain old Memphis DOT Reissue. I was looking at between eight and eleven examples from the DOT to Historics. What finally got my vote was a DOT Reissue with a '60s slim taper neck profile. There were bright ones, dark ones, hard ones, and the one I chose was a sweet one with that '60s slim taper neck profile and '57 Classics pickups. It has become my main squeeze in the studio.

    [​IMG]

    Bob
     
    moosie likes this.
  13. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    21,138
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2012
    Location:
    Montana
    Eastman.

    Your welcome.
     
    BB likes this.
  14. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    59
    Posts:
    16,795
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    Maine
    The Heritage connection is that when Gibson was shutting down a factory, a group of the long time Gibson builders who were losing their jobs started Heritage and build in a smaller shop now. Might be off a bit on the details, but overall they are great and might even be called "better than Gibson" Gibson's.

    As far as what you can find in your area and the wide price range that goes from too darn expensive to expensive but worth it; you might consider buying one that you love but had the huge neck, and then pay a good luthier to shave the neck to your favorite profile.

    If you're finding prices between 2000 and 5000, that leaves a good chunk of cash to get the neck shaved perfectly on a guitar you love except for the neck.

    Just a thought and you would need to have a good luthier nearby.
    Not a just guitar tech.
     
    bcorig likes this.
  15. Beachbum

    Beachbum Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,178
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Location:
    Sand Land
    You might want to check out the Yamaha SA2200. Superb Japanese build quality and appointments comparable to Gibsons ES355. $2K to $2.5K new.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Deathray, Treynor and brookdalebill like this.
  16. Middleman

    Middleman Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,904
    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2007
    Location:
    MV, CA
    This. I agree wholeheartedly. I have a Dot Reissue on hold right now. Tried a lot of different 335s and the large flat backed necks are not for me. Too heavy and less resonant. The thinner neck dots are the money. Some of the more ornate versions, while collectors desire them, are not the most giving sonically.

    I had a friend just sit and listen while I tried a couple of 335s, DAngelico models, Epiphone Dot, and a few Gretsch. When I hit the first chord of the 335 RI Dot, he said, "That's the one". I agreed.
     
  17. Beachbum

    Beachbum Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,178
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Location:
    Sand Land
    +1. If you can find one in good shape the vintage Ibanez semis are incredible. I've got a 1983 AM205 which is basically the forerunner of Gibsons ES339. Used can be had from $1500 to $2000 and the new reissue goes for $2300.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  18. bftfender

    bftfender Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,225
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2017
    Location:
    York PA
    great guitar..every time i see this i think of Mr. 335..Larry Carlton
     
    bcorig, Beachbum and brookdalebill like this.
  19. aerhed

    aerhed Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    60
    Posts:
    2,382
    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2016
    Location:
    Boulder, WY
    I agree with the dud factor other guys have experienced. There are just so many 335-like guitars today, and most I pick up just lay there like a dud. But, when you grab a live one it barks like a dog and squeals like a pig.
     
  20. Dan R

    Dan R Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    61
    Posts:
    4,929
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    Charleston, SC
    That's a beauty.

    You see, this "golden ticket" approach has always ruffled my feathers. Play umpteen guitars and maybe, just maybe. you'll find the holy grail. How about some consistency in production? I realize these are handmade instruments, but if it's that much of an arduous task to find one I like, I don't care to bother. The entire premise has always seemed ridiculous to me. Just me give a Squier and call it a day. I'd have a dependable guitar and money left in my pocket. Had to vent, now get off my lawn.

    I had a Heritage Prospect (little 535) and it was very nice. Heritage guitars on the market are rare, however. They are creeping up in price too.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.