This forum has proven once again to be a dangerous place to hang around...enter Gibson ES-335

Jared Purdy

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The other day I was browsing through the new threads and came across someone's post about buying a ES335. Well, didn't that get me thinking! quick check on some local stores and stock is relatively low, and the prices of course, have gone up over the last two years. There are a couple of the same incarnation available, one that is described as "ES-335 Figured Semi- Hollow Iced Tea". It lists for $5099CDN.

The parts description is different than on the 64' Reissues, which use Custombucker Alnico III PUs, compared to the T type found on the other. Reviews on the T type are not that great with most people seeming to swap them for the BB Alnico III, a modest cost. Not sure why there's a $2500 difference in price between the Reissue and the one with the figured top?? Personally, I like the look of the figured top more than the plain grain tops found on the "Reissues". The "figured top" version appears to be a generic 60's model, with their new T type PUs. Aside from the obvious difference in PUs, am I missing something else on the difference between these two? Those Custom BB Alnico III's can be had for $280US.

And then there's this one for $4450CDN, referred to as a "ES335 DOT Semi-Hollow Body" The primary difference between it and the "figured top version is the figured top, and for that it's $500 less. Still, the top on it is quite nice.


Figured Top: https://www.long-mcquade.com/174100...-Guitars/Gibson/ES-335-Figured---Iced-Tea.htm

Reissue: https://www.long-mcquade.com/166248...n/1961-ES-335-Reissue-VOS---Vintage-Burst.htm

Cheers!
 
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Bob Womack

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The historics cost a great deal more that the USA ES-335s. As for pickups, I can say this: my luthier considers real T-tops from the '70s to be the closest thing to PAFs you can get. I've got a '70s LP with T-tops that is quite sweet. My ES-335 has '57 Classics and it is extremely sweet, and that is what is important to me..

Another anecdotal deal: when I was out sniffing around ES-335s back in 2007, I had about eleven to choose from including vintages ones, Historics, and Memphis DOT reissues (USA). There were powerful ones, dark ones, bright ones, hard ones. The one that called out to me was a Memphis DOT that the Internet said had everythng wrong about it. It was, however, the sweetest sounding one I found, with a certain plaintive sound, and the easiest to play. I hadn't told her I was sniffing around the ES-335s but my lovely wife somehow figured it out and surprised me for Christmas and took me out to buy it. I had my luthier do a set up on it and it became the guitar I have to say "no" to or I will play all the time. It also became the center of my studio session kit, and goes to every electric session.

You really need to get your hands and ears on ES-335s and experience them n order to choose. Find the guitar that speaks to you. Worry about pickups later. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Bob
 

arlum

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Even if the pickups weren't up to snuff I'd buy the figured top and replace the pickups with something even better than the '64 reissue comes with. Probably a set by ThroBak Electronics or Wolfetone.
 

Telekarster

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Installing pickups in a 335 is not an easy task. I've done it twice now and each time was a hair raising and cumbersome chore. FWIW but If I were in the market for a 335 I think I'd rather find one that's to my liking and call it good. As @Bob Womack says "You really need to get your hands and ears on ES-335s and experience them n order to choose." Good luck man and hope you find one! They are sweet ;)
 

kuch

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The prices are crazy. I picked up my 2001 335 dot, lightly figured in vintage sunburst for just over $2k. I realize it's just a dot but it came with the 57 classic PU's that sound good. I also bought it in Portland where they don't have sales tax.

Good luck in your search
 

jimmywrangles

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I'd buy the figured top one, it looks superb and is much cheaper.
If there turns out to be something wrong with it you can use some of the 2 grand you saved to get it up to scratch.
 

Jared Purdy

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Thanks for the replies. I haven't noodled with a 335 in a few years, the last time I was contemplating buying one. As for changing the PU's I likely would't do it myself as my soldering skills suck. The shop that has the USA model with the figured top also has Custom BB's Alnico III's so I'd just get them to do it or a local shop right around the corner from me. Ya, I need to get my hands on one to see which one speaks to me. Stock is limited. According to the store web sites, none of them have the reissues.
 

Jared Purdy

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The historics cost a great deal more that the USA ES-335s. As for pickups, I can say this: my luthier considers real T-tops from the '70s to be the closest thing to PAFs you can get. I've got a '70s LP with T-tops that is quite sweet. My ES-335 has '57 Classics and it is extremely sweet, and that is what is important to me..

Another anecdotal deal: when I was out sniffing around ES-335s back in 2007, I had about eleven to choose from including vintages ones, Historics, and Memphis DOT reissues (USA). There were powerful ones, dark ones, bright ones, hard ones. The one that called out to me was a Memphis DOT that the Internet said had everythng wrong about it. It was, however, the sweetest sounding one I found, with a certain plaintive sound, and the easiest to play. I hadn't told her I was sniffing around the ES-335s but my lovely wife somehow figured it out and surprised me for Christmas and took me out to buy it. I had my luthier do a set up on it and it became the guitar I have to say "no" to or I will play all the time. It also became the center of my studio session kit, and goes to every electric session.

You really need to get your hands and ears on ES-335s and experience them n order to choose. Find the guitar that speaks to you. Worry about pickups later. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Bob
I have a 60th Anniversary R9 so I'm familiar with the Historic reissue prices. They're up there. I'm not prepared to pay that again ($7500CDN at the end of 2019. They're now $8500CDN, and that's for a run of the mill R9.). There's this one very close to me that I'm going to check out this evening: https://www.long-mcquade.com/181700...Guitars/Gibson/ES-335-Dot---Vintage-Burst.htm

And then this one tomorrow: https://www.long-mcquade.com/174100...-Guitars/Gibson/ES-335-Figured---Iced-Tea.htm

Aside from the figured top on the second one and the block inlays, they seem to be the same guitar. Playing is knowing. There is a rather severe shortage of options around here, but in those two incarnations, there seem to be a few. $5100 would be my upper limit anyways.
 

Jared Purdy

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Why buy new? Used markets are full of super deals....
I've been looking but haven't found anything. Even the 12th Fret which normally boasts an impressive array of ES335 - new and used - has none, at least according to their web site.
 
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Jared Purdy

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danielreid27

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Check out Hamilton & nearby ads too..



 
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KeithDavies 100

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I might be teaching you to suck eggs, but have a look for ES333s. They might show up in your 335 searches anyway, but just in case they don't. The ES333 was a short-lived, slightly stripped down version of the 335 that was therefore much cheaper. Anecdotally, Gibson stopped producing them because they saw a marked dip in the full-price 335s.

Mine is a 333 and I love it. I've seen some criticism for 333s on here and elsewhere, but then name me a single guitar that doesn't have someone picking fault with it!!

Mine looks just like this one:

 

Jared Purdy

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I might be teaching you to suck eggs, but have a look for ES333s. They might show up in your 335 searches anyway, but just in case they don't. The ES333 was a short-lived, slightly stripped down version of the 335 that was therefore much cheaper. Anecdotally, Gibson stopped producing them because they saw a marked dip in the full-price 335s.

Mine is a 333 and I love it. I've seen some criticism for 333s on here and elsewhere, but then name me a single guitar that doesn't have someone picking fault with it!!

Mine looks just like this one:

Never seen one. However, after having the opportunity to play two ES 335's at the opposite ends of the spectrum yesterday, one, a basic USA, DOT 60's and the other a Custom Shop, Murphy Lab "lightly aged" 64', my jonesing has been tempered. Not sure it's the guitar for me. I'm use to Strats and Les Pauls, both of which I have. My 60th Anniversary Custom Shop R9 sets the bar very high, either fortunately or unfortunately. As one responder to another thread about the 335 said, he doesn't like wearing a "Cadillac", alluding to the size of the 335 and for some of them, the bling. I have to concur.
 
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danielreid27

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