What was the purpose behind introducing the Gibson ES-330?

srblue5

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Not intended as a 330 vs. 335 debate, but any ideas or theories as to what purpose Gibson was hoping to achieve by introducing the ES-330 as a fully hollow 335 look-a-like?

My theory (and I'm probably wrong) is that it was intended as a more affordable 335-like guitar but it seems like a fairly different animal to the 335. I can only imagine a player "upgrading" to a 330 they can afford only to find it feeds back the same as their Harmony or Silvertone hollowbody.

For what it's worth, my Epi Casino is one of my three favourite guitars alongside Teles and Firebirds. I'm scared to try a 330 (reissue or original) since I have a feeling I'll end up donating a kidney or other vital organ to buy it.
 

jrblue

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I agree. Gibson, and most companies, try to present a range of models, both to draw in those with less to spend, but also to make the top of the line, $$$ stuff appear superior and more valuable. Gibson has lots of "cheaper versions of..."
 

bottlenecker

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I'm going with the "cheaper variant" theory, too. It had cheaper pickups, as well: P90s versus humbuckers on the 335.

Aside from saving $5, I'm sure there were people who chose with their ears too. I bet some people liked the look of the 335, but found it sounded too much like a solidbody, and found the humbuckers dull sounding. As many people still feel today.
I do like 335s, but I'd choose the sound of a 330 over a 335 almost every day.
 

skunqesh

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this vid does a good job of describing the differences:



seems what one person likes about it - another person dislikes.
I think you need to aquire one of each, just to be safe ;)
 

kuch

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I own both.
I'm not a nugent fan or wanna bee
I'm not a distortion enthusiast

They are both great guitars in their own ways. If you play in a loud band, the 330 might not be your best choice.

Quote:
The ES-330’s lineage can be traced back to 1936 when Gibson released their first Electric Spanish (ES) archtop guitar, the ES-150, a jazzbox electrified with a ‘blade’ single-coil pickup (commonly referred to as a ‘Charlie Christian’ pickup).
In 1938, the ES-150 was followed up by a less-expensive alternative, the ES-100 (renamed the ES-125 in 1941), and in 1939, the top-of-the-range ES-250 appeared (soon replaced, in 1940, by the ES-300).

The 335 was introduced in '59(I'm pretty sure) and the 330 the following year.

I looked for a elitist casino for quite a while and when I couldn't find one I wanted, I decided to go with the 330, for less $'s than the epi's I was looking at. Love the sound of the P-90's

20220519_054836.jpg
 
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brookdalebill

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I’ve owned both, and both have their charms.
The 330 is more “feral”.
I always thought of it as more of a “starter” model, at least when compared to the 335.
I greatly prefer the 335, for my uses.
I do appreciate the 330’s lighter weight.
 

jayyj

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Basically it was the same logic as used on the Les Pauls - if you have a successful design, you expand with cheaper and more expensive models to take advantage of different markets and budgets. The Les Paul was quickly expanded to include the upmarket Custom and more affordable Special and Junior, and the 335 was quickly expanded into the upmarket 345/355 and more affordable 330 (offered in single and double pickups). P90s became the standard way to delineate between mid price and premium lines as the humbucker was then being marketed as a new desirable upgrade, and the 330 was the only one of the 335 series lowly enough to get the P90.

The 330 also served a dual purpose in that it was both a more affordable 335 and a replacement for the 225, so the old 225 pricepoint was covered by the new 330 and a more affordable again ES125C still with the 225 outline dropped in at the bottom of the scale. That also explains the kooky 'middle position only' design of the 330T, which replaced the 225T.

It's worth noting with 330s that they are not conventional archtop guitars with a 335 outline: they're constructed essentially the same way as a 335 with the exception that a 335 has a three piece centerblock made from two pieces of spruce that's kerfed and pushed into the top / back contour and a rectangular maple block that links the two spruce parts, where as a 330 only has the top spruce part of the centerblock with the other two sections left out to keep the cost down. This leaves the top of a 330 very rigid compared to something like a 225 or 175, so they're more rugged and a little less feedback prone and to my ears they sound different to a 225 or 175 as well.

Having left out the maple part, Gibson worried that the neck join might not be stable enough with the double cutaway design so they set the neck further into the body at the 16th fret, although they eventually changed their minds and upgraded the 330 to a 19 fret body join.

So they were very much the budget option in their day, but nowadays they've found a happy place in the line up as a great guitar in their own right. I have both 335s and 330s and I love them both - the 335 is smoother and creamier with more sustain, the 330 more dynamic and responsive with a sweet neck pickup and a bridge pickup that can really snarl. These days I have a dodgy shoulder to the lighter weight of the 330 swings it for me anytime I need to play standing up.
 

drmordo

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IMO the ES-330 is a completely different beast than the 335. They are fully hollow so sound nothing like a 335. Sound wise they are closer to a ES-175 than a 335.

They certainly aren't for people who use more distortion, as they feedback like crazy at moderate volumes. If anything, a 335 is better suited to more distortion.

They are not cheaper to make than a 335 because they have to carve the entire top of the guitar so it resonates, unlike a 335 which has the center block.

IMO if you ignore the shape, a ES-335 has far more in common with a Les Paul than with a ES-330.

I have two Casinos, and I may buy a ES-330 one of these days. I have played a handful of ES-335s, but frankly I don't like semi-hollow guitars and it's doubtful I'll ever even play a 335 again unless I'm sitting in with a band and the guitarist has a 335.
 

mad dog

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I can only guess:

The ES-335 was successful from the start. Plenty of appeal in the thinline concept/execution - which was not new - and the semi-hollow construction - which was. The ES-330 could have been an attempt to meld the body shape and cosmetics of the well-accepted ES-335 with the hollow body construction favored by jazz players.

Guessing Gibson needed a thinline hollowbody to compete in the jazz market. Guild had done rather well with their T100, introduced in 1958. So this might have been one instance when Gibson followed Guild, rather than the reverse.
 

BigDaddyLH

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IMO the ES-330 is a completely different beast than the 335. They are fully hollow so sound nothing like a 335. Sound wise they are closer to a ES-175 than a 335.

They certainly aren't for people who use more distortion, as they feedback like crazy at moderate volumes. If anything, a 335 is better suited to more distortion.

They are not cheaper to make than a 335 because they have to carve the entire top of the guitar so it resonates, unlike a 335 which has the center block.

IMO if you ignore the shape, a ES-335 has far more in common with a Les Paul than with a ES-330.

I have two Casinos, and I may buy a ES-330 one of these days. I have played a handful of ES-335s, but frankly I don't like semi-hollow guitars and it's doubtful I'll ever even play a 335 again unless I'm sitting in with a band and the guitarist has a 335.

Only guitars like the L-5 have a carved top (and back). The 330, like the 335 and 175 has a laminated (plywood) top which is pressed into its ached shape. You can't carve plywood!
 

dspellman1

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Having left out the maple part, Gibson worried that the neck join might not be stable enough with the double cutaway design so they set the neck further into the body at the 16th fret, although they eventually changed their minds and upgraded the 330 to a 19 fret body join.
Gibson was right to worry about the neck join, but one of the reasons I never considered a 330 was the fact that the upper frets weren't accessible. It's a great guitar for a jazz player who wanted the looks of a double cutaway and the reduced bulk compared to a big deep-bodied hollow body guitar. If you're mostly playing chords below the 12th fret all day, it's a good piece.

When folks complained about the "lost frets," Gibson offered a 19th fret body join, but they had a spate of them folding up until they re-jiggered the construction. They still offer both options, so they don't consider a 19th fret join an "upgrade."
 

warrent

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Due to the popularity of the double cutaway models Gibson discontinued the ES225, and replaced it with the 330.The 330 was the economy model of the line with cheaper pickups. The addition of the 330 also allowed Gibson to better manage their wood supply, allowing them to use the highest grade for the 355 and lesser grades as you went down 345 to 335 to 330. The 330 was the most popular model selling 2408 units vs the combined 335/45/55 selling 1352 units.
The 330 wasn't the cheapest guitar though as Gibson also introduced the ES125tc in late 59.
 

posttoastie

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Both introduced in 1958
The ES-330 had a on the top Dogear pickup due to hollow body requiring a top mount which had been around for years.
The ES-335 with the center block allowed an adjustable pickup in a cavity to be used.
 

thunderbyrd

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The casino was a popular guitar after teens saw the Beatles and stones using them. gibson jumped on that market with the 330.
 




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