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Why are Gibson ES-335's so expensive?

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by Neener, Dec 11, 2020.

  1. alnico357

    alnico357 Tele-Afflicted

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    The 330 on the left is like the one I bought in the early 70s. It had feedback problems from no center block.
     
  2. aftermidnight

    aftermidnight TDPRI Member

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    I have Westone Rainbow II (Matsumoku factory, Japan) copy of 335 and it is fabulous. Semi-hollows do not necessarily need to be expensive.
     
  3. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

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    I never mentioned "vintage", I am talking about present new prices.
     
  4. 39martind18

    39martind18 Friend of Leo's

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    Looked on Reverb and evilBay last night for alternatives for ES 335s. While I didn't survey all prices asked for Gibson examples, they don't really go below much below the $2K-$2500 range. Current Epiphone models can be had for $300 up used. These guitars, build-wise, are not to the quality of the Gibsons, but are still 90-95% as good. Changing the electronics is a major pain, but the results are spectacular for the money spent. That said, current Epi offerings in their ProBucker Series sound VERY good, to the point I've installed a couple of sets of minihums in my D'angelico Excel SS and Heritage H 550.
    Another Epi offering that is quite rare is the Elitist line. These were made in the 90s and early 2000s to be a level of offerings slotted between the pricey Gibsons and the Asian low end Epis. These were constructed in Japan at the Matsumoku factory, I think, and are finished in poly, then fitted with Gibson electronics. The result is a guitar of excellent quality, great sound and costs about half of its Gibson counterparts, $1K-1500. I have a 2002 Elitist Riviera 12 string, and its quality is second to none.
    Another option is the Heritage line. Historically, they've been somewhat cheaper than their Gibson counterparts, but lately, new prices have climbed to Gibson levels. Used, there are some examples out there that are being offered between $1400-2000. For a guitar that is made in the old Gibson factory, by luthiers trained by old-line Gibson employees, and using upgraded woods as their base quality ( curly maple vs plain), Heritage H535s are incredible values for the money. YMMV
     
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  5. Doctor Fauxcaster

    Doctor Fauxcaster TDPRI Member

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    Your work is tops
     
  6. Doctor Fauxcaster

    Doctor Fauxcaster TDPRI Member

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    My trusty 78 Gretsch Broadcaster which I will compare to any 335 of the same era in tone as well as quality; and my GF no name semi -hollow/with filtertron style pickups which is for gigging. jamming and playing out
     

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  7. jlucarelli

    jlucarelli TDPRI Member

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    I still have my 1969 ES335. Original owner and the ES 335 is the best guitar I ever owned. I like Telecaster and Strats but my 335 does everything and it's easier to play. I have the original sales receipt too! Mine ( see photo) was a special model with a varitone switch and wired stereo. I replaced one pickup to give it more high end presence but otherwise it's all original. 76E98B3B-5B5C-47F1-B598-15038FE2AABA_1_201_a.jpeg 76E98B3B-5B5C-47F1-B598-15038FE2AABA_1_201_a.jpeg
     
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  8. Wound_Up

    Wound_Up Tele-Meister

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    Its not all about the headstock. Put a Gibson headstock on those FireFly 335 copies and I doubt they'd sell nearly as well as actual Gibsons do.
     
  9. gregulator450

    gregulator450 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    The back panel is THE selling point for me! I know I am missing out on a good playing experience, but I have avoided owning hollow and semi-hollow guitars because of the lack of easy access to the electronics. :confused:

    However, a semi-hollow with access for my ham fists and sausage fingers is speaking my language.
     
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  10. MarkWW

    MarkWW Tele-Meister

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    The 335 is and always has been my idea of The Iconic guitar build.

    Back about 10 to 12 years ago I called and wrote Gibson trying to get some info on their neck dimensions. They didn't return my calls or emails. I checked with dealers and they would state that the guitar is in the box and they don't have that information. Nowadays I have been able to get dealers to actually measure the necks. And Wildwood lists the neck thickness on each specific guitar. Because this info was not available I purchased two Gibson ES-335 Dot's within a year. Both had that slim taper 60's neck which cause me to cramp up and I shrugged and sold them. I wasn't about to keep wasting effort and money on another purchase without the proper specs. So this led me on a merry chase of 335 wannabe's.

    If you are someone who likes skinny necks there is a plethora of choices. Epi Dot's are thin necks. I read where someone said that their EPi ES-335 Pro had a baseball bat neck. Not so I ordered a new one and it had a .81" at the first fret. Back it went. I have owned 2 Casinos (I know different but similar) They both had slim taper 60's necks and I sold those. Without going over my word limit here are some pics of my 335 style guitars.

    Could only find pics of one of my 335's
    P1000392.JPG
    SX GG6
    IMG_0263.JPG
    Epiphone Riviera (Koean)
    P3240043.jpg
    Epi Jorma Kaukonen Signature Riviera Deluxe
    IMG_0257.JPG
    Aston Sadona
    P5080009.JPG
    Ibanez AS83
    Ibby AS.jpg
    Ibanez AS93FM
    P3310004.JPG
    Epi Casino
    Epi Casino3.jpg
    EPi ES-335 Pro
    Epi ES-335 Pro.png

    Eastman T-486B Eastman T-486B.jpg

    These last few are still in my posession

    (Cont'd)
     
  11. MarkWW

    MarkWW Tele-Meister

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    Ibanez AS73
    Ibanez Artcore AS-73 Amber.jpg
    Grote 335 Jazz (Heavily Modded)
    GroteJazz 335.JPG
    Guild Starfire VI
    Guild sf vi.JPG
     
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  12. CarsAndGuitarsYT

    CarsAndGuitarsYT TDPRI Member

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    Here's why:

    1. Gibson
    2. Headstock
    3. Gibson headstock
    4. Semi-hollow
    5. Gibson

    I'd get a Fender Starcaster if I wanted a semi-hollow, if it had to be a Gibson, I'd get a 339 (the smaller body ones).
     
  13. Texsunburst59

    Texsunburst59 Friend of Leo's

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    The 330 was a killer pawnshop score a few years ago

    It's a '63 and it's basically unusable for playing live.

    It also refuses to play clean, even with a very clean amp.

    The P-90's in this guitar are some of the hottest pickups I've ever played in my life.

    My 330 will only will play overdriven rock and that's about it.

    I won't ever sell it unless someone makes me an offer I can't refuse.
     
  14. Beachbum

    Beachbum Friend of Leo's

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    Why do people pay multiple thousands of dollars for a Rolex when my knock off that I bought in Mexico for $20 thirty five rears ago for all intents and purposes still does the job just as well? My Gibson is a nice guitar but when I look at the money and what I got in return for it I have to admit that even at that it still ain't no Rolex.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2020
  15. Chief101

    Chief101 Tele-Meister

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    2020 Gibson Modern Collection ES-335 Satin
     
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  16. Artwerk Orange

    Artwerk Orange TDPRI Member

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    Why are Firefly 335 copies so bleepin' cheap? They are decent knock offs, though clearly NOT 335s.
     
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  17. Artwerk Orange

    Artwerk Orange TDPRI Member

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    I think when it comes to a Rolex, YOU know you have a Rolex on your wrist. Ditto, when you have on a $20 piece of sh*t on it. When you are playing a guitar, the sound and feel can be the determining factor. That said, I can only say this about Fenders since I do not own a Big $$ Gibson, yet. I have two nice lower-end Gibsons that spank all of my random solid bodies, though. My Custom Shop Fenders FEEL like they are Custom Shop Fenders when compared to my regular USA's and my one Mexican Strat. Oh well, it could all be in my head, but I still would never wear a fake Rolex:)
     
  18. wavytech

    wavytech TDPRI Member

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    My second guitar, after a plywood pawn shop one, was a 72 walnut Gibson ES-335 dot neck I bought for $175 from a local guitar store on commission from a woman in town who bought it for her son who never played it. I thought at the time that if I couldn't have a Les Paul then I would settle for this. I played in a supper club band and later played with various bands around Pittsburgh. I was also a sometime roadie for a popular CCR cover band at the time whose guitarists played LPs. The lead guitar player told me that he secretly admired the Gibson growl from my ES-335. I later sold the guitar and to this day it is the guitar that got away. I bought a stock cherry ES-335 several years ago that is a better version of the 72 but still miss it.
     
  19. Wetwired

    Wetwired TDPRI Member

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    My Eastman 486 soothed the 335 itch for me: Handmade, Nitro finish, and a licensed Bigsby. Couldn't find a flaw on it or in its setup from the time I got it to now, and it sings unplugged or amped up.
    The Duncan P-90s give it a less-than-traditional sound compared with humbuckers, but I've never been a huge humbucker guy.
    I know it's not a Gibson 335, and I don't claim it's "as good" or "better". It is what it is. It's mine and I love the thing...
     
  20. Sharp

    Sharp TDPRI Member

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    I don’t think the price of regular production 335’s has changed (adjusted for inflation) since 1958. I got mine used a few years ago. 4C7F3C49-08A8-47E3-926D-AF22DC46B375.jpeg
     
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