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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. rajawatts

    rajawatts TDPRI Member

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    Well my Gretsch is pretty damn comparable to any of the ES line from Gibson. Cost less by 2/3 at least, same labor intensive, but I'm sure those workers make very little money, Asian built to a very high standard, owned by Fender! Someone always gets taken advantage of when profits count above living wage, and human rights. Currently, all the big name builders have offshore factories, to compete on price margins at all price points. Democratic capitalism needs to figure out how to solve this predicament, as implosion is very likely, as everyone should be able to make a living, no matter where on earth they live.
     
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  2. Danjabellza

    Danjabellza Friend of Leo's

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    It says Gibson on the headstock. That’s the reason.
     
  3. rajawatts

    rajawatts TDPRI Member

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    Someone suffers in this equation: the builders, financially, health wise, their families, their human right are trampled ....this picture will have to change or a great burden will bury us all to satisfy our urge: for more, for a lower cost, for resemblance of things we really can't afford, or won't pay for, this struggle will continue until the disadvantaged rise up, as their children will clearly see the imbalance of current economic systems that deprived and wore down their predecessors...
     
  4. DADGAD

    DADGAD Friend of Leo's

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    If anyone needs background music while reading this thread, here you go.... .:cool:

     
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  5. GTRJunkie

    GTRJunkie TDPRI Member

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    You will always GAS for a 335 until you get a 335.......only one cure.
     
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  6. GTRJunkie

    GTRJunkie TDPRI Member

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    I guess the moral of this comment is.... Buy American. Or am I wrong?
     
  7. brashboy

    brashboy Tele-Meister

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    LOL, yup, NOTHING can or ever could compare to a GIBSON! Spoken like a true fanboy. Thanks for keeping Gibson in business. Play authentic!
     
  8. stratoman1

    stratoman1 Friend of Leo's

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    I have a Gibson 339 Studio. I like the smaller size for when I'm sitting down. Standing it doesn't matter as much. Being a Studio in 14 it has single volume and tone which is really my only gripe. But fit, finish playability and soundwise I can't complain a bit. Cost 1300, not a screaming deal but not bad

    And yeah, I'm ready for a full sized 335 now. Stuff costs what stuff costs. Either buy or don't buy, grumbling won't change things

    20200321_185705.jpg
     
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  9. Jjmatashi

    Jjmatashi TDPRI Member

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    I will have to disagree with you on this one - from experience.
    Over the years, I tried virtually every 335 substitute cheaper than a Gibson (and a couple more expensive), to see if I could get the 335 tone mojo for less. No way. They do not sound like a Gibson 335.

    No amount of setting up, pickup swaps, pot and cap changes, etc. will get you the tonal signature of a really good 335.

    In the past 10 years or so, I've owned in no particular order:

    >> Heritage H535 (Bought this on reputation, but it turned out to be a dog. Great build quality but dead as a doornail. I know they're usually great, but I seem to have bummed out on this one. I think it might have been Paul Reed Smith that said some pieces of wood just don't want to be a guitar)
    >> 2000's Epiphone Sheraton II x 2 (Closest sounding to a real 335 of all the guitars I've tried. Go figure...)
    >> 2000's Epiphone Dot (Nice, for the price)
    >> PRS Hollowbody Spruce Piezo (Fantastic dream guitar with delectable tone, but ultimately sounded nothing like a 335)
    >> PRS Hollowbody II (Great construction but I found it tonally sterile)
    >> PRS Zach Myers 2014 (More Les Paul than 335)
    >> Seventy Seven Exrubato Standard (This was the one I really wanted to love. Had it at the same time as a 2001 Gibson ES-335. It was so much better built, but the Gibson just sounded so much better so I regretfully had to let the Exrubato go)
    >> 2008 Yamaha SA2200 (Impeccably well-made instrument with great tone, but I also had a Gibson 335 which just sounded so much better, so I let the Yamaha go)
    >> 1980 Ibanez AS200 Artist (The best of them all. Superb build quality and superb tone, but really didn't sound like a 335 - more jazzy and polite)
    >> 1983 Ibanez AS80 Artist (Great tone and build quality also, but sounded nothing like the Gibson either)
    >> 2014 Ibanez JSM10 (Nice highs and mids, but lacking in the low end)
    >> 2017 Ibanez AS200 Artstar Prestige (Couldn't get rid it fast enough - thoroughly crappy instrument - at least compared to the older ones)
    >> 2000's Ibanez AS120 Artstar x 3 (Good quality Korean instruments, but again no comparison with the Gibson's tone)
    >> 1982 Ibanez AM50 (Did not have the solidity of tone of the larger-bodied instruments so it went fast)
    >> 2003 Ibanez AS103 x 2 (Really nice guitars for the price, especially with upgrades, but lacking low-end gravitas)
    >> 2000's Ibanez AS153 (Really nice guitars for the price, especially with upgrades, but lacking low-end gravitas)
    >> 2000's Ibanez AS93 (Nice guitar for the price)
    >> 2000's Ibanez AS73 x 2 (OK guitar for the price)
    >> 2012 Ibanez AM93 (This one really shone with Duncan Antiquities - outperformed a Gibson 339 in GC)
    >> Comins GCS-1 (Very well made with nice tone and extremely comfortable to play, but fell far short of the Gibson 335 tonally)
    >> Eastman T386 (Great quality instruments, especially for the price, but a different more polite tone than the Gibson)
    >> Eastman T486 x 2 (Same as the 386)
    >> Gibson ES-135 x 4 (Nice Gibson tone but too much mush in the bass)
    >> Gibson ES-137 (Absolute perfection with Lollar Low-Wind Imperials - why the heck did I sell it?)
    >> Gibson ES-339 Custom Shop (Beautiful tone but a violin to the 335's viola - I might have kept it but id didn't balance well in my lap)
    >> 2016 Gibson ES-335 Studio (There was a harshness to the tone I couldn't get rid of. I think it was the Maple/Maple/Maple laminate instead of the Maple/Poplar/Maple of the regular 335's)
    >> 2001 Gibson ES-335 (Great 335 tone, but more semi-solid than semi-hollow)
    >> 2007 Gibson ES-335 (Fantastic instrument that I had to let go in a difficult time)

    >> 2007 Gibson ES-335 (My current squeeze. So-so build quality and sharp fret ends, but has that 335 tone in spades! Was actually in the market for an ES-175 when I found this. It covers that base in a way the 2001 didn't, and ended my search. Swapped out the 57 Classics for a set of Throbak SLE-101's and I'm in 335 heaven! Absolutely magical! This one is the keeper.)

    With all these guitars I tried almost every PAF clone out there - Duncan Seth Lovers/Antiquities/59's, Wolfetone Dr. Vintage/Legend/Marshallhead, Lollar Imperial and Low-Wind, Pete Florance Voodoo 59, OX4's, Bare Knuckle Mule/Stormy Monday/Rebel Yell, Throbak SLE 101/101+, Dimarzio 36th Anniversary, Vintage Bill Lawrence, Sheptone Tribute, Lindy Fralin Pure PAF, Jim Wagner Godwood/Darkburst, Manlius T-Top, PRS 85/15's, Gibson 57 Classic/BB 1 & 2 & Pro/490/498, Ibanez Super 58/70, and more.

    Can't afford real PAF's, just like I cant afford a vintage 335 :(

    Oh yes - and bridges too - Callaham, Gotoh, Schaller, etc. I found out they make a big difference to the tone also.

    Went down a very deep rabbit hole for many years and finally came back out, poorer but wiser.

    I've heard great things about the Tokai, Edwards, Navigator, Epi Elite/Elitist, but never got a chance to try them.
    I played a Collings i35 and it was just fabulous. However at north of five grand, it remains a dream for me. Still didn't sound like a 335 though...

    Long story short - If you want that Gibson ES-335 tone, only a Gibson ES-335/345/355/Lucille will scratch that itch.
    That doesn't mean you won't get a great tone that you'll love. You will, but it just won't have that 335 mojo, that's all.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2020
  10. jrblue

    jrblue Friend of Leo's

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    It's a trickier build given the neck joint, the complex 3D contouring of everything, the f holes... However, the mighly mechanized mass-producers use robots to ensure excellent fit of all components, so making this type of guitar can be way, way easier now when done in volume. Gibson's not dropping proces because they have the reputation as the best of the mainstream makes of th ES-type guitar, but the idea that it's an incredibly trick build no longer holds as much water. Epi's may be dipped in plastic and heavy, but the husk underneath is OK, showing that it's no longer a huge challenge to produce an ES. I don't like any of 'em; the Epi Casino I had for 6 months was an awful guitar. At least I think there was a guitar under all that poly.
     
  11. mmannaxx

    mmannaxx Tele-Meister

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    A big part of the cost for high end Gibsons is the cost of a nitro lacquer finish which Gibson does about 7 coats on their top end instruments. That is a big factor in cost due to the labor to do that process.
     
  12. mmannaxx

    mmannaxx Tele-Meister

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    Don’t think there is a factory in Memphis any longer. Have to go to Nashville I believe.
     
  13. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    The people who build these guitars are craftsmen who perform work with far more skill and attention to detail than most people. It's labor intensive and people are paying for the human element in their instrument. I've had Artcores that were perfect, but again, some people want the additional element of the skilled craftsman. That will cost money, and rightfully so.
     
  14. richiek65

    richiek65 Friend of Leo's

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    Oh I totally get where you're coming from, though I didn't think that workers in Japan are anywhere near as impoverished as those in China, Indonesia etc.

    Happy to stand corrected though.

    Perhaps I'm also referring to the second hand market in our respective countries where you can pick up a MIJ instrument at sometimes very affordable prices.
     
  15. DHart

    DHart Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    Life is difficult. Unfair. Unjust. Never will humankind have equal abilities, equal lifestyles, equal standard of living, equal opportunities, equal talents, skills, nor intelligence or education. Nor equal rewards. And then, we each reach death - the doorway to eternity. Always has been that way, always will be. Until human life on this rock becomes extinguished.

    Equality can never be legislated into existence - it can only be earned.

    Oh yeah... Gibson. They charge what they can get away with and keep from going out of business.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2020
  16. GTRJunkie

    GTRJunkie TDPRI Member

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    Ooo Wow... Love that guitar!! I'm a freek for green and blue flame maple guitars and what a great price! My heritage H555 is the translucent blue. Im in Chicago and CME is a treat!
     
  17. GTRJunkie

    GTRJunkie TDPRI Member

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    Well said!
     
  18. GTRJunkie

    GTRJunkie TDPRI Member

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    Totally agree with your comments on Heritage guitars (Which are what I own) My 2001 H555 has a COA signed by the Gibson employees which kept the 225 Parsons street factory in production...These are arguably more Gibson than factory line Gibsons made in Nashville and Memphis. Just my opinion, but after owning both....my Heritage wins the day every day!
     
  19. GTRJunkie

    GTRJunkie TDPRI Member

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    Apparently you are here to make this into a Political Platform for Socialism....Not buying it and that is why i say proudly "Buy American" because we don't exploit slave or child labor, we have rules of law and morals and yes.....I believe offshoring manufacturing to countries which exploit for profits should be shame on all who do......BUT I also ask these other countries... what are they going to do to employ their people without America offshoring production to give their people an ability for a wage at all... Don't blame the USA........Blame the feckless corrupt leadership of these poor countries. I care about people.......Maybe foreign governments should as well.
     
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  20. Robert H.

    Robert H. Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Interested in your take on the pickups
     
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