ES 335: Why?

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MechaBulletBill
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Re: ES 335: Why?

Post by MechaBulletBill » Thu Dec 14, 2017 9:32 am

Most Gibson 2-humbucker guitars sound broadly the same (or at least, cop the same feel). So the reason to pick one design over another for me boils down to feel/comfort and appearances.

My Dad had an 80s 335 that felt great and had a killer bridge pickup. The neck pickup was a bit muddy and the flamed top wasn't my thing really but when the metal had dulled/oxidised, that looked really neat.

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Re: ES 335: Why?

Post by sessylU » Thu Dec 14, 2017 5:07 pm

I don't know how much the construction affects tone compared to an all solid guitar with the same set up. Fully hollow is a dramatically different thing, but I'm not sure how much of a difference having hollow wings causes. So in that regard, I view them as being roughly similar to any guitar with a stop tailpiece and two humbuckers.

Also, there is merit in a guitar that sounds half as good as it looks, but looks more than twice as good as your other guitars.

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Re: ES 335: Why?

Post by MrFingers » Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:11 am

For me they hold the perfect middleground between PAF-esque warmth and distinct articulation. Where a LP tends to sound muddy, and an SG too tight, the 335-types of instruments sit right in the middle, and can be dialled in to either side, especially the ones equiped with the VariTone circuitry (despised by many, I do find it a useful tool).

That being said, I do think the new Gibson ones are horrendously overpriced for what they deliver (as is any new Gibson for that matter). The sole guitar that I found worth the money was the limited edition Joe Bonamassa '59 335, which could be picked up for around 2000€.

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Re: ES 335: Why?

Post by leokula » Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:14 am

Sound is always subjective... when you say you scratch your head when people say it's a versatile guitar... well, I guess your perception is not the same as some people and it's hard to discuss perception.

I agree it's a guitar that can do a lot, it's a middle ground between les pauls, sg's and casinos, it's humbuckers but it's not rawk... It's such a cool guitar. I myself like Casinos more, but I want to own a 335 sometime down the road.
Jaguar > Jazzmaster :)

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Re: ES 335: Why?

Post by Despot » Tue Dec 19, 2017 7:46 am

Casinos/ES330s are far more useful for me and what I do. First of all, I love single coils and P90s in particular. The fact that they're fully hollow and loud to play unplugged makes them usable when I'm sitting down watching tv ... I can just pluck away on a guitar absentmindedly. Some of the best songs I've written have come from my mind being distracted by something else and just happening upon a melody. ES330s have become my song writing guitars - probably since about 2013.

I've owned a few variations on ES3xx guitars over the years. The ones that I profess to love are the ES355 - however, when I think about it ... the ones I've been most taken with have been ES345s. I like the split fret board inlays and the multi ply binding over the dots or small blocks of an ES335. And as much as I like the split diamond Custom model inlay of the ES355 (as well as the larger headstock), the simpler ES345 headstock works so well with the split parallelogram inlays of the ES345. It's just the right amount of design distinction from the ES335.

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Re: ES 335: Why?

Post by Logan » Tue Dec 19, 2017 8:01 am

Because of the story behind mine, and the way the T-Tops in it sound.
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So, mine was my Great Uncle Mike's. Sadly, he passed before I was born, and it was sitting around for 15 years before I got it. I found out he got it as a high school graduation present, and my aunt had kept it, hoping one of her grand-children would pick up guitar. She had me over one day to see it, I played it, and it felt great to play. That was around 3 years ago, and a year after that, after I had my SG for a while, she thought she could trust me with it and to take care of it until one of her grand-kids would decide to play. So, technically, its just being loaned to me, but judging by my cousins interests, its probably going to end up being mine. There is some stuff that needs to be done on it, like it needs a new bridge because the saddles are chewed to bits, and the Vibrola angle needs to be reset because there is absolutely no break angle over the bridge which kills the sustain and makes the strings move around in the saddles. But, I'm reluctant to put any money into it because I don't want to have it one day put down the drain because it would cost some money to do all of that.
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The pickups they sound glorious. And it feeds back in such a beautiful way whenever it gets fuzzed out that none of my solid guitars do. And it's not uncontrollable feedback, its really something else. And, they look so cool with the Gibson embossed pickup covers. It's a '72, if I didn't say that already. And, the Maestro Vibrola is stock, and it says "CUSTOM" on the truss rod cover so it would've had to be a custom order by the shop or my Uncle Mike's parents.
I'm in Marching Band and play Guitar. That's about it, pretty boring, isn't it?

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Re: ES 335: Why?

Post by Despot » Tue Dec 19, 2017 8:17 am

That is a super cool guitar. I had a '72 ES345 and it too sounded glorious!

I don't think I've ever seen a Vibrola on an ES335 - I've seen one on an ES330 (factory fitted too), and very rarely on ES345s ... but that's the first time I've seen one on an ES335.

The magic year for me is going to be 1964. If I ever get an ES355 from the '60s that's the year I'll be aiming for - big old neck, wide nut and patent number pickups, though you can still find PAFs in these - they seemed to have a lot more of these made for gold covered pickups so they still crop up even in the mid-late '60s.

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Re: ES 335: Why?

Post by Logan » Tue Dec 19, 2017 8:35 am

Despot wrote:
Tue Dec 19, 2017 8:17 am
That is a super cool guitar. I had a '72 ES345 and it too sounded glorious!
Thanks! I just sometimes sit and stare at it because it's a great looking guitar. It's got some nice checking too - definitely not a case queen in the slightest. My Uncle played her until his final days - which is how I'm going to be with my guitars.
Despot wrote:
Tue Dec 19, 2017 8:17 am
I don't think I've ever seen a Vibrola on an ES335 - I've seen one on an ES330 (factory fitted too), and very rarely on ES345s ... but that's the first time I've seen one on an ES335.
They are incredibly rare on ES-335s but they exist. I've seen a couple, but not any other in person besides this one. On top of that, it's still made in Kalamazoo at this point, which is great.
Despot wrote:
Tue Dec 19, 2017 8:17 am
The magic year for me is going to be 1964. If I ever get an ES355 from the '60s that's the year I'll be aiming for - big old neck, wide nut and patent number pickups, though you can still find PAFs in these - they seemed to have a lot more of these made for gold covered pickups so they still crop up even in the mid-late '60s.
We got a '64 ES-345 in recently at the shop I work at. It's a really pretty guitar, but I wouldn't ever shell out $12,000 for it :derp:
I'm in Marching Band and play Guitar. That's about it, pretty boring, isn't it?

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Re: ES 335: Why?

Post by secretroutines » Wed Dec 27, 2017 5:31 pm

I like this thread. It asks alot about defining differences in approach. I have a lot of difficulty getting along with most humbucker equipped guitars for a few different reasons like how hard I hit the strings, the pedals and amp I use, etc. I find most of my complaints mainly are from either:

A.) The pickups wound are too hot. This usually show itself where my direct-to-amp signal sounds awesome, but my pedals (normally my DBA Interstellar Overdriver, sometimes my Hoof/Reaper) sound waaayyy too compressed (aka MUDDY). This is usually due to the input stage of the pedal getting overloaded because I'm beating the crap out of the strings which sends a hotter signal out of the guitar. Yeah, EQing too but I normally set amps and pedals the same favoring treble and high mids but with a healthy bottom end so I don't usually run into issues beyond lack of dynamics.
B.) The magnets don't compliment my attack. Pickup magnets are a big deal. There are different magnet types (strength is a big factor for me) and types (rod magnet > bar magnet always) which all are going to interact with your hands and approach. So find a guitar where you like the pickups and check the magnet specs to get an idea of what works for you.

That being said; 335s are great, but you have to be conscious of your approach. If you're heavy handed, rolling back your volume will really help tame the muddiness. Alternatively, if you pick lightly the majority of the nuance in your attack is going to come through with no issue. Most humbuckers are meant to push the front end of an amp, especially for leads, so being able to control the level going out whether through technique or utilizing the volume control is crucial for rhythm. But the “feel” factors are way more important, since you can't easily change a 335 neck, finding a guitar that physically responds well to your playing is the better pre-purchase test unless you don't want to shop for pickups.

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Re: ES 335: Why?

Post by spacecadet » Thu Dec 28, 2017 11:55 am

My wife has a Trini Lopez ES-335; I think they've made a few different runs of these and hers is one of the red ones from 3 or so years ago, a run of 250 I believe. I think it's one of these: http://rebel-guitars.com/preowned-gibso ... ez-es-335/

Objectively speaking, it's beautifully constructed and finished - it puts any of my Fenders (including my AV65 JM) to shame. And it's beautiful to look at too. I do think that's a big part of its appeal for a lot of people. It's definitely a big reason my wife wanted it, although I think now she kinda wishes she had a regular 335; she's kind of over the "modern" cosmetic updates that the Trini model has. (I have offered to try to trade it for her, but she always says no.)

But a while back I did a big roundup comparison of all the guitars in my house to try to resolve for *myself* once and for all which guitar under this roof sounds the best to me, and the ES-335 came in second to last, just above my Gretsch Electromatic with its "blacktop" Filter'trons. The 335 does sound muddy with those humbuckers, and nothing I did with the controls was able to change that. (The 335's pickups at least have some presence; the blacktop Filter'trons on my Gretsch manage to sound both muddy *and* thin/weak.)

This Trini 335 comes with Burstbucker Pro pickups, which use Alnico V's. If I was gonna like a humbucker, you'd think it'd be these.

It's also really heavy for a semi-hollow, and it surprisingly doesn't sound very strong unamped, which I always argue is foundational to getting the best amped tone (see any of the threads on acoustic resonance). The strings just don't really ring against it.

So, definitely not the guitar for me, although I definitely see at least the superficial appeal. And with different pickups, basically any electric guitar can sound completely transformed. But my wife's not gonna do that and I'm not sure I would on a guitar like this either. If I was going to get my own 335, though, I'd probably follow Despot's advice and look for one of those late 60's models.

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Re: ES 335: Why?

Post by secretroutines » Thu Dec 28, 2017 4:54 pm

spacecadet wrote:
Thu Dec 28, 2017 11:55 am
My wife has a Trini Lopez ES-335; I think they've made a few different runs of these and hers is one of the red ones from 3 or so years ago, a run of 250 I believe. I think it's one of these: http://rebel-guitars.com/preowned-gibso ... ez-es-335/

Objectively speaking, it's beautifully constructed and finished - it puts any of my Fenders (including my AV65 JM) to shame. And it's beautiful to look at too. I do think that's a big part of its appeal for a lot of people. It's definitely a big reason my wife wanted it, although I think now she kinda wishes she had a regular 335; she's kind of over the "modern" cosmetic updates that the Trini model has. (I have offered to try to trade it for her, but she always says no.)

But a while back I did a big roundup comparison of all the guitars in my house to try to resolve for *myself* once and for all which guitar under this roof sounds the best to me, and the ES-335 came in second to last, just above my Gretsch Electromatic with its "blacktop" Filter'trons. The 335 does sound muddy with those humbuckers, and nothing I did with the controls was able to change that. (The 335's pickups at least have some presence; the blacktop Filter'trons on my Gretsch manage to sound both muddy *and* thin/weak.)

This Trini 335 comes with Burstbucker Pro pickups, which use Alnico V's. If I was gonna like a humbucker, you'd think it'd be these.

It's also really heavy for a semi-hollow, and it surprisingly doesn't sound very strong unamped, which I always argue is foundational to getting the best amped tone (see any of the threads on acoustic resonance). The strings just don't really ring against it.

So, definitely not the guitar for me, although I definitely see at least the superficial appeal. And with different pickups, basically any electric guitar can sound completely transformed. But my wife's not gonna do that and I'm not sure I would on a guitar like this either. If I was going to get my own 335, though, I'd probably follow Despot's advice and look for one of those late 60's models.
Out of curiosity, what guitar came in first? Also, how heavy is your strumming? Being fairly heavy handed, I can say that my strum easily factors the most in clarity with a pickup (besides personal taste). It's probably magnet you pointed out that resulted in the muddiness if onboard adjustments didn't help, Alnico V magnets rate higher power than Alnico II (another common manget type, usually the “vintage spec” one). I have better luck with Alnico V in single coils, but magnets are just one puzzle piece.
Generally, I find that Alnico II humbuckers place nicer with my setup, but other alternatives would be to rewire any coil splitting to a series/parallel switch (the end result is about the same but with a more consistent volume between settings).
I'm kinda surprised you didn't like the Filter'trons. They've always been one of my favorite humbucker styles for their clarity, but I'm really liking sound samples of mini humbuckers lately. I wanna ask a bunch of nerdy setup questions but I don't have enough experience with filter'trons to point out where their limits are.

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Re: ES 335: Why?

Post by redchapterjubilee » Fri Dec 29, 2017 8:41 am

I bought a player's ES347 on OSG five years ago. It was hacked on good with an ugly (but solid) headstock repair and a back panel cut out for replacing the electronics. Low frets, brass under the tailpiece (I think that's one of the things that sets the 347 apart from other ES's). Replaced the Super Distortions that came in it with Dimarzio 36th Anniversary PAFs. That was an amazing player and the neck pickup in particular combined with the body and all the brass under the tailpiece gave a beautiful hi fidelity sound. Warm but without being muffled. It sounded like Johnny Marr's "Heaven knows I'm miserable now" es335 tone. The bridge pickup was a little anemic in comparison and had I kept the guitar i'd have done something about that pickup. Anyhow, that was my first big bodied guitar and I had a hard time dealing with the ergonomics of the body. I often stomp my right foot when playing and that big body would tilt up and down. As others have said, there's A LOT of real estate behind the playing area of the guitar. It takes some getting used to.

Anyhow, this is all in the past tense because about six months after I bought it my wife lost her job and I had to sell off my extra guitars and that was one of them. It is the one guitar I've sold that I want back. I've considered taking on an ES333 as those are affordable and have that back panel access too. I keep an eye out for it. I also was intrigued by the 1961 Epiphone Sorrento reissue too, with the mini humbuckers and trapeze tailpiece. Wished I'd snagged one when they closed out around $500.

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Re: ES 335: Why?

Post by spacecadet » Fri Dec 29, 2017 4:13 pm

secretroutines wrote:
Thu Dec 28, 2017 4:54 pm
Out of curiosity, what guitar came in first?
My AV65 Jazzmaster, which is all stock. Coincidentally it's also the guitar I play the least. I've just never bonded with it and it doesn't feel quite right in my hands. But it does sound really, really good, either clean or distorted. The guitars I play the most are the ones that feel the best to me, which are my Mustang, my AVRI JM and my CIJ JM. (If I had a Compstang I have a feeling it's all I'd ever play... the only thing I don't like about my Mustang, and the reason I play the JM's about half the time, is that mine is a 66 slab body.)

My main amp is a Twin Reverb, and that might add some pro-Fender bias because of how they tune their own amps. I'm sure Fender tries to accentuate the strengths of their pickups while compensating for any shortcomings, and that might make an ES-335 sound worse. If Fender's trying to make a single coil sound fuller, I can imagine that that would make a humbucker sound muddier. Unfortunately I don't have another "real" non-Fender amp to test the ES-335 with - I'm sure my Yamaha THR10 isn't gonna sound any better, regardless of the guitar.

btw I should amend something - I forgot about my wife's Epiphone Les Paul *and* this Squier HH Tele that I have, both of which sound worse than the ES-335 (as you'd expect and hope, given the price disparity).
Also, how heavy is your strumming?
Heavy. I started on bass and I was always a heavy bassist to begin with, so I think by now I'm physically incapable of playing lightly on guitar.
I'm kinda surprised you didn't like the Filter'trons.
I think it's probably *these* Filter'trons. The Blacktops. They're Filter'trons in the way a Squier Strat has Strat single coils. They're basically the same but just obviously not as good. I know there's the TV Jones ones that a lot of people put in the Electromatics as an upgrade, but I just haven't ever gotten around to it. Before I got my Gretsch, I did assume from what I'd heard that I'd like the pickups, that *these* would be the humbuckers for me. But I think it's just that the Blacktops aren't really great pickups even as Filter'trons go.

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Re: ES 335: Why?

Post by lususnaturae » Fri Dec 29, 2017 7:20 pm

Why, not? Everybody needs an ES-335 ;D
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