Spoonful, on 07 December 2013 - 02:47 PM, said:
Gibson used to mention the 356 on their 336 page. They are related with the 356 being the higher level version of the 336. Now, even that mention is gone.
They still make them. I believe they have replaced the ebony fretboard with something else though. Glad I got mine a few years ago before the whole wood fiasco happened. Heck, none of the shops around me have ever stocked one, so chances of playing a new one to see what its like are slim to none. Who knows, maybe the new ones are on par with the old ones.
I took a risk when I ordered mine without having to be able to play it before hand. I already had an ES-339 at the time, so I was prepared for something similar. So glad I took the chance. When it showed up at the shop, I unpacked it and plugged it in, played it for about 5 minutes and I knew it was something special. I couldn't wait to get it home! Plays fantastic, has a unique voice all its own and the construction we flawless. It's a prized possession.
They do come up for sale used every now and then. I'm always tempted to snag another one. But I think maybe a CS-336 would be an interesting alternative. Same construction, without the bling.
If it's still being made it's likely the ebony fret board was replaced with richlite. That may cause some people to turn away, but I have no issue with it. I've got richlite on a Martin acoustic guitar that I bought in 2010, and I love it. The only way to tell the difference between the two is that richlite has no pores in the wood, and you've got to get very close to see either way. Otherwise, it's just a perception issue. I understand folks have a preference for some things, but I've yet to see any quality, tonal, or playability differences.
If you're interested in another there's a CS356 in honey burst and a CS336 in vintage sunburst on Guitar Center's used guitar web site. The honey burst looks DARN SWEET!!!
Since the CS336 is very similar to the CS356 I've been kind of keeping an eye out for an ES359 since that uses the laminate body where the CS356 is routed from a single piece of wood. I would expect the ES359 to have a brighter tone, but as long as it's different I would be happy to have it.