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About clayville

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    356 is my number

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    Home recording, the Blues, all things related to Gibson CS-356s, watercoloring, Boston sports teams

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  1. Generally, if it's "too good to be true" it probably isn't true. A couple of other factors that might be in play: with the pandemic leading to more people shopping online instead of in person (where their own eyes or a trusted dealer/salesperson can increase confidence) buyers nervous about the size of the transaction are looking for another pair of eyes. I also sometimes think that counterfeiters will float something out on guitar forums to test their "If I can fool these folks, I can try and sell at closer to 'real' prices" notion.
  2. I've loved my quilted CS-356 since the day I got it 17 years ago - but chosing between these two is primarily a matter of personal taste. I'd just point out that the Bigsby on the black one adds a bit to the weight. The figured wood 356s often come without the pick guard installed (but the pick guard is usually in the case and can be easily added later) - I've never installed mine, and it's never shown any excess wear from having not done so.
  3. Plus... Sweetwater claims to do a multi-point inspection to make sure the guitar is in good shape before they ship it to you (rather than just forward the box to you unopened) and they will set it up the way you prefer if you can communicate that to them. As others have said: if it's a guitar and color you covet at a price you can afford, I'm of the opinion, generally, that you can buy from Sweetwater with confidence - particularly given the generous "we want you to be happy" returns policy. I also think, generally, that Gibson isn't likely to be making a boatload of Trini's and shipping them all over creation. If you've always wanted one, there's a good chance (imho) that less than ten dealers will have any at all - so don't let the opportunity pass you by if it's on your wishlist. Just my two cents...
  4. This may not help your situation, but when I "top-wrap" strings over the tailpiece in this manner I usually thread an extra "ball" (ring) from the old string onto the new string so that the heavily wrapped portion of the string end isn't being bent quite so much - just the thinner, more flexible part of the string. I do this mainly to prevent the rougher string end from marring the tailpiece, but it seems to me that it may help you to not put quite so acute an angle or bend on the stiffer portion of the string end. Just a thought....
  5. If they are local sellers get the one that sounds and feels best to you, especially if you're looking for a particular recording sound. I'm unaware of any characteristics of either guitar you should steer away from. That said, the Custom Shop guitar with all the case candy and documentation is always going to retain a higher perceived value than the other should you come to sell it. That's why it's more now!
  6. On the "recessed holes for the string anchors to fit inside": It's not uncommon when top-wrapping like this to slide an old ball-end string anchor onto the new string as a spacer so that when you wrap the new string over the top the extra winding at the bottom of the string remains inside the tailpiece rather than wrapping over. A few reasons for this: it's easier for the new string to wrap over, the sharp bits of the string end aren't under your palm, and you end up not chewing up your tailpiece quite so much.
  7. A CS-356 has been my main guitar since 2003 and though I've followed the small-bodied models fairly closely, I may not be 100% accurate on every detail here: "Most" of the variations in the smaller-bodied Gibsons are revealed in the model numbers. With the ES-339 and ES-359, the 339 has a rosewood fingerboard, dot inlays and single-ply binding and nickel hardware while the 359 has an ebony fretboard, multi-ply binding, block inlays, gold hardware and the split-trapezoid headstock inlay with headstock binding and Grovers. [These appointments roughly correspond to the difference between an LP Standard and an LP Custom.] The ES-339 and ES-359 are otherwise constructed the same - ply tops, backs and sides glued around a center block like an ES-335. EDIT: There's also an ES-339 Figured model discussed below. There have been year-to-year variations on where they were constructed (Memphis or the Nashville custom shop) a few years ago, which determines where they have Custom Shop decals. There were a few years (I believe) where the fretboards were Richlite instead of the originally spec'd rosewood or ebony. I'm not certain when Gibson switched from Klusons to Grovers on the various 339s All that aesthetic detail is also true of the CS-336 and CS-356 models (except for the Grovers) - these look very similar to the ES-339 and ES-359 but are constructed completely differently. Their bodies are routed out of a solid slab of mahogany then topped with carved book-matched maple - like an LP with f-holes. They're usually much more expensive because of all the (formerly) solid woods and being built in the Custom Shop. Then there are the variants of the Johnny A model - Also a small bodied Gibson, but with a different body shape, and less "center-block" area inside. I mention the Johnny A since you're usually a "Fender Guy" and these use a Fender scale-length rather than the standard Gibson one. Anyway... I think what you're actually looking at might be an ES-339 vs an ES-359. The blingier one (if it has the split-parallelogram headstock inlay it's a 359), and though they were originally quite a bit more expensive than the 339s and often had more figured tops, the difference is mostly going to be aesthetic... It's also possible the block inlay/Grovers one is technically an "ES-339 Figured" model if it has the 'Tulip' headstock detail rather than the split-parallelogram" inlay on the headstock and single-ply binding. Those currently list for $700 more than the 'non-figured'. I *think* the only difference is the grade of the wood figure... Here's the specs on the current "ES-339" https://www.gibson.com/Guitar/USAPRN180/ES-339/Cherry Here's the specs on the "ES-339 Figured" https://www.gibson.com/Guitar/USARIR238/ES-339-Figured/Sixties-Cherry The Specs for the ES-359 are not currently on Gibson's website, not even in the Legacy Archive which covers 2015-2109 http://legacy.gibson.com 'Hope that helps
  8. I've had an ES-140 3/4 on my wish list forever but have never pulled the trigger, and the vintage prices keep rising while I dither. I currently play a CS-356 that I love (same size as the ES339) so I favor the *somewhat smaller* models, also due to an arm injury in my youth. To my knowledge, Gibson doesn't currently offer anything like the 3/4 models of the 1950s and early 60s. But there are a few builders out there making guitars that are inspired by them somewhat: similar size and shapes to those Gibson 3/4 ES's like the 140 and the 125. The B&G 'Little Sister' might be worth looking into for you - they offer a 'Private Build' version that's pretty High End, but there are import versions substantially less expensive. Wide Sky Guitars is a builder in Taos, NM who offers seemingly similar models too. And theFretwire offers a build-it-yourself electric parlor kit with two P-90s that seems to be based on the Little Sister shape. That one has been tempting to me too, though I can't vouch for the quality of the hardware. Good luck!
  9. I can't vouch for this in any way, and have no idea what you're looking to spend... but there *appears* to be a red 1960s with vibrola available on Reverb at the moment. For some reason it has a 75% price drop down to $5500... and that might not be much (or any) more than what the Custom Shop would charge you for a Made to Measure. The price drop gives me pause, but I'm not expert enough to spot anything obviously sketchy about it: https://reverb.com/item/28263785-gibson-es-335-1960s-cherry If that sounds like a lot of caveats from me, it is. I'm not sure what these 'should' go for or what a M2M might set you back. I do know that Gibson has been shifting 335 production from Memphis to Nashville over the last few months, which means moving the original large machines that have formed the 335 bodies ever since the beginning in Kalamazoo. The available stock of new 335s at many dealers seems to be almost non-existent while production has been halted. And I do believe that even under the best circumstances it can take many, many months for a M2M to arrive. I *think* the Made to Measure program is only available from a few select Gibson dealers like Wildwood Guitars, The Music Zoo, maybe Dave's Guitars in Wisconsin and just a few others. I wish you luck in your noble quest.
  10. Congrats - that's a handsome CS-336. FWIW, I've been using DR Pure Blues .10-.46 pure nickels on my '03 CS-356 for about a decade now. They seem just a little warmer and, well, bluesier than the D'Addario XL10s I favored before that (which suits this guitar and what I play). Sounds plenty "jazzy" on the neck pickup if that's what you're after, and the guitar is still as versatile overall as it's always been. These (336/356) come stock with .10s, so if you go up a gauge to .11s you'll either be just fine or you *may* benefit from carefully drawing a folded piece of fine sandpaper through the nut slots a few times to reduce string binding in the slots on the way to the tuners - particularly on the middle strings where the angles are sharper. If you do get a little binding or tuning instability, you'll want to sand the sides to make the slot a touch wider, but not deeper - and try to avoid the take-off point on the fretboard side of the nut if you can, or you might need to adjust your intonation at the saddles just a wee bit.
  11. The first number on that Certificate shown above is Gibson code for exactly what it is (Whoever wrote it may have forgotten the '3' in '355' - but I can't think of any other models that have a 55 in the model number so perhaps it isn't needed here). 'ES' = Electric Spanish '55' = ES-355 '18' = 2018 'AW' = Antique Walnut finish 'G' = Gold Hardware 'IU' = I'm not sure about these... Maybe it's really an 'M' for Maestro? '1' at the end = 'First Quality' (they used to release 'factory seconds')
  12. I use the On Stage GS7465 stand. Basically an A-frame with a flip-it locking extension for the neck. Foldable, really stable base and the neck 'lock' has saved me from disaster more than once. Works great for electrics or acoustics. https://on-stage.com/products/view/12912
  13. +1 on DR Pure Blues I find that the small bodied Gibson semi-hollow guitars can trend a little bit "bright" sounding and the DR's seem to be a little warmer sounding than, say, D'Adarrios on my CS-356 to my ear. But feel free to experiment in the coming weeks/months. Try different ones until you find one you like - strings are the cheapest mod there is (other than screwdriver adjustments to pickup height, which can also make a big difference on these).
  14. My 2003 CS-356 (bought new) doesn't have an inside sticker. My theory is that the inside carve/routing on these models doesn't lend itself to secure sticker placement.
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