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Everything posted by clayville

  1. 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....
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  5. 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!
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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')
  9. 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
  10. +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).
  11. 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.
  12. Just chiming in to say I love my '95 J-100 Extra (Antique Natural, not sunburst). With the mahogany back and sides it's a warm, loud, beefy beast and has only gotten better sounding with age (Jeebus, can it really be 24 years since I bought it new?). The o.p. wants what he wants (don't we all), but I'd just point out that it's the mahogany that delivers the distinctive sound on J-100's of that era, not the finish - and it's a different sound than the maple sides/back found on most J-200's. These aren't just cheaper, less blingy J-200's - they're a different sonic flavor altogether (imho).
  13. For what it's worth, when I moved away from D'Addarios on my CS-356 about five years ago I eventually settled on DR Pure Blues 10-46s after a few experiments and have never looked back. They seem warmer and less 'brittle' sounding in that guitar, and seem to create a richer, more 'round' and full sound. But that sounds lvague, even to me. Kind of depends on what you're looking for, what direction you want to take your guitar's sound... but if you're just looking for a change as I was, I liked my results.
  14. You might have better luck asking this question in the "Acoustic" area...
  15. A bit of a hazy memory now, but I'll echo Jinder and others above. I was in Nashville on business 25 years ago and of course wandered into Gruhn to drool. They had a player grade Style O that was gorgeous and yet well-loved - I was smitten and almost bought it on the spot (for about a third of what they seem to go for now). But... the huge neck and tight sound gave me pause. I played it for about an hour over a couple of days and just never felt it was holding it's own or adding much to the sounds I had available from my other more humble acoustics. They're beautiful, but as others have said don't project like you'd expect, and they're more unwieldy than you imagine too - the unusual upper bouts seemed to make it awkward to play in the higher registers and they're a bit of an "armful", if that makes any sense. Guess I'm just no Bill Broonzy in the end.
  16. On the interior construction/design of the Johnny A: As I recall from back when they were launched (could be slightly wrong) I believe there is a relatively small oval-shaped block beneath the bridge to support it on the Johnny A (perhaps 4"wide across east-to-west and about an inch and a half wide north-to-south). My interest was mostly in comparison to the CS-356/CS-336 design which is similar but less hollow overall - the 356/336 has much more central block remaining inside between the neck and bridge, and an internal "dish" carve that matches the contour of the outside/back carve. I remember reading somewhere that the Johnny A has a flat carve on the inside/back instead. On all these guitars the block is integral to the back wood - the backs are routed from a solid slab leaving the block intact. The other main difference between the 356/336 and Johnny A is in the scale length - 356/336 has a standard Gibson scale length of 24.75" while the Johnny A has a 'Fender' scale length of 25.5".
  17. Dan Erlewine's book "How to Make Your Electric Guitar Play Great" is a really good resource for understanding all the components of a setup and many minor minor problem-solving situations that can crop up with a guitar you'd like to improve. Even if you're not confident in doing the work yourself, your desire to understand the process is a good one. There's no "right" answer, though - every experienced player has his own style and taste in how they like a guitar setup for them, what kind of music they typically play, and everything from string gauge to action to pickup heights and more plays a role in ideal playability for YOU and your style. And every guitar has a slightly different geometry so all these adjustments are a bit of a compromise to make the guitar work for you as a system of elements - from neck angles to nuts to bridges to tailpieces.
  18. I live in Boston too. When I got my J-100 Xtra new in the Fall of 1995 I kept it on a stand within easy reach and admired its inviting beauty and my vast wisdom in buying it. Once the heat kicked on in the winter it took about two months before *PING* a crack opened up between the fingerboard and the sound hole that needed to be repaired and cleated. I've been a faithful humidifier of my acoustics ever since - with a sound hole Dampit - and now I keep them cased. Lesson learned.... painfully.
  19. Just FYI: There are construction and scale-length differences too. The Johnny A is more hollow inside than the 336/356 with less 'center block' area left integral with the back wood, and I believe the Johnny A routing leaves the inside-back flat whereas on the 336/356 the inside/back routing is dished like the back itself. And the Johhny A uses a longer, "Fender" 25.5" scale length than the usual Gibson 24.75 scale length.
  20. In some respects, the smaller body size of the 339 just has a different character than the, er, full-bodied oomph of a 335 - in clean, lo-gain situations it will sound "smaller" because, well, it IS smaller. But if it sounds constricted, try comparing the pickup height between the two guitars. If your 339's pickups are much closer to the strings than your 335's it's possible they're reducing the perceived resonance and richness. The pickups themselves should be fine (I love mine), but I'd experiment with height to see if you can get closer to your ideal. I find the small-bodied Gibsons like my 356 to be sensitive to such things, so I'd try lowering your neck pickup a bit and fiddling with pole piece height across the strings to try and dial in the sound you're after, then do the same with the bridge pickup to balance for volume between the two pickups. Always try screwdriver mods first! Just my two cents
  21. If I didn't take my '95 J-100 Extra I'd miss the booming mahogany every single day. Plus: It's a cannon, perfect for signaling passing ships. \:D/
  22. When I got my 7.2 lbs 2003 CS-356 new almost 15 years ago it killed off my LP gas almost entirely. Light, versatile, comfortable, all the horsepower need. :)
  23. It's been a very long time since Gibson has promoted the availability of these outstanding guitars on their own website (though I believe they've been in production in limited dealer runs throughout the last decade). Great to see them getting their due.
  24. clayville


    That's a really handsome top! You might be right that it would pop and hang together even more with gold or amber knobs on that natural coloring. Worth a try to see how you like it. One small thing I notice (and mine had the same "issue" till I fiddled with it): it looks like you might benefit from rotating your neck pickup ring 180 degrees to put the thin edge facing the tail end of the guitar. I did some research to try and find any source that could point to a performance issue with a pickup that rests not parallel to the strings without any luck, but after thinking about flipping it for years I finally did it one string change a few years back. Really easy to do. You may need to gently bend the tabs that the main pickup screws thread into within the cavity for the pup to be parallel. A small thing (I believe), but I found the flipped ring with the thin edge on the tail side to be more aesthetically pleasing and a parallel seating of the pickup to make height adjustment a bit more rational even though I didn't notice much of a performance difference. In your photo, it looks a little like that tail edge sticking up may be limiting your options a bit. As you've seen me say, I think small screwdriver adjustments on these can make a big difference, and I keep track of screw turns when I make them so I can get back to where I was if I don't like the results. The neck pickup on mine has been one of the best sounding pickups I've ever had from the get go, so I was reluctant to make big changes.... but some years ago I lowered the neck pickup about a 3/16" below where it had been and then lowered the bridge pickup until the volume matched, and the guitar seems to have a bit more sustain - perhaps the neck magnet was dampening string vibration a little? Something to perhaps consider without radical modding. cheers, Clay
  25. clayville


    Happy to take the blame for this one! Unfortunately with Photobucket's new "3rd Party Hosting' rules, I can't see it - but have always liked the look of the Natural finishes with the gold. As you say, the construction specs between the CS-336 and CS-356 are almost identical. Give or take big block inlays, binding, headstock inlays, gold hardware and the fretboard material - these are mostly cosmetic differences. But since you have/had one of each on hand on-hand, I wonder if there's any credence to the old saw about bigger neck inlays leading to a slightly brighter overall sound than dots? Probably impossible to tell given slight variances in setup and pickup resistance values... I've never heard much difference in my limited experiences with 336s in the shops. They (336s) seem to fall well within the range of what comes out of my 356 - but I didn't have my 356 with me for a side-by-side! Anyway: Congrats. Daily inspiration is 60 percent of the battle. While I'm at it, I took some fresh shots of mine out in the garden last week. 2003 CS-356 in "Quilted Heritage Darkburst" bought new from the limited run Stinger Series created for Music Machine back in the day. Still my favorite guitar by far:
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