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  1. Yep...that's exactly what I'm thinking. I'm still not sure whether I'll do it, but it's the only thing I'd consider doing to an otherwise perfect guitar. If I do add the Bigsby, I'll probably go with the Vibramate Adaptor (V7-335), so I won't have to drill any holes in the guitar. That means I'd have to use the original Bigsby B7. Apparently the Vibramate won't work with the "licensed by Bigsby" B70 and B700. I've read that the B70 and B700 (which are die cast) are somewhat more consistent than the B7, which is sand cast from the original mold. Apparently, there's also some difference in the bushings; some folks describe the B70 and B700 as "smoother". Maybe so, but I have an original Bigsby on my 1962 Gretsch 6120, and it works just fine. I don't know how much the guitar's tone and sustain will change with the Bigsby. I've read that the change will be somewhere between "a little" and "undetectable"...but I'm still not sure.
  2. Jarf20: I bought that exact guitar — the ES-335 Traditional 2018 Antique Faded Cherry — about two months ago. I have absolutely no regrets about the purchase. Regarding the neck profile, it feels great to me. I wouldn't describe it as "chunky", as some others have done. Here are some dimensions for comparison (all measurements with a vernier caliper, strings on): 2018 ES-335 Traditional Neck width @nut: 1-11/16" (1.6875") Neck thickness @1st fret, including the fret: 59/64" (0.9219") 2015 Epiphone Les Paul PlusTop Pro Neck width @nut: 1-11/16" (1.6875") Neck thickness @1st fret, including the fret: 59/64" (0.9219") 1963 Stratocaster Neck width @nut: 1-5/8" (1.625") Neck thickness @1st fret, including the fret: 7/8" (0.875") 1968 Telecaster Neck width @nut: 1-5/8" (1.625") Neck thickness @1st fret, including the fret: 59/64" (0.9219") In summary, it's just as wide and just as thick as a Les Paul; also, it's wider than a '63 Strat and '68 Tele, and just as thick as the Tele neck, but thicker than the Strat neck. I guess the bottom line is that, if you like the Epi Les Paul neck, you should like the 2018 ES-335 neck. The wider neck on the ES-335 and Epi Les Paul makes a big difference to my hands. There are some chords with open high-E string that I can't play on the Strat and Tele without inadvertently muting the open high-E string. I don't have that problem on the 335 and Epi LP. Of course, there's more about the 335 than the neck. Larsongs nailed it: it's all about the MHS pickups. Here's some context. When it comes to electric 6-string guitars, I've been a Fender guy for most of my life. Clarity and brilliance are a key part of my sound. With some rare exceptions (like the original Gretsch Patent Filtertron pickups), I've been disappointed with many humbuckers in the past, which have mostly been either too muddy or too dirty for my taste. The MHS pickups have no such problems. To my ears (and for my money), there's a sweet spot in the Gibson product line between 2016 and 2018 — the three-year period in which the ES-335 was equipped with MHS pickups... ...by which I mean the original MHS pickups. Gibson discontinued them starting with the 2019 product line. Now they have the "MHS II" pickups, about which I know nothing. I haven't played them or heard them, and Gibson has published no meaningful detailed specs on them. All I can tell you is that the original MHS pickups on my 2018 ES-335 sound exquisite. There's more. The ES-335 2018 Traditional has block inlays, and titanium bridge saddles, both of which I prefer. If you want those features on a 2019 model, you have to buy one of the more expensive figured models. Gibson has done away with the Traditional ES-335 for 2019. I was able to get a great deal on the 2018 Traditional. At the time I bought mine, it was either the Traditional or one of the figured models, which nobody was discounting. The price difference was $1,100...not an insignificant amount. Since then, I've seen the prices on the 2018 figured models discounted somewhat, but not that much, so you'll pay a premium on one of the figured models. Of course, if you love the way a figured model looks, and you're willing to pay the extra buck$, go for it. But if what you care about most is the sound, the Traditional has a lower cost of admission, and that's probably the way to go. If you have a line on a 2018 Traditional, you should be able to get a great price on it...in which case you might want to pounce on it.
  3. Oh jeez...we should've told you; we're leaving town. Indefinitely. Can't possibly say when we'll be back. We'd hate to see Mr. Hawke come all the way out here and find no one at home. BTW, we're taking all our guitars with us. Tell you what. Send him up to Hackramento. They need a good sorting out up there, and he's just the man to do it. ________ In other news, the 2019 models include a Heritage Cherry Sunburst... ...and this Glacier Blue job... Sweet! Is it wrong that I lust for these?
  4. Gibson Memphis Customer Relations Department 145 Lt. George W. Lee Avenue Memphis, TN 38103 Dear Mr. FZ Fan: We are in receipt of your 2018-09-12 correspondence requesting a commemorative Frank Zappa Roxy Tribute guitar sorta thang...which would be, like, you know, all SG-like and everything. Thank you for writing, but weren't you, like, this guy from the CIA creeping around Laurel Canyon...or something? Anyhow, like, wow, groovy... ...uh, wait...what were we talkin' about? Oh yeah...a Roxy SG! That would be, like, so totally, b!tchin'ly awesome, dude. But just between you and me, we're kinda waiting for The Henry to, like, split the scene, if you know what I mean, before we come out with the really, really cool stuff. I mean, like, we're doing OK on the guitar side o' thangs, but the company is going through, like, this...whaddya call it — oh yeah, like, this consolidation thang, or whatever. But yeah...it would be so totally, totally cool to have a Roxy kinda guitar. We can make it with about that much two-by-four stickin' outa the bottom, so the stage hands can pull it off camera as Peter Graves shoots the monster with his little revolver....BANG! BANG! BANG!...although we can't get Beverly Garland to fall down and twist her ankle on behalf of the li'l inverted ice cream cone with the scary teeth painted across the bottom any more, onna counta, like, she's dead, and all. Bummer. Anyway, I'm kinda thinkin' that the Roxy SG model should have, like, a custom paint job...maybe something that shows a moonbeam through the prune, in June, revealing my chest, and maybe even my lovely beans. Would that be, like, totally awesome, or what? Sincerely, S. Creamcheese Underassistant Director of Customer Outreach & Dairy Products
  5. I've heard it said that the ability to appreciate the Mothers (and FZ's subsequent work) is something of a litmus test for measuring musical aptitude. Frankly (if you'll forgive the pun), I not disinclined to not disagree.
  6. Why didn't'cha try didn't'cha try didn't'cha know I was lonely.
  7. Ah...that explains why I don't get it. Showing off the wood is not something that has ever even occurred to me, even on those guitars of mine that have figured tops. But yeah...now that you've pointed it out, I can see how that might be an important aesthetic consideration for some folks. I guess it's just another aspect of Enjoying The Guitar Experience™ that makes it such a completely subjective phenomenon.
  8. See now, I don't get the no-pickguard thing. Are there really players who don't want a pickguard? I guess it's possible, but I use both flatpick and finger-picking styles. With a pick, I would mung up the finish without the pickguard. When I finger-pick, I use my pinky as an anchor point on the pickguard. It would be awkward not having a pickguard...but perhaps there are folks who don't need or want one. Gibson's brand-name differentiation schtick is premium guitars at premium prices. Fair enough; I get that. Mr. Juszkiewicz is adamant on that point, and insists that Gibson guitars are priced to accurately reflect their production costs, and that the only way to sell them cheaper is to reduce their quality...something he doesn't want to do. The upshot is (I'm paraphrasing here), it'll be a cold day in hell before Gibson reduces their prices on any given model if everything else remains the same. So, that means the only way to get a less expensive Gibson is to get one with fewer features, or less costly components, or both. Apparently the low-end 2019 models like the ES-335 Studio and the new ES-235 do both: no pickguard, no inlaid headstock logos, dot (not block inlay) markers, plated brass (not titanium) bridge, no MHS pickups, zinc stopbar tailpiece with no locking studs, no Grovers (235), and softshell case (235). Those factors knock the price down by $1K (335) to $1.2K (235), relative to the higher priced 335s. As always, it's up to the buyer to decide whether the more pricey guitars are worth the extra cost. For my part, I don't gripe about the price of admission. It is what it is. My job is to decide what I want, and then find out which product provides it. With the available 2019 models I can find as of this writing, the guitar that most appeals to me is the figured Blueberry Burst ES-335...but I still don't know anything about the MHS II pickups. How are they different from the MHS pickups on the 2017 and 2018 models? I haven't found any info from Gibson on that subject...yet.
  9. Actually, I'm not sure it would be fair for me to say that I've discovered Gibson's penchant for creating models not listed on its "current model year" web page. Truth be told, I'm very much a Gibson newbie, and I wouldn't have extrapolated Sweetwater's listing guitars that are not shown on Gibson.com to mean "Ah...Gibson routinely makes special-order stuff for the Big Vendors." My first assumption was, "Hmmm...I guess it's still early in the 2019 model year, and Gibson's web site hasn't caught up with what they're actually producing yet." That's borne out in some videos I've seen since my OP, wherein Gibson showed the P-90 ES-335 at Summer NAMM as a regular part of its 2019 line; yet, the P-90 ES-335 is still not shown on Gibson.com. Anyhow, I have no reason to doubt that what you're saying is true. In fact, there are now seven more variants of the 2019 ES-335s showing up on Sweetwater.com since my OP, but still not shown on Gibson.com. In trying to sort it all out, I wonder... Are some of them one-off items...prototype versions/colors for the 2019 models that Gibson ultimately decided not to produce in greater quantity? Are they "special order", limited run models available exclusively at Sweetwater? (...they're not listed at GC/MF) Or are they items that will eventually be available everywhere as part of the regular 2019 product line, but Gibson just hasn't gotten around to listing them? Beats me. The only thing I've discovered for certain at this point is that Gibson's Current Model Year web page is not a complete listing of all the guitars and finishes that are currently available, and apparently that's an ongoing condition, as your post reports. I was working under the assumption (some might say delusion ) that Gibson's web site would provide a complete, authoritative listing of all available models and finishes. Obviously, I'm still on a learning curve about all things Gibson.
  10. I understand most of the mechanics (and physics) of electric guitars, so I do my own set ups. And yeah...the investment has been paying big dividends for many years. For example, when I get a new guitar, it takes a while to settle on the best string gauges and even the type of strings for each guitar...and even that can change over time. It works out way better for me to understand how such changes affect the way the guitar sounds and plays, and what adjustments I need to make to compensate for those changes. None of that is rocket science if you're already a DIY, hands-on kind of person...which I am. But that's for my electrics. When it comes to my acoustic guitars, I have a skilled luthier who does all that work. I don't know what I'm doing, and I don't have the more specialized tools or skills that come from years of professional experience, so I don't monkey with it. I also leave all of the major fret work to him...even on my electrics. Minor stuff like polishing frets with Micro-Mesh is easy enough, and I do have a crowning file and I know how to use it for minor tweaks...but more importantly, I know when not to use it. Some things are much better left to the pros.
  11. Larry: That Figured Natural is sweet! In my experience, "straight out of the box" is usually a whole lot better for any guitar you buy from Sweetwater, because they actually take the time to do a halfway decent setup on their guitars before they ship them. Gibson checks the guitars (or so they say) before they leave the factory for various cosmetic and playability (setup) parameters (e.g. action, intonation, buzzing). But if they're following some kind of setup specifications, they must be pretty loose specs. The neck relief on my guitar was ridiculous (~.040" on the low E string at the 7th fret, with a capo on the first fret and fretting the string at the 22nd fret). The action was similarly wacked out, and so was the pickup height. The intonation was way off too. The last guitar I bought from Sweetwater was an Epiphone Les Paul PlusTop Pro. Like your guitar, mine was set up good enough to play right out of the box. I don't know when Gibson shipped my guitar, but I guess that maybe they don't crank the truss rod because they can't predict extremes of temperature and humidity during shipping. All I can say for sure is that the dealer (GC) sure didn't do much of anything by way of setting up the guitar after they received it. Apparently Sweetwater does a much better job in that regard.
  12. Well, boys and girls, the 2019 model line is here. There are only three 335s shown on Gibson.com as of this writing: An entry level Studio model with Classic '57 pickups - Vintage (tobacco) burst only, no pickguard A dot model with MHS II pickups (whatever they are) - Cherry and graphite A figured model with MHS II pickups - Blueberry burst only The 2018 Traditional, Metallic, Block Neck, VOS, Anchor Stud, Big Block, Limited Run, and Custom models are gone. If Gibson is planning more models, they're not up yet. I'm glad I pounced on that 2018 Traditional Cherry when I did. UPDATE: Apparently Gibson has other 2019 ES-335 models in addition to the ones they're showing on their website: Figured Dark Natural Figured Sunset Burst ES-335 P-90 Vintage Burst ...although it's not entirely clear to me how they can call it a 335 with P-90s
  13. I have heard very good things about Sonny Walton's PAF Reproduction Humbuckers. I can't personally vouch for them because I've never tried them. They're not cheap, but neither are they the most expensive PAF clones ($385/pair). It does appear that he has done everything he can to get as close as anyone can get to original PAFs with the materials available today. If what Sonny says is true, it's not possible to 100% replicate the originals because those materials simply aren't available any more. His way of getting around that is to have materials custom made to his own specifications, based on his own intensive examination of the originals. That means he's using unique materials that no one else has access to. If that's true, then if nothing else, it's likely that his PAF clones sound like no one else's. Whether he has actually succeeded is not something I can verify, but I will say that he certainly is generous in sharing what he knows. Check out the information available on his Reference Info page. That alone is worth a trip to his website. I especially recommend his A Primer On Reading Guitar Pickup Specifications.
  14. Lars: Yeah...the MHS pickups are what sold me on the 2018 ES-335. The instant I plugged in and started playing them, I was hooked. Gibson has really hit the bullseye with the MHS... ...which makes me wonder about something I noticed in Gibson's premature release of an incomplete version of the 2019 Gibson models page (which has since been taken offline). If any of the information on that page was accurate, it appears that at least some of the 2019 models will be equipped with "MHS2" pickups, whatever they are. So far, I haven't found any information confirming whether the MHS2 actually exists, much less how it differs from the MHS. Is the MHS2 a case of Gibson not leaving well enough alone? Or is it evidence of a commitment to innovation and ever-increasing product quality? Beats me. Even after the MHS2 is released next month (assuming it actually exists), I don't plan on taking anyone else's word for it. The only way to know whether I like it is to play it for myself.
  15. That Figured Natural is sweet, Larry. Actually, I greatly preferred the looks of the Figured Aquamarine that I tried at the same time I played the Cherry. But in a direct A-B comparison at the same amp settings, across a range of clean and overdrive sounds, the Aquamarine's pickups just didn't have the same moxy in tone, sustain, and responsiveness. Truth be told, I was kind of surprised there was such a difference. I mean, both guitars are 2018s, and both have MHS pickups and the same pots & caps. I'm used to subtle differences between pickups of the same type, but I was under the (obviously mistaken) impression that, with Gibson Memphis ratcheting up their quality control, there shouldn't be big differences between two guitars with the same pickups in any given model year...which is perhaps a measure of my naivete about all things Gibson... ...and then I thought about all the variables in pickup winding (...a whole 'nother discussion), and realized that it's still a bit of a crap shoot as to what actually ends up in the guitar. Even for pickups of the same model, there can be significant differences in the way each one sounds. Then there's the fact that neck and bridge pickups are deliberately wound with a different number of coil turns — on purpose (part of the whole 'nother discussion). Then factor in the ±5% winding spec, and in any given guitar, you might get one pickup that hits +5% and the other one hits -5%. And depending on which one is in which position, not to mention individual player preferences...etc..... Well, the upshot is that, you can have two guitars of the same model and the same production year that sound and respond differently enough that one is "...OK...", and the other is orgasmic...in the eye of the beholder, of course. We can talk about all kinds of physical parameters and objectivize the life out of it, but the bottom line is that everything about the actual playing experience is subjective. I guess that's the main reason why I ultimately decided that I had to go and physically play the guitar I was going to buy. I admit that I was tempted to buy one from Sweetwater and save the state sales plunder, but they kind of made up my mind for me when they suddenly sold out of their 2018 allotment sooner than they expected, and the guitar I was lusting after suddenly went "No longer available". According to my sales engineer, it's not just "Not in stock, but we can get more"; once they sell their 2018 allotment of any given model, they can't order any more until the 2019 models are released in September. Anyhow, when I'm dropping $3K to $4K on a twang machine, that makes it kind of personal. For that kinda dough, I'd better love the way the guitar sounds, which means I've gotta go and actually play whatever I'm going to buy. I had to be sure. I am.
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