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ES-330 VOS - I want one but don't like the 2-piece parts


Sofaplayer
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So everyone who has actually played one is raving about this guitar. I am really tempted to buy one but apparently the 2012 models have a 2-piece layered fretboard and a 1-piece top and back while the 2013 models have a 1-piece fretboard but a 2-piece top and back. Can anyone confirm this or do they exist with a 1-piece fretboard *and* a 1-piece top and back without that nasty seam running from neck to tailpiece?

 

Although I don't suppose I would see, feel or hear a difference, I don't want a layered fretboard because I am concerned about stability when it needs to be refretted and because I think it may have a negative impact on resale value in decades from now. I want a 1-piece top and back merely for cosmetic reasons. No need to discuss that further.

 

Also, what part of the serial indicates the year of production? Those Memphis serials sure are difficult to decipher.

 

 

Thanks for your comments.

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I have a 2012 natural finish, purchased after A-Bing three, and the plugged & unplugged tone is stellar - to such a degree that the two piece fretboard became a non-issue for me. I literally could not leave the store without that particular 330.

 

Play every one you can get your hands on for the best frame of reference. It also so happened that the one I fell for had a slightly smaller neck profile, which fit me like a glove. They truly are not all created equal.

 

As for the criteria you have outlined, I've heard that some 2013s were to be made with a one piece front & back, but haven't seen one yet.

 

You might try emailing customer service regarding serial numbers, as you will have to go with a 2013 to get the one piece board.

 

Good luck in your search.

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I have a 2012 VSB...the top is laminated with a single top sheet (no seam)....I have no idea if the fretboard is or is not laminated and don't care. I could understand the concern for cosmetic reasons if you were talking about a visible laminated acoustic bridge, but the fret board is bound and there is no way to tell. I am with Babouz on this one.....once i got my hands on a 330 VOS in a store, I did not set it down until i was putting it in my car...these are fantastic instruments....I would not let a potentially laminated fretboard be the deciding factor here...

 

resale decades from now? This is the way Gibson made them, decades from now yours will be "original two piece fretboard".

 

these 330s are really really nice.....enjoy it and take care of it and the resale will be there as much as any other really nice well cared for vintage guitar.

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  • 3 weeks later...

These VOS 330's are so great i bought the burst blonde and cherry. Like anither said " I HAD to have them. I believe the fingerboard issue to be a NON issue. It looks grest and plays great. There are no dead spots at all. Not always the case. I predict that, because Gibson started doing these boards as a result of an over reaching government raid, and for a very brief time, it makes them historically significant, and potentually desirable down the road. Assuming they hold up well over time. I think they will. And don't see refrets being a problem. Best newGibsons i've ever had. Along with my 1997 Gibson Tal Farlow. Gibson's all time sleeper bang for the buck model.

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I have a guitar with a two piece fretboard. I would have rather had a one piece fretboard. It's probably not a big deal. But it's surely not as desirable as a one piece fretboard. I can't see any of these guitars with oddball woods becoming valuable because they have these woods. These are less valuable variations of the models.

 

The tops and backs shouldn't have a seam in them. They're made from plywood. The models shown on the Gibson website don't have any seams in them.

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I agree. I'm not saying they are better. I was not happy to be served pancakes when i ordered steak.

But, in this case, my pancakes sound better cooking than my other steak dinners.

If you can follow my babble.

I do think early enviromental movement related ephemera, like things related to this cites raid, might make it collectable. Rarity is a prime mover.

Thanks fir your take on things delivered in such a civil manner. Greatly appreciated. Don't get me going about Gibson. They are disingenuous in a multitude of ways.

But, still, now and then, they turn out some of the BEST guitars.

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.

On bound fretboards, if you take off the nut, you can see the glue seam -

 

FretboardLaminationHistoric.jpg

 

 

Those that say a glued two piece fretboard is more stable than a single piece haven't taken a good look at a Gibson laminated fretboard - the top layer is thinner than the bottom and the fret tangs cut the top layer into 22 little pieces of wood, making it no more stable than a one piece fretboard.

 

FretboardLaminate.jpg

 

 

Regarding collector value - who knows, but I wouldn't put any stock in the idea. All of these alternatives are virtually gone now and Gibson is back to rosewood an ebony for fretboards - I would guess because that's what the customers want.

 

Having said all that, if I was in love with a guitar, a laminated fretboard wouldn't be a dealbreaker for me.

 

 

.

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Baked maple may become desireable, not a layered rosewood board. In 30 years from now, all 2012 Gibsons with a rosewood board will be less valueable than 2011s or 2013s. My 2 cts. What beats it is the Gibson marketing babble about enhanced stability and that they were kind enough to not raise the prices although the production had become more expensive. Now it's the same with the 2-piece top and back. Gibson says that they did that because some of the more exclusive models in the 60ies had 2-piece tops and backs. The real reason is probably some kind of saving in the production process. They are really trying to take us on a ride - again!

 

I'll pass up on this guitar, I just don't think that they deserve my money on this.

 

The guitar may be great and all. I know it's my loss.

 

Still, happy playing to all of yout that have bought it.

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That's what the 2013 ES-330 VOS is sporting.

I much prefer the more standard one-piece top,

whereas the two piece (I assume) fretboard

on my 2012 doesn't bother me in the least,

since I can't see it!

You still got me scratching my head. You must have run into the only one with a seam in it. All the pix I see are normal looking. Got pix?

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You still got me scratching my head. You must have run into the only one with a seam in it. All the pix I see are normal looking. Got pix?

Along with the above pic from Dave's, as of today on Sweetwater's Guitar Gallery, they have five new 330s (4 sunburst, 1 natural), all with two piece tops. In particular if you look at the shots taken at an angle from the bass side, or enlarge the photos, it becomes easier to distinguish the two pieces between the trapeze tailpiece.

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Along with the above pic from Dave's, as of today on Sweetwater's Guitar Gallery, they have five new 330s (4 sunburst, 1 natural), all with two piece tops. In particular if you look at the shots taken at an angle from the bass side, or enlarge the photos, it becomes easier to distinguish the two pieces between the trapeze tailpiece.

 

Oh yeah. Wow. That's weird. The new ones must be 2 piece. They do look kind of cheesy.

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The new ones must be 2 piece.

Yes, this started with the 2013 model, and there were a number of other small changes made as well.

 

I haven't played a 2013, but an awful lot of people (me included) simply gush about the 2012 version. Being the initial year of the 330 VOS, it essentially had only a one year run before a number of changes were made, so it's rather unique.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Oh yeah. Wow. That's weird. The new ones must be 2 piece. They do look kind of cheesy.

 

That's odd! I picked up a new '59 RI Vintage Sunburst VOS ES330 yesterday, Serial Number T10821. It really is a killer guitar - but that is just a 'BTW'. From what I am seeing both the back and the front are made from a single piece. Yes, I know it's a single piece of plywood, but you know what I mean.

 

Whether the fingerboard is laminated Rosewood or one piece, I do not know, and 'No', I am not tearing the thing apart to find out.

 

One thing I have seen - and only from photos in some cases, is that whilst my guitar has no Serial Number on the back of the headstock, and no paper label visible when looking down either of the f-holes, it does have the Serial Number stamped in ink on the inside of the back, and is clearly seen by viewing from the f-hole on the high string side. I believe this is correct for the original '59 guitar.

 

There is no actual date on my COA, but I am assuming that since the guitar only arrived at my dealership quite recently, that this is indeed a 2013 model.

 

Regardless, this is truly an extremely beautiful guitar, and is one that I will treasure.

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That's odd! I picked up a new '59 RI Vintage Sunburst VOS ES330 yesterday, Serial Number T10821.

 

There is no actual date on my COA, but I am assuming that since the guitar only arrived at my dealership quite recently, that this is indeed a 2013 model.

Tony - Congrats on the new guitar! Mine is also a "T" serial number, purchased in 2012. I believe the 2013s use an "R" designation, but I'm not sure if this is universally true.

 

If you contact Customer Service, they should be able to tell you exactly what you have. Enjoy!

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Tony - Congrats on the new guitar! Mine is also a "T" serial number, purchased in 2012. I believe the 2013s use an "R" designation, but I'm not sure if this is universally true.

 

If you contact Customer Service, they should be able to tell you exactly what you have. Enjoy!

 

Hi bobouz I talked to the Customer Service people earlier today. The S/N remains somewhat of a mystery, as according to their agent, the 'date' is not reflected by the serial number (??). But, yes they confirmed that mine is indeed a 'made in 2012' guitar - even though I bought it quite recently and it does look to be totally unused.This adds further credence to the theory that the 'one piece top' and 'one piece rear' along with the 'T' serial number, ES-330s are more likely to be 2012s than 2013s.

 

BTW, I saw another ES-330 today at another dealership, and it too was all 'one piece' and had the familiar T1***1 number. The dealer stated that they had had it in their system since last year. (2012).

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