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fizzicist

My first Gibson ES-335

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I started getting the burn for a 335 back in June. The back-story of my interest in the ES-335 is in my introductory post.

 

I've spent the last couple of months doing my due diligence and learning about the instrument. Like most instruments, it has had its ups and downs over the ~60 years of its existence, but from everything I learned, it seemed to me that Gibson has done a very good thing with the 2018 models and the MHS pickups. I knew exactly what kind of sound I was looking for, and I figured there was a good chance that a 2018 ES-335 would get it done.

 

So, all that was left to do was go play a real ES-335 and find out for myself. The story of my how I made my buying decision is in my post on Gibson vs. Epiphone ES-335s.

 

Long story short, I pulled the trigger on a 2018 Traditional Antique Cherry last week. Here's my new addiction:

 

post-94316-019608500 1534753255_thumb.jpg

 

I'm hooked for life.

 

newjok12.png

Edited by fizzicist

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N I C E ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! You are going to love it. I did the same thing about 4 weeks ago. I own a few Custom Shop Gibbys.....but this is the best playing and sounding straight out-of-the-box.

 

Here is mine:

Body_angle_13317738.jpg

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Aaaccckkk!!! The same day I bought my new ES-355, by the time I got it home my feet were killing me...specifically, the middle toe on each foot. I took off my shoes and socks to see what the deal was, and...uh-oh — the toes were red and swollen.

 

I immediately realized that an earlier mishap had left me with two broken toes. They had been hurting a little, but I had the bit in my teeth for glomming onto a 335, and I wasn't going to let a little toe pain get in the way. I just didn't put it together that the toes were actually broken.

 

(The things we do when guitar lust grabs us...msp_w00t.gif )

 

I've had broken bones before (including a broken toe), and I know that burning, throbbing broken-bones pain. I got horizontal and put my feet up to make 'em stop screaming at me. Long story short, I went to my doc and had X-rays; sure enough—broken toes (hairline fractures). There's nothing much I can do...except tape them, wear rigid-sole post-op shoes, and take pain meds. The toes will heal on their own in 6 weeks, IF I stay off them, get horizontal, and keep my feet elevated as much as possible.

 

So, my 335 is sitting in its case...calling to me. I did manage to get a start on setting it up, but I won't be able to finish that until I settle on string gauges. Meanwhile, I'll sneak in some twanging when I dare to put my feet down.

 

Sheesh...talk about delayed gratification.

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...I did the same thing about 4 weeks ago...but this is the best playing and sounding straight out-of-the-box.

 

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. msp_love.gifmsp_thumbup.gif

 

newjok12.png

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Aaaccckkk!!! The same day I bought my new ES-355, by the time I got it home my feet were killing me...specifically, the middle toe on each foot. I took off my shoes and socks to see what the deal was, and...uh-oh — the toes were red and swollen.

 

I immediately realized that an earlier mishap had left me with two broken toes. They had been hurting a little, but I had the bit in my teeth for glomming onto a 335, and I wasn't going to let a little toe pain get in the way. I just didn't put it together that the toes were actually broken.

 

(The things we do when guitar lust grabs us...msp_w00t.gif )

 

I've had broken bones before (including a broken toe), and I know that burning, throbbing broken-bones pain. I got horizontal and put my feet up to make 'em stop screaming at me. Long story short, I went to my doc and had X-rays; sure enough—broken toes (hairline fractures). There's nothing much I can do...except tape them, wear rigid-sole post-op shoes, and take pain meds. The toes will heal on their own in 6 weeks, IF I stay off them, get horizontal, and keep my feet elevated as much as possible.

 

So, my 335 is sitting in its case...calling to me. I did manage to get a start on setting it up, but I won't be able to finish that until I settle on string gauges. Meanwhile, I'll sneak in some twanging when I dare to put my feet down.

 

Sheesh...talk about delayed gratification.

 

 

That's one hell of a crazy story! hehe

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Congratulations on a great Guitar!

 

I used to have an original 1959 Gibson ES345 Stereo with PAF's in Sunburst. I've owned too many Guitars since then but that was the best Guitar I've ever heard or played. I was young & naive & traded it at GC for some Recording Gear, a new Guitar & Amp. I ever should've done that...

 

I've been been chasing that Sound ever since......... A couple years ago I bought a new Gibson Memphis ES335 with MHS Pickups in Vintage Sunburst. It is the closest I've come to replicating my old '59.. I'll never part with it..

 

Enjoy,

 

Lars

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...A couple years ago I bought a new Gibson Memphis ES335 with MHS Pickups in Vintage Sunburst. It is the closest I've come to replicating my old '59.. I'll never part with it..

 

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? msp_confused.gif

 

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. msp_wink.gif

 

newjok12.png

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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? msp_confused.gif

 

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. msp_wink.gif

 

newjok12.png

 

That's interesting. I hadn't heard about them? Like you, I would have to play & hear them. I have a few other Gibsons. Each has different variations of HB Pickups. They all sound good. But the MHS sound a little more like the Original PAF's.

 

The only improvement IMO is if they can 100% replicate the best Original PAF's. That would be something.. I might have to sell a couple of my others & get another one but I still won't part with this ES335.

 

Enjoy

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...The only improvement IMO is if they can 100% replicate the best Original PAF's. That would be something..

 

 

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.

 

newjok12.png

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N I C E ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! You are going to love it. I did the same thing about 4 weeks ago. I own a few Custom Shop Gibbys.....but this is the best playing and sounding straight out-of-the-box.

 

 

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.

 

newjok12.png

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but I guess that maybe they don't crank the truss rod because they can't predict extremes of temperature and humidity during shipping.

 

Not just shipping, but variable amounts of time in warehouses too. A dealer setup makes far more sense, but being that setups are so subjective, even the best dealer setup may "need" to be tweaked. Sure there are the "could have, would have, and should haves". However, given the undeniably inconsistent ways the guitars arrive in customers hands, I think the best advice is to get hooked up with a luthier who knows his stuff and is a reasonable cost, and get it set up to your liking by a pro. Unless, of course, you want to go though the learning curve to do setups yourself. Just consider that cost to be part of the cost of a new guitar.

That can pay huge dividends to those that are not that experienced as well as those that are.

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...I think the best advice is to get hooked up with a luthier who knows his stuff and is a reasonable cost, and get it set up to your liking by a pro. Unless, of course, you want to go though the learning curve to do setups yourself. Just consider that cost to be part of the cost of a new guitar.

That can pay huge dividends to those that are not that experienced as well as those that are.

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.

 

newjok12.png

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