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Adaptive

ES 335/339 boomy bass

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Hey Guys,

 

I am narrowing down my first Gibson and really like the 339/335s. However, I have noticed that they are really bassy and it can be boomy and overpowering. On the amp that I have tested these on, I needed to dial the bass all the way down and it was still a bit too boomy. For comparison, the Les Pauls through the same amp sounded well balanced with the bass on the amp set to its midpoint.

 

Is this normal for the ES guitars to be so bass heavy? I love everything else about them. How do you guys handle this?

 

As a side question, why doesn't Gibson have anything about the 2019 ES 339s on its webpage?

 

Thanks!!!

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To say "more bass than an LP" would be true *in general*, but not "boomy". A 335 can be dialed in quite nicely for a balanced sound. The amp can make all the difference.

There are many more models than are shown on the Gibson site. Right now the site is going thru a transition period (according to Gibson), so expect to see more later. Even then, there are dealer ordered runs and such that never make it to the Gibson site. Been that way all along.If you're looking older than 2019, you can see more here at the old site using the Wayback Machine:Gibson

 

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Hey Adaptive,

Thanx for your post.

 

I have found both the 335 and 339 (currently own or have owned both) to be capable of sounds, both bassy (dark?) and jangly (bright), beyond useful if so desired. Of course everything in between is possible.

 

The following is NOT intended to be condescending but I would be remiss if I did not ask.

1. Did you experiment with the pickup switch and are familiar with it's usage?

2. Did you experiment with the tone controls and, again, are you familiar with which direction is supposed to result in what tone(s)?

3. Did you try more than one 335/339?

4. If you only demoed one are you certain the previous owner (assuming used) did not modify the controls?

 

The 335 is the most useful guitar on the market and, given a halfway decent amp, you should be able to obtain any tone you want.

 

- Doug

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Doug, thanks for your reply as well. No offense taken, you can't offer to advise if you don't ask the good questions.

 

In terms of 1/2: Yes, I am well familiar with the pickup selector switches and the volume / tone knobs. I experiment with them heavily when I am trying out new guitars. They are different than my stratocaster, but easy enough to figure out.

 

So the session that led to this post I played 2 Les Pauls, 1 335 and 1 339. When switching between them I would try and play the same thing with all of the Volume/Tone knobs set equivalently. Both Les Pauls sounded great with the bass know (on the amp) set right in the middle and both the 335/339 needed the bass knob rolled all the way down. I have played 335s previously and don't recall this being an issue before. If it was one guitar that had this issue, I would write it off as a bad setup. But since both of the ES had the issue and the Les Pauls didn't, it made me question the reason. Could this be something in the setup? (pickup height, etc?)

 

All of these Guitars were at Guitar Center (please don't flame me, there is nowhere else to go where I live)

* See the setup question above.

* Most of the Gibsons are in general in pretty rough shape at this store and it is very hard to find a good playing one most of the time there.

 

"The 335 is the most useful guitar on the market and, given a halfway decent amp, you should be able to obtain any tone you want."

* This seems to be what I am finding!

* I might as well ask what you think about the 339? I think that the smaller package would be nice. :)

 

Thanks guys!

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.......

* I might as well ask what you think about the 339? I think that the smaller package would be nice. :)

 

Thanks guys!

 

Personally, I think there is not any ground to cover between an ES-335 and a Les Paul. Over more recent years Gibson has come out with in-between models, concentrating on "smaller" models. I understand the appeal of smaller and lighter models, but that is trying to fit a model to a person, rather than the person adapting to a model. And quite frankly, with that comes compromises that I'm just not interested in. So there is no appeal to a 339 to me, same as with an ES-LP.

 

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I never liked the 339 but have a number of 335s and 335 sized gibsons.

 

I think that if you try a 335 with MHS or BB's you will find that overall they are a lot brighter and more "articulate" than any with 57s. I personally like 57s better because they are mellower and maybe a bit more forceful .Which some may call boomy?

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Doug, thanks for your reply as well. No offense taken, you can't offer to advise if you don't ask the good questions.

 

In terms of 1/2: Yes, I am well familiar with the pickup selector switches and the volume / tone knobs. I experiment with them heavily when I am trying out new guitars. They are different than my stratocaster, but easy enough to figure out.

 

So the session that led to this post I played 2 Les Pauls, 1 335 and 1 339. When switching between them I would try and play the same thing with all of the Volume/Tone knobs set equivalently. Both Les Pauls sounded great with the bass know (on the amp) set right in the middle and both the 335/339 needed the bass knob rolled all the way down. I have played 335s previously and don't recall this being an issue before. If it was one guitar that had this issue, I would write it off as a bad setup. But since both of the ES had the issue and the Les Pauls didn't, it made me question the reason. Could this be something in the setup? (pickup height, etc?)

 

All of these Guitars were at Guitar Center (please don't flame me, there is nowhere else to go where I live)

* See the setup question above.

* Most of the Gibsons are in general in pretty rough shape at this store and it is very hard to find a good playing one most of the time there.

 

"The 335 is the most useful guitar on the market and, given a halfway decent amp, you should be able to obtain any tone you want."

* This seems to be what I am finding!

* I might as well ask what you think about the 339? I think that the smaller package would be nice. :)

 

Thanks guys!

 

Personally, and having both the 335 and 339 at the same time for a bit, I found the tone and "woodsiesness" of the 339 to be 90% of the 335. The only reason I don't still have the 339 is that the size positioned my arm right over the edge of the top of the body in the most sensitive area. With the 335 my arm mostly goes over that edge. In the end if the size of the 339 fits you then buy that one. I also went from a Strat to a 335 and I did get used to the size.

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Something doesn't seem right here. You should not have to turn the amp bass control down to zero to get a usable sound from either 335 or 339. There are many variables involved and after all it was a GC so anything goes. You want to demo a guitar through the same model amp that you will be playing it through if possible. But that being said you might try the exercise again but us a different amp - as the problem could have been with the amp.

 

I have had several hollow body and semi hollow body Gibsons over the years, and never played any of them with the amp bass at zero. I usually was playing them through Fender amps like a Twin Reverb, Hot Rod Deluxe and currently through a Rivera Venus 6 which has a Fender Blackface setting (Rivera designed and built a lot of Fender amps before he started his own company). On all those amps I would have the bass between 4 and 5.

 

Another variable is the pickups that were in the LPs vs what was in the semi-hollow bodies. Some LPs can have some pretty bright pickups like the 490 series and the Burstbuckers so that could explain some of the extreme difference.

 

Anyway keep searching the hunt for the right one is half the fun.

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Thanks for all the great feedback.

 

To answer some of the above questions, the Les Paul had Burstbuckers and the 33x both had MHS pickups.

 

I always use the same amp at the guitar center for objective comparison. At home I play a Fender Supersonic and the amp I use at the GC is an Orange. In addition to the Les Paul, I have gotten great chimey cleans from this amp with strats and some PRS also.

 

I went back and played the 33xs again, and it was the neck pickup on each that was overly bass heavy. It sounds like GC just messed up the pickup height in them.

 

Both the 335 and the 339 are awesome but I am enjoying the 339 more. The new neck on the 2019 is especially awesome and noticeably different (and good for me) than the 335. So the 339 is in my shirt list.

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Thanks for all the great feedback.

 

To answer some of the above questions, the Les Paul had Burstbuckers and the 33x both had MHS pickups.

 

I always use the same amp at the guitar center for objective comparison. At home I play a Fender Supersonic and the amp I use at the GC is an Orange. In addition to the Les Paul, I have gotten great chimey cleans from this amp with strats and some PRS also.

 

I went back and played the 33xs again, and it was the neck pickup on each that was overly bass heavy. It sounds like GC just messed up the pickup height in them.

 

Both the 335 and the 339 are awesome but I am enjoying the 339 more. The new neck on the 2019 is especially awesome and noticeably different (and good for me) than the 335. So the 339 is in my shirt list.

 

A little late to the party here but thought I would put in my 2 cents. Adaptive, sounds like you were leaning toward the 339 which imho is a great choice. I have had my 2016 339 Studio for a little over 2 years now and I could not be happier with it. When I bought it for sure I compared it side by side to a 335 Studio and I found them quite similar, the big difference was in the shape factor, the smaller 339 much more comfortable for me to play. As for your boominess observation I am a bit puzzled by that. I find the tonal range on my guitar to be quite wide although I spend most of my time in the neck position, switching to the bridge at max volume but with the tone rolled off for solos. The tone that I love is neck with the tone pot at about 4 1/2, it has a punch that really hits my sweet spot. On my Vox amp I have the EQ set on the bright side at bass 12/mid 5/treble about 3 o'clock. The guitar has the Classic/Super 57 pups.

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