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lvgh98

2014 ES 355 v 2019 ES 335

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Good afternoon,

I am in a situation where I will either be purchasing a new 2019 Gibson ES-335 or a 2014 Limited edition ES-355. The 355 seems like a great deal at only around £400 more than the new 335's are selling for, however I cannot seem to find any means for comparison online. The 2018 355 seems to sell for a lot more so I was wondering whether that was an indication that the 2014 run was sub standard?

I really like the look of the 355 but ultimately sound/feel comes first. I've been made aware that the 2014 model has a Richlite fretboard rather than a true ebony one which I wonder may be hitting the value. It will not be possible to try the 355 before buying given its location (and understand the risks around this) but does £2800 for a 2014 Gibson ES-355 in mint condition seem like too good an offer to refuse?

Liam

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I no expert (far from it), but I currently own a 2014 ES-355, bought new in 2014, and paid roughly what they are asking for the -355 your looking at. I also have a 2009 -355 w/ Bigsby I acquired earlier this year. I think your main concerns should be the overall condition of the guitar and does it come with a money-back return policy.  It's been my experience that -355s hold their value well.

There are numerous threads on here with pros and cons of Richlite. My 2009 ES-355 (yes, 355s are my fav) has an ebony board and there is a noticeable difference in tone between the two (same pickups in both). The 2009 is warmer and richer in tone.  Is this because of the difference in fingerboards? I don't know as there is also 5 years difference in construction, as well as the 2009 has a Bigsby.  But they are both fantastic blues machines.

As for -335 vs -355, the -335s I've owned were lighter in weight, and brighter in tone than the -355s. I sold my -335 when I acquired a -345 (with Varitone). The -345 is basically a dressed up -335 and most have the Varitone Circuit.  

JMHO and hope you find this info useful

 

 

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There are a lot of guitars out there.

I'd poke around and find a 355 with an ebony fret board.  For that kind of money I want real wood but that's just me.

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2 hours ago, SteveFord said:

There are a lot of guitars out there.

I'd poke around and find a 355 with an ebony fret board.  For that kind of money I want real wood but that's just me.

And that's why I now own two (ebony and richlite)  and looking to get rid of one... guess which one? 😉

 

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On 6/5/2019 at 10:27 AM, Mike_L said:

And that's why I now own two (ebony and richlite)  and looking to get rid of one... guess which one?

 

So you find the Richlite to be a notably inferior product than the real wood?

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8 hours ago, 01GT eibach said:

So you find the Richlite to be a notably inferior product than the real wood?

What FZ Fan said...

Richlite is a poor substitute for the real thing. How much a fingerboard relates to a guitar's tone is debatable, but my ebony board -355 sounds richer, fuller than the richlite -355. I would go further and say Richlite is the hallmark of the beginning of the Gibson decline after the feds raided the factories. 

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On 6/8/2019 at 1:33 AM, 01GT eibach said:

So you find the Richlite to be a notably inferior product than the real wood?

They started using Richlite because they had to stop using ebony - to maintain their civil status as free men, able to go to the Club for lunch instead of getting lunch thru the portal in their cell door.  Their having to use using Richlite was like having to wear an ankle monitor in front of the whole rest of the industry.  Gibson sold it as "Look at the fancy jewelry we have on"; everybody else saw the ankle monitor.

 

Richlite may be the fanciest thing since Formica, but the whole situation was a big black mark on Gibson's histiory.  And that's the problem. 

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On 6/8/2019 at 6:24 AM, FZ Fan said:

My King has ebony. I want to sell it. It is a fabulous axe, but I don't touch it anymore. Gibson needs to stop with this Richlite on multi thousand dollar guitars its insulting. On a $700 guitar yes, on a 5k guitar F-U.

 

Agreed, I have two gits with richlite, and from a player's perspective have no problem with richlite, but on a Supreme or 355? gimme a break. Gibson pushed me and many others into used gits and they lose sales not because the git has richlite, but because they're using it on a very uplevel git.

I liken it to buying a premium car with cheap tires or carpeted seating :-) Not me!

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5 hours ago, badbluesplayer said:

They started using Richlite because they had to stop using ebony - to maintain their civil status as free men, able to go to the Club for lunch instead of getting lunch thru the portal in their cell door.  Their having to use using Richlite was like having to wear an ankle monitor in front of the whole rest of the industry.  Gibson sold it as "Look at the fancy jewelry we have on"; everybody else saw the ankle monitor.

Good summary -- thank you.

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