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Gremlyng

Gibson 339 Help

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Hi All,

I'm new here although I'm not new to gear, I also work in the music industry and have played for many years.

I 've been drooling over the smaller Gibson 339 for a while, my questions relate to the various variants of this model that I have come across, I can see a few different types which has me scratching my head. I'm traditionally more of a Fender man if I'm honest.

I'm looking at one  guitar which is a 2015 custom shop with dot inlays, vintage Kluson machine heads, custom shop logo on rear of headstock......... The second guitar is 2016 and has block inlays and Grover machine heads, it doesn't have the custom shop logo on the rear of the neck volute. ( I have read that these are not bespoke 'custom shop' guitars they are just produced in a different factory which make the ES range of guitars in the USA) I'm also awar e of the far more expensive variant with flame book matched tops etc... and the bespoke customer order guitars that come from the real custom shop.

Of the two I'm looking at would one be considered  more desirable over the other? There doesn't seem to be much in the way of detailed product history for this model. (I prefer the darker fingerboard on the 2016 model)

Cheers in advance to anyone that reads this and helps shine some light.

Paul (Gremlyng)

 

Edited by Gremlyng

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A CS-356 has been my main guitar since 2003 and though I've followed the small-bodied models fairly closely, I may not be 100% accurate on every detail here: 

"Most" of the variations in the smaller-bodied Gibsons are revealed in the model numbers. With the ES-339 and ES-359, the 339 has a rosewood fingerboard, dot inlays and single-ply binding and nickel hardware while the 359 has an ebony fretboard, multi-ply binding, block inlays, gold hardware and the split-trapezoid headstock inlay with headstock binding and Grovers. [These appointments roughly correspond to the difference between an LP Standard and an LP Custom.] The ES-339 and ES-359 are otherwise constructed the same - ply tops, backs and sides glued around a center block like an ES-335. EDIT: There's also an ES-339 Figured model discussed below.

There have been year-to-year variations on where they were constructed (Memphis or the Nashville custom shop) a few years ago, which determines where they have Custom Shop decals. There were a few years (I believe) where the fretboards were Richlite instead of the originally spec'd rosewood or ebony. I'm not certain when Gibson switched from Klusons to Grovers on the various 339s

All that aesthetic detail is also true of the CS-336 and CS-356 models (except for the Grovers) - these look very similar to the ES-339 and ES-359 but are constructed completely differently. Their bodies are routed out of a solid slab of mahogany then topped with carved book-matched maple - like an LP with f-holes. They're usually much more expensive because of all the (formerly) solid woods and being built in the Custom Shop.

Then there are the variants of the Johnny A model - Also a small bodied Gibson, but with a different body shape, and less "center-block" area inside. I mention the Johnny A since you're usually a "Fender Guy" and these use a Fender scale-length rather than the standard Gibson one.

Anyway... I think what you're actually looking at might be an ES-339 vs an ES-359. The blingier one (if it has the split-parallelogram headstock inlay it's a 359), and though they were originally quite a bit more expensive than the 339s and often had more figured tops, the difference is mostly going to be aesthetic... It's also possible the block inlay/Grovers one is technically an "ES-339 Figured" model if it has the 'Tulip' headstock detail rather than the split-parallelogram" inlay on the headstock and single-ply binding. Those currently list for $700 more than the 'non-figured'. I *think* the only difference is the grade of the wood figure...

Here's the specs on the current "ES-339" https://www.gibson.com/Guitar/USAPRN180/ES-339/Cherry

Here's the specs on the "ES-339 Figured" https://www.gibson.com/Guitar/USARIR238/ES-339-Figured/Sixties-Cherry

The Specs for the ES-359 are not currently on Gibson's website, not even in the Legacy Archive which covers 2015-2109 http://legacy.gibson.com

'Hope that helps

Edited by clayville
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The 2016 has block inlays which  looks a little classier in my opinion,  I have the  2018 version for that reason 

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Thanks to everyone that gave me such great advice, especially @clayvilleit's massively appreciated.

I actually bought an ES-339 this evening from someone local, by fate it appeared for sale and was literally 30 minutes down the road from me! The guitar was originally bought in 2013, I got a deal that I just couldn't ignore!  She's called 'Marian' according to the previous owner, after his late mother.

Model - ES339ARDNH1

It came with the original Gibson pre-pack checklist and the black tolex covered certificate wallet and of course the original case.

Picture doesn't do the finish justice

Cheers Guys

Marian .jpg

Edited by Gremlyng
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It's all gone majorly wrong guys and I'm absolutely gutted!

When I bought the guitar I noticed the neck had a little too much relief I thought nothing of it, as it played very well and looked well cared for, I figured I'd just adjust it when I got home.  I discovered that the truss rod was actually adjusted all the way up or tightened as far as it would go and yet there was still a little too much reilef in the neck.

I took the string tension off and left it over night, this morning when I got up there was still relief in the neck! You would expect with it adjusted up so far that without string tension that you would see serious back bow.

The guy said he hadn't played the guitar for quite some time and that was the reason for selling it, he felt it was a waste to have sat in the case unplayed, I suspect that the rather large silica gel bag placed in the case had completely dried out the wood and caused the neck to warp, or perhaps that it had been kept somewhere with too dry a humidity.

Although I'm 2000% gutted the guy was kind and decent enough to take the guitar back and refund me my money. I just thought to update you all as it almost feels therapeutic to share this with like minded people.

So so gutted, I hardly slept a wink last night what for worry.  Do I look for another or just forget the idea, of course this is probably a one off case of bad luck but I'm so paranoid now that I'm almost too scared to look for another example.

Cheers

 

Edited by Gremlyng
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Too bad it didn't work out, that looked like it was in nice condition.  But a bad neck is no good, so it's great that the seller took it back and refunded your money.  That is certainly a rare occurrence with these guitars, so don't give up looking for another.

Did you like the tone of it?  Personally I am a much bigger fan of the 336 and 356 which are made from solid woods and not the maple laminate.  They are more expensive than the 339 and usually more difficult to find, but I like the tones better.

Either way keep looking you will eventually find one that is 100% and you will enjoy it for many years to come.

Here is a 336 I owned:

rt2zc7f.jpg

Then I sold it and got this 356 after seeing Clayville's beauty:

qGJQAwn.jpg

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8 hours ago, Twang Gang said:

Too bad it didn't work out, that looked like it was in nice condition.  But a bad neck is no good, so it's great that the seller took it back and refunded your money.  That is certainly a rare occurrence with these guitars, so don't give up looking for another.

Did you like the tone of it?  Personally I am a much bigger fan of the 336 and 356 which are made from solid woods and not the maple laminate.  They are more expensive than the 339 and usually more difficult to find, but I like the tones better.

Either way keep looking you will eventually find one that is 100% and you will enjoy it for many years to come.

Here is a 336 I owned:

rt2zc7f.jpg

Then I sold it and got this 356 after seeing Clayville's beauty:

qGJQAwn.jpg

Thanks for the words of encouragment,

They are both very very nice guitars........ Although I do tend to prefer the slightly more plain looking models, having said that I do appreciate the difference in solid woods as opposed to laminate, also the cost difference which can be massively more. 😕  I've already got a Fender strat that cost me well over 4K so I'm not against expensive guitars although that strat is very plain on the eye,  just comes down to personal taste I guess.

 

Edited by Gremlyng

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What does everyone think of this one -  https://reverb.com/uk/item/22621509-es-339-memphis-sunburst-2016

Having just expeirenced some bad luck on the Cherry 339, I'm being very careful.  I can't tell if the guita in the link above has been re-fretted?  It also looks like the frets go to the end of the finger board as opposed to being crowned by the binding........ Maybe this is correct? Or maybe I'm just being paranoid and my eyes are decieving me.

 

8.Full front guitar. 13645738.jpg

Edited by Gremlyng

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On 3/16/2020 at 12:08 AM, Gremlyng said:

What does everyone think of this one -  https://reverb.com/uk/item/22621509-es-339-memphis-sunburst-2016

Having just expeirenced some bad luck on the Cherry 339, I'm being very careful.  I can't tell if the guita in the link above has been re-fretted?  It also looks like the frets go to the end of the finger board as opposed to being crowned by the binding........ Maybe this is correct? Or maybe I'm just being paranoid and my eyes are decieving me.

 

8.Full front guitar. 13645738.jpg

The seller sent me a photo of the fingerboard etc....   My eyes tell me it's been re-fretted and or stoned fress dressed and not undertaken particularly well there is also lots  of fret wear presenet despite this, the binding profile has been all but destroyed in the process!  I don't think I am destined to have a 339 :-(

 

1. Fret and fingerboard.jpg

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Hi Gremlyng, 

The photo of the fret board clearly shows that the nibs are missing so it's probably had a re-fret, i'd pass on that one if I was in your shoe's unless it's particularly cheap. 

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7 hours ago, IanHenry said:

Hi Gremlyng, 

The photo of the fret board clearly shows that the nibs are missing so it's probably had a re-fret, i'd pass on that one if I was in your shoe's unless it's particularly cheap. 

Hi Ian, 

It's  on the table at £1,425 GBP  I have  decided against it as there are just too many question marks over the frets - Scarily it's still on Reverb for sale and described as being in 'Excellent' condition....     Where it does appear so on first view - There is excessive fret wear especially considering it's only 4 year old.

I pity the poor soul who buys it and ends up having to pay out for a stone / fret dress in absolutely no time. 

Without making any bad blood I have advised that the seller add to the listing that there is quite heavy fret wear, if they don't they are likley to see it get returned for credit......... they appear to have done nothing.

Cheers

Paul

Edited by Gremlyng

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Oh Paul, your in the U.K! There seems to be quite a few 339's for sale on e-bay.

I'd be wary of the "Custom Shop" moniker, as far as I know all 339 & 335's were made in the Memphis factory not the Custom shop. It's just something Gibson chose to do for some strange reason.  

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I have a 2018 339 and if one plays and sound better for you that's the desirable one :-) If you can't play either, then get the one that ticks the most visual boxes.

 

 

 

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Sorry to hear.. Don't give up. That happens.

It may be that period? Our Lead Guitarist went thru 2-3 during that period & they all had some kind of issue.. He returned them all & got something else.. 

I've shied away from them. But, if I were interested it would probably be the one with the Ebony Fretboard...

I did buy a Gibson Memphis Blacktop ES Les Paul with MHS Pickups & Bigsby that is an absolute fantastic Guitar.. And it's good Looking! Like a Bad *** Tuxedo... Under 6 lbs. One of the ES Les Paul's might be a consideration.?

I'm keeping my eye out for another one, the Gold Top, P90's & Bigsby.. 

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