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skipburz

ES-175 vs 335 Neck Feel

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Greetings. So, my two main guitars are a 2012 335 and a 1989 175. The 335 is near perfect for me. It seems to know where my hands are going before I do. However, I'm primarily a jazz play, so for solo or small combo gigs I like to play my 175, which with the mahogany back and sides, sounds just wonderful.  (Not that I can't get a nice jazz tone out of my 335.) I have them set up almost identically - same strings, same action/string height, nut width, etc. The neck profiles are pretty close as well (1st fret is .815 on the 335 and .822 on the 175). However, I'm not sure why they feel so different under my fingers. The 175 is not nearly as fast as the 335 and I seem to have to work harder and to be more intentional with my fingers. It's just not as natural to play. Could it be just because the 175 is close to needing a fret job? Are there other factors I'm not considering like string length from nut to tailpiece? Thanks for your thoughts.

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Is the 335 a stop tailpiece?

A trapeze tailpiece makes a big difference to the feel IMO.

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18 minutes ago, jdgm said:

Is the 335 a stop tailpiece?

A trapeze tailpiece makes a big difference to the feel IMO.

The 335 is the standard TOM bridge and stop tailpiece and the 175 is the stock trapeze. Thanks.

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I've played quite a few 335s but never owned one.  I did own a 175.  As I recall the 175 neck was chunkier.  Your measurements are pretty close at the first fret, but what about further up the neck?  Also you don't mention fingerboard wood which if they are different can feel quite different.  The 175 is a lot thicker body, so you almost have to hold it differently and that can change the angle of your left arm.  Trapeze vs stoptail also will effect how they feel.

They are different models so it doesn't surprise me that they feel different to you.  You mention it might need a fret job soon and that might effect how it feels and plays.  In my 57 years of playing guitar I've never had any fret work done on my guitars, and some of them I owned and played for over 20 years.  I guess I don't press down very hard, but just never thought I needed it, so I can't offer much of an opinion on that subject.  

You mentioned the 175 has mahogany back and sides (has nothing to do with how it feels playing it), but I was just curious if it was a Custom model as  Standard 175s have the maple/poplar/maple sandwich woods?

Edited by Twang Gang

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10 minutes ago, Twang Gang said:

I've played quite a few 335s but never owned one.  I did own a 175.  As I recall the 175 neck was chunkier.  Your measurements are pretty close at the first fret, but what about further up the neck?  Also you don't mention fingerboard wood which if they are different can feel quite different.  The 175 is a lot thicker body, so you almost have to hold it differently and that can change the angle of your left arm.  Trapeze vs stoptail also will effect how they feel.

They are different models so it doesn't surprise me that they feel different to you.  You mention it might need a fret job soon and that might effect how it feels and plays.  In my 57 years of playing guitar I've never had any fret work done on my guitars, and some of them I owned and played for over 20 years.  I guess I don't press down very hard, but just never thought I needed it, so I can't offer much of an opinion on that subject.  

You mentioned the 175 has mahogany back and sides (has nothing to do with how it feels playing it), but I was just curious if it was a Custom model as  Standard 175s have the maple/poplar/maple sandwich woods?

Thanks for the reply. Concerning neck thickness, I know this can be a real rabbit hole with Gibsons. I've owned several 335s over the past 35 years, each completely different in feel. What's curious to me is that the thickness and shape of the neck on these two guitars are pretty close, yet they feel very different under my fingers. (I only gave the thickness at the first fret, but the two necks are consistent.) Both fingerboards are rosewood. I like your theory about body width. Being average height with not especially long fingers, I'm sure the "angle of attack" is off a bit. 

Concerning your question about the mahogany back and sides, most ES-175s made between 1983 and 1990 were mahogany back and sides rather than maple. These are my absolute favorite 175s - especially the ones built from '86-'90 after Henry bought Gibson and morale and quality control really improved.  

Thanks again.

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The mahogany thing is interesting, I never knew that.  Mine was post 1990 so was the maple/poplar/maple version.  I would think a hog body would really make a 175 have a deeper richer tone great for that muted jazz sound.  Enjoy it (even if it is a little harder to play than the 335) 👍

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1 hour ago, Twang Gang said:

The mahogany thing is interesting, I never knew that.  Mine was post 1990 so was the maple/poplar/maple version.  I would think a hog body would really make a 175 have a deeper richer tone great for that muted jazz sound.  Enjoy it (even if it is a little harder to play than the 335) 👍

A couple of years ago, when I finally saved up enough "shekels" to go shopping for a 175, I probably played 25 different guitars. I was up in NYC for a couple of weeks, and went to just about every guitar shop in the five boroughs.  Everyone was nice, but none of them jumped out as a "must have, until I played this one from '89.  It sounded different from every other one I had played. That's when I found out about the mahogany models from the 80s as well as what was going with quality control and morale in the shop in the late-80s. That sealed the deal for me and I was able to get this one at a great price from Bernunzio's in Rochester. (Great guys to work with!) With a set of Thomastiks played through my Fender or Quilter it sounds just beautiful. I'm not normally a "tone chaser", but I recently put in a set of Lindy Fralin's Pure PAFs, which makes it a bit more clear and articulate without getting bright (especially for chord-melody playing). Lindy lives nearby in Virginia, so I was able to work with him on the windings and output.  Thanks again.

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8 hours ago, jdgm said:

Is the 335 a stop tailpiece?

A trapeze tailpiece makes a big difference to the feel IMO.

 

Whoops!

[blush]  [laugh]

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There may be some other factors at play besides the neck & fingerboard that are impacting how you physically approach the guitar.

The most obvious would be the difference in body depth, where the fingerboard meets the body, and overall fingerboard clearance.

I get a similar feeling from my ES-330L (long neck, similar to a 335) - it's as if everything is exactly where it should be & it all feels rather effortless.  My guess is that similarly, your 335 just happens to have a particular combination that fits you to a tee & that's a wonderful thing to find!

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4 hours ago, bobouz said:

There may be some other factors at play besides the neck & fingerboard that are impacting how you physically approach the guitar.

The most obvious would be the difference in body depth, where the fingerboard meets the body, and overall fingerboard clearance.

I get a similar feeling from my ES-330L (long neck, similar to a 335) - it's as if everything is exactly where it should be & it all feels rather effortless.  My guess is that similarly, your 335 just happens to have a particular combination that fits you to a tee & that's a wonderful thing to find!

I think you guys are correct that its body depth and the sum total of all the variables.  Thanks for the input.

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On 5/9/2020 at 8:07 AM, skipburz said:

Greetings. So, my two main guitars are a 2012 335 and a 1989 175. The 335 is near perfect for me. It seems to know where my hands are going before I do. However, I'm primarily a jazz play, so for solo or small combo gigs I like to play my 175, which with the mahogany back and sides, sounds just wonderful.  (Not that I can't get a nice jazz tone out of my 335.) I have them set up almost identically - same strings, same action/string height, nut width, etc. The neck profiles are pretty close as well (1st fret is .815 on the 335 and .822 on the 175). However, I'm not sure why they feel so different under my fingers. The 175 is not nearly as fast as the 335 and I seem to have to work harder and to be more intentional with my fingers. It's just not as natural to play. Could it be just because the 175 is close to needing a fret job? Are there other factors I'm not considering like string length from nut to tailpiece? Thanks for your thoughts.

Hi Skipburz

My first post. I had the same question and ended up here.

I bought the ES-335 for the very reason you mentioned. My fingers just seemed to drift to the right spot. I was more than amazed to hear someone else with a similar experience. I thought I was hallucinating and tried out several in various shops in London and Dubai, and the experience was the same. I must add though when it came to buying one, confusion set in but I was lucky to have a salesman from Anderton's (Guildford, Surrey, England) who knew a lot about the history of the ES-335's neck profiles, which I have mostly forgotten :-(

Armed with that background, I was able to identify the profile that suited me and took it from there. I still do not know the science behind it; thinner profile? wider fret distances? higher frets? slightly longer neck? deeper set into body? - Or as the guys said, body depth. I haven't a clue but it works, Yet the initial magic from my first three demos is still my best experience, which has led me to explore the ES-175 (used of course) or the budget elusive L5.

Thanks for posing the question. In terms of an alternative and affordable  jazz guitar; my Epiphone Sheraton (ES-335 tribute) has an awesome tone with flats albeit after 18 months of searching for and fixing manufacturing faults (who in the world chisels out a nut seat). It is a beast to play with its cheaper heavier woods and a large headstock - I tire easily. I pushed it last summer and ended up with serious back problems for 3 months. As a consequence, my wife approved the ES-335 budget PDQ - there must be easier ways!

Reading the posts here (thanks everyone) I think an ES-175 may be beyond my ability or physiology and for now I'll stick with the ES-335 or maybe even a second one from the used market.

Tony

DSC_1067 (1) copy.heic

Edited by Tonyde
typos and grammar

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21 hours ago, Tonyde said:

Hi Skipburz

My first post. I had the same question and ended up here.

I bought the ES-335 for the very reason you mentioned. My fingers just seemed to drift to the right spot. I was more than amazed to hear someone else with a similar experience. I thought I was hallucinating and tried out several in various shops in London and Dubai, and the experience was the same. I must add though when it came to buying one, confusion set in but I was lucky to have a salesman from Anderton's (Guildford, Surrey, England) who knew a lot about the history of the ES-335's neck profiles, which I have mostly forgotten :-(

Armed with that background, I was able to identify the profile that suited me and took it from there. I still do not know the science behind it; thinner profile? wider fret distances? higher frets? slightly longer neck? deeper set into body? - Or as the guys said, body depth. I haven't a clue but it works, Yet the initial magic from my first three demos is still my best experience, which has led me to explore the ES-175 (used of course) or the budget elusive L5.

Thanks for posing the question. In terms of an alternative and affordable  jazz guitar; my Epiphone Sheraton (ES-335 tribute) has an awesome tone with flats albeit after 18 months of searching for and fixing manufacturing faults (who in the world chisels out a nut seat). It is a beast to play with its cheaper heavier woods and a large headstock - I tire easily. I pushed it last summer and ended up with serious back problems for 3 months. As a consequence, my wife approved the ES-335 budget PDQ - there must be easier ways!

Reading the posts here (thanks everyone) I think an ES-175 may be beyond my ability or physiology and for now I'll stick with the ES-335 or maybe even a second one from the used market.

Tony

DSC_1067 (1) copy.heic 44.78 kB · 2 downloads

Greetings, Tony. I'm so glad you found a 335 you love. The whole business of neck shape and feel can be a real rabbit hole. I owned and played a '67 for many years that had a neck that was different from every other '67 I've come across - much thinner. I'm not sure what was going on on Parsons St. in Kalamazoo when my neck was shaped. Perhaps someone different was working the sander that day!

A 175 is a very different beast.  In terms of weight, I've suffered from back, neck, and shoulder pain due to an injury 30-years ago. I play both my 175 and 335 daily, and don't find the 175 any tougher on me than my 335. They feel different, so switching back and forth actually helps. (As an aside, my new favorite strap is the KLIQ AirCell. It stretches a bit, which provides some "give" when pushing down on your guitar. Again...just an aside.)

Good luck!

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