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dreamingGibson

2018 Gibson ES-330 Limited Release VOS Dark Cherry

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Finally, its here!!

My first high end, one time big time purchase.. my first ever Gibson..

Due to reading all the negative comments about Gibson, over the years, I have learned to avoid them. Having never played one, this was a gamble.

It was a big risk ordering online.. The store I bought this from is the only store that has it and it's from another state.. Knowing the horror stories, I was really afraid of getting a lemon.

But when I opened it, played it, all my fears where unfounded.. This is a really great guitar.. solidly built and its in the right shade of Cherry that I love on ES guitars.

49839711276_53d6db53e0_b.jpgUntitled by D Y, on Flickr

49840015202_507ca880ca_b.jpgUntitled by D Y, on Flickr

The VOS finish is nice.. I know some dont like it.. but I do.. the light relicing on the hardwares as well.. not too overdone and I like it this way..

I also had a lot of experience with Casinos, and Korean built hollowbodies.. This is definitely worth the money.. and a few steps above those.. I have never tried a Japanese made Casino, but I know for a fact that Japanese guitars are well made and probably couldve been the same quality for lesser price.
But I want a Gibson, and I want my first one to be a nice one.. No buzzing, perfect action out of the box (for me, although I play 11's and this would be re-strung and nut cut properly when my luthier's shop opens).. hardwares are solid.

I think some people may be exaggerating things a bit on Gibson's quality.. but i know some are true.. but Im happy I'm one of the people who got a good one..

49839711151_6d190d5b9e_b.jpgUntitled by D Y, on Flickr

49839170058_1a0668f21e_b.jpgUntitled by D Y, on Flickr

The neck feels great! chunky quartersawn mahogany (as per spec sheet).. Man I was expecting a slim neck, but this one is nice and round.. although I wish it was fatter, like 1-inch all through, but this is fine.. very comfortable..

and the rosewood is very nice, dark and well conditioned.

49839170153_1543fb401d_b.jpgUntitled by D Y, on Flickr

49840015152_94ed9cc294_b.jpgUntitled by D Y, on Flickr

Now of course, there are some things that I think couldve done better.. Nut is a bit high, but thats okay as it's going to be recut for 11's.. and some very minor finish flaw on the f-holes, where the black goes over the red paint.. I can live with it.. 

and some minor tooling marks on the fretboard binding edges.. for this price, I would expect QC people would take some time correcting those.. so those are the bad..

All in all, the tone is glorious and the good outweighs the bad for me.. Def not going back, I'll keep it and play it long..

coming from a Fender nut and a Telecaster addict, I can say, I might have been swayed and now going to the dark side.. I look forward to getting another Gibson.. probably an ES-335 or a Les Paul??

49840015137_71bd0d087f_b.jpgUntitled by D Y, on Flickr

49840125347_8b81635936_b.jpgUntitled by D Y, on Flickr


Here's another look at the hardwares..

When my wife saw it for the first time when I opened the case, she said "you didnt spend this much to get a used guitar did you? Are you sure this is a new guitar? How long was it hanging in the store? Why is it rusted??"

the treatment is just right for me.. not too light, and not overdone.. Perfect..

49865493187_987c953662_b.jpgUntitled by D Y, on Flickr

49864644008_da9844135d_b.jpgUntitled by D Y, on Flickr

49865182766_f33ce80d03_b.jpgUntitled by D Y, on Flickr


I love the feel of this fretboard.. the grains are tight and havent opened up yet.. 

49865182646_fe25694ea5_b.jpgUntitled by D Y, on Flickr


Finally the lighting is just perfect.. I think the other photos made it look quite bright red.. but this is the closest I have ever gotten to the color in real life

49865493287_f7d14a57d2_b.jpgUntitled by D Y, on Flickr

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Also,

are you guys bothered by the slight misalignment of strings? its leaning towards the bass side and while it's not affecting playability, its triggering my OCD.. not sure if the neck is set incorrectly or the bridge itself.. I also see this on other Les Pauls, 335's SGs, etc.. 

I know I can notch the saddles and have it spread evenly across the fretboard, but I prefer the strings to be centered on the saddles instead.. did you guys have this kind of problem with your Gibsons?

I dont want to return it as it sounds so good, and besides the fact that its a 2018 model and I may not find another one that sounds as good and the neck profile might vary..


here's some front photos to show the misalignment.. 

49902815098_de69a42243_b.jpgUntitled by D Y, on Flickr

49903328186_243d6bdab1_b.jpgUntitled by D Y, on Flickr

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I am very fussy about neck alignment and always check carefully. TBH this is because I need the extra real estate either side of the e strings. This doesn't look too bad to me and a small bias to the low E side like this usually plays nicely. 

If it doesn't affect function, and I'm guessing it doesn't; then enjoy your beautiful guitar without reservation. It really does look excellent . Nice catch! 🙂 👍

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50 minutes ago, merciful-evans said:

I am very fussy about neck alignment and always check carefully. TBH this is because I need the extra real estate either side of the e strings. This doesn't look too bad to me and a small bias to the low E side like this usually plays nicely. 

If it doesn't affect function, and I'm guessing it doesn't; then enjoy your beautiful guitar without reservation. It really does look excellent . Nice catch! 🙂 👍


 

thank you sir. 
 

TBH, Its just aesthetics to me, including all the issues Ive mentioned (tooling marks on bindings, etc etc), and its just driving my OCD and given the fact that I cannot unscrew and re-screw the neck on this one and thats giving me something to think about even if its very slight.

i’m used to have very little real estate on both sides as Ive been playing vintage spec teles and I never had any problem. 

i do agree with you that it really plays nice. Solidly built and VERY NICE sounding instrument. It actually sounds better unplugged than my Yamaha Fs820. Lol. 
 

but yeah. That small bias just made it “almost” perfect, but at the same time, giving it a bit of character

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Congrats!  The reds like that are  really hard to photograph and get the real beauty of it.  I presume it is semi transparent and you can see the the wood grain?  I love that look, but you can't easily get that in a photo.  

 

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Nice find, glad you are enjoying it.  I don't really see the string misalignment that you refer to.  As I look at the strings, all six are pretty close to centered over the screws on the pickups.  I've seen worse and as long as it plays and sounds good stop worrying about minor imperfections.  Just play it and enjoy it 👍

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6 hours ago, Wmachine said:

Congrats!  The reds like that are  really hard to photograph and get the real beauty of it.  I presume it is semi transparent and you can see the the wood grain?  I love that look, but you can't easily get that in a photo.


thank you sir,

it is very hard to photograph! Well, the red is the perfect shade of red that I love on ES-3xx guitars. And the only other color I want on an ES is black. 
 

the wood grain is visible, but the wood itself isn’t crazy figured. You can see some grains but its Kind of plain looking, which is fine by me. Not really looking to get that crazy grains you can see on vintage ES-3xx guitars. Maybe when its older and the color is fading, the grains would pop more!

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4 hours ago, Twang Gang said:

Nice find, glad you are enjoying it.  I don't really see the string misalignment that you refer to.  As I look at the strings, all six are pretty close to centered over the screws on the pickups.  I've seen worse and as long as it plays and sounds good stop worrying about minor imperfections.  Just play it and enjoy it 👍


on this photo, its very noticeable;

49865182646_b9a769613c_k.jpgUntitled by D Y, on Flickr
 

the strings run over the pickup poles perfectly which is great, but you can still see the strings leaning toward the bass side here;

49864644008_b8c1ab4773_k.jpgUntitled by D Y, on Flickr

 

Yes, it really doesnt affect playability, and it plays really well. I dont see it when playing and i forget about it when I’m in the tone zone anyway  lol.

 

but there are times when I just open the case, bring the guitar our, and stare at it and marvel on its beauty. Then I see the slight misalignment. 

 

 

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Congratulations on your first Gibson.  330's have been under-appreciated for so long, and it's nice to see them getting more attention in recent years.  I've been a Gibson player for over 40 years, and I've seen a lot of cherry red Gibsons (and have owned several), and I would never ever call this  finish "dark cherry".  That doesn't mean it's not attractive, it just means it's not "dark cherry".  But I'm no longer that surprised by anything I see from Gibson these days.

 

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1 hour ago, JimR56 said:

Congratulations on your first Gibson.  330's have been under-appreciated for so long, and it's nice to see them getting more attention in recent years.  I've been a Gibson player for over 40 years, and I've seen a lot of cherry red Gibsons (and have owned several), and I would never ever call this  finish "dark cherry".  That doesn't mean it's not attractive, it just means it's not "dark cherry".  But I'm no longer that surprised by anything I see from Gibson these days.

 

 

The stock photos are actually deceiving..

gibson-memphis-es-330-vos-2018-dark-cher

 

but when it arrived, it was just Cherry Red.. but I love this color anyway, dark or just standard cherry, Im okay with it.. would love to have it just like it was in the stock photo though.. 

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I agree with you, the photos can be deceiving.  Most of all, they just shouldn't be using the word "Dark" in their description of the finish color.

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Beautiful guitar.  I have a 2012 330-VOS in a natural finish.  I'm very impressed with the VOS finish in natural, and I like the effect on yours as well.  Where it doesn't work for me is on a sunburst finish.

As for the string alignment, that would suit me to a tee, as I prefer having some extra room on the Ist string side & actually set my guitars up that way whenever possible - Nothing worse than having the string slip off the edge of the fingerboard because of a lack of real estate.  But each of us owns our own unique OCD.  Hopefully, you can also employ your own unique rationalization tools in order to neutralize the OCD!

Congrats & Enjoy.

Edited by bobouz

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15 hours ago, dreamingGibson said:


thank you sir,

it is very hard to photograph! Well, the red is the perfect shade of red that I love on ES-3xx guitars. And the only other color I want on an ES is black. 
 

the wood grain is visible, but the wood itself isn’t crazy figured. You can see some grains but its Kind of plain looking, which is fine by me. Not really looking to get that crazy grains you can see on vintage ES-3xx guitars. Maybe when its older and the color is fading, the grains would pop more!

The top wood for that guitar is called "plain" as opposed to figured, so you will generally see no figuring there.  There are other cherry finishes that are much more transparent and show their beautiful plain tops more easily.  Like my avitar pic guitar, a 2016 '64 ES-345 reissue (using a stock shot for clarity):

ACtC-3dcHWUIBMOooUaI8qHwwVoKAsQIybs441-h

That is a different cherry ("sixties cherry") and a different finish  (VOS)

I think my 2016 Lucille has the same Cherry color and finish as yours.  I think it is less transparent.  It does have subtle figuring in the wood, though it is not spec'd as a figured top.  Much harder see from a distance and even harder to photograph.  In person it looks like glowing embers. 

Again, a stock photo for clarity.  But like you say, even the stock photos don't bring out all of the beauty.

ACtC-3dhKCdOgZwHdcgWsiRdWSc57z39yQ0hY4Hi

 

Edited by Wmachine

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17 hours ago, bobouz said:

Beautiful guitar.  I have a 2012 330-VOS in a natural finish.  I'm very impressed with the VOS finish in natural, and I like the effect on yours as well.  Where it doesn't work for me is on a sunburst finish.

As for the string alignment, that would suit me to a tee, as I prefer having some extra room on the Ist string side & actually set my guitars up that way whenever possible - Nothing worse than having the string slip off the edge of the fingerboard because of a lack of real estate.  But each of us owns our own unique OCD.  Hopefully, you can also employ your own unique rationalization tools in order to neutralize the OCD!

Congrats & Enjoy.

Hi sir,

Thank you. Like you, I was very impressed with the VOS finish. I like it better than any of the stage of Fender relic'ing.. and at least the body doesnt have any dents or scratches.. just dulling of paint and some hardware dulling, although I might buff those with rusted parts as it doesnt look so appealing. LOL

on sunburst, Im okay if its a vintage piece, with the checks and real nitro fade and wear.. I dont like them shiny and new.. thats another reason why I didnt go for the other standard Memphis in sunset burst.. and I also dont like the burst at the back.. the stock photos show a brown color back but the actual items have burst which I didnt like.. I think the only thing I wish is that they put the gold reflector knobs on the red to have a little bit of contrast..

 

and regarding the string alignment, the more I look at it, the more its okay to me.. its not affecting anything.. in fact the wider nut width, string spacing and neck width at the 12th fret affected me more in terms of playing style and getting used to it.. Ive played vintage spec telecasters with narrower nut width and neck and gotten so used to it that this neck is a welcome change.. no more cramped fretboard for me. LOL..

I may actually have it adjusted slightly when I have it professionally set up and when Faber hardware comes in with un notched saddles..for now, I'll enjoy this as is.. its a really good sounding instrument..

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14 hours ago, Wmachine said:

The top wood for that guitar is called "plain" as opposed to figured, so you will generally see no figuring there.  There are other cherry finishes that are much more transparent and show their beautiful plain tops more easily.  Like my avitar pic guitar, a 2016 '64 ES-345 reissue (using a stock shot for clarity):

ACtC-3dcHWUIBMOooUaI8qHwwVoKAsQIybs441-h

That is a different cherry ("sixties cherry") and a different finish  (VOS)

I think my 2016 Lucille has the same Cherry color and finish as yours.  I think it is less transparent.  It does have subtle figuring in the wood, though it is not spec'd as a figured top.  Much harder see from a distance and even harder to photograph.  In person it looks like glowing embers. 

Again, a stock photo for clarity.  But like you say, even the stock photos don't bring out all of the beauty.

ACtC-3dhKCdOgZwHdcgWsiRdWSc57z39yQ0hY4Hi

 

 

I actually like both reds you posted.. I stand by my preference that an ES looks soooo goood in Cherry Red than any other color.. although its strange to see a Lucille in a different color other than black and gold. LOL. but its a nice one! how does yours play? I actually want to get the Epiphone version of it..

 

on the 64, I see that the string alignment is also not centered and leaning towards the treble side.. Im guessing thats more expensive than my 330 VOS.. im sensing that this is quite a normal thing for Gibsons and having strings centered on the fretboard is a lucky one.. LOL

 

 

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5 hours ago, dreamingGibson said:

Like you, I was very impressed with the VOS finish. I like it better than any of the stage of Fender relic'ing.. and at least the body doesnt have any dents or scratches.. just dulling of paint and some hardware dulling, although I might buff those with rusted parts as it doesnt look so appealing. LOL

I think the only thing I wish is that they put the gold reflector knobs on the red to have a little bit of contrast..

Yes, buffing out the rusty looking spots might give it a more even look overall.  My 330-VOS has the dulled hardware, but no rust - And I think it sets up a very clean look that nails the "closet queen" idea behind the VOS finish.

As for the stock knobs on your guitar, I really like the way they look on there - but it's something that can be changed & returned to stock if desired, so experimenting carries no risk!

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9 hours ago, dreamingGibson said:

 

I actually like both reds you posted.. I stand by my preference that an ES looks soooo goood in Cherry Red than any other color.. although its strange to see a Lucille in a different color other than black and gold. LOL. but its a nice one! how does yours play? I actually want to get the Epiphone version of it..

On the 64, I see that the string alignment is also not centered and leaning towards the treble side.. Im guessing thats more expensive than my 330 VOS.. im sensing that this is quite a normal thing for Gibsons and having strings centered on the fretboard is a lucky one.. LOL

 

 

And that non-centered '64 RI shot is a studio pic! 

Actually, mine is quite centered:

ACtC-3dT6SNB2m9okevvQx94CIAzLnKss6CYBFQG

 

The Lucille is amazing.  When you open the case, it looks like a jewel laying there.  Feels great, plays great.  It is hard not to be totally impressed with it.  But here is the best kept secret about it:  It is a high gain rock machine.  ES models, though used for hard rock even, have limitations due to feedback at high volume and gain.  But with the lack of F-holes and even the choice of pups lets this really come alive at those ES forbidden levels.  Sure, we obviously think of it as a blues guitar.  But crank it up to 11 and you'll see it go where no other ES model can go.  

Can't say how the EPI model would be, but I think it would be decent.  I would never have bought a Gibson one, but I got mine at a mind-numbing price brand new from the CMI blowout years ago.

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Very nice indeed - congrats, I agree there is no other make of guitar with quite the same feel.

Best wishes!

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Did someone say red Lucille?

They really have a different feel to them than a 335 (which I also have).  

A big, heavy monster of a guitar.  You'll see why BB King was always sitting down and it wasn't just due to old age.

LjXLuI9.jpg

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1 hour ago, SteveFord said:

Did someone say red Lucille?

They really have a different feel to them than a 335 (which I also have).  

A big, heavy monster of a guitar.  You'll see why BB King was always sitting down and it wasn't just due to old age.

LjXLuI9.jpg

 It was heavier than any LP I ever owned 

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