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michaelb123

Custom shop es 335 or not

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Hi all pardon my ignorance but i have a few questions abuut an es 335 i might be buying. I was told its a 2012 custom shop but when i searched the serial number it appeared to be a 2011 and not from the custom shop but Im new to es guitars and dont really know much about them...other than thinking they are awesome. Also the seller told me its stock original but im wondering if the tuners are in fact original...any ideas re above, exactly what model it is and its value approx.. Thank you in advance.

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Edited by michaelb123

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That link was a great read and really helped me get my head around the guitar..but there was no reference to custom shop...anyone got any links to es 335 custom shop specific information..cheers

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Hi Michael,

All the 335's from that period came with a "Gibson Custom" certificate and with "Custom" on the case but they were built in the now defunct  Memphis factory and are not "Custom Shop" guitars. This is something that comes up quite frequently and causes confusion for obvious reasons.

If the seller is claiming it's a "Custom Shop", he either doesn't know his guitar or he's being slightly economical with the truth. Of course non of this is important if it really is a great 335, but it's something  you should know before parting with your cash.     

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12 hours ago, IanHenry said:

Hi Michael,

All the 335's from that period came with a "Gibson Custom" certificate and with "Custom" on the case but they were built in the now defunct  Memphis factory and are not "Custom Shop" guitars. This is something that comes up quite frequently and causes confusion for obvious reasons.

If the seller is claiming it's a "Custom Shop", he either doesn't know his guitar or he's being slightly economical with the truth. Of course non of this is important if it really is a great 335, but it's something  you should know before parting with your cash.     

Thanks so much for that...the final piece of the jigsaw puzzle solved..Im a bit obsessive about being 100 percent clear about what im intending to purchase..I guess the term Custom and Custom Shop have got muddled in guitars post custom shop...thanks for the input

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On 9/14/2020 at 8:22 AM, IanHenry said:

Hi Michael,

All the 335's from that period came with a "Gibson Custom" certificate and with "Custom" on the case but they were built in the now defunct  Memphis factory and are not "Custom Shop" guitars. This is something that comes up quite frequently and causes confusion for obvious reasons.

If the seller is claiming it's a "Custom Shop", he either doesn't know his guitar or he's being slightly economical with the truth. Of course non of this is important if it really is a great 335, but it's something  you should know before parting with your cash.     

^This^   Gibson marketing really made it difficult for future owners with this questionable tactic.  Technically they are "Custom Shop Series" models.  I know by 2014 they ceased doing that.  

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This guitar was definitely built in 2011, with a typical Gibson serial number.  The Certificate of Authenticity (COA) is legitimate.  I have a 2011 ES-335 with P-90s, with the same setup.

There was no separate custom shop at the Memphis facility.  In reality, models with a COA like this were limited editions or special runs, sometimes exclusive to a particular dealer - usually with a few altered or unique features.  Gibson and/or sellers would often call them ‘custom shop’ models, but all of this was more for marketing purposes than anything else.

There were also some Memphis models produced in this era with actual Custom Shop (CS) serials numbers & headstock logo, but these models were also manufactured on standard assembly lines.  They sometimes included the aforementioned limited edition or special run models, but also included at least one ongoing production line model, the ES-339, first released in 2007 (I own a 2009 with the CS moniker).  Another I know of (and own) with a CS serial number & logo was billed as a limited edition, but remained in production for four years (ES-330L).

So yes, this stuff can be confusing, and similar questions do come up from time to time - you are not alone!

Edit - Almost forgot, Gibson has frequently used standard Grover tuners on ES models & they most likely are original on the instrument you’re considering.

Edited by bobouz

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Also note that some Custom Shop ES’s were sometimes made in Nashville while regular ES’ers were being made in Memphis. The pressed in serial number tells you it’s regular production.  Sometimes.  By the way that’s a very sexy guitar.

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Also, more confusing is the decal  "Gibson Custom Shop" on the back of the headstock with a "CS-xxxxxx" serial number, made in Memphis.
 

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6 hours ago, kaicho8888 said:

Also, more confusing is the decal  "Gibson Custom Shop" on the back of the headstock with a "CS-xxxxxx" serial number, made in Memphis.
 

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This is exactly what I make reference to in my post above regarding my 2009 ES-339 and 2010 ES-330L, both with a CS serial number & logo.

An additional variation from those already mentioned is having the serial number stamped inside the body & visible through the right F-hole, as on my 2012 ES-330 VOS (and no info on the back of the headstock).  This guitar came with the same Custom Shop COA & "Gibson Custom" case.

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It may have been made in the Custom Shop, but it is not a CS guitar. My BB King, I think was made in the Custom Shop but back then it was a production guitar.

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I've been to the Gibson Memphis tour many times since it was only 30 mins from my home. I seem to recall in the early 2000 through 2010, the guide mentioned that the Memphis shop was in the same division as the Custom Shop in Nashville... admittedly, I'm not sure if I understood the situation.  Either way, it's trivia and confusing.

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3 hours ago, Sgt. Pepper said:

It may have been made in the Custom Shop, but it is not a CS guitar. My BB King, I think was made in the Custom Shop but back then it was a production guitar.

 

Yes, that’s part of the essential point of the assorted commentary above.  Your scenario played out with other production models, and also for limited edition or special run models.

They were all manufactured on regular production lines, because there was no separate ‘custom shop’ at the Memphis facility.

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During that period, Gibson called the whole Memphis factory "The Memphis Custom Shop."  That's where the confusion started.  Of course, that's what Gibson wanted to do, was associate the Custom Shop name with all the Memphis production.  Somebody cashed out on that whole thing, but it just cheapened the Custom Shop moniker.

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On 9/26/2020 at 9:44 AM, badbluesplayer said:

During that period, Gibson called the whole Memphis factory "The Memphis Custom Shop."  That's where the confusion started.  Of course, that's what Gibson wanted to do, was associate the Custom Shop name with all the Memphis production.  Somebody cashed out on that whole thing, but it just cheapened the Custom Shop moniker.

Actually, Gibson mentioned it at times, but did not exclusively call Memphis the "Memphis Custom Shop".  It was this cat and mouse marketing game they played with the the term "Custom" and "Custom Shop". 

When all is said and done with the terminology, it should be noted that Memphis made guitars are generally excellent.  Much better as a whole than than the Gibson USA line.  So not  being "genuine Gibson Custom Shop" models does not mean they are second class citizens. 

 

Edited by Wmachine

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