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335 VOS owner longing for the 330 sound


tremolo arm
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Aside from the 335, I am fortunate to also own a Les Paul a couple of custom shop Strats, a Gretsch 6120 RHH and a Tele Baja.

The 335 is my latest acquisition. Before I bought it I did some extensive research and decided to pull the trigger on a 2015 ES-335 63 RI VOS with factory Bigsy. I was very particular about the aesthetics, especially a really dark rosewood fretboard and block inlays. It has the "dog' ears (as opposed to mouse), and a gorgeous cherry paint job with the VOS treatment. The "Custom Made" plaque adds a nice element of authenticity. It even smells amazing.

I didn't (and still don't) like light brown rosewood for the fretboard and dot inlays. 

I love everything about the aesthetics of the guitar - it just oozes tons of vintage mojo.

However, I have now come to terms with the fact that I prefer the tone and feel of the ES-330 (the standard, short neck). Having played one, that hollow honky percussive snappiness has just stayed in my head and I miss that on the 335.

What mods can I do the the 335 to make it sound more like a 330? I am fully conscious of the differences is construction (hollow vs. semi hollow) and neck joint position and I realise these are fundamental differences, but would changing the nylon saddles for example bring a bit more grunt to the tone. How about pickups? Are there any P90 style pickups that are humbucker-shaped and can be dropped in instead of the MHS pickups? What other mods can I do to make the tone 330-esque?

 

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Edited by tremolo arm
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There are all sorts of things you could change in  your pursuit of the 330 sound but I don't know how close you would get.  If you really prefer the 330 sound I think you need to sell the 335 and get a 330.  I am not trying to be a wise *** I just think no matter how you mod the 335 it's never going to quite make it.  So you'll spend time/money and possibly never be satisfied with what you have achieved.  Also in making a bunch of mods to this really nice 335 you will devalue it as it will no longer be what it was intended to be.

On the other hand, changing out the nylon saddles is pretty cheap, easy to do and easily reversible so you might start there.  If it doesn't have much effect, just get a 330.

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First drop a Gibson P-94R  into the neck position.  This is Gibson’s humbucker-sized single-coil replacement, and a great pickup.  See how close that gets you to the tone you’re after, and then you can decide if you want to get the companion P-94T for the bridge pickup.

A lot of folks like changing just the neck pickup & leaving the bridge humbucker.  The R pickup is currently available from Musicians Friend (Guitar Center) online.   I just ordered one myself for modifying my 1990 Gibson Tennessean.  They currently don’t stock the T pickup, but it’s on backorder at Sweetwater.  Gibson’s P-94 set used to be widely available, but of late it’s become rather difficult to source either one.  I used to have both on a Epiphone Riviera (Nick Valensi version), and they do indeed deliver a full P-90 tone (but of course with subtle differences when mounted in a semi-hollow).

Also note, there are cheapo copies out there, so don’t be fooled by eBay offers.

Good luck chasing that tone.  I also have two ES-330s, so I can understand where you’re coming from.  The P-94R will get you headed in the right direction!

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7 hours ago, bobouz said:

First drop a Gibson P-94R  into the neck position.  This is Gibson’s humbucker-sized single-coil replacement, and a great pickup.  See how close that gets you to the tone you’re after, and then you can decide if you want to get the companion P-94T for the bridge pickup.

A lot of folks like changing just the neck pickup & leaving the bridge humbucker.  The R pickup is currently available from Musicians Friend (Guitar Center) online.   I just ordered one myself for modifying my 1990 Gibson Tennessean.  They currently don’t stock the T pickup, but it’s on backorder at Sweetwater.  Gibson’s P-94 set used to be widely available, but of late it’s become rather difficult to source either one.  I used to have both on a Epiphone Riviera (Nick Valensi version), and they do indeed deliver a full P-90 tone (but of course with subtle differences when mounted in a semi-hollow).

Also note, there are cheapo copies out there, so don’t be fooled by eBay offers.

Good luck chasing that tone.  I also have two ES-330s, so I can understand where you’re coming from.  The P-94R will get you headed in the right direction!

 

Thank you. I am in the UK. Can't find stock here but a German retailer stocks the neck (and only the neck) for the equivalent of $125. Might try it

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8 minutes ago, tremolo arm said:

 

Thank you. I am in the UK. Can't find stock here but a German retailer stocks the neck (and only the neck) for the equivalent of $125. Might try it

 

That's actually a good price - I paid more than that for it here in the USA!

If your supplier has it in stock, you might want to grab it.  It seems like there are large gaps from one production run to the next, so when they're gone, it usually ends up being a while before it's back in stock.

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59 minutes ago, bobouz said:

 

That's actually a good price - I paid more than that for it here in the USA!

If your supplier has it in stock, you might want to grab it.  It seems like there are large gaps from one production run to the next, so when they're gone, it usually ends up being a while before it's back in stock.

Yes, I was surprised too.

I have my finger hovering over the proverbial "Buy' button.

The only thing stopping me is the installation headache. I am not really experienced in this field and would need to bring it to a tech but with the current Covid situation, it might be ages before I can get this done. 

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6 hours ago, tremolo arm said:

Update - I just logged on their website again and the P94 has sod out.... Bummer

 

Ah well, there are other good aftermarket P-90s in a humbucker size, such as the Seymour Duncan Phat-Cat, but at some point the P-94 will be back in stock.  Maybe just use this time to research other options, but personally, I’d prefer putting Gibson pickups in a Gibson whenever possible.

Bottom line, it’ll make for a good 2021 project - Happy New Year!

 

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4 hours ago, bobouz said:

 

Ah well, there are other good aftermarket P-90s in a humbucker size, such as the Seymour Duncan Phat-Cat, but at some point the P-94 will be back in stock.  Maybe just use this time to research other options, but personally, I’d prefer putting Gibson pickups in a Gibson whenever possible.

Bottom line, it’ll make for a good 2021 project - Happy New Year!

Thank you. And happy new year to you too! 🙂

 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...
1 hour ago, Larsongs said:

Why do anything to that beautiful ES335? 

Why not buy a Terada built Epiphone Casino & have the best of Worlds?

 

Indeed. 

In the end I bought an Eastman T64 and kept the 335. The Eastman has a VOS type finish which is lovely. And so resonant! 

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Good decision... Those Eastmans look & sound great!

I have a 2013 Memphis ES335 & have 3 Casinos which I  really like but I wouldn't mind adding one of those T64's to my collection.. Maybe one of the Goldburst V's with  Bigsby. 

Enjoy both your Guitars!

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1 hour ago, Larsongs said:

Good decision... Those Eastmans look & sound great!

I have a 2013 Memphis ES335 & have 3 Casinos which I  really like but I wouldn't mind adding one of those T64's to my collection.. Maybe one of the Goldburst V's with  Bigsby. 

Enjoy both your Guitars!

 

That's the one I got! It has a lot of mojo!

140443239_10161759117854572_591355590502905367_o.jpg

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