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So I bought a 336 ...


JJRPIII

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Hi folks. I've wanted a 336 for years and I saw a brand new one with a £1000 discount. Couldn't pass on that so it's now the first high end guitar - and the first Gibson - I've ever owned. 

 

It's come with 10s but I've bought it for jazz so my intention is to restring it with Thomastik flats, 12 - 50.  Anybody got any advice on the optimal number of winds, and that sort of thing?

 

The other thing I'm wondering about is the pot knobs. It's got the usual gold knobs, sitting about half an inch clear of the body and I'd prefer them nearer to being flush, like the pots in the attached pic. Is that a question of swapping the knobs for those black and silver top hats in the pic or is it the length of the control shaft that I have an issue with? I just find them a bit ugly sitting so high.  

336 pot knobs.jpg

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Hi JJRPIII,

Welcome to the 336 club. Great guitars. I have a 2004 Custom one-off and the knobs are close to the body as is normal.

118bWEQ.jpg

Do you have a picture of the knobs on yours? Did you try pressing them down to see if they move? The gold and the black knobs should be interchangeable and the same size. Maybe someone removed the knobs and then did not press them back in fully.

I use regular 10's on mine. If you go up to 12's you will likely need a setup to correct the bridge and truss rod to accommodate the heavier gauge strings. I have no experience with flat wound strings on a 336. I do use them on my bass guitar.

Good luck and enjoy your new instrument,

JO'C

 

 

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Hi JO'C, thank for replying.

Gorgeous 336 you've got there. I think if I'd designed my own spec I'd have gone for a quilted lemonburst with an ebony board but I just couldn't pass up the discount when I knew a 336 was exactly what I needed.

I've attached a few pics. The knobs sit significantly higher than the 2000s era 336s I've seen, which all seemed to look like yours.

One other question - I think the tuners I've got are Gibson deluxe. Can I replace them with Klusons without having to drill new holes? I've seen a couple of 336s with Grovers where the original screw holes are visible and that's not really somewhere I want to go.

I do definitely want flat 12s but truss rod adjustments are also a bit of an anxiety inducing prospect.

Seems to need a bit of work at the nut as well.  The 10s it came with are not really sitting properly at the bottom end.

336 knobs.jpg

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Congratulations on your 336.  Surprised you were able to get such a large discount - is it new or a used one?  They are generally in short supply and command a premium price.

As to the knobs, reach in through f-hole and support the bottom of the pot and then tap gently on the knob with a rubber mallet.  The knobs should be able to get positioned closer to the top.  As to the tuners you should be able to get a set that is drop in without having to drill new holes, I'd consult StewMac for the correct model.  The Gibson deluxe that it came with should be fine unless you are having a tuning problem with them slipping or something.

When you change to .12 gauge strings you will need to tweak your set up a little.  If you have a good set-up tech that you use, let him do it.  Otherwise it's not something you can't do yourself.  Adjusting the truss rod is not difficult, just be sure to loosen it first, then tighten it back up to the neck relief you want.  Looks like the nut slots might need a little filing which is common with all Gibson electrics and especially if you go to a slightly higher gauge string set. 

Here is a little eye candy of my 356 - as you can see the knobs are pretty high off the body, but it never bothered me.

qGJQAwn.jpg 

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Strange, the knobs look exactly like mine. Maybe longer pot shafts in the newer ones?

Mine is Tangerine Burst Quilt and upgrades nearly make it a 356; gold hardware, ebony board. But it has abalone dot markers instead of the block markers on a 356. 

Yes your nut would need to be filed for the larger string gauge. As far as I remember the Gibson Deluxe tuners are just Klusons with the Gibson name added so the hole pattern should be the same but there may be an issue with the bushing size.  Grovers definitely have a different hole pattern. Mine actually stays in tune better than any other Gibson I ever had so switching to Klusons may not be any different.

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56 minutes ago, Twang Gang said:

Congratulations on your 336.  Surprised you were able to get such a large discount - is it new or a used one?  They are generally in short supply and command a premium price.

I wondered the same thing. I'd been monitoring 336s in stock all over the UK for over a year (there weren't many). Then suddenly in the last few weeks this one - in stock at Richtone in Sheffield - dropped 1000 bucks off the price. I asked them what was up - was it 2nd hand or B stock? Did somebody try it out and drop it? Dings in the neck? Scratches in the finish?

They told me they'd done their end of year inventory and this one had been sitting in a glass case in their showroom for over a year and they wanted to move it on to make way for new stock - and that prospective buyers were much keener on 339s, seeing the 336 as basically the same thing but at a much steeper price point. I noticed a few guitar shops not replacing 336s in stock but always having 339s available.

And it tallies with some conversations I've had with colleagues, even the guys who have been playing Gibsons their whole careers. I'd tell them I was interested in a 336 and they'd ask me why 336 and not 339. And I'm like,  the positioning of the hardware and the neck is different and the neck itself is different and it's a carved instrument with a different tone  ... and they're just looking at me like I've lost my mind.

The serial is CS 10 something or other which I think means it's a 2021 Nashville. I can't see any noticeable defects but maybe the top wasn't quite flawlessly beautiful enough to persuade the guitarists of North East England to drop the extra cash during a time of high economic anxiety and ballooning utility bills. Maybe the metal tuners on the 339s looked like a better bet than the old style tulips.

Yours is stunning, of course. Love the quilts. I've been monitoring 356 stock as well and I don't think there's one anywhere in the UK at the moment.

Not sure if I want to try the rubber mallet plan. So far I'm handling this guitar like it's a holy relic. If I ding it somehow I'll have to ring the guitar police and turn myself in.

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1 hour ago, JO'C said:

Grovers definitely have a different hole pattern. Mine actually stays in tune better than any other Gibson I ever had so switching to Klusons may not be any different.

Yeah I'm not going to switch them unless I have issues. I think the strings got changed yesterday so that probably accounts for the little bit of instability I've perceived today, although the feel isn't quite as firm as I'm used to so I did wonder.

Thanks also Farnsbarns for the tip about nuts and pot length. I would like to get them sitting a bit lower so if I can accomplish that in a zero risk sort of way I might give it a whirl.

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Many congrats...

Like you, the first time I ever played a 336 I knew I had to have one, one day.. That was over a decade ago now..  And like you I also bought one.. And it was my first custom shop.  And then a year later I bought another one  😄  But like you it was just a good deal I couldnt pass.

The first one is a more standard humbucker version and when I bough that one it was like the last one in the country at the time (over two years ago now) and I had the money at the time so bought it, About a year later a P90 made 2 measure version came up for sale and it cost £2600 (after being dropped from £2800) and I just had too.  Also like you I thought there must be something wrong with it at that price. But no, its perfect.

I find them to be the perfect guitar.

Cant really add much to what the others have already said apart from just be really careful if you try to force the knobs down. Its easier to break a pot than you think. I have built several guitars and have made that mistake more than once.

But these are my babies...

5g5YyVP.jpg

I then ended up changing the plastics to black on the P90s one

zp5NXkI.jpg

I doubt I will ever need to buy another guitar after these additions. Its mad, I never even thought id ever own one custom let alone two.

Edited by Rabs
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Lovely! I just think the CS-336 is such a pretty guitar. There's something about the proportions that looks exactly right to me. And I love the headstock with the crown logo, just straightforwardly classic.

I always found the 335s just a touch bigger than I want and never liked the jack coming out of the top. And I've never liked the more triangular headstocks you get on straight strung guitars like the PRS or the original ES-336 from the 90s. Just didn't quite fancy that on my 'forever guitar' sort of thing.

There's one thing bothering me about mine now, though. I just measured the lower bout. Isn't it supposed to be 13 inches?

336 lower bout.jpg

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Ok, well a bit of googling got me some plans for a 356 listing the lower bout at 35.2 cm, which seems to match mine exactly. And then I saw an old 2017 post from Twang Gang saying his 336 was 14 inches at the lower bout. And the handwriting on my COA seems to match the handwriting on some other 336 COAs I looked up.

 

But there a few sources quoting "13 inches wide, 16 inches long and 1 11/16th-inches deep" - notably authorised Gibson dealers and wikipedia, so I assumed it was direct quote from Gibson's own product info.

 

I've dropped an email to Gibson's support to try and help me definitely authenticate but I guess they're not going to get back to me in a hurry over the weekend, and meanwhile I have a slightly sinking feeling that maybe my bargain dream guitar really is too good to be true.

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Congrats on your purchase after a long hunt. I'm the original owner of a 2003 CS-356 that has been my pride and joy for almost two decades. It's a hair over 14 inches at the lower bout. Oddly, Gibson doesn't list body dimensions on the current website https://www.gibson.com/en-US/Electric-Guitar/CUSYZD295/Vintage-Sunburst

My (black) knobs don't sit high off the deck, and I'm not sure why yours do. Though pot shafts do vary a bit as do knobs, it seems unusual to me that yours wouldn't substantially cover the nut securing the pot in place. Top thickness may have something to do with how much shaft is above the deck, but as far as I know these tops are carved by CNC (with manual top sanding before finishing) and probably fairly consistent on thickness. Also possible that a nut on the inside could be raised to shorten the amount of shaft above - but personally I'd be willing to pay a tech plenty to avoid tackling that hassle myself!

I've never had an issue with the Gibson Deluxe tuners that were the original spec regarding tuning stability once I tweaked the nut slots a little to account for string gauge and the angled travel downward and out  from the nut to the tuners (Gibson has recently switched to metal Grovers on 356s). I don't know how experienced in such operations you might be, but I accomplished that tweak with nothing more than a folded over scrap of sandpaper drawn carefully through the slot a few times, avoiding the fretboard-side "take-off point" (to keep the intonation consistent) while trying to work the tuner-side slot exit and slot sides to reduce pinch-points. I agree that your nut looks like it could benefit from some work - it may be an optical illusion or part of the shop's in-house set up when they first took possession, but it looks to my eye as though someone has taken a file to the bass-side corner of the nut to knock down the corner substantially (not sure why since that wouldn't effect playability) and the A string slot looks a little rough on the bottom in your photo. In any event, stringing 12s on a nut cut for 10s without widening them a bit is asking for slots tighter than optimal.

I always say this, but: in my view the 336/356 is really responsive to even the smallest of screwdriver adjustments regarding pickup and pole piece heights. Take your time getting used to its sound through your rig, but then don't be afraid to try (say) lowering your pickups and dialing in for balance between the two. The bridge pickup on this smaller-bodied design tends to be brighter than many Gibsons, and lowering the pickups can tame any such characteristic you might find undesirable.

Enjoy!

(this is an old photo from when I tried top-wrapping the strings over the tailpiece for a while - I've since gone back to "regular" stringing)

Clay356case.JPG

Edited by clayville
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19 minutes ago, clayville said:

Congrats on your purchase after a long hunt. I'm the original owner of a 2003 CS-356 that has been my pride and joy for almost two decades. It's a hair over 14 inches at the lower bout.

Thanks for your reassuring reply!

It's hard to measure accurately with the curvature but I think mine is just under 14 if I measure from side to side in a dead straight line. I've found another source citing the 336 lower bout at 13 3/4 inches, and that might be in the right sort of ballpark.

And that's another really lovely quilted top you've got there. I'll get something similar when fate allows. I'd be happy to have a second one. Or a third.

When I was first learning to play I thought my ideal was owning 3 high end strats - 1 black, one white blonde and one brown sunburst, with 8 hole 1 ply scratchplates and modern C necks. It took me a long time to realise my playing had gone in completely the other direction and that my true ideal instrument was a 336 or 356. 

Good spot on the nut, as well. It does seem to have some extra taper on that left hand side for some reason.

I think Gibson have been threatening to open a Gibson Garage in London sometime soon and if that happens I'll go there to ask about adjusting the pot height or anything else I want done. I do much prefer the height on yours.

I've done a fair bit of DIY but only on much less expensive guitars and I can't say I would recommend myself as a guitar tech, although a bit of basic setting up and work on the nut shouldn't be a huge problem. Beyond that though I've always been a bit too prone to experimenting in sudden moments of inspiration and then regretting it afterwards. I have 2 strats that need replacement parts and new wiring jobs thanks to that.  Better to keep myself on a short leash in this respect, I think.

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1 hour ago, JJRPIII said:

I've done a fair bit of DIY but only on much less expensive guitars and I can't say I would recommend myself as a guitar tech, although a bit of basic setting up and work on the nut shouldn't be a huge problem. Beyond that though I've always been a bit too prone to experimenting in sudden moments of inspiration and then regretting it afterwards. I have 2 strats that need replacement parts and new wiring jobs thanks to that.  Better to keep myself on a short leash in this respect, I think.

I don't want to sound presumptuous, but if you're coming to Gibson from the Fender world - and as others have hinted - the geometry of the headstock angles can lead to nut slot binding, which is almost always the source of tuning stability frustrations. Unlike the straighter travel of, say, a Fender or a PRS, Gibson strings have to travel both down and then out from the nut to get to the tuning pegs creating substantially more nut friction. Fairly easily cured. 

The shorter scale length may (or may not) feel different to you too, and change your string gauge preference. If you've been using flat wound 12's on a Fender scale guitar you might find they feel lighter on a Gibson scale guitar. Things like the height of the stop tail (and the break angle over the saddles) can make a feel difference too - and some believe they make a Sound difference too. Two different things, really: feel and sound - but there aren't any "rules". Play what works for you and for the guitar.

When fiddling with screwdriver adjustments to pickups or the bridge, I've been known to write down measurements and (more often) count screws turns so I can get back where I started if I don't like the results of my experiments. 'Hope some of that blather helps.

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Not presumptuous at all. I'm all ears for Gibson headstock tips.

I actually found out I wanted to go full Gibson through a bit of a weird route - I bought a JTV-59 ages ago because it was discounted as B stock and I thought the modelling would be really handy for library music work. Then when I got it I completely ignored the modelling and just played the JTV's vintage style alnicos instead.

After a while I realised I was playing the JTV all the time for everything and hardly touching the Fenders. I bought a new tele with humbuckers and a tummy cut with a bold plan to try and sound like Ed Bickert, thinking that was going to be my main from then on. Put flat 12s on that and put another set of flat 12s on the JTV and found the JTV was much closer to what I wanted than the tele.

So at that point I knew I preferred Gibson scale with flat 12s on a small body guitar. But the JTV's neck is a bit fatter than I wanted and it's a bit heavy. So that pushed me towards an LP semi, a 339 or a 336, and it didn't take a lot of research to work out which body shape was most comfortable for me and which I preferred out of the 336 and 339.

I did consider Ibanez / D'Angelico / Eastman - and I'm probably going to get an Ibanez AG95 before too much longer - but the 336s are just so pretty.

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2 hours ago, JJRPIII said:

.......a bold plan to try and sound like Ed Bickert...........

[thumbup]   

Love his recordings.   Easily as good as J Pass on chord melodies.    Bold plan!!

 

Digging this thread 🎸

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On 2/3/2023 at 11:12 AM, JJRPIII said:

Hi JO'C, thank for replying.

Gorgeous 336 you've got there. I think if I'd designed my own spec I'd have gone for a quilted lemonburst with an ebony board but I just couldn't pass up the discount when I knew a 336 was exactly what I needed.

I've attached a few pics. The knobs sit significantly higher than the 2000s era 336s I've seen, which all seemed to look like yours.

One other question - I think the tuners I've got are Gibson deluxe. Can I replace them with Klusons without having to drill new holes? I've seen a couple of 336s with Grovers where the original screw holes are visible and that's not really somewhere I want to go.

I do definitely want flat 12s but truss rod adjustments are also a bit of an anxiety inducing prospect.

Seems to need a bit of work at the nut as well.  The 10s it came with are not really sitting properly at the bottom end.

336 knobs.jpg

No suggestions. Sorry. But thats not right in any app in my book. Otherwise brillant guit! Really nice snag sir.

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1 hour ago, jdgm said:

[thumbup]   

Love his recordings.   Easily as good as J Pass on chord melodies.    Bold plan!!

 

Digging this thread 🎸

He's just so goddamn tasteful. No surprise a master of taste like Paul Desmond rated him so highly. He'd have been a lot more famous if he'd recorded more in the US but I guess he was happy just doing his thing in Toronto, sounding awesome every night.

 

I remember a story I heard about him going to buy a new amp. One of his students tagged along, expecting to gain some  insight into how Ed achieved his sound. So he met him at the guitar shop and Ed hadn't even brought his guitar. He didn't even switch the amps on. He just picked them up to check the weight and walked out with the lightest.

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