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Archer993

ES-339

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I found out that 339 and my amps love Boss SD-1 (Super Overdrive) and Boss Compression Sustainer together. Don't think clean blues players don't use pedals, Buddy Guy has a pedal board to beat the band. The key is to just use a little gain at 9:00. This is the only way to get overdriven blues tones on tube amps at lower volumes, or with amp mic'd. Only problem is strap button tends to make axe fall away when standing up and worn lower, so a "Pickin' Pouch" on the guitar's back ($22.95) equalizes that and one can see the fretboard like you can on a Fender. That way you don't have to wear the guitar like a bow tie to see frets. The beauty of the 339 is its sound and tones, and its "life" while playing. It's an engineering marvel. Nothing I've ever played has this "bounce" for lack of any better term.

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Got my ES-339 this week used but mint. No issues at all. I can see the neck pickup appears at an odd angle but sounds perfect. Have used it in the following amps this week. !965 Deluxe reverb (not a re-issue) absolutely sings, very nice bluesy sound when cranked. In my 66 bandmaster it is slightly softer, not as bright, but the sustain is incredible. Holds tuning very well over 4 hour period. Does not feel as "loose" as the 335 dot I have been using (not mine). Action is very good... not great but no issues either. Tunes easily and precisely quickly. Strings bend better than you would think. The guitar is responsive for sure.Finish is excellent. Binding is fine. Do wish they used a cream colored nut instead of white but that is the only issue I have. Controls feel a little tight but work evenly. More on it as I use it but so far I am very please. Paid $1300. This guitar provides soething different than all the rest I have. Also use the following guitars:

 

Rickenbacker 330-6

Les Paul Studio Premium

1959 Les Paul Special

1966 ES_120

PRS McCarty

American Strat

PBC Custom Telecaster

Taylor Signature Model - Jewel

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The factory fretboard finish is damn near non-existent. I've NEVER seen anything like it, EVER!!! It honestly looks like they took the boards straight from the shaping machine and installed them on the guitar. I have no idea what that thick, dark stuff was, but it took a lot of work with "0000" steel wool to get it off of there. Fortunately, I'm skilled enough that it wasn't an issue for me to rework the rest of the finishing process myself.

 

I started with "0000" steel wool, then MicroMesh 2400, 3600, 4000 and finished up with 6000.

 

Here's a comparison picture right after the "0000" steel wool.

 

Ahhhhh, looks a million times better already.

 

339_fb_2B.jpg

 

I also had to high speed buff the neck out. It's now like glass, just like my Historics.

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Money is always an issue with guitar players. This is due to the fact that we own the most gear. When I first got started, I had a lot less money compared to today. That reality translated into buying cheaper equipment. But what I found out was the guitar tone that I was searching for was not getting satisfied with the cheaper equipment. And as time past and the money issue got better, I bought better equipment (the good stuff). And after 20 years, I'm at a point in my musical life where I can say that I found my tone in the current guitars that I own. So when the next best guitar thing comes out, it's easier for me to evaluate the equipment because I know what my tone sounds like in and outside my head.

 

The 339 is a good product in itself. It was design for a particular buyer in mind. But the buyer must set his or her expectation correctly. The 339 is not a replacement for a 335, 356 or a Custom LP. The 339 is another product that offers the buyer at a lower purchase price and lower quality (workmanship) a change to own something that "almost sounds and almost look as good" as the other mentioned guitars, period. If the sound in your head sounds like a 335, the 339 is not going to cut it.

 

The last thing I would want to do again in this life (and I've done it, too many times already) is to buy something cheap, spend more money and time fixing it due to piss poor workmanship in the product. I read too many 339 posts talking about quality issues. I'm too old for that _hit!

 

So, be real to your tone and wallet.:-k

 

339 Owners, lol

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Geeeezzzz JazzGtr, chill out brother. couch.gif

 

There's no guitar made that doesn't require a certain amount of work to meet my personal taste and I actually enjoy doing it. Call it "bonding" or "making it my own", but that's just me. I understand that there are a lot of players who are more than happy with a given guitar, right out of the box, and maybe they don't possess the knowledge and/or skill to do anything about it even if they weren't. The fact is, it's none of my business.

 

However, the fretboard issue with the 339 is something altogether different. I haven't seen one yet that isn't exactly as described by some of the people here, or as depicted in the pictures. This leads me to believe that it's not a flaw, or defect, or poor workmanship. I believe that this is how Gibson intended them to be, or deliberately omitted one of the finishing steps for whatever reason, but at best, it's very strange.

 

I've never, and I mean NEVER seen a fretboard finished (or lack thereof) like this in my life, EVER!!! Not even on $100.00 Strats. And I didn't just fall off the kiddy wagon at Fun Land either. I've been playing and working on guitars for three decades.

 

At any rate... The guitar is still a bargain and a great overall instrument. In fact, with a few hours of skilled labor, I'd put it right up there with anything, including my Historics.

 

Bottom line? GREAT GUITAR!!!

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Kenny' date='

 

The only thing that matters here is that you are happy with your 339! And I'm happy for you as well.

 

Rock on!

 

[/quote']

 

I hear ya man!

 

I don't get crazy about this stuff anymore. A friend of mine once said; "If you own a guitar that isn't doin' IT for ya, either make it so that it does, or get rid of it". Words of wisdom for sure. On the other hand, I don't make comparisons between this guitar and that guitar, or that guitar and another. Each instrument stands on its own and is either something that enjoy playing, or it hits the chopping block.

 

At the end of the day, the only guitar that has ever been able to take the number one spot in my soul, after regrettably selling my childhood LP Custom, is my R4. That guitar spends more time in my hands and on a club stage than anything I own. Me, that guitar, and my amp are truly one instrument. And that's what it's all about, to me.

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I agree about shitty fretboard finish. I also replaced nut with bone, Memphis pots with 500K vintage and caps from JS Guitarworks, and also replaced tuners and AVR-1 bridge with Tonepros. Now it stays in tune. However, it still has action and tone to die for. It was really a matter of upgrading this stuff to get perfect intonation and adjustable tone. I have been playing Chicago bleus on Gibsons for 52 years. I would have paid more just to get what I had to upgrade. Design is still outstanding!!

 

For the record, I just sold 2007 ES-345 RI w/ Varitone (cost $3100) and purchased Hamer Newport Pro Custom, essentially an CS-356 (one piece carveout), with crown inlays, ebony fretboard and Seth Lover pups (cost $2,000). CS-356 is $3800. The fit and finish are superb. This is the quality Gibson used to make. I'm still loyal to Gibson for tonewoods and pups, but the fret workmanship and electronics suck.

 

FWIW.

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BTW, I also have an SG, Epi Sheraton II and Heritage H-157 LP. No Fender guitars, all humbuckers. Also I play through Fender Princeton Reverb, Champ 600, Fuchs Blackjack 21, and Fargen Blackbird Custom head w/ reverb & trem & cab with Naylor speakers. Also Barber OD & compression pedals. I may be a one trick blues pony, but a good classic blues sound requires a good axe and amp (reverb, trem & speaker(s) to get the SOUL! ES-339 has that tone! Listen to Big Jack Johnson, Larry Garner, Eugene Hideaway Bridges, etc. to get the idea. All clean, no gain, and sustain. Solid bass, intense mids, and sweet highs. Alnico speakers with later breakup help. Soul blues is fat tone like Gospel.

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The factory fretboard finish is damn near non-existent. I've NEVER seen anything like it' date=' EVER!!! It honestly looks like they took the boards straight from the shaping machine and installed them on the guitar. I have no idea what that thick, dark stuff was, but it took a lot of work with "0000" steel wool to get it off of there. Fortunately, I'm skilled enough that it wasn't an issue for me to rework the rest of the finishing process myself.

 

I started with "0000" steel wool, then MicroMesh 2400, 3600, 4000 and finished up with 6000.

 

Here's a comparison picture right after the "0000" steel wool.

 

Ahhhhh, looks a million times better already.

 

I also had to high speed buff the neck out. It's now like glass, just like my Historics. [/quote']

 

Nice job on the fretboard, Kenny. Looks great!! I need to get to work on mine.

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I received my new Caramel Burst ES-339 last week. The guitar is terrific, no fretboard problems. No black stuff at all on my fingers from the fingerboard.

The body and neck finish is almost flawless. Only problem was a slight buzz of the B and high-E strings. I easily fixed that by putting a dab of superglue on the tip of a very small flat-blade screwdriver and putting that in the nut string slots. Let it dry for about an hour. No more buzz. I had the same problem with another mfg's guitar that I bought earlier this year that was in about the same price range.

Guitars in this price range should not have strings that buzz.

 

The inspection date of my ES-339 was November 2007.

 

It sounds great, and looks great. I am very satisfied with the instrument so far.

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Hey Gang,

I see complaints about the 339 every place on the net, why have I not seen one reply from Gibson in regards to this? Are they that pompous that they can't say a damn thing about there obvious screw up with these guitars?

Gibson if you even bother to care or read this, give me a new guitar or give me my money back! My old 68 tele is still working just fine week in and week out,,never goes out of tune and the thing is solid.....My ES 339 has had three trips to the luthier (one of the best in Boston) and it still cant stay in tune ....binding is a mess, fingerboard got tool marks all over it, finish has orange peel and crappy finishing, nut material is too soft....it dont sound bad however, roll my tele neck pickup down to about half and it sounds the same!!

Come on Gibson do something about this! Maybe we should just boycott Gibson guitars...tell every forum of its crappy QC! Tell the dealers your not gonna put up with it...ahh they dont give a crap about the players...if they did, Asian imported guitars wouldnt blow the doors off em, PRS wouldnt be a company, there wouldnt be so many guitar makers out there if they were good...there living on a Name that was great 100 years ago....Anybody want to buy this guitar of mine? It's for sale and I will never play another Gibson again...fricken junk!

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I am not trying to defend Gibson here (well maybe a little) but I have to say folks are forgetting that the plain 339 was offered as a lower cost option for semi-hollow lovers that want american made without paying the $2.5-3k price of a 335dot. The reality is that american labor rates are sky high. Semi-hollow bodied guitars take alot of labor hours to build. So to keep cost down, some cost cutting measures were necessary. The ES-339 uses lower grade woods and less hand finish work in the assembly process. I've tried out several of them at stores and the ones I tried all played nice so mostly just cosmetic issues as others have pointed out. It is one of the reasons i always recommend either playing a guitar in person so you can fully check it out before you buy or buy from one of the many online vendors that offer a no questions asked money back guarantee. Guitars are made out of wood which is unique stuff and require alot of hand work and no two humans work the exact same so no two guitars will be exactly alike when woods and people are involved.

 

So for those that are on the fence about the ES-339, I'd merely say love or hate them for what they are... budget minded american made semi-hollow bodied guitars that is about a thousand less than a ES-335dot. Oh and remember for those that have some wood working skills and patience, they can always do a little finish work themselves to improve the finish on the necks. Some specialized tools will be needed but they can be ordered online... I use stewmac but there are many others out there.

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inspect the guitar before you buy it. problem solved.

 

my ES-339 is perfect. sweet thread resurrection, though.

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I am a long-time owner of many Gibson guitars, most of which were bought new starting in '67. The quality on my new es-339 is both stellar and very disappointing ... I read every review I could find before getting this guitar and many of the things I read turned out to be true plus a few more that I will detail.

 

The finish and colour of the antique sunburst are outstanding and are very reminiscent of my '68 ES-335 which I purchased new in that year. That's the stellar part.

 

Some things that I could do without are the Memphis wiring and the "cheap" case. The Memphis wiring is supposed to keep the top end as you roll volume down but in doing so it changes the tone in an artificial and un-natural way. Try this for yourself ... turn a pickup to 10 with the tone for that pickup on 10 as well. Then hit a note and roll the volume up and down quickly. It sounds similar to a wah pedal. When volume is rolled down the high end will always drop off in any normal circuit because that is a natural function oh human hearing. I find the tone change in the Memphis circuit annoying and not useful.

 

The cheap case I can understand since the guitar is inexpensive compared to a 335 and I guess they had to cut costs somewhere. But, I wish there was an upgrade for a better case from Gibson for this model. The quality of the case is my problem, not Gibson's. Or just price the guitar fairly and then charge extra for the case and have the quality of the case match the quality of the guitar.

 

The photo of the fretboard on this forum that shows grain you could just about park a small car in is accurate as far as my rosewood fretboard goes. The night it arrived I took the strings off and put bore oil on it to try to get the grain to swell and close up a bit and the fretboard soaked up five applications within a few hours. (This is by far the most inferior fretboard I have ever seen from Gibson.) That may sound excessive but I assure it that it was not. The fretboard has yet to yield any of the of the oil back and hasn't even needed to be wiped down since for anything other than my own finger oil from playing. I'm sure it would be happy to drink another few coatings!

 

The frets had file (or Plek?) grinding marks so deep that after a few hours of playing blues bends I had literally filed my way right through a brand-new D'Addario string which broke right at the worst of the frets! So, I had to remove the strings again, tape off the wood and polish the frets until they were at least smooth enough to not do that any more. I haven't broken one since. I did take some close-up photos of how bad the frets were as delivered as proof, however. Just in case anyone wants to see them.

 

The bridge is a sad story, too. The three highest strings have the saddles pulled all the way towards the tailpiece as far as they will go and the intonation is just about accurate. This leaves no room if the guitar changes over the years for adjustments and the saddles need to be moved further in that direction. The holes on the bridge itself are larger than the posts so i have to keep manually shifting the bridge in place to preserve the intonation and also to prevent a rattling sound when it pulls forward into a "loose" position after a lot of string bending.

 

There are lot of sloppy workmanship filing marks on the fretboard binding as others have also reported. I recently bought a made-in-Indonesia Epiphone ES-175 and the workmanship is flawless as is the rosewood used for the fretboard. Nice and tight grain with a good pattern.

 

The pickups were both installed at very strange angles to the strings. Every other two-pickup Gibson I ever owned had the pickups parallel to the strings. These pickups are both at angles I would describe as "wacky" and they are both different from each other. I have close-up photos of that too, if anyone is interested.

 

The only way Gibson's Canadian distributor will address these issues is if I send the guitar back at my own expense ... round trip from where I live that's close to $200 by the time it's properly insured. Or I can drive the eight or so hours to the nearest dealer and pray they will deal with it on the spot while I wait or leave it there and drive the eight hours (each way) again to go pick it up and hope the quality issues have been rectified. Somehow this situation doesn't seem to be what I though Gibson quality was all about from my previous experiences.

 

When I spoke with the Canadian distributor about the bridge problem he told me the dealer would probably swap the faulty bridge for a Tone Pro's bridge ... somehow that doesn't inspire confidence, either. What does this do to the resale value when a potential buyer discovers the original equipment bridge would not properly intonate?

 

I am glad that American labour rates are high but I wish they were buying the quality that Gibson used to be so famous for. You can buy a lot of Asian guitar for the price of a 339 and I made the conscious decision to support American-made Gibson guitars with my purchase, therefore I am also supporting the people who made my guitar. Did they think about how hard I had to work to make the money to buy it when they looked at their work and said "Good enough, ship it!"?

 

I did not play the guitar before I bought it because I live in a very remote region. Does that mean I should not trust Gibson quality?

 

So, I have this ongoing love-hate relationship with my 339. I can re-wire it to the old-style wring then that problem is solved and in fact that choice is mine and not Gibson's problem. I bought their offering with the new style of wiring so that's fair enough. But a sloppy bridge and suspect bridge post placement and inferior fretboard wood with frets that can file their way through strings in a short period of time?

 

A design peculiarity means the pickup screws for the neck pickup aren't properly lined up with the strings ... compare the distance between the neck pickup and the bridge on a Les Paul and a 339 and also where the screws are under the strings and you'll see what I mean. As a result (possibly) the strings needed to be farther out to the edge and when hammering on and pulling off it is very easy for the high E string to be pulled sideways right off the fret ... others have commented on this situation, too.

 

Conceptually, I love the 339. As far as the lacquer job goes, brilliant and top-notch. However, I don't accept that I should "simply be grateful for a cheaper version of a 335" and be silently happy.

 

Yes, go and try one before you buy it! Or, buy it from a dealer who will pay for the return shipping if you aren't happy to avoid spending a lot of cash to "audition" what should be a relatively fine instrument (at that price) without you needing to check it out first to know what you're getting. I can accept a few minor flaws as being partly due to the natural variations in wood and human behavior. But ... I expected a bit more quality than I got and the sticker inside says that the quality is guaranteed. What exactly does that mean?

 

I sincerely hope the folks at Gibson will start reading the various forums other than their own and take more interest in their quality control so they can remain in business plus bring back the level of quality they used to maintain in the era that made it possible for them to still be around today. The clock is ticking. Maybe they should charge more and then spend the additional revenue on quality control? I'd rather pay more and get what I'm expecting to based on my previous very happy Gibson experiences.

 

Three Les Pauls, three SG's, ES-125, ES-175, ES-330, ES-335, etc. ... I have always been loyal to Gibson!

 

But then again I have always been able to intonate my brand-new guitars!

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I bought one of the early 2007 ES-339s, fat neck, vintage sunburst, last week and have been playing it over the long weekend.  I am not a guitar player so much, but I need a break from violin, so I'm going to start working on improving my guitar skills.

This guitar has been highly modified, so I don't know about the "Memphis Wiring".  I opened it up to look at the pickups to try to diagnose a dead e-string problem, and see that neither of the pickups are originals.  They are (expensive) upgrades.  

The finish has some checking, and there are nicks and dings, but I don't mind that.  It stinks of cigarettes.  It was a studio instrument at a large Hollywood recording studio, but although it has been played and modified, it stayed indoors all its life.

It arrived with a poor output on the high-e-string.  Noting the B string sounded smooth and sweet, but no similar sound from the e-string through my amp.  I tried changing the height of the pickups and filing new slots in the saddle bits to try to get the string centered over the pickup, but to no effect.  I finally got a set of all nickel "Vintage Reissue" Gibson strings.  Changing the strings made a huge difference.  I called the seller and he said the strings on it when I bought it were "Ernie Ball Super Slinky", also nickel.  I miked them and they read out 0.010, and I see that Super Slinkys are 0.009 or 0.011 so I don't know which they are, but at any rate, they did not work well with the pickups I was using.  Your mileage may vary.

The only other changes I made were to change the intonation of the low E-string (Tune-o-matic makes that easy) and I put covers on the pickups (for looks only: they didn't seem to change the sound.)

It is just a joy to play.  It is much easier to play than my Martin OM-28, and sounds nice with my Fisher Acoustic amp.  I am feeding it to a red-eye preamp for convenience.  I have been working out the fingering for Bach's Prelude to the 1st Cello Suite to guitar, and have tried a other tunes, as well as picking out tunes (Telstar, for example).

49544432987_9f5ec9b44c_c.thumb.jpg.eb74cf88e9e26acc89cb480ba2df80e7.jpg

Edited by ES 2007

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