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Gibson 330- Old versus New


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Hello folks,

As a noobie, its tough getting my head round whats best to get for a great tone for jazz/blues. My research has led me toward Gibson for tone, in particular the 330's as they seem not as expensive as the desirable 355's.


Im looking at ebay and how much 330's are going for and in the UK, the originals are selling for average of £2k.

Then Ive recently spotted this site




which is offering a NEW 330 for £1700. Is this too good to be true? am i missing something? is it worth it?

I know that vintage will retain value better, but surely even with NEW 330's you cant lose...right?

Help appreciated



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Welcome to the forums....


The ES 330 is indeed a fine guitar, and £1700 is OK for a discounted new guitar


I keep seeing clips of 60's players using the Casino/ES 330 from Stones, Beatles to Kinks


BB King used one for a period too


The ES 330 will however feedback in hi-gain situations...so a careful test-drive is recommended....


It may just be that the ES 335 is more suitable for driven blues(a la BB King), and can be had for £1700 or so if colour is not too critical....





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Hi there,


I think this is a pretty good deal for a custom shop guitar. I'm not shure, but I think the es 330 is out of production right now. If the es 330 is what you're after, make sure you can return it, if you don't like that particular guitar (I don't get it, why people buy certain guitars, and than start complaining about qualitiy issues on the internet.)


When we talk quality, I think gibson is putting out some fine instruments right now. I bought a es 335 last year and I'm total happy with it (o.k. it has some very little cosmetic imperfections, but they never bothered me at all. Sound, playability and overall look A+++)

I sold a vintage gibson to afford it, and I never looked back.


Old or new? I think it depends on what you want.

Do you want a nice wallhanger or a mature intrument you use in a studio once in a while, you can go the vintage route.

If you need a guitar for daily practice and regular gigging, I would buy a new guitar.


that said, if i could afford it, I'd have vintage and new gibsons

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I think this is a pretty good deal for a custom shop guitar. I'm not shure, but I think the es 330 is out of production right now.

The ES-330L is still currently in production, but in the US it appears to be limited in availability to only a few online retailers. I was fortunate enough to purchase one at a very good price earlier this year, and it is a wonderful guitar. If you can find one where you're located, it's definitely worth a look.

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I have a 1970 ES-330L and I dearly love it. When I started bringing the guitar to the gig (I play sax, flute, wind synth, guitar and sometimes keys on the gig) I decided that quick changing of instruments was an invitation for disaster with my now collectable 330, so I bought a used Epiphone Casino to bring on the gig (the 330 was out of production back then).


Both are great guitars. The previous owner of the Casino put Duncan pickups in it, and it actually sounds a bit better plugged in than the Gibson (the Gibson sounds better unplugged).




Probably because the Beatles used them, the Casino has been more in demand than the 330. It also costs about 1/4 as much which I'm sure contributes to it.


Old vs. new I can't say. I haven't a new 330 to compare it with.


The main differences between the 330 and 335 are

  1. Pickups: The 330 has P90s the 335 humbuckers - personally I like the P90 sound better YMMV
  2. The 330 is a true hollow body guitar, the 335 is semi-hollow
  3. Being hollow, the 330 is MUCH lighter
  4. Being hollow the 330 is more prone to feedback at high volumes - I keep the stage levels at 100db or less so it isn't a problem for me - again YMMV


If you can't find a 330, you might consider trying a Casino.



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I called Gibson a few ago asked about the ES 330 l and was told it is no longer in production but some retailers still have a few in stock . There was a Gibson clinic here a few weeks back and was told the same thing .

Interesting. MF appeared to get a new batch of them in about a month ago, so I thought they were still in production. If they're no longer being made, the remaining ones in stock are worth a look, as it is indeed a very nice guitar.

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It is interesting that the 335 goes for so much more money than the 330. The only problem with 330 is feed back at high volume so if you are not playing stadiums its not a problem. Even so it was John Lennons guitar of cloise( the 330 or Eppi Casino as he used). I guess somehow his tecs got the sound sorted. My advise would be to get a 60s 330 with P90s pickups. Great rock sound and when you sell it, if ever, you will make a profit which you wont on a new one.

Play £2000 on E Bay and take a chance or up to £3500 retail. The better the condition the higher the profit return on sale, so it might seem like a large layout but it is in fact a super investment, and where can you make that these days. Good luck.

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vintage casinos can still be had for a decent price, at least in the states. The vintage 330's seem to go for more. I have a vintage casino, and all I can say is get vintage! I was at my favorite shop last weekend and played a new 330, a 335, and a L.P. all nice but nothing felt or sounded like my old guitar. The vintage market is somewhat depressed right now, and if you have the means it's a great time to buy.


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Personally, in electric guitars, I think vintage is over-rated. The wood of an electric guitar contributes very little to tone as compared to the pickups.


I have a 1970 Gibson 330 and a 2001 Casino (see previous post).


The Gibson has better wood, nitro finish, and it has been aged. As an acoustic guitar, it sounds much better.


The Casino has aftermarket pickups (Duncans), inferior wood by comparison, and a poly finish. As an acoustic guitar it sounds much tinnier.


After adjusting the string height and pole height as close as humanly possible, and playing them in the same amp, the Casino with the aftermarket pickups sounds much better than the 330. Unfortunately the 330 doesn't have the "long neck" so the upper fret access is more difficult.


But the point is, a pickup change can make an inferior acoustic sounding electric guitar sound better plugged in than the superior acoustic sounding guitar.


Now there is some collectible value in a vintage guitar. I bought my 330 for $300 in the late 70s. A couple of years ago they were selling for $5,000. I saw one recently go on-line for just under $4,000 - same year, same color and in about the same condition as mine.


If I were in the market for another 330, I'd get a new one for less money and then use the difference to buy some better pickups. But I use my guitars for gigging, not for collecting.


Insights and incites by Notes

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I played one of the new Epi 1961 Casinos at my local Guitar Center and was blown away. If you're looking for a MUCH cheaper option for a 330 sound and feel, that could be a good way to go - roughly $775 and $825 with Tremotone arm (Epi's version of the Bigsby. My 330 sounds much better than the Casino played acoustically, but plus them in the gap is gone.

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