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Gibson ES-330


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I have a 1970 model (see picture below).


If I had to choose only one guitar to own, it would be the ES-330 for a couple of reasons:

1) I love the sound of P90 pups

2) It is also an acceptable acoustic guitar, not very loud but decent sounding

3) It is light weight

4) The slim taper neck is like butter


Since my 1970 MIK (Kalamazoo) 330 has become a collectors item, I bought a 2001 MIK (Korea - Peerless) Epiphone Casino to bring on stage.


Other than the higher fret access, they are close to the same guitar - differences being


on the Gibson - Nitro finish, real MOP inlays, plastic/nylon (?) saddles, bridge higher on body

Epiphone - Poly finish, MOT inlays, metal saddles, bridge lower on body


Plugged in they sound pretty much the same. The Epi is actually a little hotter and brighter, but I think the previous owner changed the pups (flat grey metal underneath, with no brandname - suspect duncans).


The previous owner also changed the tuners, switch and pots.


I changed the pickguard, knobs, and switch cover (it is now black)


If the economy wasn't so bad, I'd get a blue 330 and put humbuckers in one of the three (I've seen duncan dog-ear humbuckers).





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Really interested in this guitar - anyone else??


Very, but I already have 2 Lennon Casinos and an Elitist Casino. I would have to be a nutter to get a fourth, essentially similar guitar.


That said, I have an ES 335, Elitist 335, ES 333, and ES 339, so maybe I am already.


Check this space later.


Red 33

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Red - Quite a lover of the ES uh? How do the 333' date=' 335 and 339s compare??



Notes - awesome 330![/quote']


The 333 is a little plainer version of the 335, with hotter pick ups. The Epiphone Elitist 335 is very close in sound and feel to the Gibson 335, but again, PUPS are slightly hotter. The Gibson 335 has the '57 Classics, and they are very sweet. The 339 also has the '57s, but (I think) the influence of the smaller body is to produce a little sharper note attack.


Red 333

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<...>Notes - awesome 330!




I bought it used for $300.00 in the late 1970s or early1980s (fuzzy memory).


My first instrument is sax' date=' but I've doubled on guitar for many years. Mostly just rhythm (bar & movable chords) in bands, using a guitar belonging to the guitarist in the band. I also doubled on bass and played bass a year or so when sax was not in demand during the psychedelic era.


When I bought the 330, I actually thought it was a 335. One of the bands I was in the guitarist played a 335 but he never let me play that one, when I doubled I played one of his other guitars.


Fast forward a few years, I've tried a real 335 and found I prefer the 330. I like the lighter weight and love the sound of the P90s much better than humbuckers.


After extensive research with the serial number and other identifying marks on the guitar, the best guess is that it was made in 1970. It has the long neck, "Made In USA" on the back of the headstock, the walnut finish and a few other details of the era. I've seen them go for $5,000 on eBay in worse shape than this one.


About a year ago, I decided to get serious on guitar and bring it on stage in my duo[u'] The Sophisticats[/u]. As the tastes of our mostly country club/yacht club audiences changed (due to the boomer generation taking the place of the Swing folks) the guitar has become more important than the keyboard. Plus the keyboard parts can be sequenced much more realistically than the guitar parts.


By then,the 330 had become a collectors item, so I didn't want to bring it on stage. Playing sax, flute, wind synth, keyboards, and guitar, and having to switch instruments quickly at times, is a big ding in a collectors item waiting to happen. So I bought a used Casino, the closest thing to the 330 (also in the picture) for $425 at GC.


I noticed the tuners had been changed to grovers when I bought it. When I replaced the knobs and switch cover, I discovered they had been replaced with US parts. Recently I had a dog ear pup start rattling (the mounting screw was loose) so before tightening it I took both screws out. The pup does not say Epi or Gibson on the underside, and is flat gray. The people on the Epi forum guessed they are Duncans by that description. So in the end, I got more Casino than I bargained for.


The Casino is actually a little hotter and brighter than the 330 when plugged in, and the Gibson sounds better unplugged. Other than that, they feel the same in my hands. So bringing the Epi on stage and playing the Gibby at home is a no-brainer. I get the best of both.


Oh, BTW, I took to lead guitar very quickly. The years of bass and rhythm guitar plus the music theory from years of sax paid off quickly. Plus 2 hours of practice every day. I'm discovering just how much fun the guitar is to play. After years of playing with guitarists on stage, it is fun to be the guitarist on stage.


Back on topic. I suppose the 330 is considered a "lesser" instrument in the 33x family, but for me, it is my first choice. When playing clean, the P90s have a great sound, wonderful attack, and nice harmonics. They ring out much better than humbuckers. For the blues, "British Invasion" rock, and jazzy songs, they can do what no humbucker can. On the other hand, add an FX/Amp-Simulator pedal, and I can get surprisingly close to the humbucker sound when necessary. Plus it's light (about 6 pounds) which is a definite plus when putting it on and taking it off perhaps 20-30 times a night, and the slim taper neck is touch and go.


If the economy wasn't so bad right now (which affects both gigging and my other Band-in-a-Box aftermarket businesses), I'd get a new red or blue 330, and drop in dog-ear humbuckers to use as a second guitar. Perhaps raise the bridge and learn to play slide. But that is GAS and the dreamer in my talking.



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