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IanHenry

Which 339?

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Hi,

I have never had a Custom Shop guitar, so please forgive my ignorance. I would like an E.S model, and quite like 335's and 339's. I have tried a couple and found the 335 rather large (my wife said it made me look like a little boy), so the 339 is probably the way I will go. Can anyone tell me what the difference is between a ES-339 and an ES-339 Exclusive? Looking on Gibson's product pages the specifications look identical (unless I've missed something)

Which factory are the 339's made at, is it the same one as the 335's?

If any owners of those guitars could spare a minute to write about there ownership experience, I love to hear it.

Lastly, I can't ever remember seeing any "star" guitar players using the 339, and wondered why this was so?

 

Any views will be greatly appreciated.

 

Regards,

Ian.

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I just took a look at Gibson's site and I see no diffetence between the ES-339 and ES-339 Exclusive. Unless I'm missing something I'd bet whoever set up the site made a mistake when they listed the ES-339 and no one there has caught it yet. As far as I know they make it with a 30/60 neck or a 59 neck. They do make the ES-339 in a high end model with all the bells and whistles. It's called the ES-359, check it out, 3rd page at Gibson site, ES section. It's like the Les Paul Custom is to the Les Paul.

I've never played a 339 but heard enough of them to say say they are great sounding guitars. They are made in the same custom shop as the 335. They cannot sound identical because they are two different size bodies which is what determines and gives the guitar its unique sound. They are constructed identical with same type materials. I doubt you could hear any difference unless you were to A/B them side by side.

No BIG time stars have used these because they have only been out a few years. All the stars have been around for many years like the 335. I personally like the ES-339 especially the ES-359. I went with the 335 mainly because I liked it when I played it and because it's a musical icon in its self with a lot of musical history. A lot of great players used the 335 and a lot of great songs were recorded with a 335.

There's a lot of players who like the 335 and like you feel overwhelmed by its size. Gibson realized this and solved the problem with the ES-339-359.

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Thanks Roadhog,

I am very tempted by the 339. On the subject of sound, I played a 335 & a 339 back to back a few months ago and thought the 335 sounded better, a lot more mellow, but I played two in a shop yesterday and the 339 (which was second hand) sounded better! You wouldn't think that with today's production systems that individuality between two guitars would be so pronounced!

 

Regards,

Ian.

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Personal 0.02 herewith...as a die hard 335-er...

 

The 339 and it's relatives are indeed gaining popularity as players realise the advantages of smaller bodies and faster handling...

 

IMO the 335 is manageable and looks the classic it is, with a rich tonal pallet

 

And if size were not an issue, the superb ES 137 Classic can do even more to satisfy the searcher for usable tones...

 

V

 

:-({|=

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Thanks Roadhog,

I am very tempted by the 339. On the subject of sound, I played a 335 & a 339 back to back a few months ago and thought the 335 sounded better, a lot more mellow, but I played two in a shop yesterday and the 339 (which was second hand) sounded better! You wouldn't think that with today's production systems that individuality between two guitars would be so pronounced!

 

Regards,

Ian.

That's very common from guitar to guitar, more so with semi hollow bodied guitars. Remember the wood makes up the majority of the tone. How the wood resonates will determine the tone. Every piece of wood is unique very much like fingerprints. They will all resonate somewhat differently due to the density and grain structure. This is the reason for playing each guitar before you buy. I played a 2006 and two 2008 335's. The 2006 sound much better acoustically, warmer and richer in tone. The two 2008 sounded identical, both had a real woody tone, with more emphasis on treble than bass. The two 2008 335's were very harsh sounding and all three guitars had the same gauge and manufacture string.

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Do those instruments improve with use like a Spruce topped classical guitar? I ask this because the used 339 that I tried just sounded better than the brand new ones that I played.

You wouldn't think it would make any difference with the 339 & 335 being made from plywood, maybe some owners can say? It will be interesting to find out, but of course this is difficult to be subjective about if you play the instument every day!

 

Regards,

Ian.

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Do those instruments improve with use like a Spruce topped classical guitar? I ask this because the used 339 that I tried just sounded better than the brand new ones that I played.

You wouldn't think it would make any difference with the 339 & 335 being made from plywood, maybe some owners can say? It will be interesting to find out, but of course this is difficult to be subjective about if you play the instument every day!

 

Regards,

Ian.

 

A laminated (plywood) semi hollow body guitar is in no way the same as an acoustic guitar. Acoustically they both produce a vibrant charitaristic of their own. The laminated construction is more stable and stronger than a acoustic. Most acoustic are constructed of solid wood (some are laminated) and resonate very differently than laminated wood. Humidity greatly effects acoustic guitars were as not so much with laminated guitars. Acoustic guitars seem to get better with age and open up were as laminated are effected very little with age. The reason some guitars just sound better is mainly due to the nature of the wood used on a particular guitar when it was constructed. The used 339 that you played that sounded better is not related to aging. The guitars that just don't sound that good unfortunately will never sound good, you become accustomed to their sound.

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A laminated (plywood) semi hollow body guitar is in no way the same as an acoustic guitar. Acoustically they both produce a vibrant charitaristic of their own. The laminated construction is more stable and stronger than a acoustic. Most acoustic are constructed of solid wood (some are laminated) and resonate very differently than laminated wood. Humidity greatly effects acoustic guitars were as not so much with laminated guitars. Acoustic guitars seem to get better with age and open up were as laminated are effected very little with age. The reason some guitars just sound better is mainly due to the nature of the wood used on a particular guitar when it was constructed. The used 339 that you played that sounded better is not related to aging. The guitars that just don't sound that good unfortunately will never sound good, you become accustomed to their sound.

 

Interesting! What do you make of the fact that a lot of people prefer vintage 335s due to them resonating more because of their age? And I am talking unplugged, so pick-ups and electronics are out of the equation. Better build quality?

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Interesting! What do you make of the fact that a lot of people prefer vintage 335s due to them resonating more because of their age? And I am talking unplugged, so pick-ups and electronics are out of the equation. Better build quality?

I really don't think they resonate better due to just its age, it's more like when the instruments were made back then, they were done with more care, quality and attention to detail. There's plenty of proof about it. It's the same with everything. Technology has its advantages but its obvious that all businesses thrive on profit and time is money. Guitars are pumped out at finominal quantities today and because the woods are depleting at a faster pace selected woods are at a premium. Yes the quality is just not as good as the good old days. It's the same scenario with anything today.

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Thanks for that. I personally love vintage guitars for their mojo but to be honest if someone blindfolded me I probably would not (always) be able to hear a difference. I am very happy with my 2011 335 but may at some point buy a vintage guitar. I'm thinking of a 330...

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I do hear a difference between the 335 and the 339. For me it came down to size because I'm 5'8". The 335 is just too bulky for me. I probably would be fine with it after a while, but I just love my 339. Both are great IMHO. Also, I got a geat deal on my Figured Top 339 (only about $200 more than the non-figured top). The guitar just sang to me and I had to get it.

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I've never owned a 335 in 50 yrs. of Gibson guitars; recently purchased a 339, first custom shop purchase also. I call it an ES-335 after undergoing the "Shrinky Dink" process. Sound is less full than the big one, less space to resonate, but really crispy, like a thin semi-hollow should be. Size was an issue - not happy in admitting that the 339 feels like a stratocaster, light & uncumbersome. 30/60 neck is Gibson personified - a delight. Great axe for an old guy.

Very pleased with the custom shop quality. It's apparent that both care & craft went into the manufacture of my 339. I hope this is indicative of all new Gibson guitars.

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One nice feature those 339's have from the factory is what Gibson now calls its Memphis wiring which is really nothing more than 50's wiring. Too bad the 335's don't come with this instead of modern wiring. That is the first thing I did with my 335. I put in all CTS 500K Audio taper volume and tone pots with 50's wiring. It took a little more work than it did for my LP 68 Custom but was worth every bit of it. Neck pup has less mud now and no treble lose when the volume is rolled off. There's a heck of a lot more tonal variations to choose from then before. Second change was switching to pure nickel wrap strings. Talk about one nice sounding 335, I've got one now.

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I like the 339 that I tried, but I'm going to look at another one on Saturday. This one is new and the shop is asking £1800 ($2791)for it which is a very good price here in the U.K. The second hand one is £1400 ($2171)for a 2011 guitar, which makes it look a little expensive next to the new one. I think I'll just have to see how the new one plays. The Second hand one is in very good condition with the exception of a slight paint chip on the side (that would have broken my heart if I'd done it, but if I bought it like that I can live with it).

 

Regards,

Ian.

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If you're looking for a small body and the "mellow" of the 335 you tried appealed, then don't overlook the CS-336 and CS-356.

 

Completely different construction (solid mahogany back with large, routed tone chambers; carved maple top like a Les Paul with f-holes; same size as the ES-339), but I find them to be stronger in the lows and highs, less pronounced in the mids than a typical 339. Wonderfully woody in low-gain situations, phenomenal blues machines with a bit more gain. Extremely versatile overall.

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Indecently I went to look at a new 339 at the weekend, and the shop also had a red 335. I played those and the 335 was far, far better than the 339, and my wife even commented on how the red one "didn't look as big and clumsy" as the Silverburst one that I tried the week before. I guess that may have been down to the colour!

I'm now very tempted by this 335, it does seem that there is a large variety in the sound, but I don't want to rush this purchase so I'm going to take my time before I buy.

 

Regards,

Ian.

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do you own a LP? If so, buy the 335. I wish I had.

 

Hi FennRx,

yes I have a couple of Les Paul's a Classic Antique and a 60's Tribute Goldtop. I am starting to find the neck on the 335's suits me better than my Les Paul's, and I feel more comfortable playing them. I'm not going to sell the Les Paul's though, I like them to much and don't want to part with them (and I am a bit of a hoarder)

 

Regards,

Ian.

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Many thanks for everyone's help. In the end I found a beautiful 335, which my wife bought me as an anniversary gift!

 

P1000494.jpg

 

Regards,

Ian.

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Many thanks for everyone's help. In the end I found a beautiful 335, which my wife bought me as an anniversary gift!

 

P1000494.jpg

 

 

Regards,

Ian.

 

Excellent choice and fantastic gift, you have a great wife and guitar, enjoy.

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The reason some guitars just sound better is mainly due to the nature of the wood used on a particular guitar when it was constructed. The used 339 that you played that sounded better is not related to aging. The guitars that just don't sound that good unfortunately will never sound good, you become accustomed to their sound.

 

Another reason why it's best to buy a semi-hollow (or any kind of guitar) only after you've had a chance to really play it and, if possible, compare its tone to others that are the same model.

 

Acoustically, the pick of the litter will ring out the most, and it will sound the best plugged in.

 

A dog will always be a dog ... and aging, pickup swaps, and other upgrades won't do much improve the mojo in bad wood.

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