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mrfett

Questions about ES-359

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I'm hoping someone here can answer a few questions I have about the different ES-359 finishes. When I browse the Gibson website I see that there is only one finish listed, Vintage Sunburst. The only finish I've been able to find in a reputable store (online) however is Ebony. Has the supply of these dwindled since the wood debacle? Has Gibson stopped making these regularly due to their shortage of ebony? Are there more colors being made than what the website says?

 

I've seen several being sold used on Ebay with flamed (figured?) tops. I also see the ES-339s with figured tops going for quite a premium compared to the non-figured ones. Was there ever such a premium charged for the figured ES-359s? Should I expect the non-figured ones to go for less on Ebay?

 

Finally, I see there was a pelham blue one made, with chrome (not gold like normal ES-359s or nickel like ES-339s) appointments. I see some retailers in the UK saying there were only 100 of these made worldwide, 50 for the US and 50 for non-US. Is this true? Was it the same for the pelham blue ES-339s?

 

I'm asking all these questions because I'm trying to wrap my head around what I should expect to pay for the different versions and what I could expect to sell one for. Looking at new stock ES series guitars on the big retailers sites, I see not only a big price difference between the figured and non-figured 339s but also that many of the expensive 335s with block inlays (not the reissues) have single ply binding on the body only and rosewood fretboards. There's a new 339 with block inlays that also fetches a premium compared to the dot 339s but has no other upgrades. The ES-359 by contrast has the upgraded hardware (gold or chrome vs nickel), better tuners, ebony, block inlays and diamond headstock, and a triple ply binding on front, back and headstock. I'm trying to wrap my head around why these seemingly gorgeous guitars can be had mint for less than new plain 339s, especially if they're no longer being made.

 

If anyone can shed some light on the seeming price disparities I'd be grateful. All I can figure is that the gold hardware and flamed tops might be a little "too much" for a lot of players. Is the issue that not everyone wants so much bling on a working guitar? Is this model more for the much-maligned "dentist" crowd, and therefore just not as in demand despite their seeming value? If so, are the non-flamed top models possibly worth more?

 

The pelham blue one seems remarkable. Chrome not gold and if true, only a limited number combine to make something I would expect to be very costly. Am I wrong? If anyone can point me to a press release with the specifics of this version (price and availability) I'd be grateful.

 

Sorry for the long post, but I've been searching for answers to these questions and they seem hard to come by. I get the impression from lurking that online information about Gibson models can be hard to come by, so if the issue is just that Gibson never had accurate information and press releases about these things online, telling me that would be helpful so I know there's nothing to be found on page 20 of my Google search results :-P

 

Thanks!

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Sorry one other thing that occurs to me is that perhaps the relative lack of/confusing information on these models is why the resale values seem to vary so much. Could this be true? If so, maybe owners should at least create a wikipedia page (after I get one myself for hopefully not too much money lol)!

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and at the risk of looking like I'm having a conversation with myself, after doing some more searches regarding fewer guitars with ebony fretboards being made, am I to understand that if I do score a used ES-359 it will have been made with illegal wood from Madagascar? Is the deal that they were labeling Madagascar wood as Indian and trying to pretend all was kosher, hence the settlement?

 

How do others feel about this? I'm having pangs of guilt over it now that I know, honestly...

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...am I to understand that if I do score a used ES-359 it will have been made with illegal wood from Madagascar? Is the deal that they were labeling Madagascar wood as Indian and trying to pretend all was kosher, hence the settlement?

 

So I want to be the first to correct my erroneous assumption. The mislabeling regarded Indian ebony and (I think) the raid in 2009 involved rosewood from Madagascar. I've been trying to parse the truth from all the nonsense "news" sites that seemed more concerned with vilifying the government than getting the facts straight. This article seems to have the best information I've found:

 

GIBSON AND THE LACEY ACT – A GAME CHANGER IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY

 

So at worst the ES-359s contain improperly sourced Indian ebony, that may or may not be from endangered forests? I'm very familiar with the fragility of Madagascar, but less so with Indian forests. I hope someone besides myself finds all this interesting lol!

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FWIW - When the 339 was released (around X-mas '07 if I recall correctly), it sold for $1799 - an incredible bargain compared to the going price for a 335. Upgraded versions that appeared initially just added a figured top, and then the block inlay w/ebony board models came out. These upgraded versions carried a huge price hike, and were hard to justify, imho. When I bought mine in '09, it was right before the price jumped to $1999, and with a 15% discount it cost me $1530. A lot of 339s were sold at these very reasonable prices, and it may be that this impacts the market for the 359, which is essentially the same instrument. More recently, the price of a basic 339 was increased to $2299, and it is no longer the steal-of-a-deal that it once was.

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FWIW - When the 339 was released (around X-mas '07 if I recall correctly), it sold for $1799 - an incredible bargain compared to the going price for a 335. Upgraded versions that appeared initially just added a figured top, and then the block inlay w/ebony board models came out. These upgraded versions carried a huge price hike, and were hard to justify, imho. When I bought mine in '09, it was right before the price jumped to $1999, and with a 15% discount it cost me $1530. A lot of 339s were sold at these very reasonable prices, and it may be that this impacts the market for the 359, which is essentially the same instrument. More recently, the price of a basic 339 was increased to $2299, and it is no longer the steal-of-a-deal that it once was.

 

Yeah that makes sense. So I guess it's just up to buyers/sellers to try and read the tea leaves regarding whether the prices for 359s will go up or down in the future. It's just weird that you can get a mint 2011 359 for less than a new 339, especially since they don't seem to be being made right now and the supply of ebony has dropped. I guess in the end though it's just supply and demand. If there aren't enough people who want them, no matter how awesome they are the prices will stay low. Makes me wonder if I should get a couple...

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.

I agree with Bobouz's comments on the 339 pricing and it's impact on the 359 pricing. The Gibson website tends to have spotty coverage on whats actually being produced. For more that a couple years the 359 has only been listed with the vintage sunburst finish. About a year ago the top was listed as figured and now I see it has a plaintop listed. I bought one last year that was produced in 2010 and was antique burst with a figured top, and at the time it was listed on the website that way. I paid $2700 for it. A while back I noticed some showed up in shops with an ebony finish although the finish was never listed on the website. I haven't seen one in Pelham blue.

 

As far as Gibson's issues with regulated woods - they were in trouble for both rosewood and ebony. Gibson has been using laminated rosewood fretboards for some time now, as well as some alternative woods. They've also been using richlite as an ebony substitute on some models. Gibson has settled with the government and AFAIK, instrument owners have nothing to worry about unless they travel out of the US with their instruments. I think Gibson has been trying to keep the spec sheets straight on their website regarding the use on alternative woods and materials on their guitar models.

 

 

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I bought one last year that was produced in 2010 and was antique burst with a figured top, and at the time it was listed on the website that way. I paid $2700 for it. A while back I noticed some showed up in shops with an ebony finish although the finish was never listed on the website. I haven't seen one in Pelham blue.

 

Did you buy it new BigKahune? Was that on sale with a coupon or something? It's hard to figure out what they were selling for but the sites that still list prices seem to say they were a few hundred more than that. Regardless, why are 339 figured $3,249 if last year you could get a 359 figured for $2,700? A beautiful flamed 359 went for like $2210 last week on Ebay.

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Yes, I bought it new. I was visiting family in Chicago and my cousin took me into his local GC. This particular GC had a lot of hanging stock. I noted the MSRP was $4,793 and GC had it priced around $3K or so. I haggled it down to $2700 out the door. As far as the price differences, that's hard to understand. I've see the plaintop 339s for about $2200, about $1K cheaper than the figured-top 339 you're talking about - $3250. I see there's a figured 359 on ebay now with a BIN of $2590.

 

 

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I see there's a figured 359 on ebay now with a BIN of $2590.

 

Yeah well I just got two by either giving a "Best Offer" or sending a message. I was surprised how low I got them to come down. They were music stores though I think, so it's likely they got really favorable terms from the people who traded them in. I'm going to try them both and then probably sell one. You'll probably see a Wikipedia entry pop up soon lol. We'll see. I might wait to sell one until production starts again. Seeing how all the prices have been raised since they stopped making them, I can't imagine new ones staying around $2,700 - $3,000.

 

Anyway, thanks for the information, I really appreciate it. They seem like fabulous guitars. I used to have an Ibanez Artist with block inlays and briefly owned a Firebird I had to sell to get my Midi Fly, and I always longed for another Gibson with block inlays. I can't be the only one lusting after these...

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Congrats and enjoy.B)

 

Thanks man. I didn't intend to get two, honest! I low-balled the first one, expecting to haggle but they said yes straight away! I don't get it honestly. I was happy but then Ebay notified me that there were new items for my "saved searches" and low and behold... Pelham Blue. You've got to be effing kidding me. Sent a message on a whim and got it for not much more than the Vintage Sunburst. Both are supposedly pristine. I'll share pictures when they arrive.

 

Still not quite sure how I'm going to explain TWO new expensive guitars to my wife... I might be looking to trade one for a couch to crash on lol. Definitely don't think I'll be keeping both. Somehow I doubt "one is an investment for the child's college" is going to cut it.

 

I need to figure out how to get the Ebay app to stop tempting me with new Gibsons...

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Some more info I found about the Pelham Blue ES-359 from this link: Gibson Limited Edition ES-359 Pelham Blue

 

Description of the Gibson Limited Edition ES-359

 

During Winter Namm 2010 the Gibson Custom Shop - Memphis introduced this Limited Edition ES-359 in Pelham Blue (as well as Inverness Green). There are only 100 of each colour available worldwide with 50 of each colour reserved for the US market, and 50 of each colour reserved for the International market. The Gibson Custom Shop Limited Edition Pelham Blue ES-359 is a beautifully appointed, extremely collectible guitar.

 

At its heart, the Gibson ES-359 is a luxuriously appointed version of the ES-339 – a flexible tone machine with edge and bite at any volume.

 

What sets the Gibson ES-359 apart is its Grover tuning pegs, and an ebony fingerboard with large mother-of-pearl block inlays to accentuate the classic elements of this innovative guitar’s appearance.

 

Features of the Gibson Limited Edition ES-359

 

Body Type: ES-339

Body Wood: Plain laminated maple top

Binding: Multi-ply blck/white/black binding on top and back

Scale Length: 24-3/4"

Neck Joint: Set-in

Neck Wood: Mahogany

Neck Profile: Slender Players Profile - '60s slim-neck plus .030" front-to-back

Fretboard: Ebony

Inlay: Pearl block inlays

Frets: 22

Nut Width: 1-11/16"

Fretboard Radius: 12"

Bridge: Fixed

Knobs: Black top hat knobs

Pickup Bridge: '57 Classic Humbucker

Pickup Neck: '57 Classic Humbucker

Controls: Volume / Volume / Tone / Tone

Tuners: Chrome grover kidney tuners

Hardware color: Chrome

Pickup selector: 3-way

Finish: Pelham Blue, Lacquer

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Got the Vintage Sunburst. I feel bad, like I stole it. Stunningly gorgeous, seemingly newer than new. Searched for a blemish, couldn't find nada. Plugged her in, lovely. I don't get it.

 

7975056654_5de50dffb8_b.jpg

IMG_9389 by mrfett2k, on Flickr

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Got the Vintage Sunburst. I feel bad, like I stole it. Stunningly gorgeous, seemingly newer than new. Searched for a blemish, couldn't find nada. Plugged her in, lovely. I don't get it.

 

7975056654_5de50dffb8_b.jpg

IMG_9389 by mrfett2k, on Flickr

That is a beautiful guitar. I have a cherry red 339, but your 359 is superb looking! congratulations.

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Thanks guys! Yeah I lucked out. I hope I'm doing the right thing, selling this one and keeping the blue. I think I am because the thought of the Pelham Blue makes my heart go pitter patter lol. Should be arriving today so I'll let you know.

 

BTW this one's available on Ebay now, bidding started last night at $.99 with no reserve so knock yourself out if you're interested and don't want to see me panhandling on your street corner because my Mrs. kicked me out :-P

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That Pelham blue is KILLER! I want one!!!

 

One thing that should be noted is that the price difference between the original run and the following runs was based on a couple of things. The complete original run was purchased by Dave Carpenter for Guitarsale/Musician's Friend/Guitar Center. He helped in the development of the guitar and when asked how many he wanted to order it was simply "All of them". The price break for that run was based on quantity and to get them out to players and spread the word about them. I am speaking from my discussions with Dave about the 339 and none of this is based on any type of "insider information" from Gibson. I know nothing about dealer costs other than just an educated guess like the rest of you. I am sure that any dealer that wants to order 300 or more at one time can get a better price than ordering just a couple. The 359's are more because of the flame tops and more hand work for the binding, etc. and I bet there isn't any dealer that has ordered a quantity large enough to get a killer deal like the original run of 339's. I had 2 339's out of the original run and sold them to fund the purchase of a flame top 339 (custom order, not a 359).

 

 

Sorry, that is not the best photo of the flames

339_001.jpg

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+1 on that Pelham beauty. Congrats on a fine looking guitar.

And so is that custom CS-339!

 

re: Dave Carpenter

Where is he these days? He's one of the relatively unsung heroes of the last 10-15 years of Gibson Custom Shop offerings between the Music Machine "real feels', the Stingers, the early support for the 336/356, the Chambered Reissues and the CS-339/359 and everything else, he's been a terrific Player's Advocate and a very savvy businessman. I know I'll always be glad he got the Stingers made! Selfishly - after the demise of the Stinger fan site - I have always wished that the history and details of all those special runs could be rolled up and preserved in one place (*hint, hint*).

[thumbup]

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Thanks CR9 for that information. That's exactly the kind of thing I was wondering! Makes sense now.

 

And man is that custom flame 339 gorgeous!

 

Appreciate the kind words guys on the PB. I'm very happy :-)

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Congrats and nice score on the PB! I grabbed a mint vintage sunburst 359 off CL a few months ago for $1900. There are definitely some good deals for 359's on the used market right now. Good luck with your auction.

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