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  1. #1

    Adding a Stoptail to a 1969 335?

    Hi Chaps,

    I picked this one up this week. I think it's 69 based on features. One piece neck, no volute, no "Made in USA", witch hats, no dot over the "i" in Gibson and the one pot I can read with a dental mirror is dated 11th week of 1968.

    I have a desire to add a stoptail, as it is a little tight on the tension front, but the guitar is in very very good all original condition, I would say 9/10. This does present a dilemma, as it's just so clean and original. But I do want to keep it and play it.

    Will I devalue the guitar greatly if I do this?

    Also, where can I find a 68/69 repro chrome stoptail, studs and bushings that I would need to keep the look of the guitar as "period correct"?

    Thanks in advance,
    Rob.



    -----------------
    Rob Livesey
    Manchester, UK

  2. #2
    Les Paul Forum Member fakejake's Avatar
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    Re: Adding a Stoptail to a 1969 335?

    I would really not do this. The guitar is in such a fine condition, looks almost mint. And the trapeze really isn't such a bad feature.
    I have a 1970 335, and I considered this mod for quite a while. I'm glad I didn't go through with it. There are plenty of threads on various forums, where guys report how the mod changed the guitar for the worse.
    And what if you find an earlier 335 at some point with the stop tail already added, and want to sell this one? You'll loose a lot of money by converting it.
    It's a beautiful as it is, and I bet it plays and sounds great! Just my 2c...

  3. #3

    Re: Adding a Stoptail to a 1969 335?

    IMHO - all adding a stop tail would do is devalue the guitar. Forever.

    It is a gorgeous example and trapeze guitars play perfectly fine.

  4. #4
    Les Paul Forum Member J.D.'s Avatar
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    Re: Adding a Stoptail to a 1969 335?

    A Bigsby is another option. Gets good sustain like a stop tail and covers up the holes from the trapeze mount. And of course the vibrola.

  5. #5
    Les Paul Forum Member AA00475Bassman's Avatar
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    Re: Adding a Stoptail to a 1969 335?

    Owned several trapeze ES guitars over the years never kept one very long something IMO lacking , really like stops , would not alter any guitar .
    Ive never confused owning a bunch of high end gear with being some kind of a guitar player I'm a hack and I love guitars !

    He thinks the mirror is a photo of a clown ?

    The Myth: Neat wiring layouts always equate to great-sounding amps.

    The Myth: If I would have lived with MOM & mooched till I was 48 I would play like Clapton !
    Think about it
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  6. #6
    Les Paul Forum Member OKGuitar's Avatar
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    Re: Adding a Stoptail to a 1969 335?

    Actually, stop tailed 60's 335's are easier to sell than trap tails. The stop tail mod doesn't seem to significantly diminish the value on anything but a mint guitar unless your luthier puts it in the wrong location. Then it looks like it was done by an amateur and nobody (except maybe Larry Carlton fans) will want it. If you do the conversion, make your luthier reads this.

  7. #7
    Les Paul Forum Member fakejake's Avatar
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    Re: Adding a Stoptail to a 1969 335?

    Quote Originally Posted by OKGuitar View Post
    Actually, stop tailed 60's 335's are easier to sell than trap tails. The stop tail mod doesn't seem to significantly diminish the value on anything but a mint guitar unless your luthier puts it in the wrong location. Then it looks like it was done by an amateur and nobody (except maybe Larry Carlton fans) will want it. If you do the conversion, make your luthier reads this.
    Charlie, I'm surprised that you of all people would encourage converting such a fine looking 335. Aren't there enough stoptailed 335's out there already? It's a bit like putting a TOM bridge on a '54 wraptail Les Paul.
    Some people actually prefer the trap tails!

  8. #8

    Re: Adding a Stoptail to a 1969 335?

    Quote Originally Posted by OKGuitar View Post
    Actually, stop tailed 60's 335's are easier to sell than trap tails. The stop tail mod doesn't seem to significantly diminish the value on anything but a mint guitar unless your luthier puts it in the wrong location. Then it looks like it was done by an amateur and nobody (except maybe Larry Carlton fans) will want it. If you do the conversion, make your luthier reads this.
    Thanks for chiming in Charlie, even though I am surprised by what you say!

    But, I don't think anyone knows more about 335's and the market than you do.

    I'm still on the fence about it, and won't make a hasty decision. Most opinions I hear say no, don't do it, but I should make up my own mind.

    Thanks for the input guys.

    Rob
    -----------------
    Rob Livesey
    Manchester, UK

  9. #9
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: Adding a Stoptail to a 1969 335?

    the only thing that I would add to that beauty would be set of black reflector knobs

  10. #10
    Les Paul Forum Member Grog's Avatar
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    Re: Adding a Stoptail to a 1969 335?

    Quote Originally Posted by J.D. View Post
    A Bigsby is another option. Gets good sustain like a stop tail and covers up the holes from the trapeze mount. And of course the vibrola.
    I found one with a factory Bigsby. I agree with JD that it gets better sustain than a trapeze tailpiece....



  11. #11

    Re: Adding a Stoptail to a 1969 335?

    That one ^ looks nice with the bigsby.

    I do have two concerns about a bigsby as an alternative solution, the first being the added weight (not a biggie), but the second being that the actual string length, nut to tail is increased even beyond that of the trapeze. Won't this make the guitar feel tighter?

    Rob
    -----------------
    Rob Livesey
    Manchester, UK

  12. #12
    Les Paul Forum Member guitplayer's Avatar
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    Re: Adding a Stoptail to a 1969 335?

    Very, very ,good condition... I would`nt mess with that.
    Play it for what it is.
    " Never Mind Your Face, just show us your card"

  13. #13

    Re: Adding a Stoptail to a 1969 335?

    Quote Originally Posted by rob livesey View Post
    That one ^ looks nice with the bigsby.

    I do have two concerns about a bigsby as an alternative solution, the first being the added weight (not a biggie), but the second being that the actual string length, nut to tail is increased even beyond that of the trapeze. Won't this make the guitar feel tighter?

    Rob
    I believe it is break angle and not string length that makes tension feel tighter or slinkier.

    If that is your main concern, I think you can actually pull up on the trapeze to decrease the beak angle making the string tension feel more slinky.

    FWIW-I never wish my ES 330 had a stop bar tail piece. Never. And when my 330 is set up right, it rivals any of my other guitars, including my stop bar ES 335's and my stop bar Epi Sheraton.

  14. #14
    All Access/Backstage Pass Wilko's Avatar
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    Re: Adding a Stoptail to a 1969 335?

    If you want a stop tail, put one on there. That period would be a light alloy chrome (that’s why the Les Plauls got).

    a properly mounted stop bar on a 335 is a very different guitar. A bigsby won’t help. Imnsho, Bigsby’s don’t make it that much tighter feeling and you still get the tuning issues. You can’t beat the sharp attack and long sustain of a stop tail on a 335.

    My 1965 ES-335 with full width neck is was converted by a PO.

  15. #15
    Les Paul Forum Member Gold Tone's Avatar
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    Re: Adding a Stoptail to a 1969 335?

    If you “need” to mod it permanently to make it “right”...it isn’t the guitar for you. Sell it so that it can get into the right person’s hands unharmed.

    You’ll find yours...it’s out there!

  16. #16

    Re: Adding a Stoptail to a 1969 335?

    I understand everyone saying, buy a stoptail if that's what I want. However, in the UK a 60's original stoptail 335 is 2 to 3 times the money.

    I got this guitar at the right price, some would say at 60% of what it should have been from a dealer. Indeed I saw a '67/68 at the northwest guitar show on Sunday, very like it, in similar condition, and it was £2k more than I paid this week.

    There is no way I can afford a '64 or '65, so this is the only way in to a guitar like that. There was a '64 at the show, in poorer condition than this one and it was £12k.

    It's a dilemma!

    Rob
    -----------------
    Rob Livesey
    Manchester, UK

  17. #17

    Re: Adding a Stoptail to a 1969 335?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wilko View Post
    If you want a stop tail, put one on there. That period would be a light alloy chrome (that’s why the Les Plauls got).

    a properly mounted stop bar on a 335 is a very different guitar. A bigsby won’t help. Imnsho, Bigsby’s don’t make it that much tighter feeling and you still get the tuning issues. You can’t beat the sharp attack and long sustain of a stop tail on a 335.

    My 1965 ES-335 with full width neck is was converted by a PO.
    I will source the correct parts if I do it, I think Crazyparts have lightweight alloy chrome stoptails.

    I have been in touch with my trusted luthier, Ged Green, and asked him about the process. He's done it before many times. I have also sent him Charlie's link to stoptail positioning so he knows just how I want it doing........if I do it.

    Rob.
    -----------------
    Rob Livesey
    Manchester, UK

  18. #18
    Les Paul Forum Member K_L's Avatar
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    Re: Adding a Stoptail to a 1969 335?

    Quote Originally Posted by OKGuitar View Post
    Actually, stop tailed 60's 335's are easier to sell than trap tails. The stop tail mod doesn't seem to significantly diminish the value on anything but a mint guitar unless your luthier puts it in the wrong location. Then it looks like it was done by an amateur and nobody (except maybe Larry Carlton fans) will want it. If you do the conversion, make your luthier reads this.
    Is the measured distance between the bridge and a factory-installed stop tailpiece always the same on all Gibson guitars? [ie LP`s, SG`s etc]?

  19. #19
    Les Paul Forum Member ourmaninthenorth's Avatar
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    Re: Adding a Stoptail to a 1969 335?

    Devalue is such a pejorative term.

    If you prefer a stop Rob, get it done and play the paint off the bugger - plenty of value in that. If keeping it original, but not really to your playing taste, is your thing, leave it original and alone.

    It's your guitar, and your call.

    However ( isn't there always a bloody however...)

    Gun to my head? I wouldn't change a bloody thing - it's gorgeous as it is.

    You're a good enough player to get around/adapt to the tension issue. Give it a month and re-visit.

    Good luck whichever way.
    Shakespeare walks into a pub, the Landlord says "get out, you're Bard"

  20. #20

    Re: Adding a Stoptail to a 1969 335?

    Quote Originally Posted by ourmaninthenorth View Post
    Devalue is such a pejorative term.

    If you prefer a stop Rob, get it done and play the paint off the bugger - plenty of value in that. If keeping it original, but not really to your playing taste, is your thing, leave it original and alone.

    It's your guitar, and your call.

    However ( isn't there always a bloody however...)

    Gun to my head? I wouldn't change a bloody thing - it's gorgeous as it is.

    You're a good enough player to get around/adapt to the tension issue. Give it a month and re-visit.

    Good luck whichever way.
    Paul, sage advice as always.

    And flattery will get you everywhere.

    Sorry I missed you at the show, I was there for over three hours and it seems I managed to miss most folks!

    Rob
    -----------------
    Rob Livesey
    Manchester, UK

  21. #21
    Les Paul Forum Member ourmaninthenorth's Avatar
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    Re: Adding a Stoptail to a 1969 335?

    Quote Originally Posted by rob livesey View Post
    Paul, sage advice as always.

    And flattery will get you everywhere.

    Sorry I missed you at the show, I was there for over three hours and it seems I managed to miss most folks!

    Rob
    I was looking out for you Mate, but like yourself managed to miss almost everyone!!!

    We got there about noon, and didn't leave until the end. I thought it was a great show.

    Hope you're well, catch you soon.

    Shakespeare walks into a pub, the Landlord says "get out, you're Bard"

  22. #22

    Re: Adding a Stoptail to a 1969 335?

    They make some pretty good reissues, too, you know.

  23. #23
    Les Paul Forum Member Guitar Whiskey's Avatar
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    Re: Adding a Stoptail to a 1969 335?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gold Tone View Post
    If you “need” to mod it permanently to make it “right”...it isn’t the guitar for you. Sell it so that it can get into the right person’s hands unharmed.

    You’ll find yours...it’s out there!
    Well said.

    That's too nice of a guitar to bastardize.

  24. #24
    Les Paul Forum Member GuitarMikey's Avatar
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    Re: Adding a Stoptail to a 1969 335?

    I say do it!
    If I were in the market for a 335 of that year, I would purchase one that was converted to stop (correctly) before I purchased one with a trap.
    GuitarMikey

  25. #25
    Les Paul Forum Member J.D.'s Avatar
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    Re: Adding a Stoptail to a 1969 335?

    When did it become taboo to modify a guitar?

  26. #26
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    Re: Adding a Stoptail to a 1969 335?

    call me silly, but in my mind if a vintage guitar has remained pristine for that many years it’s earned its right to remain so

  27. #27
    All Access/Backstage Pass Wilko's Avatar
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    Re: Adding a Stoptail to a 1969 335?

    If it had a stop tail. it wouldn't have stayed so nice. Good guitars get played.

  28. #28

    Re: Adding a Stoptail to a 1969 335?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wilko View Post
    If it had a stop tail. it wouldn't have stayed so nice. Good guitars get played.
    The original owner bought it new and kept it under the bed for 40 years. I bought it from the second owner, who had it for 10 years. It has been played, but only at home, and the fret wear indicated he never went above the 5th fret.

    I won’t rush into making a decision.
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    Rob Livesey
    Manchester, UK

  29. #29
    Les Paul Forum Member renderit's Avatar
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    Re: Adding a Stoptail to a 1969 335?

    Back in the early to mid 70's I did that to 3 or 4 of them for people I knew.


  30. #30

    Re: Adding a Stoptail to a 1969 335?

    Quote Originally Posted by renderit View Post
    Back in the early to mid 70's I did that to 3 or 4 of them for people I knew.


    Out of curiosity, Ren, did the stop tails make dramatic improvements to the guitars in question?

  31. #31
    Les Paul Forum Member TM1's Avatar
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    Re: Adding a Stoptail to a 1969 335?

    Rob; back in the 70’s I did a lot of 335 stop tail adds! Made them a better guitar. I don’t think it devalues a guitar by doing that. Most guys who wanted me to do it as it added quite a bit of sustain.
    I would also get an ABM bell brass stoptail! They resonate so nicely and add a lot to the overall sound. I would also put a pair of ThroBak A-4 magnets in those T-Tops! It will add more of a “PAF” quality to the sound.
    Congrats on the guitar my friend!
    ABM 3020c Chrome

  32. #32
    Les Paul Forum Member deytookerjaabs's Avatar
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    Re: Adding a Stoptail to a 1969 335?

    I'd rather hold off and buy a stop tail down the road. A big fan of both setups, especially a step further to the Rivieras, such sweet tone and feel. Yep, not as much sustain or tight feel when bending etc but there's a very subtle difference that I love about having the tailpiece setup. It's like hating a Jazzmaster because Tele's/Strats just lend themselves more easily to big bends/sustain/etc.

  33. #33

    Re: Adding a Stoptail to a 1969 335?

    Quote Originally Posted by deytookerjaabs View Post
    I'd rather hold off and buy a stop tail down the road. A big fan of both setups, especially a step further to the Rivieras, such sweet tone and feel. Yep, not as much sustain or tight feel when bending etc but there's a very subtle difference that I love about having the tailpiece setup. It's like hating a Jazzmaster because Tele's/Strats just lend themselves more easily to big bends/sustain/etc.


    Now I have to post my favorite Phil X video.




  34. #34
    Les Paul Forum Member marshall1987's Avatar
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    Re: Adding a Stoptail to a 1969 335?

    I don't want to start a shit storm, but 1969 ES-335s w/ the 1 9/16" nut is not one of the better years for the model. I can't even play a Gibson with that narrow nut width, and would never buy one regardless of price.

    So go ahead and put a stop tail piece on your guitar if you like. I wouldn't worry about devaluing the guitar, as long as the conversion is professional completed.
    "Scan not a friend under a microscopic glass; you know his faults so let his foibles pass".

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  35. #35
    Les Paul Forum Member guitplayer's Avatar
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    Re: Adding a Stoptail to a 1969 335?

    Quote Originally Posted by marshall1987 View Post
    I don't want to start a shit storm, but 1969 ES-335s w/ the 1 9/16" nut is not one of the better years for the model. I can't even play a Gibson with that narrow nut width, and would never buy one regardless of price.

    So go ahead and put a stop tail piece on your guitar if you like. I wouldn't worry about devaluing the guitar, as long as the conversion is professional completed.


    There it is....
    " Never Mind Your Face, just show us your card"

  36. #36
    Les Paul Forum Member renderit's Avatar
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    Re: Adding a Stoptail to a 1969 335?

    Quote Originally Posted by mdubya View Post
    Out of curiosity, Ren, did the stop tails make dramatic improvements to the guitars in question?
    Yes IMO.

    The last I talked to any of them they were happy they did it.

    Tone, sustain and less pain in the butt were their comments.

    But that was years ago. Like 40 years ago.


  37. #37

    Re: Adding a Stoptail to a 1969 335?

    Quote Originally Posted by renderit View Post
    Yes IMO.

    The last I talked to any of them they were happy they did it.

    Tone, sustain and less pain in the butt were their comments.

    But that was years ago. Like 40 years ago.

    Thanks.

  38. #38
    Les Paul Forum Member AA00475Bassman's Avatar
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    Re: Adding a Stoptail to a 1969 335?

    Quote Originally Posted by marshall1987 View Post
    I don't want to start a shit storm, but 1969 ES-335s w/ the 1 9/16" nut is not one of the better years for the model. I can't even play a Gibson with that narrow nut width, and would never buy one regardless of price.

    So go ahead and put a stop tail piece on your guitar if you like. I wouldn't worry about devaluing the guitar, as long as the conversion is professional completed.
    1987 really nailed this is what my first post should have said , the stop seemed to disappear with the 1 9/16 nuts .
    Ive never confused owning a bunch of high end gear with being some kind of a guitar player I'm a hack and I love guitars !

    He thinks the mirror is a photo of a clown ?

    The Myth: Neat wiring layouts always equate to great-sounding amps.

    The Myth: If I would have lived with MOM & mooched till I was 48 I would play like Clapton !
    Think about it
    won't you ...... Please !

  39. #39
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: Adding a Stoptail to a 1969 335?

    Get a Towner Down Tension Bar II - which is made for guitars with trapeze tailpieces.

    http://townerusa.com/product/down-tension-bar-ii/


  40. #40
    Les Paul Forum Member fakejake's Avatar
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    Re: Adding a Stoptail to a 1969 335?

    Quote Originally Posted by indravayu View Post
    Get a Towner Down Tension Bar II - which is made for guitars with trapeze tailpieces.

    http://townerusa.com/product/down-tension-bar-ii/

    Wow, this is new to me!! Anyone has tried this??

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