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335 differences

Prof. Potts

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Oct 2, 2007
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Can someone explain or point me to some info on the 335 line up? There seem to be a lot of models, dot, block, custom, historic?, 63, 59, 60. Where to start? Then I see some vintage ones on ebay that don't seem to cost much more. I think I'm working up to getting one and would like to make an informed decision. I understand the les paul lineup but don't know much about 335's.
 

Bob Womack

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The stripped-down version is the Faded ES-335 with its satin finish.

Gibson Custom
The Dot is the basic 335 today. The Dot is offered in plain top or figured top versions and has Grover keys.
The Fat Neck Dot simply has a fatter neck and Kluson keys, and a plain top.
The Block inlay has the blocks and Kluson keys.
These are not reissues but modern versions. They are built in Memphis.

From there we go to the Historic versions:
1959 Dot reissue
50th Anniversary 1960
1963 Es-335 Block
These are attempts to recreate the characteristics of these particular years, including neck shapes, tenons, and horns. They are built in Memphis but are considered Custom Shop items.

Now, my opinion:
You can get a fine instrument with any of the gloss models. You just need to play them and find a good one. I found a Figured-Top Dot that plays and sounds great after sampling ten Es-335s of various models If you are interested in historicity, go with the historics. Look at the Golden Age of the ES-335 for info about the differences between the years if you go that route.

Have fun!

Bob
 

Elliot Easton

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I appreciate the helpful response. If the question annoys you then please ignore the post.

The question certainly does not annoy me and I hope my response which was merely intended as humorous did not offend. You'll laugh yourself if you do a search of threads on this very subject. It's a perfectly good question but the answers are often somewhat confusing! I'm glad that Bob was able to provide the information you seek. Myself, I have the custom shop '63 reissue and it's one of my favorite modern Gibsons.
 
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Gold Tone

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From there we go to the Historic versions:
1959 Dot reissue
50th Anniversary 1960
1963 Es-335 Block
These are attempts to recreate the characteristics of these particular years, including neck shapes, tenons, and horns. They are built in Memphis but are considered Custom Shop items.

The bodies are pressed in Memphis and shipped, bare wood, to Nashville Custom. The rest of the work is done in the Nashville Custom Shop.
 

Bob Womack

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The bodies are pressed in Memphis and shipped, bare wood, to Nashville Custom. The rest of the work is done in the Nashville Custom Shop.
I stand correctively.
madsmile.gif


Bob
 

vintage58

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Can someone explain or point me to some info on the 335 line up? There seem to be a lot of models, dot, block, custom, historic?, 63, 59, 60. Where to start? Then I see some vintage ones on ebay that don't seem to cost much more. I think I'm working up to getting one and would like to make an informed decision. I understand the les paul lineup but don't know much about 335's.
In terms of non-reissue 335s, the below list places the various versions in order of monetary value and collectability/desirability, with the uppermost list entry being the most valuable:

.......'58–'63 (a/k/a "Mickey Mouse" ears, and mostly dot inlays)
.......'64 (sharper cutaway shape but still full-width nut)
.......'65–'69 (narrower nut and, towards the end of this era, specs transition gradually to Norlin-era specs)
.......'70–'80 (Norlin era; volutes, waist shape changes, etc.)

That leaves the ca. 1981 dot-neck reissues and the Historic reissues, the former of which are held in high regard by many on this Forum, both in terms of their quality and (relatively low) prices.

It's also worth noting that each of the above variants of 335 include great guitars, mediocre guitars, and probably at least a few bad guitars — so, for example, even though a lot of people somewhat reflexively turn their nose up to 1970s 335's, there are probably plenty of fine guitars among that group of guitars.

One favorite variant of my own would be the late-1960s 3x5's, because they don't have the "new" feel of a recent reissue, but they also aren't exorbitantly expensive, especially in the current guitar market. I used to own a completely original sunburst '69 that I really liked, and even though I purchased it at a time when vintage prices were still pretty high (circa 2006), I got it for about $3,400.00 on eBay, which is more or less in the same price range that a brand-new reissue 335 would go for. But the feel and sound of the guitar, I think, were markedly better than the reissues I've heard. And IMO, so, too, was the look of the guitar. YMMV.
.
 

bluesforstevie

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Jun 20, 2002
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I had a red Y2K 335 Historic '59 dot with fat neck and it was one of the best 335's I've ever played and heard. I loved that guitar. Got it in '03 for just south of 3K.:salude
 

Guitar Whiskey

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I prefer those which do not have a huge neck; so for me I prefer the 63 block historics. Also I like the neck and in particular the feel and sound of the ES333's. Do a search on these if you are curious.
 

Tonebender

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May 19, 2004
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I bought a Memphis 63 Blockneck last summer and its been great. Needed a little setting up after living with it a while, but can't complain at all. As has been noted there are great, good, average, below average and just plain bad in all the versions. It's best to just try them all and see for yourself. In my opinion the nicest NEW 335 on the board is Elliot Easton's cherry Blockneck. Speaking of which, Elliot, could you post it again and show the original poster what a great 335 looks like?
 

D'Mule

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I think it would be cool to post one example of each Gibson ES 335 model in this thread!:jim

Hopefully, the owner that posts his guitar can accurately identify the model and describe its unique features, or edit the post if necessary to correct some detail.

Maybe keep it as a sticky if the thread catches on...:2zone
 

D'Mule

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I'll start with mine...

1959 ES-335 Dot Reissue (2009 Memphis 50th Anniversary VOS)

335.jpg

es335%20case%20candy.jpg


All "Historic-like" 1959 appointments and features, except orange label A 995XX serial number states Model ES 335 and made in "Memphis". No serial on the back of the headstock (but in 2009, a Custom Shop Decal adorned the back of the headstock).
 

sharq attaq

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Mar 14, 2004
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In terms of non-reissue 335s, the below list places the various versions in order of monetary value and collectability/desirability, with the uppermost list entry being the most valuable:

.......'58–'63 (a/k/a "Mickey Mouse" ears, and mostly dot inlays)
.......'64 (sharper cutaway shape but still full-width nut)
.......'65–'69 (narrower nut and, towards the end of this era, specs transition gradually to Norlin-era specs)
.......'70–'80 (Norlin era; volutes, waist shape changes, etc.)

hmmm....do all these guidelines (other than the dot inlays, of course) follow for the 345 & 355?


....I mean if all three models were all available throughout those years.
 
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Ad_02Std

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Apr 12, 2005
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Why don't I have one of these yet? There must be something round here I can sell...
 

Elliot Easton

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In my opinion the nicest NEW 335 on the board is Elliot Easton's cherry Blockneck. Speaking of which, Elliot, could you post it again and show the original poster what a great 335 looks like?

Sure, happy to do it!
P1020401.jpg

P1020399.jpg

P1020408.jpg

P1020398.jpg

Those that remember my first posting of this guitar may recall that Gibson had offered to finish this one the same as the Clapton/Crossroads model. I don't know if the photos convey it, but this one really does have a vintage vibe.
 

sharq attaq

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I think it would be cool to post one example of each Gibson ES 335 model in this thread!:jim

Hopefully, the owner that posts his guitar can accurately identify the model and describe its unique features, or edit the post if necessary to correct some detail.

Maybe keep it as a sticky if the thread catches on...:2zone

I'll play. This is my '82 model. Three piece mohog neck, grovers, bone stock, including shaw pickups, pointy strap buttons, short pickguard, nashville bridge, and chocolate ambered top hats. Some gawjous eastern maple laminate, IMO. Interesting to say the least. Made in USA and Custom Shop on the headstock. White inside sticker. I'm pretty sure the headstock inlays are all different from '50s models....big shocker, right? The crown is very low. Anyway, it's a great guitar. I'd like to show you my '59 for comparison...but ummm, I don't have one.

3352003.jpg


3352007.jpg


3353010.jpg


3353012.jpg


211HEA1.jpg


212HEA1.jpg
 
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sharq attaq

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Sure, happy to do it!
Those that remember my first posting of this guitar may recall that Gibson had offered to finish this one the same as the Clapton/Crossroads model. I don't know if the photos convey it, but this one really does have a vintage vibe.

Those photos convey a beautiful color red for sure!!
 
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