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Gibson ES-335 Dot Lefty Electric Guitar with Satin Finish



Sound Quality

I bought this guitar because I found myself playing my Korean made DeArmond Starfire IV more and more both live and in the studio--I just really like the versatitlity of the semi. I play in two bands and also do my own solo work. I also do alot of recording of my original material which is kind of a cross between Pat Metheny and Eric Johnson. Obviously, the 335 suits this style well, but it also holds its own for roots rock, blues, and contemporary music. i have four amps that I use in various combinations: Vox AC-15TB, Fender Hot Rod Deluxe (made in USA), Marshall JCM 2000 DSL 401, and Ampeg J-12T. The sound is really full, rich, woody, with a nice top-end zing thru the bridge pickup. You can get pretty good jazz tones from the neck pickup (at least to my ears...I'm sure the jazz coniosseurs would have more to say), and the 57 Classics can produce some really nice overdriven tones. The bridge pickup sends my AC-15 into a creamy, full, growl when I push this amp. The sound is actually quite similar to my Custom/Historic 58 Les Paul Figuretop, but with a slight woof to the lower end and, of course, the ever present open, woody tones that are hard to describe. So you need to play one of these to understand the effect of the hollow chambers, the size of the body, and the f-holes. I thought my DeArmond Starfire sounded great, but there is no comparison with this Memphis 335. It's quite spectacular.

Reliability/Durability

This is a professional grade instrument that will outlive me. Yes, I gig without a backup guitar all the time. I need to put some strap locks on this baby soon.

General Comments

I have been playing for more than 35 years. This is a guitar that I have wanted for a long time, and I am glad I bought it. It is way better than my DeArmond Starfire that it is replacing. As much as I enjoyed the DeArmond, it is going up for sale soon. I love the tone. It is beyond description, so, sorry. I did my best under "sound" above. When I was shopping, I played an ES 137, ES 333, ES 175 and a couple of Heritage H535s. The ticker bodied Gibsons were too woofy for me, although they have a certain charm. The 333 was just too cheap looking for me. The Heritage guitars were beautiful and would make a fine alternative. This 335 sounded so perfect, that I looked no further.

 

Besides the tone, I also like the lightburst finish and flamed maple top, back and sides (it looks like Jimmy Page's Les Paul in terms of color and figure...really!) I love the feel of the neck and the beautiful peral inlay on the holly headstock. I like the fact that the hardware is professional grade; again when compared with the cheap wiring and pots on the DeArmond, you begin to understand the difference between an import copy and the real deal. I did not appreciate the sloppy work on the neck binding, but the frets are really well done. As I said earlier, if you are not into doing your own setup work, don't leave the shop without arranging for a professional setup. If you order one from Musicians Friend or American Musical, you had better budget extra cash for a setup when it arrives.

 

Finally, I recommend working with a good local dealer (no, I am not in the business!). They can often beat the lowest Internet prices. In my case, the dealer came down $250 from the lowest price I found on the net. I did have to pay tax, but I still was ahead $130, and I know that if I have any problems, the dealer will work with me. The case on my Historic Les Paul split at the seam, and the dealer replaced it immediately, no questions asked. So, find a good local dealer. Anyone who can buy a guitar at Guitar Center or Sam Ash must have better ears than me, because I cannot hear myself think in those stores, even if they let me use a private room. There is so much noise...music playing, videos blaring, drummers, keyboardists, crappy guitarists playing Enter Sandman, gawd...gimme a break. Find a good dealer and you will not be disappointed.





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