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Is a high-end semi worth the money and trouble?

  • Yes, the tone and playability are life-changing

    Votes: 12 63.2%
  • No, stick with what you have and quit being such a brand-whore

    Votes: 7 36.8%

  • Total voters
    19
  • Poll closed .
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Discussion Starter #1
So I've been playing my Eastman T486 and Newark Starfire IV a lot lately, and an old ailment has emerged:
ES-335 GAS. One of the reasons that I bought these guitars is that I was gassing for an ES-335, but unable to play any; for some reason it's almost impossible to find them in Winnipeg. Once in a while L&M's site shows that there is one in stock, but it's usually gone before I can get over there. When I tried the SF IV and T486, they sounded very close to what I remember ES-335s sounding like in the past. However, that was over a decade ago.

Which brings me to my question for those of you with a lot of semi-hollow experience. Is the ES-335, or possibly another high-end alternative such as Heritage or Collings, worth the additional expense and hunting time (I'd likely be travelling quite a bit to find the right one)?
 

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It's too bad you can't get your hands on a few to try. When I was interested to get one, I found most were poorly balanced. When I set them on my knee, they wanted to slide off. That was 3 or 4 years ago. When I found one that was nicely balanced, I bought it (used).
 

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You could order one from MF (ask for the 15% coupon) and have it shipped to Pembina, ND. It's only 1 1/2 hours away. If you don't like it, you can return it for about $25.00. However, I would look at Ibanez first. Save yourself some money. It's every bit as good a guitar. It just has a different name on the headstock.

But hey, it's your money so in the end, you have to decide if you want that style of guitar or that style with a certain brand name on it.
 
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You'll never really know how good a good one can be until you get one - or at least play a few to compare. You won't keep wondering what you are missing once you aren't missing anything anymore. Once you've owned one for a while, you might decide the cheaper ones got you close enough - or maybe not.

And beware of internet experts who tell you that the cheaper Chinese ones are 'every bit as good a guitar' - they aren't. Consider the fact that those people have never owned any good ones and most likely have far more time on a keyboard than a fretboard, so take that into consideration.

As always, play what you live and like what you play.
 

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for me personally, i find the 335, (i have never played the heritage version) to be the rockinest guitar on the face of the earth. strictly my opinion, no other guitar i have eer played comes close. this one time, i will have to disagree with steadly. i did try the ibanez, and i didn't like it at all. i had cash in hand, and fully intended to buy one, until i played it. the fret ends were sticking out all over the place, i thought the poly felt sticky, and it just generally felt cheap to me. i would reccomend going used, because they are ridiculously expensive.
that said, if i was ever going to spend beyond what my normal limit is for a guitar, it would hands down be a 335. ymmv.
 

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I went thru 4 or 5 Gibsons. I just could not bond with one. I'm a Fender guy. Then I met Miss Perfect. A VOS Memphis ES-335. Oh man, she's one h e l l of a fine guitar. Killer tone. Amazing feel and playability. Fit and finish is awesome. Breaks everything up if you want it to. MHS pickups. Where were you all my life?
 

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Tried a 339? Same neck (choice of two profiles, '59, or 60's), way lower cost, more comfortable proportions and weight. Balance is different, and up to user preference.
Just sayin'
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks guys, I guess I at least need to go on the mission. Time to make some calls to see if there's something in the city, and if necessary, arrange to look around Calgary next time I fly through (I don't really stop in any other large cities).

Steadfastly, the Musiciansfriend idea is a good one, but my only problem is that MF actually charges more for the ES-335 than most Canadian stores, so if I like the example I'll be paying a lot for it. Unfortunately I didn't take to the Ibanez guitars I was able to try.

It's not that I don't like the T486 and SF IV, I just always wonder if the tone could be even better. I've come to believe that the ES-335 may be one of the two electric guitar sounds (I also like Strats) in my head, so even if I need to unload some stuff to make it acceptable to my frugal/cheap tendencies, it may ultimately be worth it.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Tried a 339? Same neck (choice of two profiles, '59, or 60's), way lower cost, more comfortable proportions and weight. Balance is different, and up to user preference.
Just sayin'
That's definitely another guitar to consider. I felt kinda married to the 16" bout because I tend to look like a monster with Les Pauls, but ultimately it is about the tone. It's going on the list.
 
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339s suck because they are shrunken 335s, so the cutaway is too small for what they are needed for. 335s are cool, I have a 335, a 137 but I play my sg all the time. The 335 has some nice tones.
 

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Yup. I had a 339. One of the several Gibsons I tried. It came and it went. A toy compared to a real nice ES-335.
 

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I bought an Epiphone Dot recently, I changed the pickups for classic 57's and i'm really happy with it. What I really like about semi-hollows is the feedback you can get easily without having to crack your amp. I also love that it's light and you can feel it vibrate against your body.

Happy hunting.
 

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I adore my 335. I had one previously that I didn't quite bond with but realized with my current one that the secret was thicker strings. I went from 10-46 to 11-49 and wow what a difference! The guitar just comes alive. Same playability, great low,action but just a sweeter tone that is highly addictive. I tried to make due with an Epifone Dot and later a Sheraton but there is no comparison in the end. Once you play a well setup Gibson, you will have a hard time going back.
 

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Suggest you try Epiphone Sheraton II. Can be found for $500-$700. I bought a real nice one from Davetcan and eventually sold it back to him (sellers remorse for him). It was a beautiful guitar and sounded fantastic through my Blues Jr Tweed.

Now it's my remorse.
 

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Suggest you try Epiphone Sheraton II. Can be found for $500-$700. I bought a real nice one from Davetcan and eventually sold it back to him (sellers remorse for him). It was a beautiful guitar and sounded fantastic through my Blues Jr Tweed.
Now it's my remorse.
BEST advice I have seen in this whole thread....
G.
 

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Unless your audience is committed to their white sheets, Doc Martins and/or SS tat's., I wouldn't dismiss an entire nation's guitar builders. Good value isn't a deal breaker for me either. I've been blessed to own many fine guitars, and many of my favorites/keepers are mij. If you get the opportunity to try a Yamaha AS2200, imo it would be silly not to. A Greco SA-900(?) would be another mij that any guitar player would be lucky to have a chance to audition.


John Lennon frequently played Epiphone & Yamaha guitars. I doubt he checked the country of origin.

Not an expert, just trying to be human. ☮
 
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