Top 5 Things That Make a Gibson ES-335 Great

Although we've seen the electric guitar evolve so many times, the basic concepts remain the same. The way that the instrument was designed back in the 1950s is almost unchanged. Of course, we have different types of electric guitars, namely solid-body and hollow-body ones. They both serve their purpose, but they've also both found their way into plenty of different musical genres. At the end of the day, it all comes to personal preferences and how an individual guitar player would want to express themselves using different kinds of instruments.

However, what we're interested in here is one particular hollow-body guitar. Well, it's officially a semi-hollow-body instrument, meaning that it has resonant chambers and an overall electric guitar construction, but that it's thinner and its chambers are smaller in size compared to regular full-sized hollow-body guitars. The instrument model that we want to pay tribute to is Gibson's ES-335 that has pretty much marked not only blues and rock music but plenty of other genres as well. Here are the top 5 things that make Gibson ES-335 so great.

1. Amazing Tone

There's just something about hollow-body and semi-hollow body guitars that makes them so unique. Featuring a chambered body, you'll get the additional resonance with an ES-335. Although it features magnetic pickups, a hollow-body guitar will do much more with them due to its overall characteristics compared to a solid-body one. And that's especially the case with an ES-335 since it's been designed and built meticulously.

Being one of the most popular and most praised Gibson guitars of all time, they use only the best materials for it. The guitar comes with a 3-ply maple-poplar-maple top and sides. At the same time, the guitar's center block is made of maple and such a combo gives a lot of versatility in tone. The neck is a mahogany one, featuring a classic "C"-shaped profile. It comes with special Gibson's stock humbucker pickups that can cover either those "ice pick" sharp tones or very smooth jazzy tones. At the same time, the guitar's smaller chambers caused way less feedback compared to regular hollow-body guitars before its release.

2. Very Stylish, Practical, and "Universal" Design

Another one of the unique traits is ES-335's special design. The instrument was introduced back in 1958 and was one of the earliest examples of double-cutaway body design. The "F"-shaped holes on each side gave it stylish looks the guitar's overall design was unlike anything musicians and music fans have ever seen. Additionally, the body's thinner design with two cutaways made it easier to access higher frets, along with a set-neck design. What's more, the neck is quite comfortable and allows easy performance.

Another great thing about ES-335's design is the aesthetically pleasing aspect of it and how well it fits almost any setting. You'll see the same exact model used by a jazz guitarist and a hard rock musician, even a classic old school metal player.

3. Versatility

But Gibson ES-335's versatility is not only skin-deep. We've already discussed this guitar's great tone. However, it also brings stylistic diversity, especially with all of its features. Aside from the basic 3-way switch that brings three standard combinations for two of the guitar's humbuckers, we have individual tone and volume controls for each pickup. This way, one player is able to bring sharp and "rugged" tones, along with very smooth and subtle sounds that we can hear in jazz music. The reason why so many musicians of all the different backgrounds and musical styles prefer to go with the ES-335 is not only due to its looks but also due to the wide sonic specter that it covers.

4. Impeccable Build Quality

Being one of Gibson's most desirable models, it's needless to say that the overall build quality of every ES-335 is top-notch. Going from the basics, the center block, the sides, and the top are assembled with precision and great care, along with the guitar's amazing neck with a set-in construction. Additionally, it also comes with Gibson's famous angled headstock that can even add to the guitar's sustain. The guitar's electronics are specially selected as well, going from every single wire and up to its great pickups. Of course, all of its build qualities are intended to bring the best possible tone and performance.

5. The Legacy

And, finally, we have ES-335's legacy. As we already mentioned, the guitar became popular as a diverse instrument that's useful for many different genres. Therefore, it's only obvious that it found its way into the hands of many guitar heroes over the past few decades or so. One of the biggest (or THE biggest) names is B.B. King, with his own signature Lucille model. Then we have guys like Alvin Lee, Chuck Berry, Alex Lifeson, and even Ritchie Blackmore who used one back in the day. Such a reputation makes it additionally appealing for guitarists of all genres.
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  • As a 18yr old learning guitar player. I used Larry Carlton as my inspiration and needed to get a 335… I bought an ES 335 Dot -Pro in 1979. Still have it ,play every day!!!

    Dan Bennett
  • I’ve been fortunate enough to have owned two 335’s my first was a 1961 ES335TDC I had a Bigsby true Vibrato professionally fitted it was really sweet. I left it in my car while I did a session in town, I came back and it was gone. Note to myself ‘Never leave your instrument unattended’. My second was a beat up old cherry red, busted bridge pick up but she could really sing. I swapped her for a white 1961
    3 p/up SG Les Paul with sidewinder vibrato. It got Stolen from a gig.
    But I got the ultimate beauty, a 1982 BB King Lucille, cherry red from a friend. I’m a lucky guy.

    Ray Majors
  • ES-335 player : MR 335 aka Larry Carlton

    Paul Almond

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