line decor
line decor



 PRS logo



 Reviews Home

Gibson ES 339

Road tested and approved! Highly desirable


What our reviewer says

An interesting development from the Gibson Custom Shop. This is a guitar that suits me perfectly, I have always struggled with the Les Paul, partly due to weight but somehow I have yet to find one I feel comfortable with, and I have played a few. this guitar however is considerably lighter and a perfect size for solid body players who, like me, cannot deal with the size of a 335.
But that is just the beginning, the whole feel of the guitar is good from the off, nicely balanced, very playable neck, whatever your preference is. We played the 50's neck model mostly, but had an opportunity to try the slim 30/60 profile as well. I think something must be said at this point about set up, if you are going to commit serious money to a custom shop instrument, you shouldn't find a bad one but you should try out as many as possible, they will vary due to the hand finishing and of course the pre sale set up, which invariably is undertaken by the selling dealer.
So, on to the tone, quite simply this is where Gibson score tremendously well, the pickups are superbly balanced against the Memphis Tone Circuit employed in order to keep the tone active at any volume, these guitars will give you the jazz feel of the other semi hollow Gibson's and yet simply flick the selector switch and you have a Les Paul sound for lead or blues. We had trouble putting our review copy down, but with you guys in mind we went out to find some more to try in the high street, just to make sure we weren't just lucky, we tried the different neck profile, more suited to the speed player though I wonder if this is the sort of instrument that would appeal. We compared it against the real thing, a 335 costing 25% more, we couldn't justify spending the extra, we tried the 359, much the same as the 339 but with gold hardware, fancy top, block inlays against dots and most importantly, a superior nut, if there is to be a criticism then the nut is not really up to the standard expected on a custom shop guitar.
In conclusion, these guitars are made in limited quantities, if the US dealers don't take the stock the the remainder is exported, if you are in the UK or Europe then you will have to search them out, if you desire a particular finish and neck profile you may have to wait several months, but if you can wait, it will be worth it

What the manufacturer says

The ES-339 features smaller body dimensions but sacrifices none of that huge semi-hollow tone that makes the ES-335 universally appealing. Lighter, more compact and comfortable than a traditional semi-hollow guitar, the ES-339 feels like a Les Paul but sounds like an ES-335.
All the features guitarists love about the ES-335 are present and accounted for on the ES-339. First, it boasts a pair of ’57 Classic Humbuckers that deliver full-bodied tone with rich midrange and singing sustain that players can’t live without. The tulip-head Kluson tuners, nickel hardware, ABR-1 bridge, stop tailpiece, dot fingerboard inlays, and lacquer finish look like they came right out of 1958
However, Gibson did make a few subtle improvements based on feedback from players over the years. The output jack is mounted on the side of the guitar instead of on the top, keeping the cable out of the way. The slim 30/60 neck has the slim, wide feel of an early ’60s Gibson, with an extra .030-inches of depth—perfect for today’s faster playing styles. A heftier ’59 neck profile is also available for guitarists who prefer a chunkier neck but still enjoy fast, smooth playing action. An improved electronic wiring circuit preserves the guitar’s high frequencies no matter where you adjust the volume control. The 339 sports Gibson’s new Memphis Tone Circuit, which preserves the guitar’s high frequencies no matter where you adjust the volume control.
From a playing standpoint, the ES-339 is a dreamboat. The smoothly polished frets feel especially comfortable under the fingers, making it possible to play fast and accurately with little effort. While the ES-339 features Gibson’s standard 24 ¾-inch scale, it somehow seems shorter. One can readily perform stretches spanning seven or more frets from the fifth fret.
Tonally, the ES-339 is everything a guitarist could want from a semi-hollow axe and more. The smaller body size does not decrease the guitar’s resonance, yet the ES-339 can be cranked up to even higher levels of output without feedback. In fact, guitar’s feedback resistance is right up there with Les Pauls and SGs. You can feel the punch and power of the 339 in every chord and note—the combination of the best sonic and performance qualities of Les Pauls and ES-335s gives the guitar a truly unique voice, and gives guitarists a totally new playing experience. The ’57 Classic humbuckers deliver all the warmth, sustain and clarity of original Patent Applied For pickups, and in the ES-339 they produce a stunning, expressive midrange honk that’s as fluid and assertive as a saxophone.

Your views here please - click once

© guitarsforstars.com 2011