Duv
androgynous fishcake
Join date: Aug 2004
320 IQ
#1
I've been trying to search around the Gibson website to find this out, but they cleverly sidestep the issue, but, do ES-335s really have laminated tops?

If so what is the reason for this. For guitars the price they are this seems pretty crazy. It also makes me question why they are so expensive? I played one in a store the other day, and it was good, but not £2k good.

Is the answer the classic 'brand/history premium'?
JayLacelle
Registered User
Join date: Feb 2009
60 IQ
#2
Yes they do have laminated tops. But if it's plugged in you wouldn't be able to tell the difference if it was solid or not.

But anyways I do agree with you they are way overpriced. If you want a high quality 335 get a heritage. Same/better then gibson (depending on who you ask) at significantly cheaper price points.
thehikingdude
Registered User
Join date: Apr 2007
320 IQ
#3
Yep, sadly Gibson has plywood tops.

Heritage is built in the old Gibson factory by original Gibson builders - at least some of them are still there. Those are also laminated tops.
Last edited by thehikingdude at Sep 29, 2010,
strat335
Dreeeeeeeeeam Weaver!
Join date: Apr 2007
10 IQ
#4
I was reading through a Sweetwater catalog the other day and noticed that the 2-3k Gretsch hollow body guitars also have laminate tops. is this normal for semi-hollow and hollow body guitars? I never noticed that before. I didn't think Gibson would have them too.
thehikingdude
Registered User
Join date: Apr 2007
320 IQ
#5
Hamer Newport Pro

Newport Pro with a Tobacco Sunburst finish. Features a hand-carved solid spruce top with two f-holes married to an Ivoroid-bound Honduras Mahogany neck and body, custom-made Seymour Duncan Seth Lover humbucking pickups and a Tune-O-Matic, stop tailpiece.

$2100

Hamer Newport Pro
Last edited by thehikingdude at Sep 29, 2010,
AcousticMirror
loves cheesecake
Join date: Dec 2009
450 IQ
#6
yes all 335s are laminate tops. They are also usually laminate multi piece construction. Back layer + side layer + top layer. That's just how it was originally made so they still do it that way. The ES 339 is constructed the same way.

The CS336 is completely different.
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boxcarmonument
Hates the Mesa haters!
Join date: Dec 2007
60 IQ
#7
Laminated tops are much stiffer than solid woods... so the guitar is less prone to feedback. I believe that 335s, 345s and 355s (plus ES 175s and a whole bunch of other Gibsons) have always been laminate (3 ply, I think, in the main). Bottom line... there have been some gorgeous tones produced on 335s over the years.
If you start a reply with: I have never played one but I have heard good things about it! Your opinion is invalid.
AcousticMirror
loves cheesecake
Join date: Dec 2009
450 IQ
#8
I mean I think the only reason to go for a 335 anymore is if you really like that type of sound. It's never more outdated then the other guitar techs.
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jpnyc
Banned
Join date: Nov 2009
90 IQ
#9
Not only is laminate top stiffer than solid wood, it’s also less prone to warping or cracking.
AcousticMirror
loves cheesecake
Join date: Dec 2009
450 IQ
#10
Quote by obeythepenguin
The most expensive Gibson models use solid wood (that includes the Citation, L-4, L-5, Super 400...), but a number are laminate (ES-335, ES-175, Switchmaster, ...) It's partially a time-saving/cost-cutting measure, since carved solid tops are very labor intensive to produce, and partially because laminates are stiffer and less prone to feedback, as boxcarmonument mentioned.

An interesting note, I read once that the Gibson J-160E was originally meant as Les Paul's signature acoustic. He specifically requested laminate construction, because of its feedback-resistant properties.

Regarding Gretsch, I believe the original White Falcons (and some other high-end models) used solid wood, but all the current ones are laminate for the same reasons I mentioned above.

Keep in mind that a laminate top does not necessarily equal an "inferior" instrument. Specs can only tell you so much. And I highly doubt a terrible instrument would remain in continuous production for well over half a century.


you're really good at this. you should work for gibson marketing.

Quote by jpnyc
Not only is laminate top stiffer than solid wood, it’s also less prone to warping or cracking.


really? the top on the laminate I have is like separating into strips. Maybe that's just a finish thing? Are you talking about the wood itself? You have a source for this?
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Last edited by AcousticMirror at Sep 29, 2010,
AcousticMirror
loves cheesecake
Join date: Dec 2009
450 IQ
#11
ok is some laminate more expensive then others? what do you think goes into the price of a 335 from a wood perspective.
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jpnyc
Banned
Join date: Nov 2009
90 IQ
#12
Quote by AcousticMirror
really? the top on the laminate I have is like separating into strips. Maybe that's just a finish thing? Are you talking about the wood itself? You have a source for this?


Didn’t you take wood shop? Laminates are stronger and less likely to warp or crack because the layers of wood are arranged so that the grains run in different directions. In some plywoods layers of pressed and glued wood chips are sandwiched in. The different grain directions keep the wood from shifting in any one direction and keep it from splitting along the grain. Plywoods are excellent material for woodworking; it’s just that nobody likes plywood because it tends to look like crap unless it’s the high-grade stuff used in expensive furniture.

the top on the laminate I have is like separating into strips

If the glue is crap, or the production methods are bad—not enough drying time under pressure—laminates will separate. And you can split it if the finish on the ends wears down and the wood chips.

what do you think goes into the price of a 335 from a wood perspective.

Less than a solid top, but probably not dramatically less on a per-unit basis. Maple plywood is still maple; it’s not like Gibson is using knotty pine. They can’t throw in knots or cracks, and whoever makes it has to be careful to not damage the veneer layer. So the labor costs probably add up. The real savings are labor costs; plywood can be molded into curvy shapes without much trouble.
AcousticMirror
loves cheesecake
Join date: Dec 2009
450 IQ
#13
rofl woodworking class?

but thanks good info.
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