Price paid: $ 2562
Purchased from: Denmark Street
Sound — 10
Like most enthusiastic guitarists, I have a varied musical taste and playing style. The music I play ranges from classic rock (Led Zep, AC/DC, ZZ Top etc), to a lot of newer Indie stuff (The Strokes, The Libertines, We Are Scientists etc), and a load in between, notably Radiohead, Hendrix, The Darknes and so on. Basically I play most styles to some extent exept metal (although I can't think why someone would even consider using an ES for metal). Overall, the ES can definitely handle all of these styles. It's naturally very nice and crunchy with Drive added, so produces very useful rock tones. Not quite as beefy as a Les Paul, but much brighter and smoother. It's biggest strengths are any style that uses light-medium distortion. Under this setting it is warm but not thin; blues solos seem to come naturally and it has a great rhythm tone. It's highly versatile, I've never tried to play a song and not find a suitable tone; even if the tone doesn't match the original record it can always be made to sound good. (and this is all with minimal effects; just the built in gain from my cheap Marshall). The clean tone is particularly nice. Obviously the ES 335 was designed with it's clean tones in mind, and although I personally don't use the clean channel anywhere near as much as the overdrive, I do love the clean tones you can get from this guitar. With both pickups on and a bit of top end taken off, it does a great acoustic impression. I don't play much jazz, but of course with the neck pickup alone an excellent jazz tone can be achieved. It's humbucker equipped don't forget, so the clean tones aren't exactly "glassy" (that is, overly bright), but with an added bit of top boost a good clean bluesy tone is available. No guitar can do everything perfectly, but from the wide variety of Strats, Les Pauls, Teles, Rickeys and Gretsches that tried this guitar stood out. Trust me, I tried a lot. I was up and down Denmark Street for about a month (for anyone who doesn't know, Denmark Street is entirely music shops).
Overall Impression — 10
I feel that this is my perfect guitar. I know that sounds really cheesy, but it was the best I tried from a whole street of guitar shops, and I tried just about everything. I thouroughly recomend it to anyone who needs a guitar with a good clean sound and an even better driven sound. If it were stolen, I would personally hunt down and murder them with my bare hands. But on a serious note, if it was lost and I claimed back the money I paid for it, I would definitely be looking for something very similar.
Reliability & Durability — 10
The quality of this instrument is absolutely top-notch, it is built to last. I feel I could gig it without a backup, but of course that's never a good idea, you can always break a string. If you have the option, use a backup, but I would be confident that no major problems could arise with this guitar when gigged, string breaks aside.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The finish is absolutely flawless, it's a six-year old guitar and it has been played, but it still looks like new. I can't comment on factory set-up as I bought it used, but the action is good enough for me, and it stays in tune very well. It's an expensive guitar, so there are absolutely no issues with the quality, top marks here.
Features — 9
Gibson ES-335 Reissue, purchased from Music Ground on Demark Street, London. It's a 1999 model, made in the USA. I bought it used, but in virtually new condition; no dings or major scratches, though there is a fair amount of dirt and wear on the pickup covers. Obviously there's nothing missing here; it does what it's meant to do, the only features missing are perhaps a vibrato unit, or coiltaps, straplocks etc. Overall, absolutely no problems here, but it would be nice if they were offered with factory-fitted straplocks or a bgisby perhaps.