ES-339 Custom review by Gibson

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 7
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.2 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.5 (46 votes)
Gibson: ES-339 Custom

Purchased from: Musician's Friend

Sound — 10
Well, I used to tend to gravitate towards heavy styles of music. This guitar is a semi-hollowbody so some feedback shows up at higher volumes. That said, the tone is incredible. Resonant and articulate, the highs are sweet and glassy and the lows are full and punchy with good mid emphasis. There's more hum present than with a more modern styled pickup, but it's manageable and the tone is to die for.

Overall Impression — 10
This was my first attempt at owning a semi-hollow. They've always been touted for their versatility and I can't say after playing it that I disagree. What a beatiful looking, sounding and feeling instrument. I'm sure this will stand the test of time and serve me well as I explore other genres of music.

Reliability & Durability — 10
I had to use a non-stock screw to attach a straplock to the back (standard practice for me) and it didn't fit well until I applied a couple toothpicks. Seems like it's holding up fine now. The finish and hardware are not as resistant to acids and abrasion as the poly finishes used on most modern instruments but over the decades ti will provide for a much more natural and aged sound while the appearance ages gracefully. This is not a weakness, I knew this buying it, but rather a benefit. Gibsons are extremely road worthy, that's why so many professional acts use them. I always have a backup but it's not a reflection on the instrument but rather in case of accident.

Action, Fit & Finish — 7
Setup was flawless form the factory. Lower even than I prefer, courtesy of the PLEK machine. Too low for slide, but great for everything else. Playing the guitar is effortless. Notes sing and dance with no difficulty what'soever, ringing loud and bright through the semi hollow body. The downside was this guitar had some imperfections in the finish, nothing major or noticeable, but a little less than perfect. There were rubs of vinish or varnish on the back face of the nut, same on the body side end of the fretboard. Just seemed a little bit sloppy for custom shop. Given how well this guitar plays and how fantastic it sounds, I wasn't willing to return it over these things, but it was just a little area of sloppiness that bothered me. I've learned to love the little distinugishing individualities on my instruments, but this was just sloppiness in the finish. Evidently they spent much more effort on the sound, feel and fit than on the finish.

Features — 9
2008 Gibson Memphis ES-339. Made in Memphis, TN, USA. Standard Gibson neck setup, 22 Frets, bound rosewood board. 24 3/4" scale. Maple/poplar/maple laminate top, back and rims. Maple center block. Mahogany neck, 30/60 profile. Nitrocellulose Lacquer gloss finish. Nickel hardware: vintage style ABR-1 Tune-O-Matic bridge, stop bar tailpiece. Green Keys tuners with modern bolt bushings and vintage keystone buttons. Electronics: '57 Classic humbuckers in the neck and bridge position. 3-way toggle. Two volume, two tone controls. "Memphis" tone circuit. Included Acessories: Gibson Custom hardshell case, Custom Certificate of Authenticity, case candy (Vintage Repro hang tags, cable, polish cloth, picks), no owner's manual, I guess they assume you know how to operate a guitar if you're buying something the custom shop makes.

13 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I have been playing only 11 months and I am lucky enough to have a 339 Antique Red 59 neck, one day i hope to do it justice. Its a wonderful thing to own just to look at let alone play. Owning it makes me want to practice all the time so I can play it properly. Magnificent.
    i played this at the store, its got an amazing clean sound and the distortion is freakin insane
    I totally forgot to mention in my review, I got the Vintage SUnburst one, not the Red one (there wasn't any picture when I submitted my review). Totally sweet. It's got a nice bright rich sound which means some jangliness on clean and good definition on distortion.
    Dude this guitar is BEAUTIFUL. I played and Epiphone ES-335 and it was awesome... I can't even imagine how full this sounds!
    i noticed the body on this guitar is smaller than the normal 335, anything tone difference? Comfort or feel? I'm quite short, should I rather go for this or the 335?
    Yogizzle wrote: i noticed the body on this guitar is smaller than the normal 335, anything tone difference? Comfort or feel? I'm quite short, should I rather go for this or the 335?
    this definately. the body size makes it much more comfortable to play standing up and you get a much better tonal sound IMO from this guitar, with the smaller body
    in the review above he didn't say anything about the price. Want but not sure I can afford one.
    I have one of these, getting a lot of buzz on the low e string, looks like it has to go with the bridge pickup? anyone have any suggestions of fixing without taking it in?