Friday, March 20, 2009

Guitar Fridays: Gibson ES-335











































by M A N

There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of guitar designs in the world. But of all of them, from your run of the mill Strat copies to Prince's rare and unusual "Sign" guitar, the Gibson ES-335 is my favorite.

The 335 was designed to help reduce the feedback that was common in Gibson's larger hollow body guitars. Though it still maintains that delicious womanly hour glass shape of the hollow body models, the depth of the 335 is much shallower (known as a semi-hollow body). As you you can see in the image, there are two F holes (much like a violin) that show the hollow inside of the guitar body. This helps shape its distinctive sound.

It has a maple body with a set* mahongany neck and rosewood fingerboard. Most 335s have a fixed bridge though it isn't uncommon to see one with a Bigsby tremolo system. The Bigsby trem is the spongy predecessor to the "whammy bar" and is used to add vibrato (personally, I'm not a big fan of the Bigsby but there are many players who love it). The two humbucker pickups help give it the range it needs to go from thick, weeping solos to crunchy rhythm instantly.

What I love so much about this guitar is it's versatility. The 335 is just as comfortable on stage with smooth jazz players like Larry Carlton to throw down rockers like Dave Grohl. This guitar can do it all. Just take a look.

Going Home -- Ten Years After with Alvin Lee, live at Woodstock

All My Life -- Foo Fighters Dave Grohl is using his own custom 335 (the DG-335) in this clip. Just listen to how BIG that axe sounds! You can hunt buffalo with this guitar!

Room 335 -- Larry Carlton (Mr. 335 himself) and Steve Lukather I can't recommend their album "No Substitutions: Live in Osaka " enough.

Sweet Sixteen -- B.B. King playing the most famous 335 of all, Lucille. This particular performance has a lot of cultural significance as it was part of the concert that took place in Africa celebrating the "Rumble in the Jungle" fight between Ali and Foreman. B.B. at his best, indeed.

As a little bonus, here's B.B. live at Sing Sing prison in 1972. Yeah, that's the blues.


* There are a few ways of attaching the guitar neck to the body. A "Set" neck means it's attached to the body via a dovetail joint and adhesive. "Bolt on" means it attached with heavy screws. "Neck thru" means the single piece of wood that makes the neck extends thru the body of the guitar.

29 comments:

John said...

Rogers - sorry for calling this out, but why is this guest poster writing about guitars on your blog about TV and geek culture?

Andrew Bellware said...

Because it's GUITAR FRIDAY!!!! ;-)

Rogers said...

Mike's a damn fine writer, whose hobby is music. I particularly like Battleship sundays over at Lawyers, Guns and Money, so I suggested Mike do similar posts along with his writing stuff.

It's a bit like Ezra Klein's occasional cooking posts -- I adore clear explanations of subjects I know nothing about. The guiter friday is rapidly becoming one of my favorite things on this blog.

Madeley said...

Count me in as enjoying Guitar Fridays.

I saw BB King play in Cardiff ten years ago, and it's still one of the best gigs I've ever been to; as luck would have it, he's back this side of the pond later on this year.

I'm pretty sure the lead guitarist with Motown's in-house session band, the Funk Brothers, played a 335. If he stuck to using the same one, then it's probably the individual guitar that's been used on the most hit singles of all time (I have no evidence to back this up, just speculatin').

Which brings us back round to why guitars are completely appropriate for a blog that deals with movie culture: the feature documentary "Standing in the Shadows of Motown", dealing with the largely forgotten history of Motown's session musicians, should be required viewing for anyone with an interest in pop culture.

The Minstrel Boy said...

335's are amazing guitars. truly and certainly legendary.

The Minstrel Boy said...

plus, it is absolutely possible to get all geekish behind your equipment. the axe, the setup of that axe, the configuration of the amplifiers, speaker placement, stomp boxes, all of that plays in to the geek end of guitar culture.

i am currently experiencing deep gushy geek love with my line6 Variax®. i am pulling a gig as musical director for an equity waiver production of "godspell" (where my first official act was to hire myself as the guitar dude).

i'm running with my variax through a PODxt3, into a Spider III amp. with that setup i am able to produce the sound of just about any electric guitar (i'm using the 335 setting through a vox configuration like larry carlton) for "day by day"). here i am in a professional gig that in the stone age of axes and amps would have required at least 3 electrics, 2 acoustics, and a minimum of 2 amps to get the sounds and variations that i'm able to get out of 1 guitar, 1 effects panel, 1 amp.

as hardison would say "age of the geek baby."

Madeley said...

I've found the Spider's array of tones to be a bit of a double edged sword in a gig. Even with the presets, it's fiddly to switch between different settings. Plus, and I don't know if this is an issue generally or just with mine, but there's a huge jump in volume about a third to halfway on the master volume pot.

That said, it's by far the best amp I could get my hands on at that price point, and so far it's been more robust than I'd expected for something that relies on so much electronics.

Tom said...

Nice post. Not to get too guitar geeky but Lucille is actually an ES-355. No f-holes, and I think more pick-up variations.

I used to own a Starcaster, which was Fender's attempt to get in on the 335 market. That was a pretty cool guitar that I wish I still had.

http://guitargeek.com/gear/img/fender_starcaster.gif

Andrew Bellware said...

My first "professional" guitar was a Hagstrom knockoff of the 335. I still have it.

I just got the Peavey Vypyr modeling amp. I decided it needed a Celestion Blue speaker in it. That did improve it. It sounds terrific.
These modeling amplifiers nowadays sound fairly amazing. You might, if you had the ability to A/B them against the real (and expensive) amps they model, choose the real amp. But you might not. And you certainly can't pick the modeled amp out of a recording and say "this one is modeled, this one is the real thing".

Tom said...

Sorry, should have watched the video before I commented. He's definitely playing a 335. Maybe the old Lucille was a 335, but the only one I've seen him pay is a 355.

http://www.achievement.org/achievers/kin2/large/kin2-011.jpg

Either way, he's awesome. So are the guitars.

The Minstrel Boy said...

the difference with lucille is that she is a true stereo guitar. it requires two rca plugins and two cords to play her. they go into channels 1&2 on a sixties fender super twin reverb amp, and out into external speakers. the sound produced is a true, surround sound stereo.

of course, it helps to have BB's exquisite fingers. bb is a true gentleman. generous to a fault. and kind.

lucille was, is, and ever shall be a one of a kind, axe. as is fitting for a one of a kind player.

The Minstrel Boy said...

oh, and a p.s. to mandelay:

dude, the fiddly things you rightly complain about are done away with the addition of the podxt3, and a macbook. it gives fingertip, pinpoint control.

the best thing about it all is that i get to leave my treasured, vintage, irreplaceable axes, touchy tube amps, and other prized gear at home.

the variax isn't absolutely true on its reproductions, but its close enough that i don't have to risk my gear on knockabout gigs and leave things at the mercy of airline gorillas.

they have an acoustic model of the variax out now, it will soon be in the stable.

the time i got completely and totally sold on the possiblities of the variax setup happened when a singer i was backing was doing his version of pink floyd's "comfortably numb," for the first part i had the variax set to sound like a strat, played through the shimmery, etherial sets of a twin reverb. the vocals ended, i stomped the pod, threw a couple of switches, and stuck a slide on my pinkie. all of a sudden, i was on a paul (or maybe it was an SG) in open G, wailing the fuck away through what sounded like a marshal stack.

that my friends, is guitar life in the age of the geek.

i, for one, welcome it.

Christina said...

Guitar Friday!!! Yeah!

I have no experience playing this beautiful model, but it's one of my favorite guitars to listen to. One of my pro musician friends up here in the Bay Area plays a red ES-335 and it makes my heart melt when I hear it. I listened to him play it last night at a show and it made me want to sleep with him.

I straddle both worlds - a single girl looking for her next boyfriend and a jaded musician who sees right through male musicians. I'll tell you guys a secret: this guitar will get you laid more often than any other - because it's emotional. You want to impress the guys, play a Les Paul. You want to seduce a lady, play a ES-335.

It makes me think of Wicked Game by Chris Isaak:

Chris Isaak plays Wicked Game

I think it sounds like he's playing a ES-335 here but I did some research and found out he's actually playing a one-off that Gibson made for him based on a Gretsch 6120... Whatever, it's a similar tone. It's a guitar that can haunt a room like no other.

I'm surprised Dave Grohl is playing one and was surprised at its use in such a forward song. But good for him for stepping out of the box with it.

caseyko74 said...

I have to say, I have gotten to the point where I look forward to Guitar Fridays. Fun stuff.

The Minstrel Boy said...

a whole geek heavy posting about the nuts and bolts of my Variax setup.

(it's your fault MAN, i figured i couldn't let this live in comments on somebody else's blog alone)

The Minstrel Boy said...

silly me.

here's the real link.

coffee, need. more. now.

(my post code is caltec, fitting that)

Jim said...

Yeah Mike, I play a 70s walnut 335 I bought from the road guitar player for the group that used to be Spiral Staircase ("I love You More Today Than Yesterday") Nothing sounds like it.

Anonymous said...

中国公文网 中国皮肤网 中国呼吸网 肿瘤网 癌症康复网 工作总结 个人工作总结 半年工作总结 年终工作总结 单位工作总结 教师工作总结 教学工作总结 学校工作总结 德育工作总结 财务工作总结 医务工作总结 安全工作总结 乡镇工作总结 党员工作总结 团委工作总结 公司工作总结 实习工作总结 班主任工作总结 党支部工作总结 办公室工作总结 学生会工作总结 工作报告 政府报告 述职报告 述职述廉 考察报告 自查报告 情况报告 调研报告 调查报告 申请报告 辞职报告 实习报告 验收报告 评估报告 工作汇报 思想汇报 汇报材料 情况通报 情况汇报 心得体会 学习体会 工作体会 培训体会 读后感 领导讲话 庆典致辞 节日致辞 开业开幕 演讲稿 竞聘演讲 就职演讲 比赛演讲 征文演讲 节日演讲 演讲技巧 工作意见 活动策划 工作方案 整改方案 实施方案 企划文案 营销方案 培训方案 应急预案 规章制度 法律法规 事迹材料 先进事迹 个人事迹 申报材料 学习材料 考察材料 经验材料 交流材料 自我鉴定 工作计划 工作规划 年度工作计划 学校工作计划 个人工作计划 团委工作计划 工会工作计划 单位工作计划 党支部工作计划 民主生活会 入党志愿书 入党申请书 入团申请书 转正申请书 党性分析材料 先教活动 整改措施 剖析材料 公告通知 模板范例 贺电贺词 常用书信 合同范本 社交礼仪 法律文书 论文

JohnKanaka said...

The Epiphone model is a nice substitute for the wallet.

Anonymous said...

展示架|室內裝潢|制服|團體制服|漆彈|整形外科|清境民宿

Anonymous said...

A funny game where you can use that guitar: :D

http://gibsones-335.elbruto.es

Anonymous said...

Aquí un divertido juego en el que puedes llegar a luchar con una Gibson ES-335... A ver si te interesa:

http://gibsones-335.elbruto.es

Anonymous said...

зеленый лазер
электрошокер
товары мини камеры
товары народного потребления

рестораны в барселоне said...

Really effective data, thanks for this article.

Nguyễn Việt Tiến said...

Angkor wat Tours

Cat ba halong bay

Cat ba travel

Cat Ba Tour

Cat ba national park

Cat Ba Kayaking Tour

Cat ba travel guide

Catba island

Cat ba hydrofoil

Halong cat ba

abdelwadoud khorb said...

مدونة المبدع

http://www.almobde3.com/

الربح من الانترنت,الفوركس,السيو,SEO,التداول,جوجل ادسنس,يوتيوب بارتنر,تقنيات,

hafidou said...

مقاطع فيديو

sabahiyat 2m

j9j

العاب برق

Obat Pelangsing Body Slim said...

This was a fantastic article. Really loved reading your we blog post. The information was very informative and helpful...

jaring lapangan futsal said...


thanks for sharing..
please visit my blog
jaring futsal | jaring golf | jaring kassa / jaring polynet | jaring pengaman proyek | jaring pengaman bangunan | jaring pengaman gedung | jaring gawang | jaring paranet / jaring tanaman | rumput sintetis / rumput futsal |
tangga darurat | jaring cargo | agen jaring | jaring outbound | jaring truk | tali tambang