Quantcast Ryan's Guitars: New Guitar!! Gibson ES-339

Thursday, November 08, 2007

New Guitar!! Gibson ES-339

Well, I couldn't resist getting this guitar once they got me to play it at my local Guitar Center. I didn't think I'd care that much for it, but once I plugged it in I couldn't believe how well it played and sounded.

The ES-339 is a Memphis Custom Shop based on the larger ES-335 semi-hollow electric guitar, but is smaller and lighter than its larger sibling. In fact, it's about the same size as a Les Paul... yet it still retains the same fat tone that the larger ES-335 is famous for! A pretty amazing feat of guitar design. I briefly had the Vintage Burst 339 (pictured left), but after I got it home and began setting it up I realized that the neck had a hump in it starting at the 12th fret. It was a really bad case of "rising tongue", which is when the fretboard inclines upward on the high frets. This is a very undesirable condition and so I returned the guitar to Guitar Center, only to find out they had just taken shipment of another 339 that hadn't even gone out to the floor. This one was the Antique Red that I now have. After careful examination and many hours of playing I am satisfied that this one is an excellent specimen.

Gibson put their '57 classic humbuckers in the 339 with the "Memphis Tone Circuit" (basically a capacitor that preserves high-end when rolling off volume) . The tone of this guitar is just spectacular. It is exactly what you'd expect of a good ES-335, warm fat tone on the neck pickup, which can really fatten up with the tone control for smooth Jazz... and a nice aggressive, punchy bridge pickup that can do everything from dirty blues to compressed 80's shred distortion. In a word, this thing is "versatile". Plus, the Antique Red is simply a gorgeous finish that really gives this guitar a classic look. The neck feels unlike any neck I've tried. It is super comfortable, however, the fretboard feels a bit crowded up high for my big fingers, but I still manage to solo on the high frets just fine. My guitar has the slimmer 60's profile neck, but the 339 is also available with the fatter '59 profile.

I have the bridge setup with the stopbar screwed down flush and the strings reverse wrapped for now, but I may try stringing straight through next time to see if I prefer the tone of the guitar reverse wrapped or normal. So far I am very impressed with this guitar! It really helps me round out my collection with a good quality semi-hollow guitar, and one that's beautiful to boot! ;)


  1. Anonymous4:22 PM

    Way to go Ryan!!!! I love your blog, plenty of info, pictures and great attitude!! Your enthusiasm is contagious!

  2. Thank you, Dan! I appreciate the encouragement. I really do enjoy writing about guitar stuff, so I can't say it's hard work. ;)

    Thanks for stopping by.


  3. As you say, this is a great guitar. I have the same color and neck.