Gibson ES-339 30/60 Slender Neck - Antique Red
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Gibson ES-339 30/60 Slender Neck - Antique Red

ES-339 30/60 Slender Neck - Antique Red, Chitarra Elettrica Hollow Body/Semi Hollow Body from Gibson belonging to the ES-339 30/60 Slender Neck model.

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King Loudness 22/05/2011

Gibson ES-339 30/60 Slender Neck - Antique Red : Recensione di King Loudness (content in English)

"A really cool blend between a Les Paul and a 335"
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The Gibson ES339 is made in Gibson's "Custom Shop" plant in Memphis, TN and is advertised as having the classic hollowbody tone and feel of a 335, but also the sustain and richness of a classic Gibson solidbody like a Les Paul. It's meant to cater to the crowd of players that love a 335, but may not gel with the size or perhaps someone who likes the hollowbody tone that only a 335 can deliver, but is so used to a Les Paul or other solidbody that going to a full semi hollow guitar would be a challenge. The full list of specs are as follows:

Body Wood: Maple/poplar/maple laminate
Top wood:Maple/poplar/maple laminate
Scale Length: 24-3/4"
Neck Joint: Set-in
Neck Wood: Mahogany
Neck Profile: Slender Players Profile - '60s slim-neck plus .030" front-to-back (Also available in a fatter '59 profile.)
Fretboard: Rosewood
Frets: 22
Nut Width: 1-11/16"
Fretboard Radius: 12"
Bridge: Fixed
Pickup Bridge: '57 Classic Humbucker
Pickup Neck: '57 Classic Humbucker
Controls: Volume / Volume / Tone / Tone
Tuners: Kluson
Hardware color: Nickel
Pickup selector: 3-way
Finish: Lacquer



UTILIZATION

As far as ergonomics go, I can't say the 339 is the most balanced guitar on the planet. I'm not sure if it's a personal thing, but I've never found hollowbodies to balance as well as solidbody guitars when I am playing them. However, it's much lighter and easier to hold for me than a 335 or a full bodied Gibson like an ES175. I was able to play a 339 for longer periods of time without discomfort compared to a 335. The upper fret access is reasonable considering the guitar's design. The neck joint is traditional for Gibson, and the cutaways are fairly short and stout. However, neither of these impede upper fret access in the slightest. I was able to play fast passages up higher on the neck without much issue. It's obviously not as easy to play as a superstrat type guitar, but for what it is design wise, it plays very well.

Getting a good tone out of the guitar is very simple. It's loaded with a set of Gibson's '57 Classic humbuckers and sounds like a classic Gibson guitar that is a hybrid of a hollowbody and a solidbody. It's wired just like a typical Gibson guitar, so there isn't a ton of extra features to get to know. The one major difference is the Memphis Tone Circuit, which basically keeps the tone crisper and richer when you roll the tone control back (IE: it doesn't get muddy). Definitely a cool sounding guitar.

SOUNDS

I've tried the ES339 with various Fender, Marshall and Mesa Boogie amps. It has a great variety of sounds available which is a nice thing. It does everything from jazz and blues to hard rock (think early Zeppelin or Rush) fairly convincingly. The '57 Classics deliver a nice punch that contributes to a tone that is part 335, part Les Paul. Clean tones were very rich and full, with that nice airiness that only a hollowbody can deliver. Shimmering chords or fast bebop passages came through clearly and articulately, and sounded great. The dirty tones had a nice old school bite to them. They weren't quite as meaty as a Les Paul or as rounded as a 335... but rather I thought they had their own cool vibe about them. Rhythm tones ala seventies arena rock were very full sounding, and the smaller but still hollowed-out body gave the tones a nice texture that my Les Pauls couldn't quite attain. Lead lines were still quite articulate, but I did find them a little bit overbearing in the bass with certain distortion tones.

OVERALL OPINION

The Gibson ESS39 is a killer ax from Gibson's Custom Shop that offers a nice compromise between the classic Les Paul and the classic ES335. They retail at about $2,000 brand new, which is a killer deal considering you are getting a brand new, Custom Shop guitar. The stock parts all function very well and I would see very little reason to swap any components out. All in all I feel that it's just a good versatile ax with a little bit of a different flavour to a traditional Gibson, and that might just be what you're looking for!