2008 Gibson Custom ES-339 – Antique Vintage Sunburst




Upgraded with a set of Lindy Fralin “Big Singles”.  Quality Custom Shop piece for the player looking for the 335 Dot look, tone, and feel, in a guitar that’s smaller and lighter. Gibson designed the 339 as a scaled down ES-335, altering the lines slightly so it doesn’t look like a shrunken Dot and from the audience view it pretty much looks like a full size Dot. The fact is, however, the body size is very close to the size of a Les Paul, both in width and depth, but yet it retains the tone of a Dot. The body is laminated like a Dot, but they use a maple/poplar/maple laminate rather than all maple; the neck retains the solid mahogany construction. Pickups were swapped out from the original ’57 Classics to a set of Fralin Big Singles ($300/pair), which are noted for their more articulate single coil tone—without the hum of a single coil. In addition, it has been wired for the volume controls on top; tones on bottom, rather than side/side. These pickups are powerful, not unlike a P90, with more beef than most singles and cleaner and more articulate. Fralin describes them as a cross between their P-92 and Twangmaster. They seem fairly resistant to feedback, especially in the smaller body of a 339. It also has vintage style feature such as tulip-head Kluson tuners, nickel hardware, ABR-1 bridge, stop tailpiece, dot fingerboard inlays, and lacquer finish, which combine to give it the appearance of a ’58 Dot. Gibson also made a few subtle improvements such as the output jack, now mounted on the side of the guitar instead of on the top, keeping the cable out of the way. The slim 30/60 neck has the slim, wide feel of an early ’60s Gibson, with an extra .030-inches of depth—perfect for today’s faster playing styles. They claim that during an A/B test with a vintage 335 “it’s virtually impossible to tell the difference between the vintage models and the new ES-339. I don’t have a $20K Dot to compare it to but from memory I will say that it can’t be far off. The smoothly polished frets allow for fast and accurate play, with less effort. While it features Gibson’s standard 24.75” scale, it somehow seems shorter and you can readily perform stretches spanning seven or more frets from the fifth fret. The smaller body size does not decrease the guitar’s resonance, plus it can be cranked up to even higher levels of output without feedback, much like a Les Paul. This is the perfect semi-hollow guitar for solidbody players and with its vintage vibe and modern performance, the it’s a great all-around guitar for any style of music.  This guitar has a wonderful setup and plays as nicely as any 335 I’ve had, but it’s much more comfortable.  These were hard to find on the open market 9 years ago, marketed only through a small network of around 7 stores and online retailers. Cosmetically it’s nice for a used guitar with a few minor flaws, the worst of which is a finish only chip on the headstock (shown here). Includes custom shop certificate and custom shop case. This had been on hold for a customer for nearly 6 months. It’s a really nice find for $1299(HOLD-Pamela K 8/1).


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