Gibson ES-335

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Gibson ES-335
Gibson ES-335 red.jpg
Gibson ES-335 ("Dot-neck")
Type Semi-resonant guitar
Manufacturer Gibson ; United States
production since 1958
Construction and materials
Scale length 24.75 inches (628 mm)
Body Spruce wood , maple wood
neck Set-in neck made of mahogany
Fingerboard Rosewood , 22  frets
Mechanics 3 × left, 3 × right; capsuled
Footbridge / bridge Two-piece Tune-O-Matic / Stop-Tailpiece metal bridge with individual saddles
Pickups and Electronics

2 ×  humbuckers

Tone control passive
  • 2 × volume
  • 2 × sound
  • 1 × 3-way pickup selection

The ES-335 is a semi-resonance guitar introduced by the American musical instrument manufacturer Gibson Guitar Corporation in 1958. This design combines the warm sound of archtop full resonance guitars with the clean, low-feedback sound of massive electric guitars . This sound makes the ES-335 particularly popular with jazz and blues musicians . The "IT" in the name stands for "Electric Spanish" (English for Electric Spanish ) series.

Construction way

A special characteristic of the ES-335 is its semi-hollow body . The arched body top (English: archtop ), the arched bottom and the sides are first made individually and glued together in the course of production. For cabinet ceiling plate as recited and Sides mostly plywood used. A ten centimeter wide wooden block (sustain block) made of solid maple wood is inserted in the middle of the body from the base of the neck to the base of the body , which fits perfectly with the body top and bottom. The neck , tailpiece and pickups are attached to this block of wood . The wooden block prevents the top of the body from swinging open (which makes the instrument less susceptible to acoustic feedback, especially at higher playing volumes) and extends the sustain of the strings that are struck. The hollow chambers in the body wings (under the F-holes ) also give the guitar better resonance properties than solid-body electric guitars. The glued-in neck, the length of which is aligned with the length of the instrument of 629 mm, is made of mahogany and has a glued-on rosewood or ebony fingerboard with 22 frets .

The electronics of the ES-335 usually consist of two humbucker pickups , which are managed via a selector switch and four potentiometers (one volume and one tone control per pickup). Various models also have a “Varitone” switch (a rotary switch that thins out the sound in several stages) and / or a so-called “stereo output” - separate cable sockets for neck and bridge pickup signals, so that the instrument can be connected to two separate amplifiers at the same time. and thus being able to play with different sound effects .

Various shapes of tailpieces are used on ES-335 models. The most typical variant is equipped with a fixed bridge (stop tailpiece) mounted in the top and sustain block ; also be models of trapezoidal tailpiece ( Trapeze tailpiece secured to the frame at Korpusfuß) or Bigsby® - tremolo system offered.


In addition to the ES-335, various other models were offered that were based on the ES-335. Although the deviations are often only made up of details, these instruments were mostly given their own model names. The most striking models were or are:

  • ES-330 - In contrast to the ES-335, it is not a semi-resonance guitar. It has a hollow body without a solid block and is therefore much lighter. As with "jazz guitars", the strings must therefore be anchored in a tailpiece that is mounted in the frame in the base of the body. The neck sits further in the body than the ES-335, which makes the guitar approx. 5 cm shorter. The ES-330 is equipped with single-coil -Tonabnehmern of the type P-90 equipped.
  • ES-339 - A scaled-down version of the ES-335 that was only introduced in 2007 and is specially designed for solid -body electric guitar players who want the sound of semi-resonant guitars without having to play a correspondingly larger instrument. Due to its small size, it also has a further reduced tendency to feedback.
  • ES-340 - A short-lived variant of the ES-335 with a modified pickup circuit, which enables out-of-phase sounds, among other things, through the counter-circuit of the pickups .
  • ES-345 - The stereo version with stop tailpiece and six-stage tone selector switch. Stereo here means that the neck and bridge pickup signals are brought out via separate cable sockets with two instrument cables or with a so-called "Y-cable". This means that each pickup can be played through a separate amplifier.
  • ES-347 - The ES-347 was offered from 1978 to around 1992. In contrast to the ES-335, like the ES-355, it has bezels (bindings) on the top and bottom of the body and around the headstock as well as gold-plated mechanisms and block-shaped fretboard inlays (block inlays) . The model also has a fine-tuned tailpiece and a brass saddle. Another special feature of this guitar has an additional coil tap switch, which makes it possible to separate the output signal of the built-humbucker pickup (splitting) and to use them so as a single-coil pickups.
  • ES-355 - The luxury version of the ES-335. The ES-355 has multiple beige / black striped mounts (bindings) to Korpusober- and bottom and to the top plate, gold plated metal parts (hardware) and a fingerboard of ebony having rectangular inlays (block inlays) of mother of pearl .
  • Trini Lopez - A visually changed version for the pop singer Trini Lopez ( If I Had a Hammer ) . Diamond-shaped sound holes and fingerboard inlays, Fender- like headstock with all six tuning machines in a row. Part of the production was sold with eye-catching body finishes (including green and black).
  • Lucille - The Lucille , a special model for guitarist BB King , is a modification of the ES-355, in which the F-holes have been left out to further suppress feedback. The Lucille, which is only available in black and red, has elaborate optical decorations such as multi-layer binding , ebony fingerboard with mother-of-pearl inlays (some versions in the form of BB King's autograph) and gold-plated hardware . The model also has an advanced tone control known as a Varitone switch and stereo jack outputs.
  • Tom DeLonge - The guitarist Tom DeLonge ( blink-182 , Angels & Airwaves ) received a signature model based on the ES-335 , which, in addition to the eye-catching paintwork with " rally stripes" according to DeLonges, prefers hard, high-pitched guitar sounds only via a pickup in the bridge position disposes.

The Gibson ES-335 in music

The Fusion guitarist Volker Kriegel with a Gibson ES-335
The B. B. King Signature model Gibson Lucille

The ES-335 has a warm, dense sound that, in contrast to other electric guitars, is characterized by a natural, slightly "woody" tone. Many musicians attribute this sound to the partially hollow body, which allows a limited resonance similar to that of acoustic instruments. For this reason, the ES-335 is mostly used in musical styles in which the guitar sound is only slightly distorted.

The rock 'n' roll guitarist Chuck Berry with ES-355

The ES-335 was used in jazz and jazz rock by musicians such as Robben Ford , Larry Carlton ("Mr. 335"), Lee Ritenour and Volker Kriegel .

Especially in the blues , B. B. King made his signature model Gibson Lucille , based on the ES-355, famous. Musicians such as Chuck Berry (ES-355), John Lee Hooker (Epiphone Sheraton), Alvin Lee and Gary Moore also use different versions of the ES-335.

In country music , Jerry Kennedy is one of the most famous players.

The ES-335 is a common feature on rock recordings in the 1960s. Eric Clapton used an ES-335, among others, while at Cream . Justin Hayward of The Moody Blues also used an ES-335 for concerts and studio recordings. In the 1990s, ES-335 guitars were preferred by Britpop bands like Oasis to reproduce the sounds of the 1960s.

Because of its powerful sound, the ES-335 can also be found in areas of harder rock music. In addition to the punk musician Tom DeLonge ( Blink-182 ), the ES-335 is used in Germany by the crossover guitarist Tim "Ink" Humpe ( H-Blockx ).

Models from other manufacturers

John Scofield with the Ibanez signature model named after him and derived from the AS200

In addition to Gibson itself, the company Epiphone , which belongs to the Gibson Group, offers various guitars based on the ES-335. These guitars often have their own name instead of a simple model number. Like the first Gibson ES-335, the Dot has a simple fingerboard with simple dot inlays ("dots") as markings and is otherwise a visually simple copy of the ES-335. The Sheraton II is a visually striking instrument comparable to the ES-355 (gold-colored hardware, elaborate fingerboard inlays). The casino , which has become particularly popular thanks to the Beatles , is the Epiphones variant of the ES-330.

The Japanese manufacturer Ibanez has made a name for itself with ES-335-inspired instruments . The Ibanez AS200 has been since its appearance among others, the jazz guitarist John Scofield and Ibanez LR-10 from Lee Ritenour used and make thus represents in the history of Ibanez early instruments that were played by professional musicians.

The Hagström Viking also became famous , especially through Elvis Presley's NBC TV special in 1968.


  • An ES-335 variant appears in the first part of the film series Back to the Future . At a prom in 1955, time traveler Marty McFly plays Earth Angel and Johnny B. Goode in the dance band on an ES-345 . The ES-335 did not come onto the market until 1958, three years later.
  • At the artist's request, the special model from BB King bears the name Lucille . By his own account, King played a concert in a pub in the 1940s that went up in flames after a fight. After King had escaped outside with the other guests, he ran back into the shop and got his guitar, which he had forgotten on stage. Shortly after King left the restaurant with the guitar, the building collapsed. King, who was only slightly burned, later learned that the cause of the brawl was a woman named Lucille. To remind himself that he would never again carelessly risk his life for anything, King named this guitar and all subsequent guitars Lucille .
  • Joe Perry of Aerosmith used, among other things, a special model of Lucille, however, the electronics has been changed slightly. This guitar is decorated with an airbrushed portrait of his wife Billie, after whom it is named.
  • There is a Gibson ES-335, which is specially built for left-handers and has a Bigsby vibrato . It is reported that this guitar was said to have been custom-made by Gibson for Jimi Hendrix to convince the musician of the possibilities at Gibson. Hendrix, who often played a Gibson Flying V before his sudden death , is said to have been in negotiations with Gibson about his own signature guitar.
  • Guitarist Larry Carlton has mainly played an ES-335 since his international breakthrough and is therefore also “Mr. 335 "called. He calls his own recording studio "Room 335". Gibson dedicated the ES-335LC model to him in 2005.


  • Adrian Ingram: The Gibson 335: Its History and Its Players . 2006, ISBN 1-57424-145-1
  • Tony Bacon, Paul Day: The Gibson Les Paul Book . Cologne 1994, ISBN 3-931082-00-8
  • Tony Bacon / Dave Hunter: Totally Guitar - The definitive guide . London 2004, ISBN 3-86150-732-3
  • Tony Bacon: Guitars - All models and manufacturers . London / Vienna 1991, ISBN 3-552-05073-6
  • George Gruhn, Walter Carter: Electric Guitars & Basses - The History of Electric Guitars and Basses . ISBN 3-932275-04-7
  • Hannes Fricke: The guitar myth: history, performers, great moments. Reclam, Stuttgart 2013, ISBN 978-3-15-020279-1 , pp. 24 and 62-66 ( The Electric Spanish Guitar: Gibsons ES-330 series ).
  • Various authors in: Guitar & Bass, Gibson special edition . Cologne 2002.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Roland Kalus: Mr. 335 Larry Carlton Live! In: Guitar & Bass , issue 7 / July 2011, p. 48 ff.
This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on May 21, 2006 .