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  1. #1
    Dutchbopper Guest
    Gibson ES-330-gibson-es-330-vos-es30vbnh1-4-jpg


    A while ago I played a vintage (1966) ES 330 in a store and it was a pretty nice guitar. I am not that fond of the 335 for jazz (I used to own one for a while but could not get used to the longer neck and the sound did not appeal that much to me either). So I guess the vintage style shorter scale 330 is a better guitar for me. Would make a nice side guitar for rehearsals and gigs.

    There's 3 models I could go for. A vintage one, a re-issue ES 330 and a VOS re-issue. The vintage ones are almost twice as expensive though. And I am not sure what exactly the difference is between the 1959 re-issues and the more recent VOS ES 330s. Also, I'd hate to get a recent one which has a laminate fretboard. I heard they put those on these guitars in 2011/2012.

    Any thoughts on what the best choice would be? Vintage, 1959 re-issue or VOS?

    Regards,

    DB

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Have heard great things about the VOS models, not sure about the laminated fingerboards, quite possibly true, for the period when Gibson was in trouble for endangered wood imports. I think you might be mistaken on the scale length, I believe they are both 24.75". I have a '95 ES 335 set up for more rock and blues, really like it a lot, but have never set it up for jazz.

    However, I did get a chance to play a late 50's (year?) vintage 330 that belonged to a friend and it sounded very different, given it's a true hollowbody.It was set up with 11's, so not quite a decent test for me for archtop tone, but I really liked it, could get that Grant Green thing going, which was fun. I would be interested in a VOS with 12 to 13 gauge strings, sometime, and may find one in the near future gracing my collection. I'd say go for it

  4. #3

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    The 330 and 335 have the same scale...they just join the body at different points. The 330 is hollow. The 335 is semi-hollow.

  5. #4

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    I'm not an expert on Gibson's ES 330, but the spec variations primarily concern the neck/body joint.

    The original 50's versions had a 16th fret neck/body joint.

    During the 60's (I don't know which year, specifically) the neck/body joint changes to the 19th fret (a la ES-335), and the dot inlays were changed to small blocks.

    The Gibson re-issue of the earlier 2000's is known as the ES-330L, and has the 19th fret/body joint, and small block inlays.

    The newer 1959 ES-330 VOS, reverts to 50's spec.

  6. #5

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    I am not an expert either. However, around 1967 the 330 neck went to the es335td neck joint. The earlier one is the jazzy one, IMO.

  7. #6

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    If I'm not mistaken the vintage 330s have a pretty narrow nut and neck. I wouldn't buy one without test playing it.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drifter
    If I'm not mistaken the vintage 330s have a pretty narrow nut and neck. I wouldn't buy one without test playing it.
    only after '64 early '65

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drifter
    If I'm not mistaken the vintage 330s have a pretty narrow nut and neck. I wouldn't buy one without test playing it.
    Not a 59-64. The later ones...yes.

  10. #9
    I have a '68 ES 330. The sound is indeed very jazzy, the P90s are mellow and respond well to dynamic playing. No feedback problems (but a friend of mine has one which tends to scream - so it seems to depend on the particular instrument). The nut is narrow, but neck is nevertheless playable without problems. Being hollow does not only change the sound, but also takes away lots of weight - making the guitar almost appear 'fragile', as compared to its sister, the ES 335. I have never noticed 'neck heaviness' though. One interesting point - if one uses a booster, the P90s can be easily made to produce a very sweet, slightly crunchy tone, without disturbing chord play. Somehow similar to a Charlie Christian PU, Kessel-type of sound. My personal feeling is that the vintage model also reacts, in this aspect, quite different not only to a humbucker, but also to contemporary P90s.

  11. #10

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    The neck isn't narrow in the jazz area...Ab to Eb. 4th to 11th frets.

  12. #11

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    I had a '12 59 Memphis VOS...great guitar! Tonally versatile, great player. Before I purchased....It did need significant work on the frets and set up to play well. Once...done...a killer.

  13. #12

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    I had a VOS 330

    Sounded great to be honest and the guitar in general is light, it's not neck heavy, its mahogany, standard length, the tuners also don't weight a damn bean, I don't care for them though. I would find them cute on a really old guitar but on a new one I'de prefer something a little more usable/accurate.

    However I would really check the neck, I'm not sure about VOS necks, I've seen 3 now that are warping/bowing only after a couple of years.

    The fret boards themselves aren't very nice looking either, something on the rosewood makes it look dark and dull, almost fake. Due to the vintage finishing of the gloss, the guitar looses something to me, just feels and looks a little fake.

    They go quite cheep though, I sold mine for £1,600? The Scatter Wound P-90's sound very good and I didn't notice the nut being narrow. The neck is actually quite chunky on these if I recall. A good one is a good guitar imo and if you can grab one for around €1650 it would be worth it.

    Gibson ES-330-dscf2546-jpg
    Last edited by ArchtopHeaven; 05-28-2015 at 07:34 AM.

  14. #13

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    Emily Remler had humbuckers in her's...


  15. #14

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    I admit I'm a bit jealous of how you consider to buy an expensive guitar like that as a 'side guitar for rehearsals and gigs' next to all the other nice Gibsons you have...... To my comfort is the fact that your level of playing really justifies a guitar like that

    I grew really accustomed to my ES-333 (same 335 dimensions) but as a Grant Green fan I wouldn’t mind having a 330 too. I once played a Cherry ’64 (with block inlays), great guitar. Really light and the 16th fret neck-joint does indeed make it feel much more like a thinline 175 or so. I did not find the neck too narrow. There’s quite a few of them on Marktplaats (Dutch auction site) at the moment, prices starting from €2,500 for a blonde 59 RI to €3,395 for a ’66 Block inlay (neckjoint 16th fret). Pretty steep for a guitar that was intended to be a low budget alternative for a 335…

  16. #15

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    Let's not forget the rare Crest, a fancier version of hollow thinline short-neck. Sort of the "355" of the 330.

    Gibson ES-330-gibsoncrest-jpg

  17. #16

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    one thing to keep in mind before asserting that the 330 is not neck heavy is that some 330s have a neck which meets the body several frets higher than the original ones. The one that AH posted is less likely to be neck heavy but the other model which has a more 335-like neck body joint may very well be a different story. Like I said, the 339 is not neck heavy but the fully hollow version is.

  18. #17

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    The Gibson ES-330 vos 1959 reissue is just a good guitar with great cosmetics. If you fall in love with the looks, you'll spend a lot of money. But you can get the same sound and an even better feel out of a Epiphone equivalent (Casino or Sorrento). Any fully hollow laminated maple arch top guitar with a good P90 will sound approximately the same. A little tweaking of the amp and/or the TONE knob and you'll find your sound.

    IMPORTANT: The neck on the Gibson ES-330 1959 reissue joins the body at the 16th fret. A 'normal' 335 joins the body at the 18th fret, just like an Epiphone Casino or Sorrento. This makes the ES-330 feels shorter and the balance feels strange. If you have short arms, you might like it 'cause everything is closer together. Switching to another guitar is not so easy after playing this guitar for a long time (or vise versa).

    The ES-330 has a Gibson P90 Alnico 2 that sounds very good. Just listen:



    Other P90's sound just as great. P90 comparison:


  19. #18

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    Remler installed a stud tail on her 330 when she dismantled the Vibrola.

    I have owned a 335 for a long time. The neck feels two frets too long when you aren't looking. The 330 is more intuitive if you have long played archtops.

  20. #19

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    I am also interested in OP's original question as to what exactly the difference is between the 1959 re-issues and the more recent VOS ES 330s and which ones have laminate fretboards?

    Does anybody know?

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Jay
    I am also interested in OP's original question as to what exactly the difference is between the 1959 re-issues and the more recent VOS ES 330s and which ones have laminate fretboards?

    Does anybody know?
    They used laminate fretboards for 1-2 years starting in 2012. I had a 339 with a laminated fretboard and did not care for it. I doubt the fretboard made any difference but you never know.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greentone
    Remler installed a stud tail on her 330 when she dismantled the Vibrola.
    I didn't know there was enough meat under the top to support the string tension on a stud tp.

  23. #22

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    Here's an odd one. A birch body in natural.


    Gibson ES-330-gibson-es-330-jpg

  24. #23

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    Gosh! Haven't seen one in birch before. Pretty dramatic looking...I always thought that birch was sort of a plain, cabinet wood. I guess it depends on the direction of the saw cut. That's the first non-mahogany neck 330 I have _ever_ seen, and a multi-ply neck, at that...a most unusual 330.

  25. #24

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    Amazing guitar, a lot better than the 335...

  26. #25

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    I hadn’t seen this model before and it has me puzzled. It feels like it’s the classic move of giving a satin finish to make the guitars more affordable. The twist it’s that it’s an ES-330 but it had humbuckers and it mentions a centerblock in spite of saying it’s a hollowbody.
    It looks like the body joins like a 330 though and it has the normal tailpiece.

    I haven’t been able to find it on Gibson.com but it’s in several online stores (Sweetwater etc).

    It also mentions that it was first introduced in 1964. IIRC the ES-330 is 1959 so they must be referring to this specific model?

    What do you think?



    Spiel:
    “This seminal hollowbody electric guitar first appeared in 1964 and is considered a hollowbody standard even today. With impeccable sound across a wide range of tonal options, the Gibson ES-330 can be found in the hands of jazz, blues, and rock players all over the globe. For 2018, Gibson brings the ES-330 Satin to you with all the same exquisite craftsmanship and detailed appointments that made the original a smash hit in 1964 when it debuted. A 3-ply figured maple and poplar top and back with a centerblock of maple and quartersawn mahogany neck make up the quality tonewoods of the ES-330 Satin. In addition, quartersawn Adirondack spruce is used in the bracing to further enhance the rich tone of this instrument. For blazing amplified sound, the ES-330 comes with Burstbucker 1 and 2 pickups and MTC Premiere controls, giving you a massive range of stylistic options for performance. Hollowbody players here at Sweetwater love the Gibson ES-330 Satin and know you will, too!”

  27. #26

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    Looks like a 330 especially with that tailpiece.

    They been making these on an off thru the years. Most famous is the Emily Remler humbucker 330, while a few years back they had this one .. longer neck and a bigsby

  28. #27

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    IIRC, 330's do have a centerblock (while still being fully hollow, unlike the 335/345/355) to mount the PUPs and the TOM.

  29. #28

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    I always thought Remler’s ES-330 was modified after she got it from her brother I believe.

    You can see the P90 holes on the cover of Firefly:


    I had not seen that 330L, thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger
    IIRC, 330's do have a centerblock (while still being fully hollow, unlike the 335/345/355) to mount the PUPs and the TOM.
    I thought it was just the top being reinforced like this:


    But no centerblock. Got this from my old NGD thread


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  30. #29

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    That’s a really handsome guitar. I’d love to get a 330 some day and this one looks great.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  31. #30

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    Although it may not be historically authentic--ha, since when are Gibson's reissues spot on?--I sure like the combination of the short neck and the humbuckers. It gives ES-330 shoppers a real choice. Until now, if you wanted humbuckers you had to go with the long neck of the '68-'72 model.

  32. #31

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    Centre block and fully hollow do not go together.... it’s either one or the other.....

  33. #32

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    Floating block, maybe?

  34. #33

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    This is a lame attempt to answer Collings version of this style guitar. Why would you not join the neck just like a regular 335?

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gitfiddler
    Floating block, maybe?
    What is a floating block?

    Quote Originally Posted by jads57
    This is a lame attempt to answer Collings version of this style guitar. Why would you not join the neck just like a regular 335?
    Which specific Collings model are you referring to? Above they linked the 330L which joins like a 335. I personally prefer joining lower like an ES-330.
    Last edited by blille; 06-24-2018 at 02:17 AM.

  36. #35

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    This looks interesting but why call this a 330? Especially if there wasn't some sort of typo and this guitar actually has a centerblock.

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by blille
    What is a floating block?...
    Semi-hollow guitars typically have a solid block of wood underneath the bridge that connects with the underside of the top as well as the back of the guitar.

    Some guitars have a block of wood underneath the bridge that ONLY connects with the underside of the top, NOT the back of the guitar. That leave room for air/sound to travel underneath the block of wood inside the guitar's body. Guitar builders call this a 'floating block'.

  38. #37

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    Whaddo I know, but don't you have to have some reinforcement for a TOM bridge? So a floating block sounds reasonable.

    Nice looking guitar.

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Jeff
    Whaddo I know, but don't you have to have some reinforcement for a TOM bridge? So a floating block sounds reasonable.

    Nice looking guitar.
    The parallel spruce braces of the ES-330 apparently offer enough reinforcement for the top not to sink and the bridge-studs rest in bushings. Seems to work well enough, I have never seen an ES-330 with problems in that area.

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Jay
    The parallel spruce braces of the ES-330 apparently offer enough reinforcement for the top not to sink and the bridge-studs rest in bushings. Seems to work well enough, I have never seen an ES-330 with problems in that area.
    Gibson installed TWO bridge adjustment wheels on the studs of my CS 330L bridge. One flat on the top the other to adjust the bridge height. Without the lower wheel being flat on the top I think they felt that the stud could either lean one way or the other (like they have in a 335 I have) or worse still sink.

    IIRC the studs on mine are not in bushings, but it's setup perfectly now and I'm not inclined to check, but you may be correct.

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by GNAPPI
    Gibson installed TWO bridge adjustment wheels on the studs of my CS 330L bridge. One flat on the top the other to adjust the bridge height. Without the lower wheel being flat on the top I think they felt that the stud could either lean one way or the other (like they have in a 335 I have) or worse still sink.

    IIRC the studs on mine are not in bushings, but it's setup perfectly now and I'm not inclined to check, but you may be correct.
    I think you are correct, the studs are directly in the wood from what I see on pictures! My ES-333’s bridge posts rest in bushings, but that’s a modern Nashville bridge. Old ABR-bridges just screw directly in the wood (hence the extra thumb wheel for more stability)

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Jay
    I think you are correct, the studs are directly in the wood from what I see on pictures! My ES-333’s bridge posts rest in bushings, but that’s a modern Nashville bridge. Old ABR-bridges just screw directly in the wood (hence the extra thumb wheel for more stability)
    I guess Gibson is consistently inconsistent because my 2003 ES-333's posts are screwed directly into the top :-)

  43. #42

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    After over a year of playing a copy (a modded Peerless Songbird) I am hopeful that an ES-330 can be my main guitar. I haven't been able to play the 2018 model but I'm hopeful the neck is not as thick as the 59 reissues. I shipped it to a local GC so I'll be able to check it out there. The excuse is my 40th birthday. Still a few months away but I didn't want to miss it.

    It's the classic sunburst finish, this is a stock pic. I'll report when I get it.

  44. #43

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    Great guitar. The p-90 equipped, short-necked version of the ES-330 has long been one of my very favorite Gibsons.

    ENJOY!

  45. #44

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    I love thin line, hollow P90s guitars. After playing Teles for 40 years, i discovered them and I don’t play my teles very much anymore ....

    steven

  46. #45

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    Very nice ES330. Happy Birthday!

    Play it in good health.

  47. #46

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    You will love it!
    I have 2018 330 like the one you've just ordered. Ordered it online at a good discounted price. Tremendous guitar! Super versatile, won't sustain as a 335 but that's not the objective. We really can feel the hollow body tone compared to a 335.

    Bridge pickup perfect for blues with some grit, middle position extremely crisp and useful for rhythm (as in a tele but even more balanced) and the neck pickup amazing for jazz with some vintage vibe.

    The neck is comfortable, as is the whole guitar, not as thick as the 335 59 reissue.
    I have mine with daddario 11's pure nickel, thinking of going 12's.
    Happy birthday and have fun!

  48. #47

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    Thanks! Good to hear you’re happy, particularly with the neck

    I usually have flats 12-48 but I may give rounds a chance to leverage the versatility you mention.

  49. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by blille
    After over a year of playing a copy (a modded Peerless Songbird) I am hopeful that an ES-330 can be my main guitar. I haven't been able to play the 2018 model but I'm hopeful the neck is not as thick as the 59 reissues. I shipped it to a local GC so I'll be able to check it out there. The excuse is my 40th birthday. Still a few months away but I didn't want to miss it.
    The 2018 has a bit of a hand filling neck, but neither a baseball bat nor a 335 slim profile, somewhere in the middle, I think it's just right. Have fun with yours.

  50. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greentone
    Great guitar. The p-90 equipped, short-necked version of the ES-330 has long been one of my very favorite Gibsons.

    ENJOY!
    Me too.
    It elicits memories of my first jazz guitar discovery: Grant Green's Idle Moments.

  51. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Herron
    That's a beautiful sunburst finish on that ES-330!

    I've never played one of those but I've played and owned an ES-335 and an ES-355 and loved both of them.

    First chance I get I'll try one of those ES-330s out.

    Have some fun with your new Gibson!

    Regards,
    Steven Herron
    I have a 330L (P90) and a 330 2018 (HB's) and the 2018 is for sure different than a 335, not only in weight, but it feels tiny by comparison not only to the "L" but all other 3xx semis too.

    Its length it almost 2" shorter, and nearly 2 pounds lighter than a 335. But it's not a totally unfamiliar feel, except that unlike 335's it balances perfectly and if you play a lot up past the 13th fret it's a different story altogether because of the different neck join to body location.