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2020 Gibson USA ES-335 figured

executor

New member
Joined
Dec 30, 2020
Messages
9
Hi folks,


New member here.

Hope you are all doing well.


I have owned/own other Gibsons (USA and Montana) over the years (but by no means am I an expert) but my last Gibson purchase was around 10 years ago.
I kinda lost interest in in-production Gibsons over the last 5-10 years when they were making all those crazy robot guitars and whacky colour schemes and all...
But with the change of ownership, I regained interest in the brand, and I was always looking for a nice ES-335 and I really dug the spec of the figured variant of the new 335s in the USA line - figured top with cherry finish, block in-lays and kluson-style tuners look very nice IMO. Also the T-type pups are quite nice.

So, after a bit of waiting (seems like not many of these are available at the moment) I recently picked up one of the USA ES-335 from the new collection (nashville made) in figured sixties cherry.
Really like the figuring in the maple top of the example I received (really good combo of graining + flaming... I know some people prefer having just crazy flame/quilt or graining but I always liked a bit of graining on cherry 335s like the actual 60's examples and I think I am getting the best of both worlds here!) and sound is nice but I found a few flaws and just wanted to hear experienced members' thoughts:-


Untitled.jpg





-Some light surface level scuffs/scratches on the clearcoat near the tailpiece. There are couple of other 'streaks' surface-level scratches on a couple of other areas on the top. Obviously, not ideal but I am not TOO bothered about these in isolation as they are just surface level scratches but still would have prefer if they weren't present!




IMG-8062.jpg





-Uneven binding work and slight divots on the high e end of the last two frets.

Some uneven binding on the neck and some tooling marks and 'black' marks here and there but not too bad... i guess.

IMG-8065.jpg



slight divots on the high e end of the last two frets. The divots are not sharp or anything, only really can be felt with my nails, just running fingers is ok.

IMG-8064.jpg


IMG-8068.jpg





-Slight 'bubbling' on the clear coat on the binding on the body. I think this is due to that particular spot (around 2cm in length) being shaved a little more than surrounding areas. when I run my finger over, I can feel slight unevenness.

IMG-8067.jpg



IMG-8071.jpg



Given these 'flaws' I am wondering whether I should return this example - I am on the fence with this one because I think the figuring is lovely in this example and I think the sound is nice but since I purchased a new example (this example wasn't a demo or anything. The shop received from Gibson EU, opened the box, took the photos for me and shipped out to me the same day), I expected a better finishing than this, especially on the neck binding, fret and body binding.
I did receive pictures of other examples of the same model they had in stock but they didn't have tops as nice as the example I current have (was surprised to that there is so much variation with these figured ES tops, more so than LPs) and they also had some cosmetic issues as well, albeit in different areas.

I did get a little discount of £100 (not related to the above issues) on top of a promotional discount of £200 (so £300 off in total from U.K. RRP but most other dealers are still offering £200 discount on this model, albeit not many of them actually have them in stock). The dealer is not willing to give me any cash discounts but are willing to give £100 in store gift card if I decided to keep this example.


I understand Gibsons are generally never 'perfect' in terms of finishing and fine details but I wonder if the flaws above are within the "acceptable range".
And I am guessing if I were to go down the route of returning and finding another one, I will potentially be spending a lot of time and energy in the pursuit of a "flawless" example, which may or may not have a top as nice as this.


If you could please share your thoughts on the above issues and what I should do, I would be grateful!


Thank you and happy new year in advance!
 
Last edited:

Elmore

Active member
Joined
Jul 10, 2003
Messages
1,775
For me, that top is worth the rest of it. If you are worried about resale, that top will sell it.
 

executor

New member
Joined
Dec 30, 2020
Messages
9
For me, that top is worth the rest of it. If you are worried about resale, that top will sell it.

Thank you very much for reading my post and for your reply, sir.

Yes, the top indeed is lovely and I think I did a good job picking it out :)

My intention was for this to be my medium to long term guitar (I've sold all my other electric guitars so this will be the only one for a while) with no short term resale in mind but of course resaleability is not an unimportant factor, although not the most important.


The things I am mostly concerned about are (in the order of significance):
-that small uneven section on the body binding causing the 'bubbling' (this bubble cannot be pressed or anything) and its not deep or anything - but just wondering whether it could cause any issues to the surrounding areas down the line?
-the small divots/fractures on the last two frets - I know of course, frets can be replaced but if this would impact the desirability/marketability?
-the slight uneveness on the binding/fret caused - which I know is common on Gibsons but I also know that there are a lot of examples out there with clean binding finishes.


Best,

E
 

Guitar Whiskey

Active member
Joined
Aug 10, 2006
Messages
2,734
Great looking guitar; both the figure and color. Very unique. I'd keep it for sure. The issues you mentioned are of no significance.
 

gmann

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Joined
May 26, 2003
Messages
5,858
Minor stuff IMO. Great looking guitar, play it and don't worry about it!
 

Don

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Dec 1, 2001
Messages
5,700
That all looks pretty minor and pretty typical of the hand work that you'll see in a Gibson guitar. Some are better. Some are much worse.

I had a 2017 ES-335 Figured. I wish it had been that color and transparent. Mine was a much brighter shade of red.
 

TM1

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 27, 2003
Messages
8,101
I got one in June! Amazing guitar!! Had a little spot on the side of the neck that is just the lacquer sinking in maybe 5/64". Certainly doesn't effect the playing. All those things on your guitar are minor, part of it's character. Just play it, in six months you won't even notice them The fret stuff is easy, easy to remedy. A good tech could fix it in 10 minutes.
 
Joined
Feb 27, 2007
Messages
126
Is it normal for the rosewood board on these to be so light in color? I received mine today: Figured Antique Natural.

The board is the lightest color rosewood I've seen. And the flame is not as dramatic as I expected it to be.

How is the rosewood on the one's you've gotten?

(Unless it turns out to be really great, it may go back and I'll try the ES-345>0
 

bern1

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Joined
Nov 23, 2004
Messages
1,157
I get it that these things are minor. But look at how much these guitars cost.

Let me ask you all something: have you ever seen these kinds of flaws on a premium Martin? PRS? Collings? Ibanez? Taylor?

I haven’t. But I’ve seen them on plenty of modern Gibsons, not just this one.

It maybe a small thing, but it’s inexcusable with a legacy company like Gibson.

Gibson, get your shit together. It’s 2021 and the world is watching how you represent us.
 

gibson-r8

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Joined
Jul 15, 2004
Messages
459
sorry if I missed this, but how does it sound and play? shiny new things tend to cause clumsiness in my case. I seem to ‘personalize’ all my guitars.
 

brandtkronholm

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Dec 3, 2006
Messages
2,217
I get it that these things are minor. But look at how much these guitars cost.

Let me ask you all something: have you ever seen these kinds of flaws on a premium Martin? PRS? Collings? Ibanez? Taylor?

I haven’t. But I’ve seen them on plenty of modern Gibsons, not just this one.

It maybe a small thing, but it’s inexcusable with a legacy company like Gibson.

Gibson, get your shit together. It’s 2021 and the world is watching how you represent us.

Yes!
My PRS (1996 Santana I) has a finish flaw: A minor itty-bitty crack on the top right at the edge near the butt of the guitar.
The neck binding near the sound hole on my Martin (1998/9 D42) was separating when purchased.
(Coincidentally, both instruments were purchased new from Mandolin Brothers in the '90s. They're also the only instruments that I've ever purchased new to-date.)

The issues with your (super awesome) 335 are real, somewhat numerous, and very, very normal.
Your 335 is amazing looking!
Play it swiftly with a loud noise!
 

Señor Verde

Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2005
Messages
515
I have two 2017 ES-335. Figured Dark Natural seems finished perfectly. My Cherry Red guitar's fretboard and neck binding looks like a 9 year old did the work. The guitar plays great and sounds good. Nobody would be able to see the flaws unless they were up close, so it doesn't bother me. Although I did buy it used. If you got a good or reasonable deal on it, I wouldn't sweat it.
 

AA00475Bassman

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Apr 26, 2016
Messages
3,349
Although late to the party , the posted guitar is beautiful , with some very cool factory personalize appointments !
 

Curious Mike

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Feb 9, 2019
Messages
64
If you play the guitar, it will soon show many more scruffs dents and scratches. Lets face it, stuff happens, so it depends on what your plans are for the guitar, lookin' or playin'...
 

Doc1900

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Joined
Feb 16, 2021
Messages
13
Your instrument in spite of the flaws is beautiful. If you are seriously considering returning the instrument to the factory, it would be worth your while to talk to someone at Gibson. I've had to return two instruments to the factory since 2017, and the experience was not what I expected. The new management team handled the second return much better than the first, but the second instrument went into the shop in January of 2019 and I was finally notified in May of 2020 of the replacement offices decision not to repair, but replace the instrument. And unfortunately, they could not replace my model since the Memphis factory had closed and they were no longer manufacturing my ES 355 model. We settled on two new instruments of equal value of the original purchase. By the time they shipped the guitars the process had taken three months short of two years. I am pleased with the settlement, but it was a long time coming, so you might consider the value of your time and possibly not having access to your guitar for sometime.
 

C-4

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Joined
Jan 5, 2005
Messages
1,752
While you have found some very minor imperfections on that beautiful new 335, if it tunes up well, stays in tune, sounds good both acoustically and plugged in, and the neck feels good to you, I would keep it.
You could receive another 335 which might be perfectly finished, but sounds, plays, and/or feels not to your liking.

That is the chance you take all the time. Think it over, before deciding. Those markings are nothing to worry, but of course that is the decision of the individual owning the guitar. ;)
 

1958jr

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Mar 26, 2014
Messages
4
Handmade stuff is rarely perfect. After years of play and wear, none of what you have notice will make a difference.
 

Keefoman

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Joined
Nov 4, 2009
Messages
497
I think this ES looks just fantastic! If it sounds and feels good, I wouldn’t have any issues. Looks like the fretboard could use a drop or two of Fret Doctor oil, though. :cool:
 
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