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Thoughts on ES-355 1959 Reissue

GotTheSilver

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Lately, I have been lusting for a 1959 Reissue ES-355 in ebony, stop tail. Of course, there are none locally that I can try out. Has anyone got recent experience with these guitars (2020/2021 models)? Most importantly, how do they sound? How is the neck? Would it be similar to the neck on my 2020 R9, or different? How is the overall quality of the build, fit and finish?

I have a vintage 1964 ES-335 that I love! I'm not looking for a guitar that would be exactly like it, but I want to know if I would be satisfied with a modern 355 or if I would feel disappointed.

Also, is there a way to tell from the serial number what year the guitar was built in? I really want one from 2020 or 2021.

Thanks for any input!
 

Wilko

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I've got a '64/65 too. Ive not played a newer model that coomes close to the light weight and acoustic vibe of the original. Pretty damn good guitars, just not the same.
 

GotTheSilver

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I've got a '64/65 too. Ive not played a newer model that coomes close to the light weight and acoustic vibe of the original. Pretty damn good guitars, just not the same.
Thanks. This is helpful.
 

C-4

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I purchased one of the natural blonde '59 355's. I had it for one day and returned it. It wasn't due to the guitar itself, but the very next day after I had bought it, the Murphy Lab was introduced and I custom ordered a red 355.

The blonde one had a great feeling neck, slightly slimmer then a '59 profile, but with more meat to it then a '60's version II. No shoulders and a great feel. The Custom Buckers had three very distinct sounds, but all nice and clear, no boominess to the neck pickup at all but clear and deep, and the treble pickup had, to me, a nice Tele-on-steroids sound to it.

The dials all were very responsive. Had I not heard of the Murphy Lab being intro'd the day after I bought the blonde 355, I would have kept it.

I would not begin to compare a guitar which is new to one which is about 55 years old. I would not expect them to sound that similar due to the age, and possibly the wood and where that wood might be sourced. However, I thought the blonde 355 had a nice full open sound to it and it sounded great plugged in. That is all I would ask from any brand new guitar.

I know that after six months of playing, the new one should begin to open up a bit, and take on even a better sound.

As with an original '59 year 3X5, the center block did not have a cut out. I would have preferred the waffleback Kluson tuners with the pearlesque tulip buttons, and I could have ordered my M2M version with them, but the Grovers will be fine. I wasn't about to spend $400 more for the tuners.

I also ordered an ultra-lightly aged version, as I wasn't really interested in the aging at all, but I was interested in having the fret board edged rolled, and Gibson would not do that unless I had at least ultra-light aging done. No biggy.

I am however, expecting this version to be at least one step up from the standard custom shop build.
Waiting time is 10-12 months, so if I'm still alive at that time, we'll see. ;)
 

GotTheSilver

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Thanks, C-4. This is a great, detailed description. Sounds like it was a really nice sounding new guitar. Of course, I don't expect a new guitar to be the same as 57 year old guitar, but I want it to be great compared to other new guitars and worthy of the ES-355 name.

Good luck with your custom order from the Murphy Lab! I am sure that will be a great guitar!
 
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C-4

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GotTheSliver,
Since you have a real '64 335, I am thinking that the 355 would be a nice alternative to that guitar.

I had recently really reduced the herd, as I had covid and my wife asked me to stop playing live, since that is where I got the covid. I reluctantly agreed, but she would let me go back to playing live if I really wanted too.

I am left now with three guitars, not counting the 355, and my other Gibson is a 60th Anny R9, which I really like. I wanted another 355 so that both guitars were just different enough visually.
 

GotTheSilver

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GotTheSliver,
Since you have a real '64 335, I am thinking that the 355 would be a nice alternative to that guitar.

I had recently really reduced the herd, as I had covid and my wife asked me to stop playing live, since that is where I got the covid. I reluctantly agreed, but she would let me go back to playing live if I really wanted too.

I am left now with three guitars, not counting the 355, and my other Gibson is a 60th Anny R9, which I really like. I wanted another 355 so that both guitars were just different enough visually.
I don't play live, but I have a goal of starting to play at the blues jams at local bars by the end of the year. I don't really want to bring my vintage guitar out for that. Plus, I have always loved the aesthetics of a black 355! I also just want to have a second 3x5 guitar to play.
 

wmachine

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Mar 17, 2016
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I don't play live, but I have a goal of starting to play at the blues jams at local bars by the end of the year. I don't really want to bring my vintage guitar out for that. Plus, I have always loved the aesthetics of a black 355! I also just want to have a second 3x5 guitar to play.
You've got a good reason to get another one. But you don't need it (the reason, not the guitar!)
 

latestarter

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I have owned a number of vintage 3X5's (and played many more), and still own an early '60 335. I purchased a 2019 '59 RI 345 to gig with. Nice guitar, with exception of the fret work, which I fixed. This seems to be a current theme with Gibson. Oh, and the neck was a little oversized given my experience with vintage examples. Anyway, it sounded good, but acoustically missing what the '60 has (not surprisingly) in terms of airy volume and chime, and for subtle noodling wasn't as inspiring. Now, this is all subjective. Plugged in it was good, at least in the covers band type setting I used it in. On the whole I think the new 3x5 guitars, notwithstanding fretwork issues ex factory, are pretty good.
 

AA00475Bassman

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I really like my Memphis pickups , 2014 ES 345 is really a nice guitar .

Although my 60's ES guitars were all lacking stop tails ,Trini Lopez black , 2 sunburst block 335's ,red ES 345 , walnut ES 355 .

The walnut 355 in my recollection was the one I really liked , I defiantly would take my 64 RI hands down over the 60's I think you would be very happy with a current model !
 

GotTheSilver

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Thanks, all. Based on the feedback, it sounds like a 59 RI 355 is a real possibility. I'd love to get my hands on one to try it out myself, but not sure I will get that opportunity any time soon. I was hoping to get to the Dallas Guitar Show this weekend, but unfortunately won't be able to make it. I'm going to keep an eye out for a used one for sale. Buying used would be less risk, since if I end up not bonding with the guitar, I wouldn't lose a bunch of money when I sell it.
 

renderit

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I have wanted one of those for years.

My original guitar teacher played one (an actual 59 355 I think) through a tweed bassman.

I can't believe how great that sounded.
 

Amp360

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I just bought a used 355 but I had looked at a lot of new ones. One thing to be aware of is that there are some floating around that are higher priced that have a Richlite fretboard. This may not bother you and I'm sure it's fine but for $4000+ I wanted ebony.

I did see one of the reissues at GC in Dallas on Friday and it was $6499 if that helps.
 

GotTheSilver

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I miss Mr. Riley B.B. ( Blues Boy ) King so much .
I know this is getting a bit off topic, but this is my thread, so so be it! 😄

BB King is the biggest influence on my guitar playing. I actually named my oldest daughter Reilly in his honor. My other daughter is named Presley (after Elvis) and my son is named Cash (after Johnny). I saw BB in concert every chance I got. I once shook his hand and got his autograph. I also own a couple of his amps - one that he used on stage and one that he used in his home. Yeah, I'm a fan!
 

El Gringo

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I know this is getting a bit off topic, but this is my thread, so so be it! 😄

BB King is the biggest influence on my guitar playing. I actually named my oldest daughter Reilly in his honor. My other daughter is named Presley (after Elvis) and my son is named Cash (after Johnny). I saw BB in concert every chance I got. I once shook his hand and got his autograph. I also own a couple of his amps - one that he used on stage and one that he used in his home. Yeah, I'm a fan!
Very Impressive for your sons and daughters names . B.B. King is such a huge influence on me and such a big influence to our favorite guitar slingers as well . I think that is so cool that your 3 children have such iconic names !!!!!!!!!!!
 
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