I know this is an Epi forum, but I was wondering if anyone has any opinions on or experience with the Gibson ES 333. It seems to me to be a lower priced version of the ES 335, with a satin finish and a back plate to work on the PUPs. So, any opinions out there?
Great guitars, if you can find them. There were a lot for sale, for awhile, then it seemed like people were really hanging
on to them. Some “purists” may turn their noses up, at the rear compartment for getting to the electronics, as a “real”
335 doesn’t have that. BUT, I’ve always thought it was a LOT handier, for fixing or modding things, in that particular area.
But, they’re solid guitars, very playable, and decently priced…usually…IF you can find one.
You’ll probably hear from both Red333 & me on this. The 333 is the best answer to the question “what if they built a workingman’s 335”? It has a lot less bling (hence a lot less $$), hotter pickups (to help it cut through the mix better at a live gig), and the aforementioned control cavity to make any repairs a lot quicker and easier. Perfect for the gigging musician that wants a 335 sound.
Also, the BEST neck profile I’ve ever played (if you like thin necks this is the very BEST). I bought mine about 6 months after they were discontinued & was lucky enough to find one in a music store. I am really glad to have one since I haven’t seen another one since (& that was about 5 years ago).
If I live to be a hundred I’ll never understand why this guitar didn’t catch on more than it did other than to note that the 335 goes in and out of style & the 333 was around when the 335 wasn’t particularly ‘hot’.
I love mine & I’m glad to have it. I only wish Gibby (or Epi) made a few other models with that neck profile.
The pick ups, beside being uncovered, are the 490R/498T combo, which are hotter than the ’57 Classics found in current ES 335s.
The 333 may also differ from the 335 (beside from the ways already pointed out) in that the body may be maple/poplar/maple laminate, while the ES 335 is usually maple/birch/maple. That’s just a fun fact for you–it’s impossible to say what effect if any that has on tone.
Other differences: vintage Tulip style tuners on the 333, vs. Grovers on the 335. The Tulips work just fine though, and look like ones found on the original 335s. Also, the 333 has no inlays on the headstock, just a simple Gibson decal. They were originally sold with a nice padded gig bag, not a hard case, which is another reason they were able to be sold for less. You may want to look into a hard case if the one you’re looking at doesn’t have one.
Great guitar, and great value, based on the prices I’ve seen on eBay recently.
Hey, Slim! You must have been posted while I was writing mine!
I was very interested about what you wrote about the neck on your 333. The neck on mine feels to have the same profile as the one my ES 335, and not to different to that on my Elitist Dot, either. I know you have an Elitist, so is yours shaped very different? Gibson does a lot of hand shaping still, so maybe your 333 got more sanding than some others. Or maybe I’m not sensitive enough to the differences. They do feel different in the sense that the finish on the 333 is thinner, so you feel the wood more, but the necks on all of those models (333/335/Elitist Dot) seem shaped almost the same to me. Anyway, I think each of them have a great neck. I got my 339 with the much thicker 50s neck, and I like that, too. I guess I’m just biased when it comes to ES models!
Thanks all, I saw one on a random search on “the bay” and I was wondering about them. They seem to have gone for between $900 and $1,150 on ebay over the past few months.
Now, to convince the misses that NOW is the time to find and buy one, due to the economy.
I’m not usually a big fan of satin finishes but I really like the Cherry finish on an ES 333, does the thinner finish on the ES 333 give it more tone that the ES 335 ? I also like the acess panel in the back, it beats having to go “f” hole fishing.
Epiphone ES-339 PRO (Cherry)
Embrace the Semi-hollowbody Vibe!
Epiphone’s ES-339 PRO semi-hollowbody electric guitar has roots in the classic era of rock ‘n’ roll, yet continues to be one of the most sought-after guitars in production. The ES Series was introduced in the late ’50s, and players soon fell in love with the tone and feel of the archtop series. You get a wide variety of tones, rich harmonics, and long sustain with the ES-339. And thanks to dual coil-tapped humbuckers, you’ll be able to get more tones from this ES-339 PRO than ever before! With classic looks, modern construction, and timeless tones, you’ll love the Epiphone ES-339 PRO semi-hollowbody electric guitar.
Epiphone ES-339 PRO Semi-hollowbody Electric Guitar at a Glance:
Epiphone’s ES-339 PRO sports a reduced-sized laminated maple body with a solid center block for maximum tone and sustain. The mahogany neck feature’s Epiphone’s SlimTaper “D” profile shape for a faster, modern feel. And the rosewood fingerboard has a 12″ radius, a great radius for both lead and rhythm playing.
The ES-339 PRO now gives you entirely new tonal combinations thanks to the two Alnico Classic Pro humbucking pickups with push/pull coil tapping. You can switch between spanky single-coil sounds and beefy humbucking tones just by pushing or pulling the volume knobs. If you rely on multiple guitars for your live performances, you may be able to get all the tone you need with the ES-339 PRO!
While the looks are classic, the quality of the ES-339 PRO’s hardware is all modern. You get Epiphone’s LockTone Tune-o-matic bridge and LockTone Stopbar tailpiece for rock-solid action and stable tuning performance. And the Wilkinson Vintage machine heads keep you in tune while looking sharp.
Epiphone ES-339 PRO Semi-hollowbody Electric Guitar Features:
A modern version of a classic guitar with an iconic sound
Semi-hollowbody design with a reduced body size for comfortable playing
Alnico Classic Pro humbucking pickups are versatile enough to offer up both classic and modern tones
Push/pull coil tapping multiplies the number of tones you can conjure
Solid center block enhances tone and sustain
Body Material Maple
Top Material Maple laminate
Neck Material Mahogany
Neck Shape Slimtaper D
Scale Length 24.75″
Fingerboard Material Rosewood, 12″ Radius
Fingerboard Inlay Mother-of-pearl Dots
Number of Frets 22
Nut Width 1.6875″
Bridge/Tailpiece LockTone Tune-o-matic, LockTone Stopbar
Tuners Wilkinson Vintage tuners
Number of Pickups 2
Neck Pickup Alnico Classic Pro humbucker
Middle Pickup No Middle Pickup
Bridge Pickup Alnico Classic Pro humbucker
Controls 2 x Volume (with push/pull coil tapping), 2 x Tone, 3-way pickup selector
Case Included No case included
Manufacturer Part Number ET33CHNH1
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