Edwards Guitars may well be a new brand name to many potential buyers – Yet other guitar players will know a fair bit about them, so forgive me if I spend a couple of minutes introducing this Edwards ES335 to a new audience – I’m sure that most players are familiar with ESP Guitars, but less aware that ESP Japan have manufactured guitars for the likes of the USA Kramer company in the past – Furthermore they have produced a selection of mighty fine Gibson based guitars for their own Japanese market, under the brand name Navigator and Edwards – Check a few out by touring Google images – Many are mighty fine guitars, with sensational figured maple tops, along with price tags that run into £0000’s – Due to intellectual property rights and previous ‘Law Suit’ threats, most of these fine guitars have only been available to buy in Japan, yet over the years a few have escaped and found their way to the UK and USA for sale – ESP are currently offering a small selection of Edwards Guitars for sale in the UK – It goes without saying they are seriously influenced by traditional Gibson based models, without being an exact vintage replica of a Gibson Guitar from the 50’s or 60’s golden era
I believe this is an Edwards SA135, but can’t find any data that allows you to a) confirm this and b) allows you to date the guitar to a specific year via a serial number search – From chatting to a previous owner, along with info gathered from Google, it does appear to be a SA135 – Yet it only takes a few minutes of a hands on test drive, to instantly realise this is a serious cut above many more budget Asian based semi acoustic models – Not only does it seriously compete bat above its weight, it could take on many Gibson Guitars on a blind fold test and certainly compete or even win a shoot out – Many players are aware of the quality of other Made in Japan models, from the likes of Ibanez, Yamaha or Tokai and this Edwards 335 certainly possesses outstanding attributes for its £890 price tag – Evaluate the build quality, the tonal character and the playing performance and you’ll see where I’m coming from
No particular order but let me update you with a few details
- All top spec’d hardware including a Gotoh tailpiece and vintage style bridge, with wire retainer and mounted on vintage style stud/posts
- Medium jumbo frets with no nibs
- Mellow cream fingerboard binding
- Smooth dark rosewood fingerboard
- Fullish late 50’s style neck profile that measures .890″ around the top nut end and .988″ around the 12th fret
- One piece mahogany neck
- Vintage ‘Kluson’ style tuners, with tulip buttons and push in ferrules
- Again yellow/cream body binding
- I believe the humbuckers are UK hand wound models – They are signed – Vintage PAF flavour with the neck measuring 7.32K and the bridge coming in slightly hotter at £8K
- Re-strung and set-up with a set of 10’s and a nice and easy fluid action
- Includes a deluxe Edwards shaped case
- Condition wise and I can report that it is in very good condition – Not worthy of a ‘as new/mint condition’ tag, yet careful viewing will only reveal very light surface grazes to the top surface of the tobaccoburst gloss finish and ‘very light’ are the key words here – No fret issues whatsoever and no nail wear to the rosewood fingerboard
Tonal character :- It possesses a warm vocabulary with excellent articulation – Maybe it was just the way I played it and my amp settings, but I’d say it comes across with more of a Larry Carlton voice, than a Clapton/Cream Bonamassa blues/rock voice – The volume and tone pots are responsive to the amps gain levels, so subtle tweaks on the pots will deliver effective variations of tone and gain, which adds to the guitars soul and emotion – On clean amp settings it easily a chilled out voice from the neck pick-up, that will suit many blues/jazz based players, whilst with both pick-ups on it leans towards more of a crisp funky voice with good depth – It possesses enough character on a clean amp setting for you to stay in this mood for many an hour, so don’t think of it as guitar that needs gain to sing – Add some gain on your amp/pedal and play around with the volume pots to show the guitars true potential – So much so that I suggest you only leave the pots on 10 when you need the full on voice, as it can sit around the 6/7 level for the majority of your needs – It sings but with excellent articulation in a clean way, so as I mentioned earlier, more Steely Dan/Larry Carlton, rather than a thicker Clapton/Cream voice – Not sure if that is good or bad, but obviously depends on your own taste – What I can state is that for £890 you will be buying a 335 based guitar that offers a professional performance and can certainly take on many Gibson Guitars costing over twice that price
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