Time for me to have a serious complaint about this Gibson ES335 Joe Bonamassa Limited Edition Signature model – Yet in many ways it is a nice complaint – This 335 is such a wonderful guitar, so a) why call it a Joe Bonamassa Signature model ? b) why only make 365 of them ? and c) why not just call it a ‘vintage 61 dot inlay ES335’ and make it part of the yearly collection – Agree that it needs to be something more elite than a regular production model, but no reason that they can’t make it more available as part of a run of say 500 each year – In my opinion, for players wanting a vintage flavoured 335, then this is certainly a model that you should check out
Before I go any further then please click here for a very good review of this JoBo 335, courtesy of ‘Vintage Guitar Magazine’
Additional details regarding this Gibson ES335 Joe Bonamassa Signature model :-
- Complete with the correct factory fitted case, certificate/wallet and the appropriate gold warranty paperwork
- #183 of a special run of only #365 – Released in 2012
- Built in Memphis as part of the Custom Shop team
- Whole guitar weighs 8lbs and 4oz so certainly very credible on that score
- VOS lightly aged finish – Very hard with any aged finish to determine if it has acquired any additional wear ‘n’ tear or if it is still in ‘as new condition’ – I certainly don’t see any further markings to indicate it has seen much action – The frets certainly still look in fine fettle
- Tarnished + lightly aged nickel hardware
- Mellow yellow/cream binding
- Certainly a dark faded character to the ‘aged’ burst finish
- Deep C neck profile that is slightly slimmer than a 59 Les Paul, yet fatter than many early 60’s based 335’s – as such a comfortable depth to it, with rolled fingerboard edges to enhance the ‘played in’ character – Measures .847″ around the top nut end and .962″ around the 12th fret
- Medium/vintage size frets – Note no nibs in the traditional Gibson way – As such the fret ends run over the binding and in my opinion are far better option – And a process that is a feature of many vintage guitars once they have been re-fretted – Just for clarity this is factory spec’d and a feature of this Gibson ES335
- Vintage spec’d hardware, including an ABR bridge, the aluminium tailpiece as well as a nylon top nut
- Custom wound Classic 57 PAF replica pick-ups – both measure around 7.55K
- Re-strung and set-up with a set of 10-46 gauge strings and an easy action
Tonal character :- Easy to say it sounds like a 335 – Yet if you play enough 335’s you realise that there may well be a ‘common ground’ characteristic, yet equally there is enough variation within that format to say not all 335’s are the same – Some have far more transparency about them, which may well favour the clean jazz/fusion voice of Larry Carlton – Some have fatter mids which favour the blues/rock voice of Clapton in his Cream days – The JoBo 335 is more like Eric’s with fatter mids – Still more transparency than an LP Standard – But overall more body to the overall tonal character – It can still sound nice, warm, chilled and laid back on clean amp settings – Yet overall this is a 335 that likes to find the gain channel on the amp or pedal – Highs are sweet and smooth and never sound harsh or brittle – Lows are clear and tight – Mids punch but never overpower but it is these mids that add grunt for scorching riffs and slicks licks when soloing – The big plus point is the taper of the pots, so as you and the guitar control the amp – Leave them on 10 to drive the amp for the full throttle option – Yet wind them back towards to 6 or 7 for less gain and a more laid back option, that stills retains the guitars character and integrity – As such you and the guitars volume pots control all the emotion, soul and passion that you want to milk from the amp – This is certainly a 335 that I could enjoy playing for a long long time – It certainly has a lot going for it
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