Jul 10

Gibson ES 335/345/355 history


Thanks for that. A variant not mentioned is the 339, which is essentially the same guitar, but with a smaller body. The 335 is fine if you are BB King's size, but not all of us are :)


I have an Epiphone ES-339, which, given my limitations, is just fine in terms of size and quality.

Jul 11Edited: Jul 11

B B King is known for his use of the Gibson 355, rather than the 335. My Gibson is a 345 which was the second from top model Gibson produced in the '60s, (the 355 being the most luxurious one with the 330 and 335 further down the pecking order.) However, in terms of body size, there's no difference between the models, as far as I'm aware. The 'posh' 355 is ecactly the same size as the more humble 330.


The Epihone equivalents at the time were the Casino, Riviera and Sheraton, which were the same size and shape too. Epiphone, of course by that time, had been bought by Gibson and the difference in the Gibson and Epiphone models was mostly cosmetic, (though there were a couple of weird variations on the theme with the introduction of the Al Caiola and 'Professional' models.) But back then, Epiphones were not budget guitars like they are now, they commanded very similar pricing to their Gibson cousins.


In more recent years, Gibson have introduced a slightly smaller variant of the '33' series, the 339, sort of somewhere between a Les Paul and a 355 in body size. It measures 14.25 inches at the lower bout as opposed to the 16 inch 330, 335, 345 and 355 models. I personally prefer the original size guitars.


But as for BIG guitars, I do hanker after one of the old, massive Stromberg 18" wide archtops that the great 1940s dance band guitarists played rhythm so brilliantly on, but those are rare and very expensive.

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