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Lusting after a 335-alike...

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Mon Mar 06, 2017 9:22 pm

I'm wondering if it's time I got a nice semi like a 335. Except I can't afford a real 335. Anyone suggest a more sensibly priced alternative for a nice humbucker-equippped equivalent? Anyone played one of the Vintage brand versions, for example?

I don't have a budget in mind, as such (just not silly 335/345 prices) as I'm thinking of flogging my Les Paul but any real bargains out there?
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Re: Lusting after a 335-alike...

Postby zenguitar » Mon Mar 06, 2017 9:36 pm

Always worth looking at the Aria TA series, especially second hand. Here's a current link...

http://www.ariauk.com/aria-ta-classic-h ... ic-guitar/

Also worth looking for good examples from the 80's and 90's, like the TA20/30/40. Well made guitars and often undervalued.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Lusting after a 335-alike...

Postby ronmac » Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:52 pm

The Epiphone equivalent can often be "almost as good", these days. I played an Epiphone 345 a couple of months ago that was 30% the price of the Gibby, and 99% as good as the "real thing" that I sampled in the same store.

I haven't been particularly impressed with Gibson QC the last couple of decades.

My 1977 Electra "Elvin Bishop" 335 is an excellent example of how much better the Japanese (Matsumoku factory) clones were at that time. If you are diligent, they do show up, from time to time, at reasonable prices.
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Re: Lusting after a 335-alike...

Postby BJG145 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 11:11 pm

...yeah, I've felt the need for one of these since seeing Bernard Butler back in October. There were about four gigs in a row where someone was toting a red semi.

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Re: Lusting after a 335-alike...

Postby Dynamic Mike » Mon Mar 06, 2017 11:55 pm

zenguitar wrote:Always worth looking at the Aria TA series, especially second hand. Here's a current link...

http://www.ariauk.com/aria-ta-classic-h ... ic-guitar/

Also worth looking for good examples from the 80's and 90's, like the TA20/30/40. Well made guitars and often undervalued.

Andy :beamup:
Of all the guitars that have come & gone over the years, this is probably the one I regret selling the most. I would buy it back in a heartbeat. :cry:
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Re: Lusting after a 335-alike...

Postby jimmymc » Tue Mar 07, 2017 2:19 am

the Ibanez semi-hollows are highly regarded.

I just ordered this https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/AM153DBS , which means I am of course completely biased :)

I did do quite a bit of research though!
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Re: Lusting after a 335-alike...

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Tue Mar 07, 2017 9:49 am

The Epiphone equivalent can often be "almost as good", these days.

I had my fingers metaphorically burnt with an Epi a few years ago, Bought a Casino and it's rubbish. Replaced the pickups and tuners which were not fit for purpose, did a huge amount of setup and fretwork and it still feels really cheap, somehow.
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Re: Lusting after a 335-alike...

Postby ore_terra » Tue Mar 07, 2017 10:06 am

The Epi... well. I wouldnt buy it honestly.

I've owned an Edwards 335 and it was an excellent guitar. Also my mate has an Orville that I havent tried (yet) but considering how good my former Orville Les Paul was I can imagine it's amazing as well.

To sun up, with no doubt I'd go to any of the Japanese "equivalents"
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Re: Lusting after a 335-alike...

Postby curly430 » Tue Mar 07, 2017 10:19 am

I've not played one myself, but I hear good things about the Harley Benton clones sold through Thomann.
Have a quick search online, and there's plenty of reviews of them.

The scratchplates on them though...eurgh!
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Re: Lusting after a 335-alike...

Postby Wonks » Tue Mar 07, 2017 10:38 am

BJG145 wrote:There were about four gigs in a row where someone was toting a red semi.
Was that you in lust for the guitars? :P
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Re: Lusting after a 335-alike...

Postby Wonks » Tue Mar 07, 2017 10:51 am

I've mentioned it recently on another thread but my Hamer Echotone is very good indeed in comparison to a real 335. I've got the pre XT version with Duncan Designed pickups and mine is Indonesian made before they moved manufacturing to Korea. I quickly replaced the tuners (they were really sloppy) but everything else is stock (though I did rub the DD logo off the pickups). It's got the solid heft of a 335, the pickups are very close indeed to the Classic '57s on the 335 I had and it's got a lovely low action all the way up the neck.

I've never tried an XT version (the more abundant versions) so don't know how the transition to Korea went, and they stopped using DD pickups and used their own Hamer branded ones, so don't know if they are as good sounding as mine are. I know the Duncan designed pickups are often denigrated, but these particular ones are very good. Also mine has the rounded 'Mickey Mouse ear' horns whilst they then changed to the more pointed type.

You can normally find them going for around £200-£250 on eBay, but the older non-XT versions don't come up that often. I'd like to think that the XT versions are as good, but I've never tried one to find out.
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Re: Lusting after a 335-alike...

Postby blinddrew » Tue Mar 07, 2017 1:22 pm

Just another nod for the Arias. Friend of mine has had his for 20-odd years and despite an ever-expanding stable it still gets a regular run out.
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Re: Lusting after a 335-alike...

Postby Music Wolf » Tue Mar 07, 2017 8:55 pm

Dr Huge Longjohns wrote:
The Epiphone equivalent can often be "almost as good", these days.

I had my fingers metaphorically burnt with an Epi a few years ago, Bought a Casino and it's rubbish. Replaced the pickups and tuners which were not fit for purpose, did a huge amount of setup and fretwork and it still feels really cheap, somehow.

Just goes to show. My Casino is the only guitar that I have ever bought, online, without trying it first. It did take a bit of setting up, plus I ended up swapping the bridge for a roller version (works better with the Bigsby), but mine is definitely a 'keeper'.

Not a 335 by any means (of course a Casino is more like a 330 anyway) but it was a fraction of the price.
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Re: Lusting after a 335-alike...

Postby Dynamic Mike » Wed Mar 08, 2017 12:22 am

Maybe a little over budget compared to some suggestions but what about a Gibson Midtown? It would go some way to replacing your Les Paul too as you're looking at selling that. https://tinyurl.com/gvp3qgq

Plenty around secondhand at reasonable prices. Only played one briefly during a factory tour in Memphis & was impressed by the build quality. It's chambered rather than semi-solid & smaller and flatter than you'd expect from the photos.
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Re: Lusting after a 335-alike...

Postby VOLOVIA » Wed Mar 08, 2017 4:40 am

++ARIA TA again. Come to Macau with no guitars (my big collection back in EU). Pop into a shop and they say "we have a special offer on Aria TA", how much? £100. This is a full legit shop, the biggest chain in HK and here (Tom Lee)... It might surprise you that I bought it immediately! Best purchase ever, lighter than a 335, maple throughout, spotless and great.

Click below if you want to see it, I've removed its scratchplate, NOT a plug for my modest musical output, just to show it to you...

https://youtu.be/3T_aNJfyNYw?t=2m37s
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Re: Lusting after a 335-alike...

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Wed Mar 08, 2017 8:09 am

I ended up swapping the bridge for a roller version (works better with the Bigsby), but mine is definitely a 'keeper'.

Might well be that yours is a posher model. Mine doesn't have a Bigsby. I think QC is highly variable on Epiphones, too, from what I've heard.
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Re: Lusting after a 335-alike...

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Wed Mar 08, 2017 8:12 am

what about a Gibson Midtown?

This is a new one on me, thanks DM. HIghly doable if I sell the LP.
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Re: Lusting after a 335-alike...

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Wed Mar 08, 2017 8:50 am

Click below if you want to see it,

Thanks for that. Which TA model is it? Nice track, too.
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Re: Lusting after a 335-alike...

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Wed Mar 08, 2017 9:05 am

Just watching some vids on the Gibson Midtown. Seems the fingerboard is made of mashed up paper! Something called Richlite. Interesting. Sounds like a cross between a Les Paul and a 335, which is sort of what it is.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4qgnTWcPMs
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Re: Lusting after a 335-alike...

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Mar 08, 2017 9:26 am

Played one last year, fab guitar, it's much smaller than a 335 though.
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Re: Lusting after a 335-alike...

Postby Wonks » Wed Mar 08, 2017 9:32 am

Dr Huge Longjohns wrote:Just watching some vids on the Gibson Midtown. Seems the fingerboard is made of mashed up paper! Something called Richlite. Interesting.

Something we've all got to get used to. It's the way of the future with so many of the traditional fingerboard woods now on the endangered list. Rosewood and ebony are soon going to be moving into the high-end only guitars as they become rarer and their price goes up.

If you can afford a Midtown, you could afford a used 335. My one cost £1k a few years ago. Needed a bit of work as it had been dropped (no headstock snap but cracked round the jack socket and the thin bridge posts had bent), but with £300 of parts and labour (thanks, Max) it became a really nice guitar. It's now in Ivan's hands and sounded so nice he was offered a straight swap for it by a chap with a '60s ES-345. But I often see them going on eBay for £1200 to £1300.
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Re: Lusting after a 335-alike...

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Wed Mar 08, 2017 9:45 am

I've not seen 335s going for much under £2000. And these Midtowns are going for £900ish. If For £1500 I'd probably get a Yamaha SA2200 which knocks the 335 into a cocked hat for quality of build.
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Re: Lusting after a 335-alike...

Postby TheBev » Wed Mar 08, 2017 4:19 pm

Another vote for the Aria TA series.

I'm a lefty but got lucky in a secondhand shop in the late 90's & picked up a Black TA40. I'm not sure where these are, or indeed have been made but mine is Korean and I would guess is a late 80's / early 90's model.
I suppose manufacture has moved around over the years & have no idea what they are like these days though.

I've tried several times to upgrade / crossgrade but my budget has always been under £500.00, I've tried the Epi Dots, (too clunky for my hands for some reason), Epi Casino (as has been said elsewhere, it just felt 'cheap') & various secondhand 80's / 90's Japanese / Korean models, but the Aria just feels 'right'.

Having said that I do lust after the Epiphone 339 with P90's. A really well made beautiful looking instrument, everything the Casino wasn't to my eyes. Except of course they don't do L/H models. :headbang:
The friend I was with, who came along to keep me in check walked out of the shop with one - & he wasn't even looking.

A slightly off the wall suggestion, and not to everyone's taste I'll admit would be the Airline H7X series, my fave being the Airline H78.
Again no lefty so...
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Re: Lusting after a 335-alike...

Postby John Egan » Wed Mar 08, 2017 7:25 pm

[quote="Dr Huge Longjohns"]I'm wondering if it's time I got a nice semi like a 335. Except I can't afford a real 335. Anyone suggest a more sensibly priced alternative for a nice humbucker-equippped equivalent? Anyone played one of the Vintage brand versions, for example?

Dr Huge,
I have played a Vintage 335 alike and found it to be excellent for the money. Good pickups and hardware.
Some years back, I had an 80s Ibanez which was a really impressive instrument. Cost me around £300.
However, I recently acquired a second hand Epi 339. A small body, but it has the look and the pickups are great, even when coil-tapped. At £250-ish, mint, it was a steal.
Regards, John
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Re: Lusting after a 335-alike...

Postby CS70 » Wed Mar 08, 2017 10:28 pm

Dr Huge Longjohns wrote:I've not seen 335s going for much under £2000. And these Midtowns are going for £900ish. If For £1500 I'd probably get a Yamaha SA2200 which knocks the 335 into a cocked hat for quality of build.

My jazz guitar is an Heritage H535, which (used) is less than 2000 and a seriously stunning instrument. eBay or Craigslist could be your friend..
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