Gibson Custom Shop Unveils the Newest ES-330 Electric Guitar

Share Article

Musician's Friend Compares the Latest Gibson Custom ES-330 to its Sibling, the Gibson ES-335 Electric Guitar

Gibson Custom ES-330 Guitar

My team believes that the bridge pickup is a primary reason the guitar sounds so great. The pickup position is superior to some of the earlier guitars. This feature along with the pickup riser helps to solve some of the pickup performance disparity between the bridge and neck pickups as found on the vintage ES-330 and Casino guitars.

Direct music gear marketer, Musician's Friend, announces the arrival of the Gibson Custom ES-330 Long-Neck Electric Guitar. This thinline, hollowbody guitar was made in conjunction with the Gibson Memphis Custom Shop, and incoporates "best of" qualities from previous models and enhancements never before found on an ES-330.

The revolutionary launch of the Gibson ES-330 in 1959 represented a turning point in the field of hollowbody electric guitars with its unique combination of value and musicality.

Gibson first introduced the guitar with a single pickup as an alternative to the single cutaway ES-225. The single pickup version was eventually phased out in 1963 though the ES-330 remained in production until 1972. Since then, Gibson has continued to develop the instrument and the newest incarnation of the ES-330 embodies superior craftsmanship and acoustic character.

Famous Musicians Who Have Played the Gibson ES-330:

1.    Grant Green, jazz guitarist, played a sunburst dual-pickup ES-330
2.    B.B. King, bluesman, used an ES-330 in the late 1960s
3.    Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones played an ES-330 in the late 1960s
4.    Keith Richards used one in studio sessions and in concert in 1968 and 1969
5.    Elliott Smith, singer/songwriter used an ES-330 in concert
6.    Bernard Sumner of New Order plays a sunburst, mid-1960s Gibson 330TD

Gibson Custom ES-330 Long-Neck Electric Guitar Features:

  • Sustain and Musical Feedback. The ES-330's lightweight body construction produces impressive resonance. More acoustic in nature than other electric guitars, the Gibson ES-330 guitar provides a balanced voice with more power than other hollowbody guitars. The sum and difference of the top and back create an explosion of acoustical energy with a midrange that exhibits a sweet spot at every fret. This results in an ability to produce a wide dynamic range of musical feedback. The ES-330 starts feeding back at a lower volume threshold so players have tremendous control over that feedback and can incorporate it into their tone library.
  • Long neck. The Gibson ES-330's 30/60 long-neck profile increases malleability for vibrato. It's made from one piece of a preferred, Honduran mahogany. The neck has a long, narrow tenon for extra strength and resonance.
  • P-90 Pickups and Three-Way Switching. The ES-330 guitar has vintage-style, dog-ear P-90 pickups in both the bridge and neck positions with independent volume and tone controls for each. A three-way pickup selector switch allows the selection of either pickup independently or both pickups combined. The ES-330 has the same great pairing of features--dog-ear P-90 pickups and hollowbody construction--as the Epiphone Casinos used by the Beatles to provide the punch on recordings such as "Taxman" and "Paperback Writer," and most of the electric guitar tracks on Sgt. Pepper.
  • Modified Bridge Pickup Placement. The bridge pickup is a fraction of an inch further from the bridge than on some of the iconic ES-330s and Casinos, Epiphone's counterpart. This minor change increases tone and volume according to vintage guitar expert Dave Carpenter of Musician's Friend's Premium Stringed Instrument division. "My team believes that the bridge pickup is a primary reason the guitar sounds so great. The pickup position is superior to some of the earlier guitars. This feature along with the pickup riser helps to solve some of the pickup performance disparity between the bridge and neck pickups as found on the vintage ES-330 and Casino guitars."
  • Laminate Top. The ES-330's top is crafted from plies of maple-poplar-maple and shaped on the same laminate press with which Gibson crafted the original 1959 ES-330 and its successors. The one-of-a-kind heat press applies significant heat and about 2,000 pounds per inch pressure in a proprietary process unequaled in the world of instrument building. Today, Gibson uses the same unique machine and exclusive proprietary process they have used since the 1940s.
  • Bridge Posts Threaded to Guitar Body. The Gibson ES-330 Guitar is the first fully hollowbody Gibson guitar with bridge posts threaded directly into the top, giving the strings' vibrating energy a much more direct path to the resonant top.
  • Spruce Contour Brace. The Gibson ES-330 guitar was also the first production hollowbody electric guitar to use the unique spruce contour brace (developed for the newly created ES-335) giving the guitar unique acoustic properties.
  • No Center Block. The ES-330 dispenses with the maple center block found on earlier incarnations. This adds more resonance while reducing the guitar's weight.

Musician's Friend also offers an informative overview of Gibson Custom Shop guitars on their website.

An interesting comparison can be made between the ES-330 and the Gibson Custom ES-335 Electric Guitar. Though they both feature symmetrical double cutaway styling, a similar body shape, and overall feel, when it comes to musical performance, they function and sound quite differently.

Similarities Between the ES-335 and ES-330:

  • The ES-335 and ES-330 in general incorporate the same technology in the top, back, and sides of the body. Both share an ABR-1 bridge, considered one of the most musical electric guitar bridges. The bridge posts are threaded directly onto the top of the guitars.
  • Both guitars have independent volume and tone control for each pickup and a three-way selector switch.
  • Hardware was nickel-plated on both models between 1959 and 1964, changing to chrome plating during 1965.
  • The control layout has generally been the same for both guitars over the years, although the internal wiring scheme and exact components have changed over the years.

Differences Between the ES-335 and ES-330:

Dave Carpenter of Musician's Friend's Premium Stringed Instrument division summarized how the two differ: "It could be said that an ES-330 is at one end of the electric guitar spectrum, a Les Paul is at the other end, and the ES-335 is just about between the two. The ES-330's hollow body is capable of musical feedback at a bit lower volume level than a Les Paul or the semi-hollow ES-335." Other appointments also distinguish the two instruments:

  • Block. Whereas the ES-335 has a soft maple center block that also serves as the neck block with two spruce contour braces to connect the top and the back to the block, the ES-330 has a 4" x 4" Honduran mahogany block for its neck block.
  • Pickups. The ES-335 generally has had humbucking pickups while the ES-330 has generally had P-90 pickups.
  • Tailpiece. From 1959 through 1964 the ES-330 had a trapeze tailpiece and the ES-335 had a stop tailpiece. Beginning in 1965 both models used trapeze tailpieces.
  • Neck Join. Between 1959 and 1966 the ES-330 neck joined the body at the 16th fret and the ES-335 neck joined the body at the 19th fret. This changed in 1967 when both guitars' necks joined at the 19th fret and used the same tenon thereafter.
  • Tuning Machines. Gibson's ES-335 was generally equipped with more expensive tuning machines compared to those used on the ES-330. For example, during the '50s and '60s, the ES-335 used a standard tulip Kluson machine while the ES-330 used the small white oval-button Kluson tuning machine.
  • Gibson Logo. The ES-335 has the Gibson logo and a crown inlay on the peghead while the ES-330 has only the Gibson logo on the peghead.

About Musician's Friend:
Musician's Friend, Incorporated is the world's largest direct marketer of music gear and musical instruments. Its assortment of more than 58,000 products including guitars, bass guitars, pro audio, keyboards, live sound and recording equipment, and drums and percussion is marketed through its print catalogs and websites
Musician's Friend also offers informative resources including in-depth buying guides, tech tips, hands-on gear reviews, tech articles from highly respected music industry professionals, interviews with well-known artists and over 135,000 product reviews and ratings.

Located in Medford, Oregon with warehousing in Kansas City, Missouri, and a call center in Salt Lake City, Utah, Musician's Friend can be contacted at 1-800-776-5173, or by visiting


Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Stacy Haddorff
Visit website