So back the end of April I finally did it. For the last couple of years, I've been trolling the interwebs looking for a really good deal on a specific guitar. I bought my Epi ES-339 back in like 2012 or whenever it is that they started making them. I missed the first run of them the previous fall (although I had my order in at that point), so I got mine the following spring when production on them really ramped up. Although it hasn't been on the stand the entire time, it's a guitar that I have continually gone back to. Also, I pulled it out of the closet in 2017 for a blues jam I was going to, and it only went back into the closet when I did this thing.
I've really liked the size of the 339. Not as big as a 335 and not as heavy as an LP. When it's clean, it can get that airy sound of a 335, but can growl like an LP. When you play it, it's pretty obviously not either of those, but it can give a reasonable facsimile of either. It leans closer to the LP though. It can get that jazz vibe and still be rock and roll. Or it can be a total blues machine. The more I played that Epi, the more I liked it, and the more I wanted an really nice one.
So I started looking for one. I was looking mostly at Gibsons, but I had seen a couple of Collings that were that size that were really nice. The Collings would've been my first choice, but they are/were just soooo expensive. More than I could really rationalize paying anyways. If I ended up going for a Collings, I didn't care what the aesthetic or year would be. If I got the Gibson, I really wanted a light caramel version that was pre-Memphis factory closing. Also, if I got a Gibson, I wanted a real 339 and not one of the Studio models. That was mostly because I had gotten a 335 Studio (not the 2-knob version) and it just never did it for me.
Anyways, I had narrowed it down to those two models, and had just been looking for one that was a price that I was willing to pay. Being as selective as I was being, no matter how you sliced it, it wasn't going to be a cheap guitar. I had a couple pop up on my Reverb feed over the course of those couple of years that would've met my hopeful price range, but they went extremely quickly.
One afternoon, one showed up that fit the bill all the way around. And it was on the other side of the Metroplex and not somewhere across the country. I wouldn't call it a screamin' deal, but the price was actually the lowest I had seen for one like I wanted. Looking at the listing, it had been posted only an hour before. So I emailed the store.
Surprisingly, they immediately responded, and the sales person told me that I probably wanted to call on the guitar because it had already generated more than usual interest. I gave them a call and talked about the guitar. They asked if I wanted it, and I explained that, if I did, I was going to want to do some trading to get the cost down so I'd have to call him back. He told me, "I promise I'm not trying to pressure you on this one, but do whatever thinking you need to do quickly." Talked it over with Mrs Snarf, looked at a couple of guitars I had in the closet, and called them back. Told him I wanted it and asked if he could hold it until I could get over to the store the next day. He said he could only hold it with a deposit, and he wouldn't recommend on just hoping it would be there the next day. So I put down a 10% deposit.
Since I put the deposit down, I actually waited a couple of days to drive across the Metroplex to finish working out the deal. Got to the store, played on it for a couple of minutes, and then got my trade guitars out of the truck. We got the deal worked out and got the cash out of pocket down to about half of what they were asking. I paid the man and started to put it back in the case to bring it home.
That's when the sales guy told me this. He said that he really wasn't trying to do the sales pressure thing on me with the guitar. He said as he saw my email come in asking about it, a guy came into the store and picked it up. The guy plugged it in and sat down and started playing it. He sat there playing it the entire time (probably 20 minutes) that he and I were going back and forth with phone calls. He said that he could tell the guy was actually interested in the guitar and not somebody that was just killing time by playing it. After he hung up from the call where I put down the deposit, he said he walked over to the guy to tell him it had just sold on the phone. As he got up to the guy to tell him, the customer looked up and said, "I'm really liking this guitar. I think I'm going to take it." So the salesman had to tell him that he had just missed out. According to the salesman, if I'd drug my feet just a minute or two longer, he would've been telling that to me.
I don't know if that was him giving me a good sales story to make me feel better about buying it, but I felt like he wasn't feeding me a line with it. And if that's the case, I guess I got lucky with it. The guitar I had been wanting at a lower price than I had been seeing other places. So I present to you, my new-to-me 2007 Gibson ES-339. I know I've only had it a couple of months, but it is absolutely without question the best electric I own. There's a LOT to be said about Gibson's QC issues the last few years (the ES-335 I bought was a case in point for that), but when they built this 339, the got it right.
Snarf is a wannabe musician who currently resides in the great state of Texas. His wife is his favorite. He believes chocolate milk made from milk that is anything less than whole milk is basically water and deserves to be dumped down the sink so nobody has to suffer through it. He hates having to shop for clothes. But he has a thing for really cool bags, and, consequently, has more gig bags than guitars and a closet full of messenger bags and backpacks. He still misses his dog who was taken by cancer 5 years ago. Check out his Reverb shop and see if he has any gear he's trying to get rid of.