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Gibson ES 335 output too hot??
Old 13th May 2006
Lives for gear

Gibson ES 335 output too hot??


I just picked up a Gibson 335 custom shop reissue with the '57 humbuckers the other day and it seems that it's output into Hi-Z's is ridiculously hot. This is to the point of clipping without any gain on instrument/Hi-Z inputs. To make sure nothing was wrong, I brought it back to the dealer and tested it out against some other 335's with the '57's and they all were hot. Since adjusting the pickup hight made a negligable difference, is my only recourse to use a DI with a pad (like my Radial J48) or is there something I don't know about this guitar? ps - this is my first 335. Thanks!

ps s - no Paris Hilton jokes please ;p
Old 13th May 2006
Lives for gear
midnightsun's Avatar

Humbuckers are Hot

ES 335, ES336, and Les Pauls have very nice hot pickups. For jazz or a really clean sound I back way off on the guitar volume. What I really like about these pickups is that the tone and grit changes as the guitar volume changes. I personally don't like going direct with them. I prefer plugging into a low wattage amp and using a mic. Rest assured your 335 is normal. The approach is entirely different than say a strat. Use your ears and enjoy the subtlty of the 335.
Old 13th May 2006
Lives for gear
octatonic's Avatar
What sort of Hi-Z input are you using?
I've got a bunch of them and some are more sensitive than others.

Old 14th May 2006
Gear Nut
radicalron's Avatar

Gibson ES-335

Yeah, Nothing Wrong with your Guitar. The Hot signal is what Humbucking Pickups are all about. They Sound Great through a Marsall Tube Amp.
Roll your Volume back a touch, You get a nice clean tone there.
Old 14th May 2006
Lives for gear

Hey, thanks for the responses.

midnightsun - thanks for the info. This guitar should get along pretty well with my Boogie Lonestar 2x12 since it's wattage is switchable between 50 & 100 W.

richmondjames - my DI's consist of the Radial J48, UA 6176 Hi-Z, and RME Fireface800 Hi-Z (until my PA Four arrives). The UA, with it's gain and level control, was able to handle the output well, and the Radial is a tank. The only workaround for the RME was to engage the limiting funtion which I find squashes the dynamics too much and kills the tone.
Old 14th May 2006
Lives for gear
midnightsun's Avatar


The ES 335 and the Lonestar should fit together like hand in glove. The amp will have a point where it starts to overload and the speakers will have a point where they will start to breakup. I really like to find the sweet spot where a slightest roll of the guitar volume goes from clean to dirty with very little perceived change in "loudness."

I find that mic-ing single speakers is a piece of cake. I have a out of ear shot room with single speaker cabs or cabs with all but one speaker disconnected. I have a 100 foot mic cable and a speaker cable. I'll drive any given speaker and mic it up. I monitor the mic from my control room. This way you can hear how things are really tracking and if you want to go over the top you will not make your ears bleed or disburb your family.

I have been most successful with the above mentioned approach for finding just the right tone. I have Dr. Z, Bad Cat, MB Mark IV, Aguilar DB 680, and a VoxBox all set up to take a high-Z input, and output to line level +4 dBU for direct recording. I find that direct is okay and easy to work but for a getting a "knock your socks off" guitar sound I'll mic the cab with SM57, SM58, KM184, or AEA 84. I personally don't have experience with the newer direct boxes. How do you like them?
Old 14th May 2006
Lives for gear
tmcconnell's Avatar

its normal

I have a 59 reissue 335. The reissue paf's they come with are very hot compared to a single coil, but only slightly hot compared to the hottest pickups out there. Check out Seymour Duncan's website for a lot of data on that subject.

btw, great choice. .
Old 28th September 2012
Gear Addict

I have a 2007 ES 335 Dot. I was pleasantly surprised that it was a hot guitar. I was also surprised the 57 Classics were so hot. I had 57 Classics in my SG 61 RI and they were not as hot as in the 335. Compared to my other Gibson pickups, 500T, 498T, the 57 Classics are mild except in the 335. This had led me to believe the maple construction of the 335 is a major factor in its hot output.

Old 28th September 2012
Lives for gear
Pretty simple fix: roll back the volume on the guitar a bit. That guitar will sound great with lots of amps. Especially with an amp, rolling back the volume and mixing the volumes opens up a lot of tonal variety.
Old 29th September 2012
I think you're doing something wrong. I have just about same guitar with same pickups. It's not too hot going into the hi-Z input of the Steinberg MR816; usually the gain pot would be about halfway or a little more before the clip LED comes on. Also have a Les Paul, which is hotter than the ES335, and an old SG which is equally hot as 335.

Very nice guitar, btw, hope you enjoy it once you get this sorted out.
Old 30th September 2012
My humbucker guitars always come in hot on Hi-Z inputs too
Old 3rd October 2012
Lives for gear
cinealta's Avatar

Too similar to a Les Paul. Get an ES-330 with P-90s.
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