Gibson ES-339 Review & Prices

Gibson ES-339 Review
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  • From Gibson's 2019 Modern Collection series
  • Made in United States
  • 6 strings
  • 24.75"'' scale
  • 12" Fretboard Radius
  • Maple and Poplar body
  • Mahogany neck
  • Rosewood fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Gibson 57 Classic Plus (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: Gibson 57 Classic (Humbucker/Passive)
  • 2 volume and 2 tone Bell knobs
  • 3-way Switch
  • ABR-1 Tune-O-Matic bridge
  • Rounded C Set neck
  • 22 Medium Jumbo frets
  • Grover Rotomatics w/ Kidney Buttons tuners
  • Compare Specs >

Our Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 73
Sound 75
Build quality 72
Value for money 63
Overall Score 73
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
Gibson ES-339
  • Made in United States
  • Expensive Wood
  • Ivory Tusq Nut
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Locking Tuners
  • No Neck-Through Build
  • No Push Knob or Extra Switch Option
  • No Luminescent Inlay
  • No Tremolo
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock

Price Overview

Its average competitor's price is $3900, which means that the Gibson ES-339 is around 23% cheaper than the competition. This takes into account all instruments of the same category in our database with 6 strings and Fixed bridge that are made in United States.

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Videos

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No Talking...Just Tones | Gibson ES-339 Figured - Sixties Cherry
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Your feedback

Not all instruments are created equally. That's why it's important to have different opinions. Here's what our users who have played this instrument say. If you've played it before, help others by voting below!

Weight

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Tuning stability

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Neck access to high frets

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Neck profile shape

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Is it Easy to Play?

The Gibson ES-339 meets 4 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness, which means that it's not bad for beginners, but it could be better. This takes into account the type of frets, scale length, nut width, bridge type, fretboard radius, and neck profile to determine the easiest combination for new players to get used to.

New Player Friendliness

Gibson ES-339
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Tall frets
  • Comfortable neck
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Narrow nut
  • Short scale
  • Locking tuners

Hand Size Comfortability

After taking into account the neck profile, scale size, fretboard radius, and nut width, we can conclude that the Gibson ES-339's construction is balanced for most hand sizes.

Nevertheless, this comes down in the end to personal preference. Make sure you test this guitar—or another one with similar characteristics—before buying.

Big Hands
Small Hands

Scale Length

Scale length is the distance the strings will span between the bridge and the nut. It can tell you a lot about the overall playability and tone of the instrument. A longer scale length means longer distance between frets, brighter tone and more string tension—which means lower action, but more difficult bending of the strings.

Here's the Gibson ES-339's 24.75" scale length compared to other common sizes:

Gibson ES-339 Scale Length Comparison
Gibson ES-339's scale length (at the top) compared to other popular sizes

This is the scale length used in most Gibson guitars. If you like the playability of a Gibson, this guitar will feel pretty similar. It's a lot shorter than the typical Stratocaster (25.5'')

As you can see from the picture above, a shorter scale length also means shorter separation between frets. If you got really small hands, you probably will feel more comfortable playing this guitar than a Fender Stratocaster.

This scale length also allows for easier bends and vibratos because the strings will have lower tension due to the shorter scale.

Finally, another thing affected by scale length is tone. A shorter scale will give less room for the harmonics, thus resulting in a warmer, more 'bassy' tone.

Still, remember that you string gauge plays an important part in all of this. A lighter gauge will make it easier to perform bends, vibratos and will also give you a brighter tone.

More with the same scale length:

Neck Profile

Gibson ES-339 Neck Profile
Gibson ES-339's neck profile

The neck profile tells you the thickness (neck depth) and shape in cross section. Every difference will completely change the feeling and comfortability of the neck. This is a highly subjective thing, but most players indeed prefer certain types of necks (like Cs and Ds) because they feel nice in most hands.

The Gibson ES-339's neck thickness is approximately 0.88'' (22.4mm) at the first fret, and 1'' (25.4mm) at the twelfth.

These measurements were taken either from the official Gibson website, or, in case this information wasn't provided, by researching multiple online marketplaces and forums where owners of this model have posted their measurements.

It has a C type neck. C-shaped necks like this have been the most popular for the last years. The reason is that they feel good in most hands. It's generally a thin neck that doesn't get in your way when playing fast, but that also has enough mass to give your hands a comfortable grip for chords if they aren't too big.

Thin necks like this make it easier to move your hand across the neck and it helps when playing fast solos, especially if you like to leave your thumb free while playing high on the fretboard. However, thinner necks are also weaker and will need adjustment more often than a thicker neck.

However, Gibson tends to be inconsistent with the shape and thickness of their necks. So two instruments, even if they're the same model, might have necks that feel different. It's been like this for a long time, and other brands don't have this problem.

More for different hand sizes

Fretboard Radius

When it comes to fingerboard radius, personal preference will dictate which one is better for you. However, most people seem to agree that a more curved (lower) radius will make it easier to play chords while a less curved (higher) radius is better for soloing and bending.

The Gibson ES-339 has a 12" fingerboard radius.

Here's an image comparing this fretboard radius to other popular choices:

Gibson ES-339 Fretboard Radius Comparison with Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul
Gibson ES-339's fretboard radius compared to others

This is the same radius that Gibson uses in most of their guitars. When compare to the other popular radius of Fender Stratocasters, you can see that it's a lot flatter. Guitars with this radius are usually made to bring a good balance between single-note and chord playing.

Compound radius fingerboards give the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, the Gibson ES-339 has the same radius across the board.

More with the same fretboard radius:

Playability compared to main competitors

Gibson ES-339
This model
24.75'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.688'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.688'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.688'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius

Nut Width

Gibson ES-339 Nut Width
Gibson ES-339 Nut Width

The Gibson ES-339 has a nut width of 43mm (1.693''). This is within the most common range of nut widths for a 6-string guitar. It offers a good balance of string separation at the nut. It's the size that most guitarists prefer as it gives them just enough space to play open chords without muting the strings, but without spreading the strings too wide and making bar chords difficult to perform.

Frets

The Gibson ES-339 has 22 frets. Even though 24 frets has become really popular, there's still a good reason to get fewer frets; the pickup at the neck position will be further away from the bridge. This makes the neck pickup achieve a warmer tone. You might want this if you're playing Jazz or similar genres.

However, if you don't care about the warmer neck pickup, more frets will always be better. It's always nice to have the option to play higher notes if you want to.

It comes with nickel silver frets, so they won't last as long as stainless steel frets. If you use your instrument a lot, you might need to replace the frets after a few years. But this is unlikely as most people change instruments before this happens.

More with the same amount of frets:

Fret Size

Gibson ES-339 Fret Size Comparison
Gibson ES-339's fret size (in orange) compared to other popular sizes

Finally, let's talk about fret size. Some people prefer tall frets because it's easier to press the strings and perform bends since there's less friction against the fretboard. On the other hand, some people like shorter frets because they like to touch the fretboard when playing, or because they got heavy hands and tend to press too much on the string and alter the of the note pitch accidently.

The Gibson ES-339's frets are Medium Jumbo size. These sit somewhere between a Jumbo and a Medium fret. They're not quite as tall as a full Jumbo, so you'll still feel the fretboard, but you won't feel it as much as with medium frets. This is a good size if you want to make it easy to press the strings but would also like a little bit of ''feedback'' to know when to stop pressing so the notes don't go out of pitch.

More with the same type of frets:

Playability Score

Bending & Vibrato Ease 85
Chord Playability 65
Solo Playability 70
Playability 73

Tone Analysis

Wood will have little influence in the final tone of an electric guitar or bass. Instead, the hardware, especially the pickups, will be the most important thing to look at. Bur first, let's see the quality of the wood.

Wood

Maple wood pattern used for guitar building
Maple Body
Mahogany wood pattern used for guitar building
Mahogany Neck
Rosewood wood pattern used for guitar building
Rosewood Fretboard

Maple Body: This is one of the most popular types of wood used in all kinds of guitars. It's heavy, strong and compact, which makes it great for necks. However, it's also used for fretboards, bodies and tops due to its light color, resistance and beautiful patterns. When it comes to tone, it highlights the mid and high frequencies.

Mahogany Neck: This is the type of wood found in many top-of-the-line guitars, so that's a positive point for the build quality. This red-looking wood Mahogany is found in Africa and Central America and has great sustain and a warm tone due to its high density. The downside about this type of wood is that it's relatively heavy.

Rosewood Fretboard: Since the ban of Brazillian Rosewood, this has become a rare and expensive wood. It's not usually used for guitar bodies because of this, and also because it's heavy. Instead, it's used mainly for fretboards. Sometimes it's also used for necks because it's an extremely hard wood (even harder than maple). Its tonality tends to favor warm tones.

Pickups

This guitar comes with pickups from one of the top brands: Gibson. So you can expect well built pickups with great sound that shouldn't need an upgrade anytime soon.

These are passive pickups, so you can expect a rounder sound and a moderade level of output.

The Gibson ES-339's configuration is HH. With this pickup combination, you'll get warmer tones and more output than using single coils. Humbucker pickups cancel the noise that single-coil suffer from, which also results in a warmer tone. This pickup combination isn't only for high-gain music like Hard Rock or Heavy Metal. Their warmness is also popular for Jazz, Indie, R&B, Blues and more.

More with the same pickups

Gibson ES-339
This model
22 Frets
Fixed Bridge
Gibson 57 Classic Plus Bridge Pickup
Gibson 57 Classic Neck Pickup
22 Frets
Fixed Bridge
Gibson 57 Classic Plus Bridge Pickup
Gibson 57 Classic Neck Pickup
22 Frets
Fixed Bridge
Gibson 57 Classic Plus Bridge Pickup
Gibson 57 Classic Neck Pickup

Versatility

It comes with the popular 3-way switch that is present in most guitars. For more versatility, players tend to prefer a 5-way switch, although it all depends on what you want to use your guitar for.

Unfortunately, it doesn't come with more options for coil split or coil tapping. This makes it less versatile than some competitors.

Diagram

Gibson ES-339 pickups switch and push knobs diagram
Gibson ES-339's switch options

What music genre is it good for?

As a 6 strings, Semi-Hollow guitar with HH configuration and Passive pickups, we'd recommend it for genres like Jazz or similar. However, you can use almost any guitar for any genre. This is just the typical type of music for this particular one.

Sound Score

Pickups 100
Sustain 75
Versatility 53
Tuning Stability 70
Sound 75

Build Quality Analysis

Country of Origin

Knowing where the instrument is produced is a good way to know how well it's built. Some manufacturing countries are known for having higher quality standards. For example, most expensive instruments are made in the US or Japan, but there are some exceptionally great countries—like South Korea—that are building a good reputation.

The Gibson ES-339 is made in United States. Guitars made in the USA have the reputation of being the best instruments you can get. This statement isn't as accurate as a few years ago, but you should still expect top-quality from a guitar made in this country.

Bridge

ABR-1 Tune-O-Matic: The advantage of fixed bridges is that they don't require any kind of set-up. This makes it extremely easy when changing strings because you don't need to adjust anything besides tuning the guitar. Also, the fact that the bridge is directly attached to the body will help to increase sustain. The disadvantage is the lack of versatility since you can't create the same vibrato effects as with tremolo bridges.

More with the same type of bridge:

Nut Material

Another important thing to analyze is the nut material, as it's one of the most important aspects that can affect the sound and playability of your guitar. A well-cut nut will make sure it stays in tune and will make it more comfortable to play.

In this case, the Gibson ES-339 has a Ivory Tusq nut. This material is made to look, feel and sound like Ivory. It's made of organic polymers and doesn't contain oil or animal products. This is probably the highest quality nut you can get, so you can expect good tune stability and more clear tones when playing open strings. Most people seem to agree that it looks nicer than any plastic and even some bone nuts.

More with the same nut material:

Neck Joint

The neck joint is the part where the neck of the guitar meets the body. There are three main techniques to attach both parts together: Set-In, Bolt-On and Neck-Through. The latter two provide different advantages, although neck-throughs are the most expensive.

This guitar has a Set neck joint. This type of neck joint consists of using different pieces of wood for the neck and the body of the guitar. Both pieces are then glued together. This is more expensive to make than a bolt-on neck, but it's cheaper than a neck-through guitar. Some people believe that this gives more sustain than a bolt-on neck due to both pieces having a 'better connection' than with bolts. Still, it's something difficult to prove.

However, this type of neck joint does have the disadvantage of not allowing you to easily swap the neck for another. This makes this type of neck joint less mod-friendly.

More with the same build:

Build Quality Score

Quality of materials 66
Features 55
Quality Control 95
Build Quality 72

All Specs

Gibson ES-339
General
Brand: Gibson
Year: 2019
Configuration: HH
Strings: 6
Made in: United States
Series: Modern Collection
Colors: Black, Red
Left-Handed Version: No
Body
Type: Semi-Hollow
Body Material: Maple and Poplar
Bridge: ABR-1 Tune-O-Matic
Neck
Neck Joint: Set
Tuners: Grover Rotomatics w/ Kidney Buttons
Fretboard: Rosewood
Neck Material: Mahogany
Decoration: Acrylic Dots
Scale Size: 24.75"
Shape: Rounded C
Thickness: 1st Fret: 0.88'' (22.4mm) - 12th Fret: 1'' (25.4mm)
Frets: 22 Medium Jumbo
Fretboard Radius: 12"
Nut: Ivory Tusq
Nut Width: 43mm (1.693'')
Electronics
Switch: 3 Way
Knobs: Bell
Volume Controls: 2
Tone Controls: 2
Bridge Pickup: Gibson 57 Classic Plus (Humbucker / Passive)
Neck Pickup: Gibson 57 Classic (Humbucker / Passive)

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