Gibson Custom’s new Ultima ES-335 and Les Paul models are both seriously over the top in appearance with an insane amount of fretboard work that resulted in a lot of dead shellfish along the way…
These two new USA Custom Shop guitars are both amazingly over the top in terms of their fretboard work. I have to state straight away that I hate the look of both guitars. The edge binding on both models matches the fretwork and really makes them ‘stand out’, but not in a way that would make me want to buy one. With that out of the way, I’ll attempt not to throw up too much as I give you the low down on these two ‘tart’s handbags’.
Using traditional tonewoods including mahogany, ebony and maple, each guitar is finished in a nitrocellulose paint job and loaded with quality gold-plated hardware and Gibson 57 Classic humbucker pickups.
My eyes are burning!
The ES-335 has a traditional laminated maple body and the Les Paul uses solid mahogany for the body and a highly quilted two-piece maple top. Both guitars have ebony fretboards to avoid CITES regulations issues concerning rosewood. They are loaded with pearl and abalone tree of life patterns that can induce nausea.
Inverness Green is the not-so-subtle finish chosen for the ES-335 and for me makes it the worse offender of the two guitars. To my eye, it looks foul. At least the Les Paul looks a little more restrained in Heritage Cherry Sunburst or Cobra.
Okay, by now you may have guessed that I think these two guitars aren’t Gibson’s finest hour and I’m not going to apologise for my personal opinion. But, of course, you may well love them. Let us know what you think in the comments section below!
Gibson Custom ES-335 Ultima product page
ES-335 RRP – USD 7999 inc hard case
Gibson Les Paul Ultima product page
Les Paul RRP – USD 8999 inc hard case