The Tone of a Gibson 335

Recently I recorded a video for someone who is starting a business promoting Final Cut Pro themes. He contacted me through Vimeo and wanted to know if he could use one of my videos to use in his promotional video about his new themes.

He did however state that it would be nice if there were 2 different camera angles and if one of them could have my entire self in it.

I agreed and during the next week I thought about what I would play to make this video work. So Wednesday night rolls around and for someone reason I just don’t get much sleep at all. I kept waking up in the middle of the night and could never really get rest. So I wake up Thursday morning and feel pretty wiped out.

I think I may have gotten about 3 hours sleep that night. I did a lot of email, and random work that morning I have to do every day to keep the site running, and about 11:30am I decided to take a stab at recording this video. I drank a lot of coffee that morning and was feeling a little out of it, especially with the lack of sleep. I thought I would give it a go anyway though.

I recorded 2 solos that morning. The first was not bad, but I messed up a few notes so I thought I would do a second take. That was the one I ended up using for the video. I remember playing it and thinking that I might not have anything usable, but could hopefully get enough good footage to prepare a video.

I ended up using the whole solo though except for the last few seconds. The backing track was ending and I didn’t know it, so that’s why it just ends the way it does. It’s hard enough to set levels for 2 camcorders and the audio, then try to forget about those things and play something that sounds good. It gets easier with practice though.

So here’s the video I ended up with.


Here’s David Walsh’s theme added.


Here’s how I got the tone for the video.


In the video I’m using a 2005 Gibson ES 335 with 57 Classic pickups. I’m using the neck pickup the entire time. The tone knobs are on 10, while the volume knob is around 5 for the beginning of the video, and then I turn it up to 10 at the end. Strings are DR Pure Blues .010. Pick is a Dunlop Jazz III.


I’m using a 1966 Fender Vibrolux with Groove Tubes and Celestion speakers. I don’t know what kind of speakers they are. There is just a red dot on the back of each speaker that says Celestion. This is a 35 watt amp with 2 10″ speakers. Below are the settings I used for the amp.


I also used a Weber Mini Mass Attenuator to get the tone on the video. I really like how the Mini Mass slightly compresses the sound to give it a smoother tone. Sometimes without the Weber, the tone can be a little overpowering. By using the Weber, I feel the sound is rounded off a little bit. I use this on everything I record.


I really love the Shure Sm 57. It’s such a great sounding mic. It’s only about $100 bucks, and it is a workhorse. I’m sure there are better mics, but for a great classic sound, it’s hard to beat this mic based on price and performance.

Hopefully that will help you to get an idea about getting your own blues guitar tone. Thanks for reading. :)

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19 thoughts on “The Tone of a Gibson 335”

  1. John
    Excuse my ignorance, but why do you put a mic in front of the speaker ? What does that do ? how it it hooked up.
    Thanks Don
    I got your volume 5 cd on 3rds and 6ths its great.

    1. Thanks Don. The mic records the sound from the amp into Pro Tools. The audio taken from the video camera is then replaced by the audio recorded by the mic. I never use the audio recorded by the video camera. It sounds really bad. This way sounds much better, and you don’t pick up the room sound from the camera.

  2. John,

    Very nice – some of those themes by David are pretty smooth. Nicely played and nicely packaged. Cool.


  3. John I don’t really understand why you mic eather, because aren’t you getting the sound of what ever the mic is plugged into and not the true sound of your amp. I’m kinda old and tech. illiterate. Great playing as always.

    1. Thanks for the comment Mike. The only way to get the true sound of your amp is to be in the same room as the amp itself, and that’s really not possible when making a video or CD.

      So, I guess I’m kinda confused by your question. If I didn’t mic the amp, then how would the sound be recorded?

      The mic is plugged into a microphone preamp. In this case an API 512c. It is then mixed just like you would an album you buy from anyone. Does that make any sense?

      If I used the mic from the video camera to record the amp, then you would pick up so much room sound that it wouldn’t represent the sound of the amp at all.

    2. If you’re not planning on recording your amp, then you don’t need to use a mic. Many people are interested in recording techniques, and how you get certain sounds to a video or on a CD. Maybe that’s what you and Don were asking.

  4. Hey John,
    Quick question for you. I play out of a ’65 re-issue Super-Reverb with either my ES-335 or my SG in a 7-piece band. Im always trying to get a bigger, better, crunchier tone without blowing the whole band away. Currently I’m using a Boss Blues-Driver to attain a decent mid-level gain, it’s ok, but when I play by myself with no pedals (really loudly at about 8) the breakup out of my amp just sounds so much better. I guess my question is, can I get a REAL sounding distortion out of my amp by using an attenuator to lower the output of my speaker volume? Or will it sound too muddy?
    Thanks for all your help past, present, and future!

  5. Hi John, I really like the blues guitar solo great job. For me I can learn alot just watching on the full screen all the licks your playing and how your building the drama with the solo. I like the backing track on your blues solo, Do you have that backing track on one of your lessons ? I purchased your open g tuning course and really like it, I ordered a botleneck slide from Mr b’s havent got it yet guess it takes time the way they make em. I bought a fender spuire telecaster like yours and set it up for slide guitar its working out good for me. Thanks for the free lessons I get alot out of them. later tom

    1. Thanks Tom. That backing track is included with any of the Bundles but not the open g tuning lessons. I’ll see what I can do for you.

  6. John, the result of you “just jammin,'” wiped out and on 3 hours of sleep, is leagues better and a whole lot more soulful than most folks alert and carefully rehearsed. Maybe that’s what the blues is all about; but whatever it is, you’ve got it.

    You really ought to tab that out and put it up as a lesson, free, paid, whatever. Might be a pain to do, but it’s truly excellent playing. Hat’s off to you.

    1. Thanks. I appreciate the comments. I might create a lesson out of it. I don’t know yet. We’ll see.

  7. Ran across the web, trying to fine best combo to real Blues sound,
    you nailed it , what watts on the mini mass attenuator 25w or 50w and
    what do you recommend.

    1. Thanks Roland. You need to come close to doubling the wattage of your amp for whatever attenuator you are using.

      35watt amp get a 50watt

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