How ES-335 Has Transformed the Sound of Country Music

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As country music enthusiasts, we often ponder the magic behind that distinctive guitar sound that makes country music so enchanting. From Johnny Cash to Garth Brooks, the sound of country music has evolved and transformed over the years thanks to various factors, including the instruments used. One instrument that has left an indelible mark on country music is the ES-335. But what is ES-335 and how has it influenced the sound of country music? In this article, we will delve into the fascinating history and evolution of ES-335, explore why it is an ideal choice for country music, and examine the impact and legacy of this legendary instrument on country music.

What is ES-335?

What Is Es-335?
As a music enthusiast, you might wonder about the iconic guitar that has a significant impact on the world of music, especially in country music. The ES-335, also known as the Electric Spanish 335, is one of the best semi-hollow electric guitars that is incredibly versatile and produces a rich sound that enhances any musical genre. In this section, we will dive into what makes the ES-335 so special and how it has influenced the sound of country music. If you’re curious about the history and evolution of this guitar, you can read more about it through this link.

The Design and Style of the ES-335

There’s no doubt that the ES-335 is one of the most iconic guitars in music history. Its design and style make it highly recognizable, and it has been a favorite of many guitarists across multiple genres, including country music. The ES-335 is part of the Gibson line of semi-hollow body guitars, which means it is built with a solid center block of wood that runs down the center of the body. This design offers the sustain and resonance of a solid body guitar, combined with the warm, rich tone of a hollow body guitar.

One of the unique features of the ES-335 is its double cutaway design, which offers ease of access to the upper frets. It also has a signature “f-holes” design on the top of the guitar, which is inspired by violins and cellos. The ES-335 is available in a variety of finishes, including sunburst, cherry, and natural, and has been produced in both left- and right-handed versions.

The ES-335 design also includes a 24.75-inch scale length and a slim, easy-to-play neck. The Gibson logo on the headstock is a symbol of quality and craftsmanship, and the hardware is typically high quality, including the tune-o-matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece.

The ES-335 is a guitar that offers a unique blend of classic style, versatility, and playability that make it a popular choice for country music players. In fact, some of the top country guitar players, including Brent Mason and Albert Lee, are known for their preference for the ES-335. If you’re looking for a guitar that can help you achieve the rich, warm tones and versatile sound of country music, the ES-335 is definitely worth considering.

If you want to learn more about why the ES-335 is the ideal choice for country music, check out our article on why you should choose the ES-335 for country music. And if you’re interested in learning about some of the top ES-335 players in country music, be sure to check out our article on the top 5 ES-335 players in country music.

The Origin and Evolution of ES-335

The ES-335 was introduced in 1958 by Gibson as a semi-acoustic guitar that would offer the warm tone and sustain of a solid body and the rich resonance of a hollow body. This groundbreaking guitar paved the way for a new sound and style in music, and its versatility quickly made it a popular choice among various genres, including country music.

The design of the ES-335 was inspired by the archtop and semi-acoustic guitars of the early 20th century, but with some modern upgrades. It features a solid maple block running through the center of its body, which provides both sustain and resistance to feedback. The top, back, and sides of the instrument are made of laminated maple, which gives the guitar a warm and resonant tone.

Over the years, the ES-335 went through several modifications and improvements. In the 1960s, Gibson introduced the ES-335TD with a slimmer neck profile and a stopbar tailpiece instead of the previous trapeze tailpiece. In the 1970s, the ES-335 Pro was introduced with a coil-splitting feature, which allowed the player to achieve a wider range of sounds.

The ES-335 also became a canvas for unique finishes and designs. The Cherry Red finish, in particular, became a classic and iconic look for ES-335 guitars.

Today, the ES-335 remains a popular choice among guitar players, and its design and features have inspired a wide range of similar instruments from various manufacturers. With its rich history and evolution, the ES-335 has become a legendary guitar that has significantly impacted the sound of various music genres, including country music.

If you want to know more about the role of ES-335 and other guitars in country music, read our article about the comparison between ES-335 and Telecaster guitars in country music.

ES-335 in Country Music

Es-335 In Country Music
When it comes to the history of country music and its unique sound, there are various factors and instruments that have contributed to its evolution. One such instrument that has had a significant impact on the genre is the ES-335 electric guitar. The versatility and tonal range of this guitar make it an ideal choice for country musicians, and its incorporation has influenced the sound of the genre in many ways. Let’s dive deeper into the characteristics of ES-335 and the impact it has had on country music.

Why ES-335 is an Ideal Choice for Country Music

One of the main reasons why the ES-335 is an ideal choice for country music is its versatility. This guitar is capable of producing a wide range of tonalities, making it a popular choice among musicians in this genre. Let’s take a closer look at some of the key features that make the ES-335 a go-to guitar for country artists:

Feature Description
Semi-Hollow Body The ES-335’s semi-hollow body design provides a unique tonal characteristic, as it combines the sustain and feedback resistance of a solidbody guitar with the warmth and resonance of a hollowbody.
Dual Humbucking Pickups The ES-335 comes equipped with two humbucking pickups that provide a full, rich sound perfect for country music. These pickups produce a fatter, more defined tone than single-coil pickups, which can help country players cut through in both lead and rhythm sections of a song.
Comfortable Neck Profile The ES-335’s neck is known for its comfortable, easy-to-play profile. The slim-taper profile allows for smooth and fast movement up and down the fretboard, making it a great choice for country guitarists who need to play intricate lead lines.
Classic Look The ES-335 has a classic look that fits in perfectly with the image of many country musicians. Its timeless design is both stylish and functional, with the F-holes adding an extra touch of elegance.

The ES-335’s combination of a semi-hollow body, dual humbucking pickups, comfortable neck profile, and classic look make it an ideal choice for country musicians looking for a versatile and reliable guitar. Its ability to produce a wide variety of tones has made it a staple in the genre, and it continues to be used by some of the most influential country guitarists of all time.

Influence of ES-335 on Country Music

When it comes to the impact of ES-335 on country music, there is no denying that this iconic guitar model has left an indelible mark on the genre. The ES-335 was first introduced by Gibson in 1958 and quickly gained popularity thanks to its innovative design and versatile sound.

One of the defining characteristics of the ES-335 is its semi-hollow construction. This design allows for a unique blending of solid and hollow body tones, resulting in a warm and resonant sound that is perfect for country music. The central block of the guitar minimizes feedback at high volumes, making it a popular choice for live performances.

Another influential aspect of the ES-335 is its pickups. The guitar typically features two humbucking pickups, which have a higher output and produce a fuller, more robust sound than single coil pickups. This allows for a wide range of tonal possibilities, from bright and twangy to full-bodied and rich.

ES-335 has also influenced the playing style of country guitarists. The guitar’s smooth and comfortable neck makes it easy for players to move up and down the fretboard quickly, which is essential for intricate soloing and fast-paced picking. The guitar’s sustain and resonance also allow for long, sustained notes that can create a sense of emotion and drama in country music.

In fact, some of the most iconic country guitarists of all time have used the ES-335 as their instrument of choice. Chet Atkins, for example, was known for his use of the guitar in the early days of country music, while more contemporary players like Brad Paisley and Keith Urban have also relied heavily on the ES-335 for their signature sounds.

The influence of ES-335 on country music cannot be overstated. This remarkable guitar has provided the genre with a unique sound and playing style that has helped to shape the music we know and love today.

ES-335 Players in Country Music

Es-335 Players In Country Music
When it comes to the impact of the ES-335 on country music, there’s no denying that the players who have utilized this iconic guitar have had a major influence. Whether it’s the twangy rhythms of classic country or the electrifying sounds of modern country rock, the ES-335 has been a go-to choice for many of the genre’s top musicians. Let’s take a closer look at some of the biggest names in country who have picked up an ES-335 and changed the sound of the genre forever.

Brent Mason and ES-335

Brent Mason is hailed as one of the greatest guitarists in country music history, and his love for the ES-335 is no secret. Mason’s sound has influenced countless aspiring country guitarists and his skill is often compared to that of legendary guitarists like Chet Atkins and Merle Travis. Mason’s impressive ability to play various styles of guitar music is matched only by his knowledge of guitar gear, and the ES-335 is one of his favorite guitars.

Mason’s Career and ES-335

Mason began his career in the late 1980s as a session guitarist in Nashville. Before long, he became one of the most in-demand session guitarists in the country music scene. Throughout his career, he has played on countless albums and collaborated with many famous musicians, including Shania Twain, George Strait, and Reba McEntire.

One of the reasons Mason’s sound is so recognizable is because of his use of the ES-335. This semi-hollow guitar is the perfect instrument for country music because of its versatile sound and unique design. The ES-335’s thin body and F-holes provide a bright, clean tone that is perfect for country guitar solos and melodies.

Why Mason Loves the ES-335

Mason has several reasons for his love of the ES-335. Firstly, he loves that it is the perfect mix between a solid body and a hollow body guitar, giving it a unique sound that is hard to replicate with other instruments. Additionally, he likes that the ES-335 can handle a wide range of playing styles, from a clean, bright twang to a warm, bluesy tone.

Mason is also a fan of the ES-335’s versatility. Unlike other guitars that are designed for specific types of music, the ES-335 can be used for many different genres, including rock, jazz, blues, and of course, country. This means that Mason can use the same guitar for different projects and still achieve a great sound.

Mason’s Influential Use of the ES-335

Mason’s use of the ES-335 has had a significant impact on the sound of country music. His recording work with many famous artists has produced iconic country hits, and his unique guitar solos have helped solidify the ES-335 as an essential instrument for country music. By using the ES-335 on so many records, Mason inspired many country guitarists to pick up this versatile guitar.

Brent Mason’s love for the ES-335 has helped shape the sound of country music for decades. With his unique style and impressive skill, Mason has inspired countless aspiring guitarists to pick up this guitar and incorporate it into their own sound.

Albert Lee and ES-335

Albert Lee is a renowned guitar virtuoso from England who has been associated with country music for many years. His seamless blending of country, rockabilly and blues has captivated music lovers across the world. In his long and illustrious career, he has played with some of the biggest names in the music industry including Eric Clapton and Emmylou Harris.

One of the most notable aspects of Albert Lee’s music is his use of the ES-335 guitar. Lee’s signature guitar riff on the song “Country Boy” is instantly recognizable and has become emblematic of his style. The smooth and rich tone of the ES-335 suits his playing style perfectly and has helped him establish an identity as a guitar player.

Here are some key points that highlight the influence of ES-335 on Albert Lee’s music:

  • Albert Lee’s use of the ES-335 has contributed to the development of his unique sound, which combines elements of country, rock and blues in a way that is both highly technical and deeply emotional.
  • The ES-335’s semi-hollow body design allows for greater resonance and sustain, which gives Lee’s playing a warm and inviting tone.
  • The ES-335’s humbucker pickups are known for their ability to reduce hum and unwanted noise, resulting in a clean and clear tone that highlights every note of Lee’s playing.
  • The versatility of the ES-335 allows Albert Lee to move effortlessly between genres, from uptempo rockabilly to soulful blues, adding a level of dynamic expression to his playing that is unmatched by other guitars.

In addition to his own music, Albert Lee has also been instrumental in shaping the sound of many other artists in the world of country music. His collaborations with Emmylou Harris, Rosanne Cash and Rodney Crowell, among others, have helped propel these artists to great heights.

Conclusion: It’s clear that the ES-335 has had a significant impact on Albert Lee’s music and his contributions to the world of country music cannot be overstated. With its exceptional tone, versatility and technical capabilities, the ES-335 guitar has become synonymous with the genre and will always be remembered as a fundamental element in the history of country music.

Luke Bryan’s Guitarist and ES-335

Luke Bryan is a world-renowned country music star, and his music is testament to the versatility and impact of the ES-335 on the genre. The guitarist who elevates Bryan’s sound is none other than Michael Carter, and his use of the ES-335 is a key element of their signature sound.

The ES-335 in “That’s My Kinda Night”
One of the standout tracks on Bryan’s album, “Crash My Party” is “That’s My Kinda Night”. With Carter’s masterful use of the ES-335, he amplifies the upbeat, infectious energy of the song. Carter’s solos are sleek, and the sustain from the ES-335’s semi-hollow body adds richness and depth to the overall sound.

The ES-335 in “Play It Again”
Another hit single from Bryan’s catalog is “Play It Again”, and Carter’s ES-335 shines on this track. During the intro and chorus, the clean, crisp sound of the ES-335 is unmistakable. And when it’s time for the guitar solo, it is the ES-335’s time to shine. Carter’s vibrato and sustain on the ES-335 give his solo a melodious quality that perfectly complements the rest of the band.

The ES-335 in Live Performances
Michael Carter’s prowess on the ES-335 is not limited to studio albums. In live performances, he consistently delivers electrifying solos and riffs on his ES-335, earning him a well-deserved reputation as one of the best country guitarists in the business. With the ES-335, Carter has the power and versatility to adapt to any song, and he never fails to deliver performances that showcase the instrument’s full potential.

The ES-335 is an ideal guitar for country musicians thanks to its versatile semi-hollow design and ability to produce bright, resonant tones, which has helped it to become a staple in country music. And when it falls into the hands of a skilled musician like Michael Carter, it produces some truly memorable music.

ES-335 on Classic Country Recordings

Throughout the history of country music, the ES-335 has been famous for its exceptional tone and sound quality. Many classic country recordings were made using this legendary guitar, and it has played an important role in shaping the genre.

Some of the most iconic country records ever produced have featured the ES-335. For instance, legendary country singer and songwriter Johnny Cash used an ES-335 on some of his most famous recordings, including “Ring of Fire” and “I Walk the Line”. Similarly, Willie Nelson, another country music legend, often played an ES-335 on his recordings, including hits like “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” and “On the Road Again”.

The ES-335 was also the guitar of choice for Merle Haggard and his lead guitarist Roy Nichols. Together, they created some of the most incredible country guitar licks on classic recordings like “Mama Tried” and “Workin’ Man Blues”.

Another country guitar virtuoso, Chet Atkins, was also known to favor the ES-335. Atkins is considered one of the pioneers of the “Nashville Sound,” that unique brand of country music that incorporates strings and pop elements into traditional country arrangements. He played his ES-335 on many classic recordings, including his signature song “Mr. Sandman”.

In addition to these legendary performers, many modern-day country musicians still use the ES-335 on their recordings. Today’s country music stars, like Brad Paisley and Keith Urban, have carried on the tradition of using the ES-335 for creating the distinctive sounds of country music.

It’s safe to say that the ES-335 has had an indelible impact on country music. Its unique sound and versatility make it the perfect instrument for creating the twangy, soulful notes that define the genre. From classic performers like Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash to modern-day stars like Luke Bryan and Keith Urban, the ES-335 continues to influence and shape the sound of country music.

Impact and Legacy of ES-335 on Country Music

The impact and legacy of the ES-335 on country music cannot be overstated. The guitar revolutionized the sound of the genre, giving it a new edge and versatility that was previously unheard of. Its warm, rounded tone and ability to produce clear, crisp highs made it the perfect instrument for a variety of country styles, from traditional to modern.

The ES-335’s Impact on Country Music

The ES-335’s impact on country music can be traced back to the 1960s when guitarists began to experiment with different styles and sounds. The guitar’s ability to produce a clean, bright sound was a stark contrast to the popular twangy sound of traditional country music, giving it an entirely new and modern feel.

As a result, the ES-335 quickly became a popular choice for country guitarists, particularly in Nashville. Its versatility and ability to produce a range of sounds from bright and twangy to warm and mellow made it the ideal choice for recording and live performances.

The Legacy of ES-335 on Country Music

The legacy of the ES-335 on country music can still be heard today. The guitar’s influence can be heard in the playing styles of modern country guitarists such as Keith Urban and Brad Paisley, who continue to use the instrument to create new and exciting sounds.

Additionally, many classic country recordings from the 1960s and ’70s prominently feature the ES-335. For example, the guitar can be heard on classic tracks from artists such as Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, and Willie Nelson.

The ES-335’s impact and legacy on country music have helped shape the genre into what it is today. Its ability to produce a range of sounds and styles has made it a staple instrument in country music, and its influence will undoubtedly continue to be felt for years to come.


As we can see from our exploration of the ES-335 and its impact on country music, this guitar has played an important role in shaping the sound of the genre. Its versatile design and ability to blend different tones make it an invaluable tool for guitarists who want to create the perfect blend of country, rock, and blues.

With its semi-hollow body and high-quality pickups, the ES-335 has become a go-to instrument for many country music legends, and its influence can still be heard in the music being made today. From classic recordings by the likes of Chet Atkins and Buck Owens to the modern sound of artists like Luke Bryan, the ES-335 has proven itself time and time again as a guitar that can stand the test of time.

Overall, the ES-335 is a testament to the power of innovation and the impact that a well-designed instrument can have on the world of music. By blending tradition with technology, this guitar has proven to be a true game-changer in the realm of country music, and will undoubtedly continue to inspire guitarists for years to come.

So if you’re a fan of country music or simply looking for a versatile guitar that can do it all, it’s hard to go wrong with the ES-335. Its unique blend of classic and modern features make it a must-have for any serious guitarist, and its impact on music history is truly undeniable. So go ahead, pick one up and see for yourself why the ES-335 is one of the most beloved guitars in the world of country music.

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes the design of the ES-335 unique?

The ES-335 features a semi-hollow body, a center block to reduce feedback, and two humbucker pickups that offer a warm and full sound.

When was the ES-335 first introduced?

The ES-335 was first introduced by Gibson in 1958.

How does the ES-335 compare to other guitar models?

The ES-335 offers a warmer and fuller sound than solid body electric guitars like the Fender Telecaster or Stratocaster, while also having less feedback than fully hollow body guitars like the Gibson ES-175.

Why is the ES-335 popular among country music artists?

The ES-335’s warm and full sound is perfect for country music, and its versatility allows it to be used for a variety of country styles including Western swing, honky tonk, and modern country rock.

How has the ES-335 impacted the sound of country music?

The ES-335 has been used on many classic country recordings and has influenced the sound of country guitar playing, contributing to the development of the “Nashville sound” and modern country rock.

Who are some famous country guitar players who use the ES-335?

Brent Mason, Albert Lee, and Luke Bryan’s guitarist are all noted for their use of the ES-335 in their playing.

What is the legacy of the ES-335 in country music?

The ES-335 has left a lasting impact on country music, helping to shape the sound of the genre and inspiring generations of country guitar players.

How do you care for an ES-335 guitar?

It is important to keep the guitar clean and free of dirt and dust. You can use a soft, dry cloth to wipe it down, and avoid using water or cleaning products on the guitar’s finish. Also, be sure to store the guitar in a cool and dry place.

What is the price range for an ES-335 guitar?

The price range for an ES-335 guitar can vary greatly depending on the model and condition. New models can range from around $2,000 to over $5,000, while vintage models can sell for tens of thousands of dollars.

What other guitar models are similar to the ES-335?

Other guitar models that are similar to the ES-335 include the Epiphone Casino, the Gibson ES-339, and the Gretsch 6122.


About the author

Hi there! I’m Jack Little – an avid country music fan with tons of live country performances in the past. I used to play banjo in a country band with my best friend John Peters, who’s a true country harmonica master. Those were great years and I’m still mastering new banjo playing techniques, writing my own country songs and lyrics, and collecting banjos!

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