Gibson Custom Shop CS336

Price Paid: 
Country of origin: 
Body wood(s): 
One piece of mahogany carved out to form the back, sides and center block. A figured maple top finished in Washed Cherry Sunburst.
Neck wood: 
Fretboard Scale: 
Number of frets: 

The build quality is imaculate. The finish can take your breath away.

The guitar was built to Wildwood Spec so it features their lower output ultra vintage PAF type Gibson Custom Shop Custombuckers. Great clarity and body when played clean and work like a charm with both my B. K. Butler Tube Driver and Mad Professor hand wired Amber Overdrive.

The way the mahogany part of the body was made pulls the tone from pure ES-335 sounds to something closer to the child of an ES-335 bred with a Les Paul Standard. A little less air. More direct. Easier navigating overtones and able to create harmonic content exactly like a solid body maple  / mahogany electric guitar.

The fingerboard, string placement and extremely low string height with zero string buzz are the best I've ever experienced.

The guitar stays in tune for long playing periods and often time is still in tune days later when I choose to play it again. I've actually tuned it up, placed it in it's case and returned to it two weeks later to find it still in tune. Amazing.


Smaller frets than I usually use which took some time getting used to.

The body size was also a bit surprising, (even though I'd played a CS336 during their first model year. I guess I forgot). While I knew it was smaller than an ES-335 I really wasn't expecting a body size that could be compared to a PRS Santana or a  Hamer Studio. It's actually an excellent fit for someone with my small body size, (5' 7" and around 140 pounds), so it was a score for me but, other more robust built males could find it too small for their playing comfort.


Overall the CS336 has turned out to be an even better guitar than memories of my first experience with the model back in 2002 led me to expect. I'm sure the Wildwood Spec additions to the regular Custom Shop model play a big part in this. The guitar is really a mix of an ES-335, Les Paul Standard and features a super slim line neck much like  my 1971 Gibson SG Deluxe. It's easily the fastest playing neck of any guitar I own. The small frets allow me to slide up and down the neck feeling virtually no bumps at all. While this took a little getting used to it's actually pretty slick once you learn to not overshoot your target point.

The Wildwood Spec version of the Gibson Custon Shop CS336 puts it's build quality pretty much equal to any of the high end boutique electric guitar builders inventories. My Suhr Custom Classic T and Melancon Custom T give me good examples for comparison and the Gibson Custon Shop CS336 stands tall along with both of them. 100% attention to detail. Not the slightest off set of body binding or off shade in the finish. Perfection beyond the highest expectations.

In truth ...... if I'd designed the guitar myself, after experiencing the Wildwood Spec version, I'd keep the small frets, but probably add a bit more thickness to the back of the neck. I wouldn't change anything else. That's saying a lot coming from a customizer like myself. Bridge, pickups, electronics, tuners, fret nut, maple top, carved out mahogany back and sides, finish . . . absolutely perfect. 

For the first time I have competition for my Melancon Custom T. Build quality, wood quality and parts quality dead even. Thankfully ..... one solid body and one semi-hollow so I don't have to pick between them. Both Excellent. The Gibson Custom Shop Wildwood Spec CS336 is simply the very finest semi - hollow  bodied electric guitar I've ever had the pleasure to play and own.

Overall Rating: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)