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The AV3H takes its inspiration from the original ES-335, but with a unique twist thanks to its down-sized, offset double-cutaway design. It’s certainly one of Vintage’s more boutique-looking models and its reduced bulk gives a more nimble feeling on a strap.
As designer Trev Wilkinson says, “I can’t make a better ES-335, but I can make it smaller and more manageable.” Fair play.
What we have here is a threepiece mahogany back that’s chambered, leaving just a centre-block. The solid maple top is carved inside and out and then topped with a tight flame maple veneer. The mahogany neck is full and familiar feeling, a ‘C’ shape that’s the perfect middle ground between Gibson’s slim sixties and fatter fifties profiles.
Fit and finish is a little hurried in places; there’s the odd cherry bleed onto the binding and the Wilkinson tuners could feel a little more stable, but these very minor niggles are reflected in its modest price tag. A neat feature is the ‘roll control’, which enables both Wilkinson humbuckers to have a gradual transition from full humbucker to single-coil.