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Jim Beam Devil's Cut Hollow Body 335 Style Guitar






Review and Description
Jim Beam Devil's Cut Hollow Body 335 Style Guitar

Jim Beam Devil's Cut
Hollow Body ES-335 Style
6 String Electric Guitar


A showpiece guitar for promotional purposes. Not likely to be a good / playable instrument without some work. Poor build quality and very little attention to detail.

If you can pick one up in reasonable condition for a few hundred dollars, it could be worth spending a little time and money to set it up properly. Otherwise, it could be a nice wall hanging in your man-cave - if you are into that sort of thing.

Find a Jim Beam Devil's Cut Hollow Body
ES- 335 Style Guitar on eBay

Jim Beam Devil's Cut Hollow Body eBay AUS

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Jim Beam Devil's Cut Hollow Body Front

Jim Beam Devil's Cut Hollow Body 335 Style


 



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Review and Description

Important! - This Jim Beam promotional guitar is not connected to Gibson in any way, other than the guitar style approximates that of a Gibson ES-335.

The Jim Beam Devil's Cut ES 335 Chinese clone hollow body 6 string electric guitar is not the worst build quality that I have ever seen, but it sure as hell comes real close. While I'm fond of an occasional whisky, as a musician, you would need to down at least half a bottle before this guitar would start looking (or sounding) any good. Even the application of the Devil's Cut decal artwork (in my estimation, the best part of the whole guitar), is as rough as three day old moonshine.

  About Review and Description articles, click to expand
 
  

That's not to say the Devil's Cut hollow body isn't salvageable as a musical instrument. The one that was brought to me for repair and setup, was turned into a fully functional and playable electric guitar. It's just that the effort to make that happen probably exceeds the worthiness and monetary value of these particular instruments.

The Jim Beam Devil's Cut hollow body 335 style guitar clones are unbranded guitars with no serial number. Perhaps the manufacturer does not want to cop the blame for this travesty of guitar making. They are absolutely not made by or under licence from Gibson.

The cardboard box label shown at right is all the information that comes with these guitars. Unlike some previous promotional guitars that were badged as Gibson and came provided with full documentation and proof of authenticity.

Powersource Global Pty. Ltd. is an Australian marketing agency that specialises in objectifying product marketing. They have developed a long term relationship with Jim Beam that includes a substantial range and variety of promotional products.

Jim Beam Devil's Cut Hollow Body RearThe Devil's Cut guitar promotion appears to have begun, not surprisingly with the introduction of the Devil's Cut whisky in 2011. That sets the earliest manufacture date for these guitars at between 2010 and 2011.

I think it is fair to assume that the carton info [carton 666 of 800] is strictly for show and there are quite likely to be thousands of these cheap and nasty guitars haunting their owners across the world.

There are already many different promotional guitars out there, including ones for rival whisky maker Jack Daniels from Tennessee. Some of the promotional instruments are branded, fully documented and highly collectible. Others like this one are just, well, interesting.

There are at least two Jim Beam Devil's Cut promo guitars, the 335 style and the Les Paul Junior style - there might even be others that I haven't seen. If you have any 'real' information that might be useful and/or interesting here please email me.

I've been told that this guitar may dates back to 2011, however there are still bulletin board posts referencing the Devil's Cut guitars being used in promotions as late as 2016.
Various other Jim Beam electric guitar related
promotions appear to be an on-going concern.

Jim Beam has been involved with these kinds of promotions at least as far back as the early 1990's when they had name-brand manufacturers like Epiphone and Gibson building certified high quality guitars for them (in much smaller quantities).

Please Note: Promotional guitars come up for sale from time to time on ebay. Sometimes these are wrongly advertised as name-brand guitars (e.g. Epiphone or Gibson), which they may not be. Like this little beauty, they may just be a cheap clone. The seller may innocently assume the branding, based on style.
However it's still incorrect and illegal in the USA to advertise a guitar where the stated brand cannot be reasonably proven. Gibson in particular are very stern on this point and apparently keen to litigate.

So while some promotional guitars are likely to be clones and probably originate somewhere in China, they are still valid promotional issues. They are just not worth as much as a real Gibson for example. Also if they are cheapies, they will probably be knocked out by the thousands as well, reducing their individual value even further.

The give-away with clones will most notably be the lack of identification, such as a manufacturer's logo and serial number (for Gibsons and Epihones the serial # will be on the back of the headstock). Any branded guitar should also have documentation, so it pays to ask or check purchasing one.

Worth noting is that even clones may still be worth a couple of hundred dollars (or whatever someone is prepared to pay), they just should not be advertised as a "Insert Brand Here" guitar. And of course, in the world of guitars like anywhere else there is a buck to be made, there are also the true frauds complete with faked logos and serial numbers. Gibson seem to be a popular target for these.





The Devil is in The Detail


When the Devil's Cut guitar being reviewed first arrived it was instantly obvious that the guitar had been messed with by someone who knew just enough to be dangerous and not enough to actually fix it.

Fortunately the new owner, who brought it to me, did have a ready to go 'Plan B' and was perfectly happy to turn it into a wall hanging if it couldn't be redeemed as a playable instrument. In fact his wife had her eye on it for just such a purpose. However, since it is the 'Devil's Cut' guitar, I guess it really is all about redemption ;-)

So - off the shelf (and definitely nowhere near the top shelf) - this guitar was not really playable (by anyone in a sober state).

So let's catalogue the litany of little catastrophes:

The Positives:



Playing the Jim Beam Devil's Cut Hollow Body Electric Guitar

This guitar was not at all playable when I received it. Having corrected the neck curvature, filing/sanding down some sharp fret edges, making a new bone nut and then adjusting the action to be nice and low - this guitar is now quite pleasing to play. Once the neck stabilised, the guitar remains nicely in tune between playings.

For specifications see Jim Beam Devil's Cut Hollow Body specifications below.


Jim Beam Devil's Cut Hollow Body Sound

The passive electronics and pickups are Chinese clones and while they are functional, the output sound is fairly ordinary. I have played the Jim Beam Devil's Cut Hollow Body through my Ceriatone valve amp and there is no hint of any classic 335 sweetness from this guitar. It doesn't sound terrible, it's just relatively ordinary. I can't honestly say whether spending money on better or more appropriate pickups (and passive electronics if you are going to do a job) could be justified - unless of course you have plenty of time and desperately need a project.


Build Quality / Workmanship / Reliability

As mentioned earlier - The build quality and workmanship for this, now year old guitar, is simply abysmal. The various parts are cheap, borderline functional and singularly unimpressive. I don't believe that reliability or durability can be counted on. If I was a guitar maker, I would have burnt this one before anybody got a look at it!

Just to fact-check myself, I got out my camera with macro lens attached and photo-documented some of the primary flaws and blemishes. There are about 20 that I could successfully photograph. Some colour blemishes are too subtle to get properly into focus.

It is probably expected that you might find a flaw or three on any cheap clone guitar. However, over 20 blemishes, some of which are really quite nasty, is fairly extreme in my opinion ... Click on the 'Flaws that will Floor You' image below for a larger view.



There is still 'stuff' rattling around inside this guitar. I have managed to get some of it out including: decal flakes, wood shavings and paper (with Chinese writing), but there is still more. Some is stuck to the inside of the body. Of course, the only way out is through the F holes - this could take a while.

Find EXL-120 Strings on eBay

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Strings for the Jim Beam Devil's Cut Hollow Body

I am so tempted to just say 'Why bother?' ... but honestly, if one invested in some better pickups, it might make a world of difference. Noting that to upgrade the PUs would possibly cost as much as the guitar is presently worth. Therefore good strings are the go - and my preference would be D'Addario XL-120s. These have helped to modestly improve the sound. Slightly heavier jazz strings (as per a real ES-335) may squeeze some extra tone out of this guitar, but bear in mind that would quite likely also require a truss rod tweak. The neck seems to be quite sensitive.


Value for Money

If this guitar was gifted to you, or cost less than 4 to 5 bottles of good whiskey, then consider it 'almost' value for money - the 'almost' being added here because it is 'almost' certain that you will have to either work on it, spend money on it, or both - to end up with a truly playable guitar. The guitar looks - well, it looks ok from a distance. At any distance more than 1 metre (or for those who need glasses), it's a fine looking guitar ;-)


Repairs, Parts, Restoration

The only real likelihood of the Jim Beam Devil's Cut ES-335 clone not requiring some work, is if the work has already been done by a former owner or you intend to use it as a wall hanging. Whether the guitar is worth the effort will depend on the condition of the individual guitar. One should reasonably expect there will be some variance. For example, the one I have worked on could be the worst one they ever made - though, somehow I doubt it ;-)

This will really come down to how badly you want a guitar covered with Jim Beam Devil's Cut artwork. The current owner of the one I'm now tweaking is a country-rock singer and rhythm guitarist. This guitar has a look that suits the genre, while also making for an interesting conversation piece. Most importantly, it now also plays very nicely.


Summary

The Jim Beam Devil's Cut Hollow Body is essentially a Gibson ES-335 look-alike, without the (or perhaps even any) quality control. A great wall hanging for a man cave or perhaps an older teenager's bedroom. It could require quite a bit of effort to turn one of these clones into a well playing musical instrument - but - it is achievable. The only question is: How much do you want to spend?

So it's true - you know that now - these guitars are totally evil.

But seriously - If the Devil had actually been involved at any stage in the production of these Devil's Cut guitars, I'm certain they would be way more of a temptation than they currently are ;-)



Jim Beam Devil's Cut Hollow Body Specifications

 Yamaha FG-410-12A 
 Measurements

There are other Devil's Cut guitars, these specs apply to the ES-335 clone only.

Year(s) Sold: NOT SOLD
Promotional Release Only
2011 - 2016+
Manufactured: China
Estimated Value: < AUD $350
Condition dependent
Neck Radius: 305mm (12")
Neck Type: Glued Neck
Neck Material : Not Known
Scale: 635mm (25")
Truss Rods : Single Bi-directional
Body Material: Not Known
Fretboard: Not Known w Pearloid Spearhead Inlays
Frets: 22 Medium Jumbo Frets
Bridge: Tune-O-Matic style
Finish: White with Jim Beam Devil's Cut decal
Pick Guard: Black
Machine Heads &
Control Knobs:
Chromed Diecast
Pickups x 2:
Chinese Unbranded
Humbucking - Passive
Electronics: 2 Vol, 2 Tone, 3 Pos Sw
Passive
Specs are close to current ES-335 measurements but definitely NOT the same.















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