2007 Stellar ES-335
Regis's 335 Copy
I have had this Stellar brand Les Paul copy since February of 2005 and have been very happy with it. My friend Maynard was impressed enough to buy one of their five string basses and has been happy as well. With a little tweaking they are very good guitars.

Their 335 copy is called the Mercury 8, and I've had my eye on it for a while. Just like the Mercury 6 Les Paul copy, this is a very well built guitar.

Maple construction, a mahogany center block rather than maple like the Gibson's, and a mahogany neck with rosewood finger board. Multiply binding and the F holes are bound unlike the Gibson's. The frets are jumbos, a new experience for me but I like it. The fretwork is very good. The tuners are also good, no need to change them. The pickups are different from the ones on the Les Paul copy; the neck measures a whopping 16.2k and the bridge measures 8.8. They sound very good, I like them because I usually play with a cranked amp and I like a hot pickup.

Having had the experience of the Les Paul copy, I knew what to expect out of the box: Immediate string change and setup, and change of nut and bridge. I went off to my friend and guitar guru Kerry, and he installed and shaped a new nut and replaced the bridge with a better Gotoh model. We also disconnected the tone controls and as I like low turn torque pots, Kerry used a method he developed to lube the volume pots to make them very easy to turn.

Next came some cosmetic changes. I wanted to emulate a vintage 335 like Alvin Lee's and Clapton's, so I replaced the pickguard with a more authentically shaped one that resembled a Gibson. I also replaced the knobs with vintage style reflector knobs. Finally, I swapped the black switch knob with a creme colored one, and installed straplocks.

I like this guitar a lot. After Kerry's setup, it plays great, and stays in tune with no problems. It has a thick, warm sound, more than the Les Paul copy, and will sustain for days, which is something I'm not used to but like a lot. I took some time to get used to the body style, as I have never owned a hollow body guitar in 40 years of playing. Something I also found difficult was having the strap button behind the heel. The guitar fell forward when played standing up and I don't care for that. I talked to Kerry and he said it was no problem to install a strap button on the horn, so I had him do it.

It didn't come with a case, so I bought an Epiphone 335 case for it. I had some bumper stickers custom made for it to give the feel of Alvin Lee's and Clapton's guitars, I thought they turned out pretty good.

Clapton and Alvin Lee
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