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Nighthawk CST3 Seeker First Post

#1 User is offline   NighthawkChris 

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 01:27 PM

Hello fellow forum members! I am posting here for the very first time to see how the Gibson community that is online is doing. I have a Gibson Nighthawk SP3, Epiphone NH (ST3 replica essentially), and have always had some sort of Gibson/Epiphone in my possession since I started playing years ago. I started music when I was 9 with piano lessons and migrated towards guitar playing when I was 14. My first guitar was a used Epiphone SG replica I purchased for $230. I loved this guitar and eventually explored the other models of the Gibson family. One day, I ran into my Epi-Hawk and ever since then, I loved the guitar. I loved its tone, the look, just a wonderful piece of work! Anyhow, my true intention is to see if it is possible to poll the community if there is a better way to attain a chance at getting my hands on a 90's Nighthawk CST3. Whether or not it has FR bridge, not interested as much. This I gather is more rare, but I would be happy with a great condition CST3. I really like the ebony fretboard, the binding on the neck, body, and headstock, and of course the versatility and tone it provides when plugged in. My SP3 is quite nice and I see some important differences between the actual Gibson and the Epi-hawk... I'll take the Gibson, thank you. Nonetheless, what would be my best bet to run into this guitar? Should I try to suggest it on this forum? I regularly check the typical places online (eBay, Reverb, Letgo, etc.). Currently there's nothing of interest to me, but that may change day to day. Is this my only chance of getting this prized guitar, or can I send the word out here to get someone interested in making a sale? Any advice is welcome. I figured before I start "spamming" this forum for potential sellers, I might ask if there is some sort of etiquette to follow as not to abuse the forum rules. Thanks for reading this!
Guitars I own:
* 1997 Sunburst Nighthawk ST3 w/ Floyd Rose
* 1993 Vintage Sunburst Nighthawk SP3
* 1998 Transparent Amber (Korean build) Epi-Hawk (ST3-like replica)
* 2008 Snow White (Japanese build) Jackson DK2M

Amplifier I own:
* Peavy 5150 II w/ 4x12 cab
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#2 User is offline   4Hayden 

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 08:13 PM

Welcome Chris there is a place on here to sell guitar/gear look under the trading post



4H
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#3 User is offline   Retired 

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 10:26 PM

Welcome Chris and best luck with your adventures. Have you checked with Sweetwater?
Herman
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#4 User is offline   dReit1 

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 10:26 AM

Welcome Chris, I'm a big fan of 'Hawk type guitars too. The CST3 is one of the best for sure. Problem is they were built 20 years ago and getting harder to find all the time.
Best advise I can offer is "Patience grasshopper"
2nd best advise is check all the smaller shops with online sales constantly and have your cash ready because if a nice one does show up, it won't last long.

Good luck in your search.

Question. Was your 1st Epi-Hawk the early version with the bolt on neck or the newer setneck?

This post has been edited by dReit1: 18 July 2017 - 10:31 AM

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#5 User is offline   NighthawkChris 

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 11:47 AM

Thanks fellas for the replies, much appreciate all the feedback on my "quest" for the holy grail AKA the CST3 Nighthawk. I have checked with Sweetwater per @Retired's advice, but they are primarily new guitars after talking with a sales rep over there. No worries, just keeping cool over here. I did also look into the trading post area as well per @4Hayden's advice. Something might come up eventually there. Appreciate the boost in morale :-)

@dReit1

I have to have the earlier version as I bought it before 2000 (or just after) I believe... It is amber translucent type finish with bolt on neck with 2 OBL pickups (OBL visible in white letters) and some mini HB. I like the body and the hardware for the most part, but you can tell where some corners were cut. The input jack plate is plastic - broke that (go figure if you play it a ton). The wiring is not like the actual NH where there is actually some dead spot. I had to rewire it entirely and gut the electrical components aside from the tone cap (replaced pots and 55 position switch). The switch was straight up not making contact after a while, so I replaced with some Fender 5 position which worked MUCH better. The original switch was plastic too - go figure. Piece of junk IMO. Nonetheless, I know how to solder very well and I cleaned it up phenomenally inside the guts of the guitar. Oh, and there was some dummy coil in there too. Don't think it made much of a difference, so I took it out. Still have it, but just not wired in the guitar. Another interesting thing it has is the 2 position switch externally located around the 5 position switch which does pickup "splitting" (which there is really no tapping or splitting really going on - just wire in close proximity coils together or separately). I do a simple series circuit to place 1 or 2 coils in series - nothing in parallel or out of phase, etc. Pretty standard as I am not one to make this some "magic" guitar. All in all, it is in wonderful shape and has served me well. Intonation is spot on and frets aren't worn out badly or nothing like that where there are obvious issues. I take care of ALL my stuff.

My plan is to put in a JB slanted pickup (SH4 I believe I have), replace the single coil with another Seymour Duncan PU (want to see if STK4 will fit), and I don't know if I want to put in a JBE PU... Don't know much about this PU, but the others I have heard good things about pertaining to the style of play. I guess you don't really go wrong with a Duncan PU. I really not a huge fan of those OBL Korean PU's. They aren't malfunctioned, but the tone they provide is nothing to write home about. I think this would be a great upgrade which will cost around $300 on top of the original $700 I paid when I purchased the Epi-Hawk. So it becomes the price of the real NH in the end, haha! I plan on giving this to my son when he's ready to pick up a guitar - something to start with. Sure will beat the Epi-SG I had when I was 14 :-) That guitar was good too. Put in passive EMG PU's in that years ago, but this is another story.

Another thing is that I did find a great condition NH ST3 with FR tremolo (Sunburst finish). This is a great find, so I pulled the trigger on it. It was in a smaller guitar shop I happened to run across that had one used - VERY lucky. I really don't know if I really need a CST3 as much as I will now possess an Epi-Hawk with Duncan's, SP3 NH in great condition, and now an ST3 with FR Tremolo in great condition... 3 Hawks are more than most would hope for in their lifetime :-D If I run into a CST3 in great condition - with or w/out FR - I would be tempted, but all I would get is a bound headstock, ebony fretboard, and cloud inlays I believe. Pretty much cosmetic. The ST3 I just bought is absolutely beautiful. I know there are CST3's a little bit more beautiful, but it seems ridiculous to have 4 Hawks!? Essentially, the low-end SP3 has the same stuff as the other models from what I gather, so I am not gaining tone with the CST3. Would I be correct to say this, or does the CST3 have some X factor that makes the tone stand out from the other NH models? I would imagine all the Gibson NH's have the same PU's and the rest is wires and some pots and a cap. These only have to do with frequency response and signal loading. The coil(s) in the PU conduct the EMF generated from the string's motion... These I can see playing a bigger part of affecting the tone.

Overall, thanks for the feedback again everyone. Maybe one day I will get into the real bucks and start looking at LP's. Those customs are magnificent! I don't believe I will have as many issues locating a LP, but a good LP is VERY expensive compared to some NH - even the typical fireburst finished CST3. I have seen LP's that get into the hundreds of thousands. Gee! I could get a 9' Steinway D ('D' for DAMN big) for that money - and a VERY GOOD one at that :-D Sure a ton more of work (and time) put into a Steinway than a Gibson - not to discredit the craftsmanship of Gibson guitar makers. Although, I haven't heard much of assembly process of Gibson's, but I know a Steinway takes quite a while to make as there are a very limited number made per year because of the time it takes to make these BY HAND. Anyhow, this is Gibson forum. We like guitars, so I will stop talking about pianos. Feel free to comment on anything I have mistakenly mentioned incorrectly. I appreciate learning from others. Thanks again!
Guitars I own:
* 1997 Sunburst Nighthawk ST3 w/ Floyd Rose
* 1993 Vintage Sunburst Nighthawk SP3
* 1998 Transparent Amber (Korean build) Epi-Hawk (ST3-like replica)
* 2008 Snow White (Japanese build) Jackson DK2M

Amplifier I own:
* Peavy 5150 II w/ 4x12 cab
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