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Gibson ES 339 Lefty Conversion

#1 User is offline   BluesyBluesington 

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 01:04 PM

Hi everyone I am new here to this forum. I hope I am welcome, and so to start myself off I pose you all with a technical question about the Gibson ES339. I really want to buy myself a Gibson ES 339, and I have been visiting my local Guitar Center for the past 6 months testing this guitar. I need to have one and I have saved up enough cash to buy one. The problem is I am left handed and as far as I know Gibson only makes the 339 for right handed players. So my idea to get past my dilemma is to flip the thing upside down and string it lefty. Comfortability is not a problem, and the knobs do not bother me at all, and I have been playing it strung upside down to test it. I have spoken to two guitar technicians and fellow musicians who say it is possible but my intonation would be off by a hair. I am willing to do it if it is safe to do so. This is where my confusion is because some say the off intonation is noticeable and some say it is not, and so I need a clear answer here before I drop two grand on a guitar Gibson should make lefty. I realize there are many other guitars Gibson makes that are in this category, but I really have to have an ES 339 it is such a great guitar.

#2 User is offline   Rich W 

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 03:08 PM

I agree about potential intonation problems if you re-string a 339 as a leftie.

My 339 ABR saddles are up as far as they can go, so it wouldn't work for me.

The conversion might work with a Nashville or other bridge with more saddle adjustment capability ... but definitely do not buy sight-unseen, and instead look closely at the bridge of any 339 you're thinking about (e.g., treble E saddle should have lots of room to move forward).

#3 User is offline   Aerial Man 

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 03:09 PM

The bridge would be at the wrong angle. youll need a lot doing to get it playing right and still youll have the bridge isssue. If it was me I would find a lefty model that I liked or get a custom made guitar.

#4 User is offline   BigKahune 

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 03:24 PM

.

Have you contacted a dealer like Fuller's to ask if they can order a lefty built for you and what the price might be?

Sales@FullersGuitar.com

713-880-2188 - ask for Jeremy.

.
13 Gibson CS Advanced Jumbo R/Spruce..O12 Gibson Southern Jumbo TV....O11 RainSong JM-3000 12
11 Martin 000-15M Elderly LE....................O10 Gibson ES-359......................o10 Rickenbacker 360/12
09 Jackson PC-1.....................................O09 Fender 52 Telecaster AVS..ooO08 Gibson SJ-200 (Colosi S/P)
08 Gibson Robot SG LTD........................oO08 Fender Am/Dlx Stratocaster.....08 Gibson Les Paul Push Tone
07 Epiphone Les Paul Ultra II.....................o07 Guild F412...........................O07 Taylor NS74ce
98 Martin D-45VR.....................................097 Guild X-700 Stuart.................O73 Yamaha G-55A
65 Gibson Melody Maker.............................Amps: Bogner Alchemist (Head/212Cab);. Line6 Spider Jam & Micro Spider
..............................................................oKeyboard: 06 Yamaha DGX220

#5 User is offline   BluesyBluesington 

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 03:39 PM

Thats the thing I want to know if it's safe to do so before I save up more money for a custom guitar. I am trying to steer away from buying a custom guitar because of the heftier price I might have to pay. The only player I know of that has done it was Jimi Hendrix, and his was an SG with a Vibrola so that turn around must have been more complicated, and it worked. The Tech said that he'd try and flip the bridge around or rearrange the saddles, but he said it would be just fine, and if not I'd just return it.

#6 User is offline   Rich W 

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 03:59 PM

Another reason why you might not want to do the conversion is that even if the tech can just barely get the proper intonation with the strings reversed, sooner or later you'll probably need to re-adjust intonation, and then you might be out of luck.

A number things may necessitate a future intonation adjustment including changing action or string gauge or even string type (e.g., round core strings).

Seems risky.

#7 User is offline   BigKahune 

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 04:08 PM

.
Call Jeremy. Ask some questions. Ask him if he can get you a price. Then you'll know if it's within your budget to order one, or if you'll have to alter a right-handed model. If it was me, and the price of a left handed was within reach, that's what I would want.

BTW, If you have to alter a right handed 339, I would have the tech/luthier, remove the ABR mounting screws and re-drill the holes for a lefty bridge and use deeper mounting screws. Show him his page - http://forum.gibson....__1#entry323382
The old holes can be plugged with the correct sized dowel and the ends colored/stained.
Oh, and if you have a conversion done, have a new lefty nut made.
13 Gibson CS Advanced Jumbo R/Spruce..O12 Gibson Southern Jumbo TV....O11 RainSong JM-3000 12
11 Martin 000-15M Elderly LE....................O10 Gibson ES-359......................o10 Rickenbacker 360/12
09 Jackson PC-1.....................................O09 Fender 52 Telecaster AVS..ooO08 Gibson SJ-200 (Colosi S/P)
08 Gibson Robot SG LTD........................oO08 Fender Am/Dlx Stratocaster.....08 Gibson Les Paul Push Tone
07 Epiphone Les Paul Ultra II.....................o07 Guild F412...........................O07 Taylor NS74ce
98 Martin D-45VR.....................................097 Guild X-700 Stuart.................O73 Yamaha G-55A
65 Gibson Melody Maker.............................Amps: Bogner Alchemist (Head/212Cab);. Line6 Spider Jam & Micro Spider
..............................................................oKeyboard: 06 Yamaha DGX220

#8 User is offline   BluesyBluesington 

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 04:18 PM

Thanks Big and Rich, I want to know if there has anybody that has ever done it successfully. I wrote Jeremy and I am trying to contact Gibson. I am just waiting for a response. If not, I might go ahead and try the conversion. Ill attempt to try it without drilling the holes. Hopefully it works out alright. Ill even attempt flipping the bridge for more adjustability.

#9 User is offline   BigKahune 

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 04:20 PM

View PostBluesyBluesington, on 22 October 2011 - 04:18 PM, said:

.... I wrote Jeremy and I am trying to contact Gibson. .....


A custom order has to come from an authorized dealer - - the customer does business with the dealer, not with Gibson. The customer pays the dealer, the dealer pays Gibson. Money up front.
13 Gibson CS Advanced Jumbo R/Spruce..O12 Gibson Southern Jumbo TV....O11 RainSong JM-3000 12
11 Martin 000-15M Elderly LE....................O10 Gibson ES-359......................o10 Rickenbacker 360/12
09 Jackson PC-1.....................................O09 Fender 52 Telecaster AVS..ooO08 Gibson SJ-200 (Colosi S/P)
08 Gibson Robot SG LTD........................oO08 Fender Am/Dlx Stratocaster.....08 Gibson Les Paul Push Tone
07 Epiphone Les Paul Ultra II.....................o07 Guild F412...........................O07 Taylor NS74ce
98 Martin D-45VR.....................................097 Guild X-700 Stuart.................O73 Yamaha G-55A
65 Gibson Melody Maker.............................Amps: Bogner Alchemist (Head/212Cab);. Line6 Spider Jam & Micro Spider
..............................................................oKeyboard: 06 Yamaha DGX220

#10 User is offline   BluesyBluesington 

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 04:26 PM

I am asking Gibson if they plan on making a lefty one or if its possible because according to their fact page, a lefty guitar might not be possible for all models, so maybe I discerned their fact page incorrectly, but I believe thats what it means. I had a similar question about a Gibson Sg awhile back, and they responded to my questions.

#11 User is offline   BigKahune 

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 04:45 PM

.
Yes, I was referring to contacting for an order.

Ouch. That's unfortunate. I wish you luck with Gibson.

BTW, Epiphone has a ES-339 on the way, you might check and see if they will be available in lefty. MF has pre-order going now - http://www.musicians...electric-guitar
13 Gibson CS Advanced Jumbo R/Spruce..O12 Gibson Southern Jumbo TV....O11 RainSong JM-3000 12
11 Martin 000-15M Elderly LE....................O10 Gibson ES-359......................o10 Rickenbacker 360/12
09 Jackson PC-1.....................................O09 Fender 52 Telecaster AVS..ooO08 Gibson SJ-200 (Colosi S/P)
08 Gibson Robot SG LTD........................oO08 Fender Am/Dlx Stratocaster.....08 Gibson Les Paul Push Tone
07 Epiphone Les Paul Ultra II.....................o07 Guild F412...........................O07 Taylor NS74ce
98 Martin D-45VR.....................................097 Guild X-700 Stuart.................O73 Yamaha G-55A
65 Gibson Melody Maker.............................Amps: Bogner Alchemist (Head/212Cab);. Line6 Spider Jam & Micro Spider
..............................................................oKeyboard: 06 Yamaha DGX220

#12 User is offline   BluesyBluesington 

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 04:48 PM

View PostBigKahune, on 22 October 2011 - 04:45 PM, said:

.
Yes, I was referring to contacting for an order.

Ouch. That's unfortunate. I wish you luck with Gibson.

BTW, Epiphone has a ES-339 on the way, you might check and see if they will be available in lefty. MF has pre-order going now - http://www.musicians...electric-guitar


Thanks A lot Big. I am definitely going to check it out. I might try and find a right handed Epiphone I can test the conversion on. Maybe that 339 might be the perfect test.

#13 User is offline   badbluesplayer 

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 06:49 AM

If you want to convert a righty 339, you will have to have the bridge post holes redrilled so that the bridge slants the opposite way from a right handed model. The existing bridge will be reinstalled in the proper location on the new posts and then the saddles might be able to be swapped around to the proper positions in the bridge. But you'll most likely need new saddles to make sure the strings are centered properly. The saddles will have to be cut and notched.

The only potential problem is that the guitar may lose some of its resale value when you do this. It would have to be converted back for a righty. You might leave some short screws with heads (like some 6-32 x 1/4" to 3/8" panhead screws) in the old holes instead of filling them so that if somebody wants to convert it back they won't have to try to redrill new studs into an old filled hole - which would be a bad situation.

You'll have to install a new nut too.

It's doable. [thumbup]
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#14 User is offline   CR9 

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 07:43 AM

Have a Gibson Custom Dealer contact Gibson about a price. A left handed 339 should not be a problem to build. Guitar Center/Musician's Friend should also be able to get you a price but try Fuller's, Wildwood, Rainbow, etc. I guess even though I am left handed, my guitar teacher back in '64 started me on a right handed guitar.

#15 User is offline   Mr. Natural 

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 04:30 PM

Contact Southpaw Guitars in Houston. See what they tell you.

#16 User is offline   ishtar 

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 05:35 PM

Maybe you could get a lefty 336 bridge, or some other one that fits the radius of the fretboard.

Still have to drill holes.

What about some kind of taped down floating bridge?

I had GC flip one of the Epiphone Dot Studios. It turned out alright. I don't recall what was done about the bridge. I don't even remember the bridge on that guitar.

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