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es 345 review

#1 User is offline   thegoose 

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 10:00 AM

Just got my epi 345 in cherry red from Thomann today so here is some first impressions.

Since they are a bit hard to get I settled for a B-stock one that was returned by another customer. So I got it for 500 euro instead of 550.
Held my fingers crossed because I read some dreadfull stories about bad setup, bigsby off centred , bad finish en bad sounding elements.

So, I unpacked it and inspected it and I could not find any flaws!
Finish:
No scratches or bad finish. I think the see trough red is beautiful as you can see the maple wood grains. No little cracks or anomalies. The bigsby is mounted correct and aligned as you can see in the pictures. The bindings are fine, the neck is set well. No complains here
Factory Setup:
The action was OK according to the normal settings . I might set it a bit lower. The nut is a bit high but that is better than to low! Trustrod was well set with about point 5 mm at the 7th fret between strings and frets. So again no complains here.
Sound:
Acoustically is not very much a hollow body. It sounds almost like a solid body.
So I plugged her into my bugera V22 and tried out some settings and pickups.
Compared to my Vintage V100 LP with wilkinson PU with the varitone in 1 (bypass) the sound was a bit thinner. But hey, it's not a solid body! And from what I hear the Wilkinson PU is a pretty good one.
The varitone is what I was looking for and in my opinion it does the job. The variation is versatile if you don't want to fiddle with effect pedals or equalizers. Together with the PU switch and the tone knob you can dial in a lot of slightly different sounds.

What's more? The neck strap button seems a bit awkward as it sits on the back, but I'll get used to it.
The weight balance is OK I think, better than my LP, and lighter too!
I saw a comment on the Gibson / epi website from a guy who said that they took away a big chunck of wood from the centrepiece to get the electronics in and I think he is right. It looks as though they took more space than needed to install it all. But I can't judge how much this affected the sound.
The gold plated hardware will probably fade soon, the more I play it. I promised myself to wipe it off after playing but I know myself too. On the other hand it should look like being played. It's not a showpiece in the first place (but in the second YES).
Does it stay in tune? I'll let you know in a few weeks. I got the Wilkinson tuners on my V100 as well and they're fine. I suppose they didn't stretch the strings so I'll do that to. The strings seem a bit cheap so better strings might improve it a bit. The black finger rest needs some adjustment to fit OK but I won't use it.

I am wondering what a nanomag PU would do (as in the 339) and in the future might try to add it, or a nanoflex. But for now I'm pretty satisfied I bought it and consider it a fine guitar for the price I paid.

I hope this helps you to make a descision!

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#2 User is offline   Gunner 

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 11:25 AM

Congrats on the 345! Glad you got a good one.

+1 on the roller bridge. I put a Wilkinson version on my 355 and it did wonders for tuning stability when using the Bigsby (also needed some nut work as the strings were binding in the nut slots).

#3 User is offline   Pin 

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 01:25 PM

I agree completely with the comments made by OP. It is a fine guitar and much, much cheaper than a new Gibbo version!

I have had to do a little filing to get the scrathplate to fit perfectly. I haven't fitted it yet but I will as I prefer to play with one in place. I have also a Wilko roller bridge to fit and gold pickup rings...I'll get round to sorting it one day.

One thing I have noticed about mine is that the rosewood fingerboard is pretty dirty and could do with a real good rub with decent fingerbaord oil but I'll do that when I change the (not very good) original strings.

The varitone is excellent. I couple the guitar with a Vox Tonelab Ex run through my Roland JC50 and the range of sounds available to astonishing.

One thing I am puzzling about is how to fit the guitar up with midi as the GK3 unit won't go because of the Bigsby and I hate the idea of sticking anything onto the archtop surface. It is possible that the forthcoming Fishman Triple Play wireless guitar to midi unit might (just might) be the answer. We shall see...
GUITARS: Gibson Les Paul 25 / 50; Gibson ES345 1959 Reissue; Yamaha AE12; Yamaha SG2000: Fender "Roland Ready" Strat; Epiphone ES345 "Special"; Epiphone Les Paul '56; Epiphone Les Paul Tribute Plus; Epiphone G400; Cimar Classical.
AMPS & EFFECTS: Various effects. Fav amps - Bugera V5 RAT tri-rec combo and Mesa Maverick 1 x 12.

#4 User is offline   SpruceTop 

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 09:43 PM

Congrats on the new semi! I wouldn’t worry about how big the center block is routed. I have a much-coveted 1978 Ibanez Artist 2630 (335) that more of the center block routed than most I suppose. And it is an amazing sounding guitar. I never eve thought about the center block route. Anyway, I love both hollow bodies and solid body guitars. So adding or taking away the center block just makes it either a bit more of a solid body or more of a hollow body. Given the amount of center block that was taken from mine, I can’t believe it can make much difference.

#5 User is offline   RaSTuS 

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 10:19 PM

Congrats on the new 345, It would probably be my choice too, great guitars, thanks for sharing your impressions, HNGD.
Only the mediocre are always at their best.

GUITARS: ........... 60 odd lumps of Wood, Aluminium and Plastic with many and varied electric bits attached.
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