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  1. I'd love to have a red, mono ES-335 with a Bigsby, but the amount of time I spend playing electric guitar these days makes a purchase impractical. I guess I'll just have to get by with my 335. In 1982, I pondered a 347 vs a Chet Atkins Country Gent. Gretsch won out at the time, but, having sold it in '07 (for multiples of what I had paid for it), I toyed first with a Les Paul and later with an SG before settling on the beauty pictured below. For what it's worth, my current playing partner is plugging into my Deluxe Reverb when he comes by on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and it sounds terrific. Ah, but that red 355....
  2. Correction: Norlin sold Gibson in 1986. A friend has a gorgeous bird's-eye maple ES-340 in natural from 1969. The wood in it puts my '00 lightly figured 335 to shame, plus his has turned a lovely amber over the years. By the way, everything I have ever read on the 340 has said that natural was a rare finish, but every one I have seen or seen a picture of has been blonde.
  3. Norlin ran Gibson from late '68 into '82. They made a lot of boneheaded changes to cut costs (Norlin was made up of a couple of MBAs who worshiped the bottom line) but that doesn't mean there are no good Norlins. I had a '70 LP Deluxe with all the "bad" features -- pancake body, volute -- and it sang. I sold it after I got my dream guitar, a blonde 335.
  4. I'm a believer in rewiring -- I had a Sheraton II that I installed Seymour Duncans in, and while I was at it I replaced the wiring harness and pots. There is one significant difference between the Sheraton and the other models: the binding around the f-holes reduced the width of them to .75". I had to order mini-potentiometers to get them in. The local guitar tech swore that the guitar must have been wired up before the top was glued on! From what you've written, you may not have a lot of trouble making up a harness and working it into the guitar through the treble f-hole, but it was a real all-day sucker for me...fishing pieces out and fishing the new ones in with a bent paper clip and string. Your tools may be more sophisticated. In any case, it's doable, and I recommend it. When I got my '95 Samick-made Sheraton II in the summer of '08, the pots and switch were already noisy, so I had to do it in order to get a usable guitar. In contrast, the Riviera, lacking the center block, and the Dot, with its wider f-holes, offers greater accessibility. Gibson recognized the problem and eventually routed out a large space in the center block under the bridge pickup to improve things -- but none of the Epis I have seen have had that refinement. Just be glad it's not like my now-sold '63 Country Gent: fake f-holes, no cavities for the pickups (they sat atop the wood) and a small oval hole in the middle of the back! I replaced frozen pots in mine, and that was a real test of my character. Good luck, and enjoy. Learning with your wife will be fun (I attempted to teach my former wife electric bass, but all I had was a right-handed one, and she was a lefty).
  5. I've seen one other semi-hollow (it was a 335) in that color, and it was stunning in person. Much more attractive than the usual brown sunburst, which I've never liked. Yours has some depth to it.
  6. That's really a pretty finish. Most "cherry sunbursts" look more like "sunstroke" to me, but yours is something special. I probably would have jumped on it too (especially at that price) even though I'm a fan of blonde. Nice instrument!
  7. Ha ha...I bought my covers from stewmac, so my sanity remains intact. Did I say, intact? That's what I **thought** I said. No problems here.
  8. I think everyone's been gobsmacked by the increase in value in '58-60 Les Paul Standards. Remember two things: one, Gibson made only around 1700 of them, then stopped. Two, they became valuable not because COLLECTORS were buying them, but because well known MUSICIANS were. Collectibility seems to be contagious: look at Cabbage Patch dolls, Dutch tulips, '57 Chevrolets. Every one these fads has a common outcome: a lot of people spent a lot of money which could not be recouped once the market collapsed. And, I'll bet, every one of the collectors was sure that the market would forever go up. You could add dotcoms and credit default swaps to the list -- the capacity for greed and self-deception is inherent in us. So the LP Standards increased in value. Many horse traders took note, and started promoting "old" guitars as "vintage." Currently it's the conventional wisdom that something old is something valuable, but that is not the case*. A guitar has an intrinsic value, which may be defined as what it is worth to the owner, or conversely what it would be cost to replace. There will never be more than roughly 1700 Les Paul Standards from the late fifties-early sixties. No doubt, many have been altered, butchered, mutilated, destroyed or otherwise taken out of circulation permanently. If you are a dealer, what do you do? All the bursts are spoken for, essentially, and you know it's highly unlikely you'll ever find another; so you do the sensible thing (sensible, that is, for a dealer) and start flogging the crap. This explains why LP Jrs are going up in value: they (and various other inexpensive models) are what's left. This promotion then becomes the accepted norm, and pretty soon junk that no one in his right mind would have bought when they were new is being bid to high figures on eBay. I saw a Norlin Les Paul Deluxe not too long ago listed for $9K. I bought my '70 for $750. There are two responses to those two facts: one is to say, damn! I'm gonna put my up on eBay and get rich! The other, which is my own, is to say, "that's nuts." Or, more accurately, wishful thinking. Someone once said that vintage guitars are priced according to the "biggest fool" theory: what would the biggest fool pay for this thing? Sometimes that strategy works, but sooner or later one finds that oneself has been the biggest fool. Owners of modern Les Pauls, certain that lightning is going to strike in precisely the same place once again, think they are making investments. Does anyone know how many LPs have been churned out in the last 24 years, when Henry J took over? I venture to say, more than 1700. Another forum that I frequent had people list their Les Pauls, with a running total. The last I looked, it was going on 4000 -- and those are only the ones in the hands of that relatively small group. Would a '57 Chevrolet Bel Air be more valuable if GM started manufacturing reproductions (OK, I know that can't happen)? And what about the value of the repros -- how many old guys (the only ones who really care about the '57s, these days) would buy one? The guys in the right age bracket who want one either have the real thing, or they are dead. Before long, Les Pauls will once again be old fashioned, which is one of the reasons they were dropped by Gibson in 1960. So buy a guitar that you love to play, and forget about "investment." You may never cash out; but if you buy to play, you'll get satisfaction every time you pick it up. _______ * Here's a short anecdote: a guy I knew years ago grew up in the thirties, and had become one of the serious post-WWII hot rodders. When I knew him, he was running a '29-A roadster on '32 rails with a small block Chevy at the drag races. One day, someone came into the garage with a meticulously restored 1925 Model T. Naturally, everyone made a big fuss over it. My friend snorted and said, "Damn things were no good when they were new."
  9. gblue. thanks for the correction. Once a mistake gets onto the internet, it becomes a new "factoid." That's a beauty, also. I've been playing my 335 for the last couple of days (gig coming up Saturday) and once again I realize the semi-acoustic shape is the one I love. I got out my SG to try on one song, and -- although it's lighter, and has incredible upper-fret access -- the 335 is the one I love.
  10. I have to say, this is an interesting thread (apart from the sad story of the stolen 347). Back in 1982, I was shopping for a cool electric thin-archtop and had narrowed the choices down to a Gretsch Chet Atkins Country Gent and the Gibson ES-347. In the event, I found a CACG from 1963 for $425 with the original two-tone case, but ever afterward I regretted not buying a 347. A quarter of a century later, I have sold the Gretsch for $3100 and acquired a blonde 335 Dot, but, dammit, I'd still love to have a 347. A few loose ends: the extra switch is a phase switch, and apparently 347s were available on special order into the early '90s. To my mine, it's one of the great unsung thinbodies, especially since it was the ONLY one available with a stop tailpiece for many years. Thanks to all for posting the photos, and condolences to all for the horror stories. God bless 347s.
  11. I've got a 2000 335 with the pink shroud, and several other Canadian cases over the years (my '30s Regal is in a tweed one, my Epi biscuit had another - black - one, and there have been a couple of others). No reason not to have one. I see that Gator makes a brown w/interior shroud case for the SG and LP, and sells them for around $50US less than the ugly black/black Gibson models. Which brings up a point: who decides the crazy colors? I had a salmon pink (aka fiesta red) Fender Precision with a red plush tweed case -- you had to keep the case closed with the bass in there, or you'd go blind. Or my LP Deluxe gold top, with the pink plush interior. Or my Epi Sheraton in natural with a grey case interior. I could go on and on....
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