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Everything posted by Jayyj

  1. The first colours were blonde and sunburst for the 335/345/330 and cherry for the 355, with cherry rolled out to all models in 1959 and blonde quietly retired (except for custom orders) by the end of 1960. When I think of 335s cherry is the colour I see them in. The other common colours for vintage 335s were cherry sunburst from '65 onwards, sparkling burgundy in the late 60s and walnut and wine red in the 70s. The odd black one also shows up from time to time. Pelham blue was a popular custom colour in the 60s although it's more common on SGs and Melody Makers than it is on semis. Most (thinking about it, all the ones I can remember seeing) of the Pelham 335s I've seen have been Trini Lopez models with the Fenderish headstock and diamond f holes. Pelham does seem popular on the reissues though.
  2. I'm based in Manchester and work in the guitar trade so I can give you a few contacts. Glen, who works out of the shop I work for in Manchester - Forsyths on Deansgate - is a great tech. Since I have a business link with Glen, in the interests of objectivity I can also recommend a couple of others I have first hand experience of. Steve Robinson who has the www.manchesterguitartech.co.uk website: he's based in Sale and is a fantastic repairer and a lovely guy to deal with. He's always been my go to guy for lacquer touch ups and he usually had something interesting on his bench when I call in. Matt Ryan is out Rochdale way and has done a fair bit of work for me over the years, he's great. He used to be the house repairer for Sounds Great. I've always heard good things about the guy who has a shop in the PMT store in Salford although I've never used him myself. Hope that helps!
  3. I already have the three Gibsons I need: a '26 L-1, a '29 TG-1 and a '39 L-00. There are a couple others I'd quite like to own but those three are the ones I'd hate to be without.
  4. I'm sure I remember an L-2 with the sparkle binding? I nearly bought one about 15 years ago but ended up going vintage.
  5. Gibson's standard knob from the start of the 60s was the reflector or top hat type, which was a short knob with a wide silver (or gold if the hardware was gold) insert. In 1966 Gibson began to phase out the reflector in favour of the witch hat type, which are tall and thin and look like the knobs you see on blackface Fender amps. However, being Gibson they continued to use reflectors until they'd worked through the bulk of their old stock, so they're pretty standard on a '66 and common on a '67. By then end of '67 the reflectors were mostly gone.
  6. There are two versions of the ES330: the original where the neck joins at the 16th fret and the late version (also reissued as the 330L) where the neck joins at the 19th fret. Most 330s and Casinos are one or the other, the only exception being some versions of the Japanese and Korean Casinos where the neck joins at the 17th. Gibson have always specified the neck joint as being, logically enough, where the wood of the neck ends and the body starts, but that doesn't stop a lot of people measuring from the end of the heel (which would be the 15th fret) or the beginning of the cutaway. But if your guitar is a 1967 it will have the 16 fret neck join.
  7. I'm a dealer for Atkin so I've played a few of the relic models. I like Alister's guitars anyway but I think the relic ones I've played are the best he's made. The relic effect is tastefully done on the more recent ones, with the gouges and scratches dialed back to a minimum and mainly just checking in the lacquer to give the impression of aging, and by not trying too hard I think they look a lot more convincing than the typical electric relics. A lot of work went into getting a lacquer that would easily check and it's a thin coat compared to the standard gloss models. Take it with a pinch of salt if you like as I do have a vested interest in selling these things but to my eyes they look great and, more importantly, sound exceptional. As an owner of an original L-1 the Atkin version is a good impression of one but it has a Martin style X brace under the bonnet so it doesn't do the bright, snappy sound of an H or A braced L-1. It's not that close to an L00 either - really it has its own thing going on.
  8. Jayyj

    Gibson Lucille

    To be honest I'm not seeing any red flags except for that control cavity. I think your worst case scenario is someone has done some wiring work and somehow damaged the edge of the cavity, then tried to tidy it up in the loosest sense of the word. I've seen fake Lucilles but they've been pretty obvious ones - I don't think you need to worry from that perspective.
  9. Jayyj

    Gibson Lucille

    Here's a link to a photo of a Lucille cavity. The wiring is modified but you can see the same brown and green wires and the same part code on the varitone which is good news - but look how much cleaner the edging is. http://www.manchesterguitartech.co.uk/2012/02/17/gibson-lucille-varitone-true-bypass-modification/
  10. Jayyj

    Gibson Lucille

    Something is definitely not right in terms of the routing, which looks like someone has taken a rasp to it - the factory rout would have clean, straight edges. The wiring and varitone look right as far as I can remember but the pots look like minis which I wouldn't expect in a Gibson. Can you post a few more pictures showing the whole guitar?
  11. The L1 variant that Robert Johnson was photographed with has to be high on the iconic list.
  12. Over the last decade I've gradually moved from Gibson and Martin across to mainly playing a couple of Fylde guitars, which are made in small quantities in the UK. I used to be a dealer for them and I must have played over a hundred in the years I was selling them - the consistency from one to the next was in another league to that of the large US brands and that factor made it much easier to order one to be made for me. We talked about what models of his I liked and what wood combinations would be options, and I took him a 1930s L00 that he copied the neck profile from. It came out pretty much perfect and certainly not a guitar I would ever want to part with. I have two,the other being an older one that I don't worry about taking out and about so much, although my main gig guitar is still a Gibson. Resale on boutique guitars depends on supply and demand - if a maker has a lengthy waiting list as with Fylde then resale can be extremely strong, where as if they're pushing to increase their presence in the market and sending a lot out to dealers they're likely to fare less well on the second hand market. Boutique guitars are a niche market and they're generally something that sell far better with a dealer who carries a range of stock to compare and contrast and has an established customer base than they do on the general market. I also think boutique brands suffer more than mainstream brands when the economy is struggling - there's a definite pull back towards established brands when money is tight and people are worrying about what resale potential their purchase might have.
  13. The F holes on later 355s are bound in plastic rather than painted - you'll see white paint on early natural finish 335s but the look is different. I can't remember the exact year they started doing it but it's definitely late 60s. The F holes on 3*5s get larger in 1969 anyway and I wouldn't be surprised if the binding appeared then. If the one you're looking at has a 1 9/16th nut and no binding in the F holes you're probably looking at late 1965 to 1968. The serial number will help pin down the date, also earlier guitars will have reflector knobs and later ones witch hat and the pots will have date codes on them that will usually show them to have been made within a year or so of the date of the guitar.
  14. Jayyj

    1959 ES-175

    It might be a tough one to track down. You do occasionally see husks (neck and body without any hardware) on Ebay as PAF loaded ES175s are prime targets for people looking for donor guitars for Burst conversions and replicas, so it's possible you could pick up a neck that way but likely to be an expensive option and I don't remember ever seeing a neck on its own. What issues are there with the current neck? The other avenue might be a rebuild of the original neck by a good repairer. Depending on the state of the original there are fairly advanced techniques for repairing nasty or previously bungled breaks - have a look in the 'items for luthiers' section of Frank Ford's www.frets.com website for some examples of amazing restoration work. If the neck is really far gone a replacement neck by a luthier would also be an option, potentially keeping the original fingerboard, headstock veneer and trussrod.
  15. Yeah, I don't know when the start and end points are for the kerfed bracing but I would guess it was a 70s thing. One of the 175s I remember with a collapsed top also had the pantograph logo which was '68-'70 so it could have been a little earlier - I don't know for sure.
  16. I've seen a couple of 175s from the 70s with collapsing tops, and there's a Frank Ford article on why here - http://frets.com/FretsPages/Luthier/Technique/Guitar/Structural/ES175Top/es175top.html Beyond that if the neck profile suits you and the price is sensible they can be good guitars. Personally I can see why people have issues with the Norlin stuff but a lot of the things that I don't like about them are to do with aesthetics and a lack of interest from Gibson in the details of the earlier guitars - they feel a lot less luxurious to me than a 60s example but they are typically still very good professional level instruments and a Norlin era ES355 has been my main guitar for over 20 years now. I'd try to get your hands on a few from different eras first just to get a feel for how the different eras compare.
  17. I can understand it: the 355 sells well in the mono configuration and lots of people prefer rosewood to ebony, so it figures there might be a small market for people who want a flashier 335 without the ebony board. In fact, since 355s currently have Richlite boards, given how much unhappiness there is over Richlite on posher guitars there's probably a few customers who would pick this mono 345 over a Richlite 355 for that reason as well. This is the first run of 345s I can remember seeing without the varitone dial - perhaps a special run ordered by Sweetwater?
  18. I'm a big 335 and 330 fan but I do have a Tele - they're great guitars and they compliment a 335 very well. The good news is you don't need to spend anything like 335 money to get a great Tele. Mine is a Japanese Paisley with a few changed parts and cost me about a fifth of the current UK street price of a new 335. The Baja Tele is a Mexican made model that is insanely good for the money. Even the Squier Classic Vibe models aren't at all bad if you need to scratch an itch.
  19. Trapeze tailpieces were used on most 335 models from 1965 to 1980 (the ES355 stuck to a vibrato and there were a few late 70s oddballs with stop bars such as the Pro and ES347). It was essentially a cost saving device, since there are less stages in fitting a trapeze and Gibson in 1965 were trying to cope with a huge upsurge in sales. Many feel the trapeze alters the feel and tone of the guitar but there are still a lot of great trapeze equipped 335s out there.
  20. Headstock repairs for me depend very much in the nature of the repair. People quote the 50% off thing add ad nauseum but there's a world of difference between a clean break along the grain with plenty of surface area to glue and a mess of dowels or filler covered in opaque overspray. To me there are examples of guitars with headstock breaks that in no way deserve a 50% hit in value and examples that are worth little more than the value of the pickups and hardware. I respect Larry's viewpoint that there are plenty of unbroken guitars out there but guitars with issues such as minor headstock breaks, changed parts etc can be a good way into a vintage instrument for people who might otherwise not be able to afford that level of guitar, particularly where the high value golden era models are concerned. The chief issue for me with headstock breaks is the resale issue - there are so many people who won't touch a guitar with a headstock break, and so many who expect a rock bottom price on them, they're a risk if you think you might need to resell the guitar further down the line.
  21. My first thought is the Bigsby doesn't look like a 60s one - I would expect a '68 to be all gold without the black paint around the logo. I've never seen three original pickups in a 3*5 but I've seen them with added third pickups, and I'd expect either Patent Nos or possibly T Tops in a '68. I'm sure Gibson would have put together a guitar of this spec if asked for a special order, so I'm not saying I definitely don't think it could be original, just that there are a few things that raise questions that would be worth checking out. There are a couple of things you could do to try to figure out what is going on with it. If it were mine the first thing I'd do is carefully remove the pickups and closely examine the routs. Does the middle one look identical to the other two? For a start I'd expect to see lacquer around the edges of outer two and not (or obviously added lacquer) on the middle one if the third pickup was a later addition. Whilst the pickups were out I would check the underside of the pickups to confirm they had PAF stickers, and if so I'd get someone to authenticate them. The other thing to check is under the Bigsby - are there any extra holes suggesting a trapeze might have been on there at some point? My guess would be it started with a trap, then a stop bar was added, then the Bigsby and Custom Made plate, but if I'm wrong it should be obvious with the Bigsby off. The other thing I'd do with this guitar is email Charlie who runs the www.es-335.org blog and have him take a look. There's not much he doesn't know about 335s and if it is original I'm sure he'd be interested to see it.
  22. I've always been curious about actual numbers of mono 355s from the '66 - '69 period: although I know conventional wisdom is that mono 355s were a rarity a suspiciously large number of them seem to come up for sale for a supposedly rare version. I follow 355s on Gbase, Reverb etc and I'd say maybe a quarter to third from that era are mono. The 70s are a different matter: the only mono ones I've ever seen were from 1979 and I own one - it's also the only non-varitone 355 I've seen in stereo. That's one cool thing about the very late 355s, they have a different stereo circuit similar to the type you find in keyboards where the first socket is mono unless anything is plugged into the second. Admittedly I've used it in stereo about twice in 20 years, but it's a cool feature.
  23. Thank you! I've had it for twenty years, back when 70s Gibsons were what you bought if you couldn't afford a second hand contemporary one. I can see all its faults compared to a 60s example and one of these days I'll add an earlier one to the collection but I love this guitar warts and all. The good news if your heart is set on old wood is you can often find pretty good deals on '66 - '69 ES355s, sometimes not far beyond what you would pay for a new one particularly if you don't mind the odd changed part. You'll need to look into neck profiles and whether you can cope with the narrow nut - I don't mind it myself but I have pretty slim fingers.
  24. The 355 was always available in stereo and mono versions with the early monos the most valuable vintage 355s. 355s vary a lot depending on era. The neck profile is a big one. The very first guitars had a big '59 profile but went to a significantly shallower profile earlier than the 335 so there are very few big neck 355s. The profile did get a little thicker around '64 but then the nut size dropped from 1 11/16s to 1 9/16ths in 1965, remaining at that width until the late 70s although the profile changed a few times through the 70s. The neck material also changes. Classic 355s have one piece Mahogany necks. At the end of the 60s there was a brief period of three piece Mahogany, then most 70s 355s have three piece Maple. To my ears the Maple necked guitars sound brasher and a little more Les Paul like than the classic 355. The pickups follow the same lineage as other Gibsons but models with gold plating generally lagged behind nickel/chrome so you'll find gold PAFs long after the nickel version changed to patent numbers. A 50s or early 60s 355 will have PAFs, a early to late 60s will have Patent Nos, late 60s to late 70s will be T Tops.I've heard people claim to have Tim Shaws in their 345s and 355s from the very end of the run around 1980/81 but never seen one myself with Shaws. Early 355s generally had Bigsby vibratos, switching to a side pull vibrato around '62 then to the lyre style by '64. Bigsbys were available as a special order throughout the 60s so later guitars with Bigsbys crop up quite a bit and there are a few early 355s with stop bars. There are lots of small changes as well: shape (mainly the ears and waist), finish, size and placement of f holes, some monkeying with the centre block in the early 70s. Generally the early 355s ('59 to '65) are some of the best guitars ever made - in fact I played a '60 this year that could well have been the best electric of any model I've played. Versions from the late 60s can be great if you don't mind the narrow nut. The 70s ones are quirky but generally they seem more consistent in quality than the high volume models and they have their own sound. I don't have much experience of the recent ones but they seem to be close to classic spec send I'll wager they're a lot closer in sound to an early 60s guitar than any 70s 355 was - richlite or not. Here's mine, a '79 with some oddball features.
  25. To be honest, I took it on face value then read your post and did a bit of a face palm, I should have picked up on that sort of stuff. As to the OP, who knows, perhaps he was here to provoke a reaction from Gibson and someone got in contact.
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