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About Hannu

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  • Birthday 09/11/1949

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    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  1. My Gibson Super 400 CES came with two bridges when I got it. The Tune-o-matic is sitting on a ebony base, then there is an ebony bridge in the case. I do not know if the guitar was shipped that way to the original owner, or, if he had the ebony one made for it. It is nice to have both, I can easily change the bridge and experiment with different sounds. With flatwound strings the Tune-o-Matic gives a lot more sustain, and is preferrable if your style involves legato, long sustained notes. The ebony bridge is at its best with roundwound strings and played with little stronger right hand - with this setup the guitar is as loud acousticly as a good flat top. Does anybody if Gibson ever shipped S-400 CES or L5 with two bridges? Hannu
  2. This works for me on a similar type guitar (Super 400 CES) for that type of playing: - Addario Chromes 12-52 with the high E and B string from a 13-56 set - or Pyramid Flats 13-52 - then, turn the neck pickup tone down to 3-5 I find that with round wounds or even half rounds, the guitar is too loud and "accoustic" sounding, whereas the flats will give a smoother jazzier tone, yet no noise from hand action. Hannu
  3. The S400 size is a mixed blessing. There is also an advantage: the size and depth of the guitar makes it very stable, so your left hand (playing right handed) can be very relaxed, little further out from your body - helping your technique. But, if the right hand struggles to find the strings, then it is hard to play soft. I am 5'11" and I am using all of my frame to get around the S400. There are also mental factors. Player laziness dictates, that if you want to pick one guitar out of several to play just a few casual licks, it won't be the S400. It seems like a big deal to lift the S400 and sit down with it, as if you are preparing for a Grand Concert of some kind. This is a good thing... Great photos, Danny. These also reveal that the thin Super 400 neck is a different design. It appears to be a three piece maple/walnut/maple where most S400's are 5 piece, maple/walnut/maple/walnut/maple. Hannu
  4. Very interesting guitar! Makes you wonder what the idea is with this design? The regular S400 body is large in order to produce a loud acoustic sound, and the depth of the 18" width body is also considerable, about 31/2" to 4". As Danny pointed out, it is not likely much easier for a player who would find the regular S400 less comfortable to get your right arm around. Has anybody heard this guitar being played, acoustic or electric? Hannu
  5. It pretty well got concluded that mine is 1973, and the one remaining way to get a little more confirmed is to take the electronics out and see the dates on the pots. I have not bothered to do that, but if there comes a reason to service the pickups or pots then we'll see. I am glad to hear your CES is working out well. Effortless is a good expression, these guitars are easier to play than one would expect. Yes, the 12's D'Addarios works well, also Pyramids (flat or round) are worth trying. .12's or 13's seem right for this guitar, .11's don't quite get the big body fully vibrating. There is something very special about the Super 400, the whole playing experience is different from anything else. Again, enjoy! Hannu
  6. Kleinman, I didn't notice your thread until now ... You did well! Congratulations on your beautiful guitar! You may remember the discussion about my Super 400 CES some time ago, the one with two labels and confusion about the year. Mine looks so exactly like yours that I had to go to my guitar room to make sure it is still there. The flamed pattern on the neck and back, the color of the burst is exactly the same. How does your S400CES play? Could you describe the sound? What kind of strings do you use? Hannu
  7. Kleinman, thank your for interest! There is no volute, and, no hole in the tailpiece. Tailpiece was on it 1988 when I bought it, but the pickguard was made for it and added to it 2013. At some point I will have the pots numbers read, which may give some clues to the year of origin. Yes, the guitar sounds and plays great. It keeps its truss rod settings and tune, the action is low without rattles. The sound is big, bright and loud with roundwounds, sweet like honey dripping out of a jar with Pyramid flatwounds. Hannu
  8. Thanks, Larry. Just out of interest: how does your L-5 sound with the 14-67 set? Are they flats or rounds? Hannu
  9. I recently put Pyramid 11-48 flat wounds on my Super 400 CES - at first they seemed just perfect, beautiful creamy sound. However, now after playing a little more, I find them a little dull and too quiet, as if the low tension does not resonate the large CES body enough. Both Pyramids and Thomastiks seem to have a configuration where the G,D,A strings are thin compared to the equivalent D'Addario Chromes. I am guessing that the CES needs the little more tension in the middle strings to have its large body vibrated. I have had all kinds of strings in this guitar over the years. Any round wounds give lots of volume and tone, but the guitar begins sound more like an old Martin flat top rather than a jazz guitar. That's why I keep coming back to flat wounds. I am thinking of going for Chromes 0.012 but I am little concerned about the tension. The 0.011 Chromes have 137 lbs of tension, and I know that the CES handles that well. The 0.012's have 155 lbs of tension. Pyramid also has a 0.013 set that has the same 155 lbs of tension. I do not have any problems with the neck, it is always perfect and the action is low and clear. Should I be worried about the extra 18 lbs of tension, or is it irrelevant with these guitars which are meant to played with medium to heavy strings? Hannu
  10. Jabberwocky; I checked the nuts and bridges, mine comes with two bridges, wooden and tune-o-matic. The spacing is different enough that the E-string would line up differently. Also, I looked at pics of several 70's models, they seem to have the same normal width neck humbucker. So that is not an issue any more. I spoke again with Joe Agnello, who installed the new pickguard and cleaned the guitar. He said there is no sign at all that the guitar would have been refinished. But if that was the case, it would have happened in its early years, most likely by Gibson. My experience of the Norlin era was not to make too many conclusions out of generalizations. Out of the 7 Gibson guitars that I have owned, the best three of them were Norlin Gibsons. I did not find my two 60's Gibsons all that special at all. For somebody else, would have been different story. Now it is time to stop the paranoid investigation and use the guitar for what it does best. However, at some point, if the pots become more crackly, we have somebody lined up to take it apart, check the pot codes and pickups. But for now, who cares. I am considering of posting a picture of myself on the forum. Maybe somebody will point out that I am 10 years younger than my label says. :-) Thanks again for all your help, Hannu
  11. I have more information about the pots. They appear just about identical to Gibson part SKU:PPAT059 "Historic Potentiometer" which have no code on the bottom, but on the side of the cylinder. I cannot see the code, but at least this indicates that the pots are Gibson (CTS). These pots are for sale today: store.gibson.com/historic-potentiometer Hannu
  12. Jim; The link is above your post by Jabberwocky. What maybe coming out of this is that regardless of what generation of an electric Super 400 we are talking about, the neck pickup should be one of the "narrow pole" ones. If the pickups should be changed, then it will next to impossible to find the correct neck pickup, since Gibson does not sell parts for Super 400's, new or old. The spec for the 2013 Super 400 just say "Classic 57" which are for sale, but there is no "narrow" option of it. However, from the playing functionality point of view, it makes no difference. The wider (standard) humbucker works perfectly balanced, including the bottom E string, which is most affected. Obviously this guitar cannot be put back to a "historically correct" state, but it should be at least "functionally correct" where all the parts are Gibson and counted for. This way I can document it myself so that there is no misunderstanding in the future of what it is. Now, if anybody there has a 70's or younger Super 400 CES or any of the L5's, information about the neck pickup would be appreciated. Hannu
  13. I am already finding another concern. I have always wondered why the neck pickup screws do not line up with the strings. The low E string screw is not under the string at all. Now I find that the Gibson archtop neck pickups are not the regular PAF's but a narrower version of it. Jazz Guitar PAF Versions. The hollowbody jazz guitars often used a slightly different PAF in the neck position which had different (narrower) string spacing, where the bridge position jazz PAF was identical to the neck & bridge PAF in say a Les Paul Standard. The models that used this narrow spacing neck PAF was the Byrdland, ES-350T, L-5CE, S-400CE and some Barney Kessel models. The distance on a narrow PAF from center to center of the two "E" adjustable poles is 1 13/16", compared to 1 15/16" on the "normal" spaced PAF pickup. Also since most of these models had gold plated parts, the narrow spaced PAFs would be gold plated (except on some Barney Kessels). If the pickup cover is removed from a narrow spaced PAF pickup, the "normal" pole position tooling marks can be seen on the narrow spaced PAF pickup. My neck PAF is not one of the narrow ones. This combined with the failed attempt to find any codes on the pots makes me wonder if any of the electronic parts are original, or even Gibsons. It will take some time now to get this confirmed, I will take the guitar to the shop and have the harness pulled out. Again, thanks to Jim whose hawk eyes got us to look into this guitar little more in detail. I am just lucky that I had no intention of selling or trading this guitar getting myself potentially into big trouble. Hannu
  14. I managed to get a better look inside, cleaned the bottoms of the pots, and also looked at hundreds of pics of CTS pots used in Gibsons and Fenders. I can see the bridge volume pot bottom quite well, there is absolutely no codes, stamps, labels on it. It does not look like a CTS pot. The others same thing, nothing on the bottom. I removed the knobs, and the shafts look like plain steel rather than bronze or brass which I see in many of the CTS pots. Now, the next step is to the technician to pull out all electronics, and see what we can conclude then. This of course casts a shadow of doubt on the pickups. Do Gibson pickups of that era have serials or any code that we should be looking for? Hannu
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