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Rob Mackillop

Memphis, Nashville - what's the difference?

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I just got a Memphis-made ES-345, which I've fallen in love with, and I'm trying to find out about the Memphis workshop. I also noticed Gibson have a Nashville factory. I'm wondering if each place does specific things, what the perceived relative merits are, background histories, etc. Any info gratefully received.

 

Rob

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After reading many threads on this subject in this and other forums, the only conclusion I can make is that you are likely to get a great guitar from either factory. My Memphis ES-345 is as good as - actually better than - any other Gibson I've ever had, including a couple made in Kalamazoo in the late 60s. The sound and feel are unmatched.

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there seems to be alot of "Where did my es 3-- come from?"

My 2012 COA says Nashville CS- the label inside the guitar says Memphis, the case says Custom Shop-

go figure, it doesn't really matter- they are both made in the great state of TENNESSEE! (starts humming "Rocky Top")

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I'd echo spitball.

 

My first ES345 was a 1964 with a trapeze tail made in Kalamazoo of course. Brilliant guitar and I very much regret its sale long ago.

 

But my new Memphis 1959 reissue is every bit as good as that '64 was if not better!

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So, there is not much qualitative difference between the plants - good. Any back stories about the factories? I feel there should be an online history of Gibson - maybe there is?

 

Well there's this Rob but doesn't give you a lot:

 

http://www2.gibson.com/Support/About-Us.aspx

 

And this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gibson_Guitar_Corporation

 

And this:

http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/columns/the_history_of/the_history_of_gibson.html

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.

AFAIK:

 

Nashville USA - solid bodies, including chambered

 

Nashville Custom - custom solid bodies, historic reissue and carved top archtops.

 

Memphis "Custom" - all laminate semihollows

 

.

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Thanks, Pin, for the links. I'd picked up a lot of the info there over the years, but some of it was new to me. I think someone should write a definitive history of the Gibson corporation. As a book, it would sell quite a number.

 

BigKahune, thanks for the succinct summation. I had wondered if my 2014 version of the 1964 ES-345 constituted a "historic reissue", which might indicate Nashville. But it seems to wholly Memphis.

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I owned an original 1959 ES345 with PAF's. It was mint when I got it & mint when I sold it in the 90's.

 

I've played many many later model ES Guitars, 135's, 175's, 335's. I currently bought a new ES335 Plain Top Gloss. Memphis built & is beautiful. I have never played another ES that sounds as good as my old '59. Including the new one I just bought. It just doesn't have that sound. I have returned one & they sent me another which is just like the first one.

 

I am probably going to return it. The new Pup's just don't sound as good to me as the original PAF's on my old '59. I should never have sold that Guitar.

 

I'm not sure I want to spend more than $3000.00 for a Guitar. There are many really fine alternatives for that kind of Dough. I'll keep searching I guess.

 

I have a dynamite LP Std Plus & 2 Casino's that I love. Wish I could say the same for this new ES335.

 

Lars

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If you get a chance Lars try out a Memphis ES345 - either a 1959 reissue like mine or a 1964 like Rob's. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

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If you get a chance Lars try out a Memphis ES345 - either a 1959 reissue like mine or a 1964 like Rob's. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

 

What pickups do they have? Are they under $3000.00?

 

Thanks,

 

Lars

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Sadly, around 4,000 USD: My link

 

The pickups are the Memphis recreation of the original PAFs, not too hot or cold. I really love them. Nicest pickups I've ever had. They are called MHS pickups, Memphis Historic Series.

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Sadly, around 4,000 USD: My link

 

The pickups are the Memphis recreation of the original PAFs, not too hot or cold. I really love them. Nicest pickups I've ever had. They are called MHS pickups, Memphis Historic Series.

 

That is a beauty & the build is how they all should be IMO. Would love to play one. About $1000 more than I want to go though? I don't want to sell any of my other Guitars if I don't have to. But, who knows?

 

Thanks,

 

Lars

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I owned an original 1959 ES345 with PAF's. It was mint when I got it & mint when I sold it in the 90's.

 

I've played many many later model ES Guitars, 135's, 175's, 335's. I currently bought a new ES335 Plain Top Gloss. Memphis built & is beautiful. I have never played another ES that sounds as good as my old '59. Including the new one I just bought. It just doesn't have that sound. I have returned one & they sent me another which is just like the first one.

 

I am probably going to return it. The new Pup's just don't sound as good to me as the original PAF's on my old '59. I should never have sold that Guitar.

 

I'm not sure I want to spend more than $3000.00 for a Guitar. There are many really fine alternatives for that kind of Dough. I'll keep searching I guess.

 

I have a dynamite LP Std Plus & 2 Casino's that I love. Wish I could say the same for this new ES335.

 

Lars

 

Lars,

s I mentioned earlier, if you get the chance, try the Warren Haynes 335, maybe a little out of your price range but I think once you've tried one,you'll want one.

 

Ian

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I asked the same questions about a year ago -- i.e., "what's the difference between Memphis and Nashville built guitars". I was looking to buy a reissue of the '63 ES335 (block neck/50th Anniversary). At the time, there was a BIG difference in price between the two, even though all the details and specs appeared to be identical. I contacted Gibson's customer service -- all they would say is that Nashville guitars are "historically more accurate"... However, they would not provide any information as to exactly what that meant in terms of construction details, finish, etc. I "copied and pasted" all the details from the website into a spreadsheet for "side by side" comparison.... Both appeared to be identical. The color of the cherry finish Nashville version looked SLIGHTLY more red than the Memphis version, but that could have been subjective or variations in lighting for the photos.

 

At that time, many folks felt that Memphis guitars had more quality problems than Nashville guitars. But it was difficult to get a clear sense of that because I don't know of anyone making those statements who had owned both a Nashville and Memphis version of the same guitar around the same time. So I went to several dealers, as far as 50 miles from my home, to try as many ES guitars as I could from both factories. I took my own amp for the tests. I could not see, hear or feel any differences of any consequence (normal stuff like strings -- old vs new -- wood from different trees, etc.) I also spoke at length with the dealer that I've worked with for many years. He is a small one-horse operation and he is a luthier. He told me he has had no more or fewer problems with pieces from either factory. At that time he had several Gibsons, but his only ES models were from Nashville. He told me that if he was in my shoes, he would buy the Memphis version -- simply because it was less expensive. He understood (and explained) the "historically accurate" thing, but commented that it was not worth the extra money if I was mainly interested in PLAYING the guitar (as opposed to collecting it).

 

I bought the Memphis ES335 and have been very, very happy with it.

 

 

 

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Thanks for that, senojnad. I wish we had a "Like" button...

 

Anyway, I'm 100% satisfied with my Memhis ES-345 1964 Reissue. It's superb. Finally I have a better guitar that my students! [rolleyes]

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