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mojoworking

Steve Howe's Gibson 175 and 345

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I think Jon has asthma and can no longer handle a touring schedule.

 

That is correct...Before one of the shows I was at, back in 05 I think,I saw him and his wife in our hotel lounge several hours before the show and he was not well then I was concerned that he would not be able to go that night but he did. I talked to him afterwards and he was pretty spent. Love Jon to me he is Yes in a lot of respects I hope they play together again sometime. Oh anyway I did not talk to him before that show but did ask him about his health afterwords and he told me it was asthma...Sorry I spaced out why I was making this comment. :(

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The 175 with the three pickups was a custom job by Gibson, which also features 22 frets (the normal 175 only has 20). Steve's original 1964 175 is kept at home unmodified and untouched. He said in a recent interview that the guitar is pretty much worn out and doesn't tour with it anymore. The 345 is original and was in fact used on Close to the Edge as well as other recordings and was given to Steve by Gibson for promotional purposes. The guitar he played in Asia that looks like a 335 with two pickguards is a Gibson Artist.

 

I've been Yes' biggest fan since 1972 but I no longer follow them closely. I'm one of those weenies that say "Yes isn't Yes without Jon Anderson." I did see Jon Davison and the Yes Album/CTTE/GFTO tour and I'll admit he did a great job, but to me it ain't Yes anymore. And BTW I can't stand Geoff Downes. Shoot me.

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The 175 with the three pickups was a custom job by Gibson, which also features 22 frets (the normal 175 only has 20). Steve's original 1964 175 is kept at home unmodified and untouched. He said in a recent interview that the guitar is pretty much worn out and doesn't tour with it anymore. The 345 is original and was in fact used on Close to the Edge as well as other recordings and was given to Steve by Gibson for promotional purposes. The guitar he played in Asia that looks like a 335 with two pickguards is a Gibson Artist.

 

I've been Yes' biggest fan since 1972 but I no longer follow them closely. I'm one of those weenies that say "Yes isn't Yes without Jon Anderson." I did see Jon Davison and the Yes Album/CTTE/GFTO tour and I'll admit he did a great job, but to me it ain't Yes anymore. And BTW I can't stand Geoff Downes. Shoot me.

 

 

Thanks for the update Sandy. Good to know that's not Steve's original 175.

 

Now all we need to know is the story behind that 345 tailpiece. Steve said in the interview I quoted/linked to in the OP that Gibson gave it to him for some advertising he did for strings. But is it a Byrdland tailpiece or what?

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>> Prog Rock Pretensions Noodling.

 

HA! Pretentious noodling is good! My favorite Yes albums happen to be: Relayer, Yessongs, and Topographic Oceans in that order. I guess even the most stringent Yes fans will differ in what made Yes great.

 

Regarding the 345 tailpiece, it indeed does resemble a Byrdland tailpiece, but I don't know the origin of it or any other information regarding it.

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That's what I also thought first when viewing the picture.

 

The 175 in the pic is a recent custom ordered modified SH-175 signature model, not his '64 "Mr.Gibson"

 

In fact he only takes his original '64 175 out in the UK nowadays as he won't risk it on air transport - he has a number 2 175 (also a '64) and a couple of modern signature models as spares.

 

Back in 1978 he had a custom made "Gibson - The Steve Howe" model, a 3pu 175 type made for him by Gibson which he used on the Drama album and during touring in 1980, but it got stolen. Another was made but he didn't like it as much and removed the middle pickup. I believe he sold it a few years back but not certain..

 

The whole 3pu thing was inspired by his love of of the ES5 Switchmaster "all pickups on" sound of his '59 model which is all over the Fragile album, especially on Long Distance Runaround.

 

The Byrdland tailpiece on the 345 appeared in 1978 - he'd sent the guitar back to Gibson for an overhaul after 6 years of constant touring, and they unilaterally decided to replace the original standard trapeze with this one, which is engraved with "ES-345" instead of the usual "Byrdland". He was quite surprised when he got it back!

 

In recent years he's expressed some regret at heavily modding instruments in the early 70s, such as his Telecaster and Broadcaster fitted with Gibson switches in the Gibson upper bout location, and PAFs in the neck position. although he's still into tinkering, he doesn't do it on his amazing vintage instruments any more but on carefully selected reissues etc.

 

The Switchmaster is gorgeous - Though I'm not sure if the one he is using on tour now is his original '59 one acquired just before the Fragile sessions in '71

 

Most of this information is in the hard to find book "The Steve Howe Guitar Collection" which is a great read with lots of personal notes on his instruments and their stories

 

By the way, He's recently been seen out a bit with an absolutely stonking Black Beauty with 3 P90s. Mega!

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