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1972 Gibson ES 320 Opinions Wanted


RevDavidLee
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A local store has one for sale priced at $1695 + 6% sales tax which makes it just a few dollars under $1800. It's supposedly in very good condition & comes with the original case. I'm going over to look at it and play it in about an hour but I wanted to post here first to see if any of you own one or have owned one or have at least played through one.

 

I have read some reviews that state the pickups are sort of weak sounding, and I believe I read that the pups are from the original Melody Maker guitars? I am at the very least going to take some photos & I will post them up here when I get back - in the meantime I found this photo via google that has the same (natural) finish that the one for sale locally has for your reference.

 

111gibsones320.0.jpg

 

I'm not really looking to buy this one because of the price point and because I'm not really jonesing for another guitar right now. The fact that it's here in town and gives me a rare opportunity to study one close up and to play it is the main reason I'm heading over there in a bit. Was just curious what if any opinions are out there regarding this Gibson model. Thanks for reading & any input you all may have. B)

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I cannot offer any insight,....

 

Well I CAN.

 

I had two of these (each at different times) back in the late 70's. They were GREAT guitars. If I had a chance to buy another one at the right price, I would jump at it in a New York Minute. The 320 was the first ES series guitar I ever had.

 

The right price you ask..... is about $1000. I've never seen them change hands anywhere near the $1800 you quote. They are very rare, as few were made, and as the "student" model bottom-of-the-line ES, there is very little, if any, published documentation on them, none of which makes them very valuable or collectible.

 

As for the MM pickups, they are a large part of what makes this model so f'ng cool. You wouldn't believe the growl you can get out of those p/u's by rolling off the tone knobs.

 

I was doing a lot of studio work in the late 70's/early 80's, and I used a cherry sunburst 320 extensively on a bunch of R&R and Fusion recording dates.

 

Here's a photo of me and the cherry sunburst circa 1980:

 

2886095225_5a872cc506_o.jpg

 

Shortly after this photo was taken, I picked up a mid-70's 335 from a bandmate, and I gave the 320 to a buddy in Chicago.

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Well I CAN.

 

I had two of these (each at different times) back in the late 70's. They were GREAT guitars. If I had a chance to buy another one at the right price, I would jump at it in a New York Minute. The 320 was the first ES series guitar I ever had.

 

The right price you ask..... is about $1000. I've never seen them change hands anywhere near the $1800 you quote. They are very rare, as few were made, and as the "student" model bottom-of-the-line ES, there is very little, if any, published documentation on them, none of which makes them very valuable or collectible.

 

As for the MM pickups, they are a large part of what makes this model so f'ng cool. You wouldn't believe the growl you can get out of those p/u's by rolling off the tone knobs.

 

I was doing a lot of studio work in the late 70's/early 80's, and I used a cherry sunburst 320 extensively on a bunch of R&R and Fusion recording dates.

 

Here's a photo of me and the cherry sunburst circa 1980:

 

2886095225_5a872cc506_o.jpg

 

Shortly after this photo was taken, I picked up a mid-70's 335 from a bandmate, and I gave the 320 to a buddy in Chicago.

 

Thanks for the reply & the info Larry - I appreciate it! (cool photo Bro!) [thumbup]

 

Well before I get into the review let me post some photos and "no" I did not buy it. I did tell the owner that Vintage Guitar rates the price point between $950 - $1150 and his response was "well they don't make them anymore" and I'm like well there's a lot of things they don't make anymore - doesn't mean they're more valuable.. lol

 

Okay - let's look at some pictures I took over there:

 

G1_zpsd0kvnw7x.jpg

 

G2_zps3csxxmgf.jpg

 

G3_zpspau7rjpr.jpg

 

G4_zpsrwqmqmce.jpg

 

G5_zpsx1pjwyze.jpg

 

G6_zps9vteogbs.jpg

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First off I did enjoy playing the guitar a lot. With all the Gibsons I have at home this experience was like - and now for something completely different and it was. As you mentioned Larry - the "student" level model you referred to was spot on. I could feel the lower quality level in a variety of ways although the neck action was very playable - it felt.. well... like a cheaper brand of guitar and not what one would expect from a Gibson. The neck sure was narrow - at least on this model.

 

The electronics were also "okay" but needed some electrical component spray at the very least. The slider switches that turn the individual pickups on or off were very hard to engage - they worked, but reluctantly. If they could not be made to function easier with some spray - not sure how easy it would be to obtain replacements. Other than some normal pitting of the chrome - the rest of the guitar was in excellent shape especially for its age.

 

The tone was astounding. Bearing in mind these pups have naturally aged over 43 years. Reviews that I read that said the pups were weak were understandable if comparing them to some newer hotter single coils, but with the volume up on a Marshall stack in the store I had no problem ripping some very sweet hot licks. I could plays blues riffs all day long on this guitar. Very soulful with a real nice grit. [thumbup]

 

I told the owner if he'd cut the price in half I'd come back & purchase it however he was quick to point out there were a few other guys trying to come up with the money to buy it. And that's okay with me. It was a fun couple of hours to spend on a Saturday afternoon. I enjoyed it a lot & got to visit with some old friends - and it didn't cost me a dime. B)

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Thanks for that, Rev and Larry [thumbup].

 

Lokks to be a pretty-cool and original guitar. It is always nice to find any 'oldies' that are not 'boogered up'. Glad to hear that you gave the music store dude a reality check.

 

Someone will probably come along with a Tax Refund check and buy it for $1500....who knows?

 

 

 

 

 

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  • 2 years later...

I happened upon this post. I have this same guitar in great condition. It belonged to my late brother in law. It was his first electric guitar. I love the sound. I have seen them listed for about same price you quoted. They are rare in that I don't think they made that many. I did see the guy from Lawman guitars say that only five in the natural color were made. Whether or not that is true I don't know. Mine appraised out at $ 2650.00 with the case. Crazy!

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Excellent post....a guitar I had never heard of.....[thumbup]

 

Love these slimline hollows to bits....

 

Presumably offered as an alternative to the ES 330 and Epi Casino

 

The rest, as they say, is history.....:blink:

 

V

 

:-({|=

 

Just learned it's a semi.....so presumably has a centre block....puts it into ES 335 etc territory.....dry.gif

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