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NGD: Memphis Limited ES-345 Mono Varitone w/Maestro Ebony 2019


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Hi all, I've been wanting to share this acquisition for awhile now, but have been, very happily, busy with relentless gigs this summer after a cursed year. As busy season winds down, I find myself with just a bit more time and wanted to show off this dream of a guitar.

It's a limited edition ES-345 from the Memphis shop made in the last year of production. In ebony and with a varitone circuit and Maestro vibrola. I actually ran across it in 2019 when I was at the Chicago Music Exchange and was infatuated, but couldn't make the move at the time. Ebony ES' have always been a weakness of mine, so one with both the Vibrola and the varitone switch really gets me going.

Specs are as follows:
'64 style pointed horns, makes it feel and look just a bit slimmer than a conventional or 50's ES
MHS II in the neck, and MHS I in the bridge. A factory mistake that actually worked out quite well
Varitone switch in mono, something I use very often
Maestro vibrola, which I use often as well
I replaced the corian nut with TUSQ
Roasted maple center block (thermally engineered was the word Gibson used) that has been chambered! Roasted adirondack spruce bracing.

The rest follows typical ES-345 specs.

I've owned some cool ES', a 97 Lucille being one of the absolute coolest, but this one is home for me. The neck has a very comfortable rounded profile that's in between a 60's and 59 style. The factory mistake of putting an MHS I in the bridge worked very well. The balanced coils and short Alnico V magnet in the neck MHS II helps stave off the wooliness and low-end rumble that I tend to find on many ES neck positions, making it more balanced and pronounced, while the scatter wound coils of the MHS I bridge, slightly more overwound than the neck, gives it a wild edge. The Alnico II magnet helps the bridge pickup from being overly bright, though. It's very well balanced between both pickups, something that doesn't always happen on every guitar, and it can carry me through a gig where I cycle through several genres in one set. I utilize the varitone switch quite often, using it as a crude split coil, using position 3 often. Depending on the song, I can find a position and pickup combination that is very convincing. I had the mess around with the vibrola at first to get it to where I needed it. From the factory, it wasn't screwed down all the way and the carved top of an ES kinda puts it a weird angle, so I ended up using bigger screws and shimming the bottom so it kinda angle towards the bridge. This allows the spring to sit on the guitar body and not touch the strings, something that I found is necessary for tuning stability and sustain on all the Maestro-equipped guitars I own. After doing so, it functions beautifully and I can use the vibrola quite a bit without having to retune. The construction and finish of it is just gorgeous. A sight to behold and a joy to play. My main criteria when buying a guitar is that it's reliable, versatile, comfortable, and beautiful... and this guitar hits all the marks. It is a working guitar, so I ended up having the wax pot the pickups since stage volume is unforgiving with unpotted pickup. Didn't seem to change the tone much, maybe slight dulling of the highs, but not enough to be detrimental.

I recorded a cover of a Dua Lipa song with this guitar, utilizing position three of varitone switch on the neck pickup during the softer rhythm parts, kicking to the middle pickup position for the janglier chorus stuff, and finally a full on neck pickup with the switch bypassed at the end when I'm soloing. All in one guitar, I can get it to do what I want without any sort of pedals. Please check it out and leave a like if you would be so kind. I'll also include a folder with pictures too. Thanks for reading.



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