Jump to content
Gibson Brands Forums

ES 345 Stereo Pickups into a mono amp


Recommended Posts

Anybody have this problem with the old ES 345 Stereo?


In the past, I used two identical amplifiers for my ES 345. Now, it's a pain dragging two amps, so I only use one amp. I use a stereo jack to my ES 345. The two positive leads in the jack are soldered together. I then use a mono coax to one amplifier input.


The 1st. problem with this set up is that the volume is a lot lower when I have the switch in the middle position (both pickups) than the position for individual pickups.


The 2nd problem is that when I turn the volume down on one pickup (1/3)...the guitar shuts down.


Of course, I don't want to modify my vintage guitar.


Is there any electronic "active" device I can use with stereo input into a mono output?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When i use just one amp I have a $1.98 radio shack or switchcraft adapter that i plug the stero chord ends into, it combines them to a single quater inch standard plug that i then plug into a normal single input jack on the amp. in the old days i just plugged both chord ends into one amp, i know it worked fine one pup may have had less output i really can't remember way back then, this was a little gibson 6A amp. the only difference in the middle position that i have noted is that when in that position to achieve max volume i actually have to roll the bridge pup back from 10 to about 9 or 9.5, i think it has always been like this. then if you were to select the bridge pup you have to turn it back to 10 to get max vol.




Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 months later...
Is there any electronic "active" device I can use with stereo input into a mono output?


I use a Barge Concepts VFB-X




If you look at the picture, you will see that it has four phono sockets - "In", "Send", "Receive", "Out".


If you are using the VFB-X with a mono output guitar, you:


. connect the guitar into "In"

. use "Send" and "Receive" as the start and end of your FX loop

. connect from the "Out" socket to your amp.


The "Clean Blend" knob controls the mix of dry and FX loop going to the amp - or you can do this using an expression pedal (purchased separately) plugged into the VFB-X.


To use the VFB-X with a 345, you need a Y-cable or a breakout box. You then connect the neck pickup into "In" and the bridge pickup into "Receive", and connect the VFB-X to your amp via the "Out" socket. This allows you to switch between the two pickups in the normal way and have a mono output.


More interestingly, you can leave both pickups switched on and pan between them using the expression pedal.


Even more interestingly, if I am using effects, say with my bridge pickup, I place these between the guitar and the VFB-X and use the expression pedal to blend in just the right amount.





PS Unfortunately, running a 345 into the two sides of a two-channel Fender amp such as a BF or SF Twin, Deluxe or Vibrolux doesn't work. The output signals from the two channels are designed to be 180 degrees out of phase and when both pickups are switched on, the tone is thin and disappointing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

Hi jc,


New possibility.


5E3 Deluxe?




These have four inputs


mic - hi-gain and lo-gain

inst - hi-gain and lo-gain


The inst inputs are more trebly.


While there is more investigation to do in terms of tone, I was certainly able to find joy running the brdge pup into the inst lo-gain and the neck pup into the mic lo-gain.





PS Of course you need to add just one more amp to your collection. These are only small anyway. ;-)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a factory mono 345, I wonder how it's wired. I've never had a reason to look, now I do. I know there's a buttload of crap in there for the Varitone, I'll see what I can figure out. It does act like a stereo guitar in the fact that in the both pickup mode, killing one pot does not kill the whole signal (like a Les Paul), it just mutes that individual pickup.


Give me a couple of days to get out my telescopic mini-mirror and do an exploratory, I'll get back to you.


OR, maybe there are schematics available somewhere. A mono version of the 345 has always been a factory option.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Larry,


They are a tangle - and the inductor sitting in the block between the pickups and also wired into the tone circuit doesn't help matters. The inductor is the "L" in RLC circuit and bleeds off the bass in the same way that a cap bleeds off the treble. The resulting notch filter effect is what gives the 345 it's er... interesting range of tones - but I like them.


I think that the intention of the design was to get a single coil tone from a humbucker.


My tech pulled out the insides of my '66 ES345 when I asked him to restore it to full stereo after a botched mono-isation that also damaged one of the Varitone chips. It was a very fiddly job hence my preference for mono-ising once the signals have left the guitar.


There is a schematic in Donald Brosnac's book "Guitar Electronics for Musicians". There also used to be one on the Gibson website but it seems to have disappeared.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Give me a couple of days to get out my telescopic mini-mirror and do an exploratory' date=' I'll get back to you.[/quote']


Ok, well it's been more than a couple of days. There is such a tangle of spagetti in my 345 (mono) that I couldn't really see what I need to. I figured tracing the wiring back from the mono output jack would tell me what you needed to know, but I could not get my mirror situated in the right place around all the wires and stuff to even get a look at the back of the jack.


Sorry, no additional help here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice question...


To plug both inputs into one amp, you would need to modify the guitar, by switching the "black" and "white" wires on one of the p/u's... don't bother...


try this: BIGSHOT ABY


Use the bottom example... This might work well, it has a 180deg flip switch, and it's passive...


Further to that, a stereo FX pedal of some sort may do the trick as well... Type "stereo guitar pedal" into search at musician's friend for some eamples.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

I have a '78 ES-355 and I find that a simple fix is to plug a stereo (ring, tip, sleeve) to double mono (tip, sleeve) 1/4" cable in to the guitar then plug the two mono ends in to a 1/4" stereo "Y" (2 female stereo inputs and 1 ring, tip, sleeve) then plug the "Y" into your pedal board or amp. Use high quality adapters. I I have gold ones.


I know this sounds like a mess but it works and as far as I can tell I do not have a loss in tone or signal strength. I have done several tests to make sure I am not losing tone and I have had a few other people do a blind A/B and they could not tell the difference. I post a pic if this does not make sense.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 12 years later...

Ok, so I found an easier way. I use two equalizers - one for each channel.  I can then plug both into a "Y" patch cable for mono or still have them go to separate amps. I always used a Fender Super Reverb for the lead pickup and either a Bassman or an Acoustic 150 head and 105 bottom for the 2nd output.  Yes, two amps was a lot to haul for small gigs. Of course the Super Reverb allowed me to plug each channel separate but no reverb on one channel.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...