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ES-335 with tapped P90s


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First off... I wasn't planning on buying an ES 335 but I saw this one on the wall at GC (in between various Epiphone Casinos, etc...) and did a double take. An ES-335 with P90s? I played it. Liked it. Dug around for information for a week (found nothing) and came back and played it a lot. Really loved it and took it home. As far as I know it is a GC only model, made in Memphis, seems to be setup perfectly and sustains forever. It is a dark maroon looking brown (not as bad as it sounds) with satin back and neck. And, the P90s are tapped. OK. So far I have found that the volume pot for the bridge pickup pulls up enabling the tap. I wondered if that enabled the tap for both pickups so I sent a request to Gibson support asking about operating the taps and here is the response:


Both volume controls are tapped. When lifted a portion of the coil is bypassed creating a brighter, sharper single coil sound.


I'll be dammed if I can pull up the neck pickup volume pot. Am I just a wimp or am I misinterpreting the support guy? Or is something not right? Anybody familiar with this or similar humbucker operation?



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Anybody familiar with this or similar humbucker operation?

I have this same model in red.

Ebony fingerboard & '60s profile neck.

It really is a very nicely executed guitar.


Here's what I can tell you about the coil taps:


Both volume knobs should easily pull up.

Being a single coil pickup, when the tap is engaged,

a section of the P90 windings are cut off.

Can't say that I've messed with it much,

but on mine, this decreases the pickup's output,

and turning up the volume to compensate creates

a slightly different tone.

That's about it.


On a humbucker equipped guitar,

the tap fully cuts off one of the pickup's dual coils,

so you then have a single coil pickup & tone.

A whole different ballgame.


It would appear that something's not quite right

with the guitar's neck pickup volume pot.


Hope it's easy to sort out.

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I think the tap reduces the wire/windings on the magnets. Same result. Less output. I am not an expert but I would agree that it is aiming for that vintage, 50s sound. Certainly different and I'm not sure I will use it much either. More experimenting required.

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After two weeks and complete annihilation of the factory strings I love this guitar! And I am liking the coil tap on the neck P90. It really opened an "airier", chiming tone when the selector switch is in the center position. Sweet. This is when played through an (Egnator Rebel 20) amp setup that is more AC30 than Twin Reverb. Very clean. I am also amazed at how quiet the P90s are. Other P90 equipped guitars I own or have owned are noisier. To sum it up: airy chime and sweet sustain with the ability to bark and snarl when pushed. New strings today.


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