New vintage Gibson day, my wallet says ouch

For guitars of the straight waisted variety (or reverse offset).
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finboy
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New vintage Gibson day, my wallet says ouch

Post by finboy » Fri Jan 05, 2018 3:46 pm

I targeted only buying one guitar this year....and managed to buy it les than a week into January, it’s going to be a long year.

I found a basket case 1966 355, between cites and the weakening Canadian dollar, finding affordable instruments I can get to Canada is a bitch (missed out on the same 67 jag twice). This popped up one province over, and with the extra parts and free shipping was a decent deal. The headstock is a pretty savage repair, it is new wood from the first fret to the tip, but the veneer and fretboard are original. Also included was a reissue gold Bigsby, a new bridge, second set of tuners, pickguard (minor warp), etc. It also has the tail end of the pat no. pickups, though the wiring is rough (having a friend look at it).

Anyways, I finally have a vintage 3x5!

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Andreas N
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Re: New vintage Gibson day, my wallet says ouch

Post by Andreas N » Fri Jan 05, 2018 4:39 pm

Beautiful guitar!

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Unicorn Warrior
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Re: New vintage Gibson day, my wallet says ouch

Post by Unicorn Warrior » Fri Jan 05, 2018 7:25 pm

Love the look of that

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sookwinder
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Re: New vintage Gibson day, my wallet says ouch

Post by sookwinder » Fri Jan 05, 2018 7:40 pm

wow ! more pics please
relaxing alternative to doing actual work ...

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windmill
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Re: New vintage Gibson day, my wallet says ouch

Post by windmill » Fri Jan 05, 2018 8:10 pm

That looks nice

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kosmonautmayhem
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Re: New vintage Gibson day, my wallet says ouch

Post by kosmonautmayhem » Fri Jan 05, 2018 8:19 pm

Excellent! More pics request, seconded.

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finboy
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Re: New vintage Gibson day, my wallet says ouch

Post by finboy » Sat Jan 06, 2018 8:38 am

My buddy is reworking the electronics, will grab more shots when I get back from him. Here is a video of him having some fun with it last night with an or120 clone, deluxe and pro...

https://instagram.com/p/BdnSCAsFeUa/

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Despot
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Re: New vintage Gibson day, my wallet says ouch

Post by Despot » Sat Jan 06, 2018 2:22 pm

Finboy- that is epic!

My last GAS guitar right there - very happy NGD to you!

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finboy
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Re: New vintage Gibson day, my wallet says ouch

Post by finboy » Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:25 pm

Sold the l5/es175 tailpiece that came with this guitar, more money for a refret.

Here it is next to my basket case 55-77, and I need to get that one sorted out in the future as well

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finboy
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Re: New vintage Gibson day, my wallet says ouch

Post by finboy » Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:54 pm

Here is a close up of the body, and the reason for the steep discount, the fix is solid but I would definitely count this as a partial reneck. More pics to come as tone hungry effects dig into the circuit, dude knows his way around all things electronic so I have faith in his ability to sort out 50 years of wiring “modifications”

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Image

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finboy
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Re: New vintage Gibson day, my wallet says ouch

Post by finboy » Sun Jan 07, 2018 6:42 pm

Update:

TL/DR: Jesse Mast sold me a guitar with a broken Patent Number pickup, and refused to cover any expenses to fix it, instead offering me $200 less than I paid for the guitar to return it.

I am not a fan of having to write this post, but unfortunately I reached out to the seller and their response was less than helpful.

I bought this guitar for about $3300 USD from Jesse Mast (a country singer from interior British Columbia apparently), this is a bit above what Charlie from es-335.com highlighted as an ideal price for a neck repair 355, but I saved on shipping cost and sales tax. A screaming deal this guitar was not, but the price was fair for market value considering it was a working guitar. I had a chance to reach out to Jesse’s luthier who had previously given it a once over (I am not name dropping the business, the luthier was forthcoming with some of the issues but it seemed he didn’t do a lot of work on it. I’m not dragging the reputation of a small business through the mud just because their name was brought up to sell a product), and by all indications the guitar was functioning as it should be.

I am going to be pragmatic here, and assume Jesse does not know much about vintage instruments, as he could not answer some relatively basic answers (how the guitar was converted to mono, how the headstock was repaired, the value of patent number pickups, etc.) and this only got more concerning when the package arrived…

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You are seeing that right, that is a bill of lading taped to the top of the case, the ONLY other protection was a kitchen towel loosely wrapped around the headstock. Needless to say my heart dropped when this came to my door, but miraculously the guitar was still in tact.

Sadly, this was not the end of problems for the fair-market 355, upon plugging it in the neck sounded great, the middle position sounded like the neck pickup, and the bridge sounded like…a broken pickup. Taking a look inside the f-hole, the wiring was unoriginal (as expected from my conversations with Jesse) but was clearly done by an amateur, and not the luthier who I spoke with. This left me hopeful that it might just be a loose connection, or bad connection. Out of curiosity I emailed Throbak to see how much a re-wind would cost, about $200 canadian plus $50 or so in return shipping, so much for that market value guitar.

This is where Juan from Tone Hungry effects comes in, Juan is a good friend but is also a great pedal designer, and an electrician when he isn’t designing pedals. I can’t speak highly enough about his work, the past couple days he has put in a herculean effort to keep the cost of this project from skyrocketing (hello $800 pickup if we can’t fix this)

Prepare for some fun wiring…

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Seriously???
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Even through that rat’s nest, the issue still wasn’t found for the bridge pickup, so then reality started to sink in…

Neck pickup – healthy and sounds great…
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Bridge pickup – anyone else think this could be seen as anything but a dead pickup?...Bueller…Bueller…
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Just to be sure, Juan tested both coils…

Slug looks fine…
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Screw side…welll I think we found the problem…
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So there we have it, I paid market value for a guitar that is 50% functional. A fix isn’t too expensive, but a repaired or rewound patent number pickup is NOT going to hold the same value as a functioning unit. It was at this point where I had to make a decision, full rewrap, or ask Juan to take another risk and see if he could salvage the dead coil. Thankfully Juan has balls of steel…

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I have a lot of faith in Juan’s abilities, and thankfully his eyes are better than mine, because with a minor bit of wire lost, he managed to get the pickup from a dud to this…

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Now we get to the discussion around the coils not being symmetrical, both Juan and I dove into the google machine, and while there is a .7 ohm difference between the two coils, that doesn’t strike me as unusable. We are going to try this pickup in the neck (slightly more open, less hum cancelling but more overtones from what I could find) and run the existing neck pickup in the bridge. Making the best of the situation, I am looking forward to how this sounds, and will post up some videos when Juan is done.

So what is next? Restoring those factory pots and caps to usable form…

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That is the update for today folks, glad Juan could help provide some positivity to a day that did not exactly go as I had planned.

I don’t want to harp on it too much, but in reaching out to Jesse I understood that he might not know about guitars, but hoped he would at least stand behind selling a product. If I were to download his album from itunes and only half the tracks played, I wouldn’t expect the reaction of “at least you still got a good deal on the rest of them.”

If anything, I hope everyone can see the value in buying from reputable shops (which are sorely lacking in Alberta), but even more understand how important it is to build relationships in your community. I met Juan when I sold him a guitar, and while he isn’t doing this work for free, he made it a priority because he understands the emotional ride this purchase has been for me. The couple hundred that I have to spend on this guitar stings, but at the end of the day I still have a great guitar, and it is clear someone needed that $200 more than me. On the other hand, one of my friends stepped up when I needed help, and has been absolutely pivotal in bringing this guitar back to life, and it is hard to put any price on that.

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tonehungry
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Re: New vintage Gibson day, my wallet says ouch

Post by tonehungry » Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:08 am

oh hey !

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finboy
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Re: New vintage Gibson day, my wallet says ouch

Post by finboy » Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:03 am

Speak of the devil, if anyone has more technical questions with regards to the electronics restoration, ask Juan above ^^^^^^

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Re: New vintage Gibson day, my wallet says ouch

Post by bacca51 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:29 am

Thats a horror story man, seeing that guitar case with a shipping label on it is scaring. Good luck with getting you new beauty up to snuff!

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Despot
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Re: New vintage Gibson day, my wallet says ouch

Post by Despot » Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:50 am

Finboy ... sorry to hear about your troubles. On the down side you had to deal with basket case wiring and a partially dead pickup.

On the plus side, you've got a '66 ES355 with a rewound bridge pickup for a pretty reasonable price. I know from your perspective you're thinking that it was over-priced ... but from a European/Irish perspective that's actually cheap - even with the pickup issues and the headstock repair. I'd expect to pay around 3k for that here in euro (what you paid equates to about 2,200 euro) even with full disclosure of the issues you found after the sale.

I expect as well that these pickups are pre-t-tops (given that they're '66) ... which is also a plus. iirc from your photos the wire is red so thats poly coated wire rather than enamel. I like t-tops, so having them is never a bad thing for me ... but the pre-t-tops seem to be more respected, so that's good.

Also ... here's the other thing about a basket case vintage guitar - you can do whatever you want to it now in terms of pickups/wiring and not have to worry about resale value! My ES345 has a weak bridge pickup (it's coils are fine - output is just low) compared to a hotter than all hell neck pickup. The smart thing to do here would be to balance this out by swapping around the pickups - moving the neck to the bridge and vice versa. The natural volume increase that comes from moving a pickup closer to the 12th fret will boost the voice of the bridge pickup in the neck - and the neck pickup will probably sound pretty great in the bridge position too. Win win.

Except doing that means messing with original/untouched wiring on a '62 ES345. The other smart thing to do would be to open the bridge pickup when doing this (being the weaker one - so you don't want to mess with the 'good' pickup) and flip the magnet to give an in-phase middle position. But that means opening a short magnet PAF and messing with it - which, even if you document it, means that value wise the pickup will be treated as a rewind when/if I try to sell. Even though I never intend to sell that guitar I can't tell what life will bring or if I might need to sell it at some stage. Doing what I've suggested (swapping the pickups around, wiring changes to reflect this and flipping the magnet) will probably take around 3k euro off the value of the guitar.

Similar situation with the SG Custom. The middle pickup setting isn't useful for me at all. It's far too muted and quiet compared to the other two pickups. The 'smart' thing to do here would be to 'wire around' it and change the wiring to SG Standard type - middle setting giving both neck/bridge and ignoring the middle. I've alread decked it to get it out of the way when picking ... so that would be the next logical step.

Except, again, it would hurt the value of the guitar to change original wiring. Even here, where you don't need to do anything to that middle pickup except disconnect it - it would harm the resale value.

Sorry for the long post - the TL;DR is this - I don't think you got taken nearly as much as you think you did Finboy. If I'd managed to snag that for the price you did and I liked how it played/sounded (now that you've sorted the pickup issue) then I'd play the hell out of it for years.

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