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Hey it's Mat from Gibson Product Development - AMA

matkoehler

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 12, 2014
Messages
184
Hi Again Mat! I know on my `64 Block Inlay Reissue ES-335 I put in a set of Pat.#'s from a 1965 SG. I did swap out the short magnets with Throbak A-4's and those pickups sound just amazing compared to the Custombucker's. Custombuckers sound thin and wimpy to me. The 335 though is one of the best I've played new or old!
I did just get a Murphy Lab R-9, Light Aging. One of the best I've ever played including originals. I've probably played around 25-30 originals! I did drop-in a set of early T-Tops(with A-4 magnets)! I'm not keen on buying a set of original PAF's as they're more than the guitar cost me($8k). I do have one Original PAF and 7-8 early Pat.#'s with the same "PAF-type" bobbins and dual black leads on the coils.. In my opinion you guys should own the pickup market that Seth Lover created. You really shouldn't be playing catch-up. But I chalk that up to the previous owner who cared more about the almighty dollar than having stuff correct.
Thanks again. Yes when I went into my current role I made the same argument about the current market...I agree...we should be dominating the Gibson-style pickup market. We still wind pickups just like we did in the 50s/60s using many of the original machines...we just haven't told the story. But before we got to pickups there were many other projects, artist-related and otherwise, that were more important from a brand perspective to complete. Now we're officially down the pickup rabbit hole and I would like to do a re-launch. Right now the priority is building the myriad of pickup styles for all our many products; soon we will establish capacity for the aftermarket as well. Same goes for parts. Lots of room to improve there.

Regarding the Custombuckers, it's a bit like the quote about how talking about music is like dancing about architecture. Everyone has a different ear and sound in their head. I think Custombuckers are a really versatile option for a variety of playing styles. But an Alnico IV humbucker, I think most would agree, is perhaps less versatile. At least that's my takeaway. Doesn't mean it's not historically correct or anything short of amazing for certain styles. We will definitely be expanding our Alnico horizons for the previously mentioned project to provide all types of sonic options. Also an instrument like a Les Paul has a very different timbre than an SG or 335, so what sounds good in one does not always sound good in another. Good to have options. And that's why the current pickup aftermarket is so huge I'm sure.
 

Awall

Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2021
Messages
25
Great question. Really the Custombucker development was a sonic pursuit by Edwin Wilson based on the pickups in Jimmy Page's #1. It was not so much a historically-accurate PAF clone project as it was a tone quest, and in my opinion Edwin nailed it. In 2017 I initiated a project to improve the entire wiring assembly and for the pickups, we began experimenting with different magnets in the Custombuckers, no wax potting, different wire, etc. The specs we preferred in A/B tests were still the same one as the original Custombucker -- Alnico III -- with the exception of the wax potting. It's subtle but removing the wax added a little bit of wildness and feedback susceptibility we all preferred. We did some focus group tests that corroborated our internal testing as well. So we moved on to the rest of the wiring assembly and by 2019 we had vintage taper pots and real PIO bumblebee caps which added some additional character to the Custombuckers, especially when rolling off the volume.

All that said, making true clones of late 50s humbuckers is different project entirely because of the specific materials. All humbuckers are created the same at their most basic level; it's just the material and aesthetic nuances that make for a PAF clone. Butyrate bobbins based on scans of originals, original spec purple enamel wire, original spec 3M black tape, long magnet of various types, recreations of the metal spacers and wood shims and screws and poles and whatnot. Pickup covers are important too and when the time comes we'll dive into the plating and all that. One interesting little historic tidbit is that Gibson used two different places for plating in the late 50s -- Star Silver for gold plating and Kalamazoo Metal for Nickel. But I digress. Thanks for the question!
Thanks for the quick and thorough answer Mat and just learned a few extra things! Awesome!
 

Bob Womack

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 8, 2002
Messages
1,998
Hi all. Charlie and I thought it might be fun for me to address Gibson (or Epiphone) questions in this thread...whether about current products or mysteries from Gibson's history. I think it's important to hear it straight from the horse's mouth...don't seem to have much luck getting accurately paraphrased or quoted in magazine articles.

If you don't know me, I was a longtime forum geek and I decided to put my passions to use by joining Gibson in April 2016. I started in product management for Custom Shop and Memphis and now I'm doing product development company-wide. I am also a huge Gibson/Epiphone history fan and having access to our archives is an incredible perk of the job. So fan to fan, let's have some fun!
Hey, Mat!

I've got one for you: is there truly no record of serial numbers and shipping for the Kalamazoo Les Paul production in the 1970s up until they moved production to Nashville? It would be nice to be able to narrow things down in an official way.

Bob
 

goldtop0

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
8,264
Thank you and thanks for the question, and I actually have a welcome mat that says "Welcome, Mat!" so that is the appropriate greeting...haha.

You can order a 1959 ES-335 Reissue with no neck binding and larger neck profile through Made 2 Measure, but no plans to have a '58 back as a core model in the near future just because we have such a large order book for the current ES models. I would like to add a core Historic ES-345 when possible but same issue there...constrained by our capacity so no place to add without discontinuing something else. Portfolio management is a combination of Tetris and Whack-a-Mole...

Thanks Mat, your returning to this forum has opened up a virtual Pandora's box of queries and questions that I fear could be mountainous given your position at Gibson.........my thoughts and prayers are with you my son :LOL:
I determined last year that a '58 may not be on the cards given the '59s popularity so have a bucketlust M2M '58 with the fat 'Misley' neck in at CS currently (care of Music Zoo), due for delivery late this year or early next year hopefully.
I love the Custombuckers too, a great sounding pup. Cheers, Steve.
 
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stumphead

Active member
Joined
Dec 12, 2018
Messages
400
Hey Mat -

Once last thing ..... there was some talk on the forum awhile back about the zinc compound used on the Historic bridges and the material used on the saddles ... in addition the actual geometry of the saddles such as thickness, height , etc ....

a few folks claimed that this was another key ingredient in getting an accurate copy of a 50s Burst and that metallurgically there was an opportunity for improvement over the current hardware

is Gibson considering any updates to these items ?
 

matkoehler

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 12, 2014
Messages
184
Hey, Mat!

I've got one for you: is there truly no record of serial numbers and shipping for the Kalamazoo Les Paul production in the 1970s up until they moved production to Nashville? It would be nice to be able to narrow things down in an official way.

Bob
Hi Bob! I wish I had a good answer for you but other than those with 8-digit serial numbers (which indicate where made), we don't have serial logs to reference. Just non-factory-specific serial ranges and shipping totals by model and year. I've seen some good sleuthing on this forum when it comes to making a determination where a specific 70s model was made as often the materials and parts differed, but to this day we are using a lot of Kalamazoo machinery to make Les Pauls and it makes me wonder how different they really were from each other. Thanks for your question and I'll let you know if I come upon any other helpful information in the archives.
 

matkoehler

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 12, 2014
Messages
184
Your returning to this forum has opened up a virtual Pandora's box of queries and questions that I fear could be mountainous given your position at Gibson.........my thoughts and prayers are with you my son :LOL:
Haha yeah it's going to be interesting for sure. But better this way than having words put in my mouth. Anyway thanks Steve and congrats on your M2M '58 order!
 

matkoehler

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 12, 2014
Messages
184
Once last thing ..... there was some talk on the forum awhile back about the zinc compound used on the Historic bridges and the material used on the saddles ... in addition the actual geometry of the saddles such as thickness, height , etc ....

a few folks claimed that this was another key ingredient in getting an accurate copy of a 50s Burst and that metallurgically there was an opportunity for improvement over the current hardware

is Gibson considering any updates to these items ?
Yes we are in the process of modifying the design of the historic bridge assembly to better reflect our scans of originals, but no plans to change the materials -- the current materials are historically accurate (zinc alloy bridge and nickel-plated brass saddles). We did make a couple tone-minded changes from the scans including narrower post holes for less movement, pre-softened saddle edges and centered starter notches in the saddles to aid the final assembly team. This year we introduced thinner historically-accurate thumbwheels as well. Thanks for the questions!
 

Phoenician

Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2020
Messages
51
Really the Custombucker development was a sonic pursuit by Edwin Wilson based on the pickups in Jimmy Page's #1. It was not so much a historically-accurate PAF clone project as it was a tone quest, and in my opinion Edwin nailed it.

I guess that explains why I love Custombuckers so much. I’ve got four sets. Two in Historic series LPSs. One set in particular sounds a little better than the other set. Just a touch more magic with the volume up which I’ve assumed may have something to do with the bridge volume pot having a slightly different value at the end of its travel.
 

stumphead

Active member
Joined
Dec 12, 2018
Messages
400
Yes we are in the process of modifying the design of the historic bridge assembly to better reflect our scans of originals, but no plans to change the materials -- the current materials are historically accurate (zinc alloy bridge and nickel-plated brass saddles). We did make a couple tone-minded changes from the scans including narrower post holes for less movement, pre-softened saddle edges and centered starter notches in the saddles to aid the final assembly team. This year we introduced thinner historically-accurate thumbwheels as well. Thanks for the questions!

Well thats good to hear

I found a photo from one of the old threads I referenced
apparently the saddles originally in the 50s were quite thick as shown on this after market reproduction piece ( correct me if I am wrong on that point )

,,, I will post it in case anyone is curious as to what I am talking about

vintage-abr-1-saddle-08.jpg


where as now they are much thinner with different angles

15894_Product.jpg



and here is an interesting video on the subject

 
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Pip

Active member
Joined
Feb 26, 2011
Messages
1,534
Mat welcome and great you have joined our community-thank you.

I love relics but still get very disappointed that a lot of hardware looks brand new and not aged. I realise there is labour cost involved but surely this is on the list of improvements?
Thank you
 

goldtop0

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
8,264
Well thats good to hear

I found a photo from one of the old threads I referenced
apparently the saddles originally in the 50s were quite thick as shown on this after market reproduction piece ( correct me if I am wrong on that point )

,,, I will post it in case anyone is curious as to what I am talking about

vintage-abr-1-saddle-08.jpg


where as now they are much thinner with different angles

15894_Product.jpg



and here is an interesting video on the subject


The 2008 ABR-1 sounds slightly brighter to me, something that I like (y)
However every guitar has a different character and sound so I take very little in the way of reference from the vid.
 

lure555

Swirling Vortex of Sound, Classic Club
Joined
Jul 15, 2001
Messages
3,291
Hi all. Charlie and I thought it might be fun for me to address Gibson (or Epiphone) questions in this thread...whether about current products or mysteries from Gibson's history. I think it's important to hear it straight from the horse's mouth...don't seem to have much luck getting accurately paraphrased or quoted in magazine articles.

If you don't know me, I was a longtime forum geek and I decided to put my passions to use by joining Gibson in April 2016. I started in product management for Custom Shop and Memphis and now I'm doing product development company-wide. I am also a huge Gibson/Epiphone history fan and having access to our archives is an incredible perk of the job. So fan to fan, let's have some fun!
Any plans to revive the ES-LP in any form?
 

matkoehler

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 12, 2014
Messages
184
Well thats good to hear

I found a photo from one of the old threads I referenced
apparently the saddles originally in the 50s were quite thick as shown on this after market reproduction piece ( correct me if I am wrong on that point )

,,, I will post it in case anyone is curious as to what I am talking about

where as now they are much thinner with different angles
Well, yes and no -- the saddles from the 50s started life pretty sharp and angled, similar to what you see on current reissues. The Kalamazoo factory milled them down, and rarely with any consistency. Some were still quite tall and others appear flattened. In any case, the new ABR-1 assembly we are working on was based from scans and it will utilize the look of milled saddles without losing so much height as to jeopardize the break angle over the back of the bridge to the stop bar. Kind of a happy medium. Hope that makes sense!
 
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matkoehler

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 12, 2014
Messages
184
Mat welcome and great you have joined our community-thank you.

I love relics but still get very disappointed that a lot of hardware looks brand new and not aged. I realise there is labour cost involved but surely this is on the list of improvements?
Thank you
Hey Pip! Thanks for the question. Aging plastic hasn't been part of Murphy Aging repertoire in the past, only some replica runs we've done, and even those had mixed reactions. It's a fine line between aging something realistically and something that looks flawed/cheap/melted. And a fine line between too much and too little. But Tom is definitely aware of this popular request and it is on the list for sure.
 

sputnik

New member
Joined
Aug 4, 2018
Messages
15
Hey Matt,

I recently tried to order a M2M 1959 ES345 Reissue and was told Gibson will not build a 345. What’s the reason behind that?
 
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